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Staving Off the Darkness— Again

New klezmer group Tsibele reminds us that we’ve been here before.

Gabriela Geselowitz
November 06, 2017

If you want songs of resistance at a time of political volatility, you don’t have to go much further than your own backyard. And one new klezmer collective would like to remind you of that fact.

Tsibele means onion, which every viewer of Shrek (also a film with a Yiddish title) knows has layers. This band also has a lot going on; They’re mostly standard klezmer, but with the occasional rock twist. The melodies (with a few exceptions) are traditional, but the arrangements are new, and intentionally “dark.” And peeling away contemporary issues of “life under capitalism, tyranny, and heteropatriarchy” reveals— that these problems aren’t new.

Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of