The Flying Bulgar band released its first (self-titled) album in 1990; this was followed by Agada: Tales from our Ancestors in 1993 (reissued 2001); Fire in 1996 (reissued 1999); Tsirkus in 1999; and Sweet Return in 2003. The 1990, 1993, 1996 and 2003 albums were recorded for Flying Bulgar Records; Tsirkus was on the Traditional Crossroads label. From the beginning, the group enjoyed huge success with audiences, and eventually earned a reputation as one of the world's leading Klezmer ensembles. It undertook its first European tour in 1993 and has played often at folk festivals there and in Canada. The group was nominated for three Juno awards - in 1992, for The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band (best world beat album); in 1994 for Agada (best global album); and again in 2004 for Sweet Return (best world music album).
Now magazine described the ensemble as "an internationally respected combo, committed to revitalizing the traditional Yiddish roots music with a mix of high-wire precision and inspired improvisation" (Now, 20 Feb 1997).
Personnel Changes and New Directions
The Flying Bulgars band has had numerous changes in personnel over the years, among the most notable being the addition of award-winning singer and songwriter David Wall in 1997. He eventually assumed the role of co-director along with Buchbinder. The year 2007 marked the ensemble's 20th anniversary; at that time the name was officially changed. Members in 2008 included Peter Lutek (clarinet); Tania Gill (piano); Victor Bateman (bass); and Max Senitt (drums). The group began heading in a new direction, one focusing on original material written by Wall and Buchbinder, and sung in English, with considerably fewer outside musical influences.
See also Jewish Music and Musicians
Author Richard Haskell
Katz, Sheri. "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band," Chart, Dec 1993
Woods, Lawrence. "Flying in the face of klezmer tradition," Words & Music, Jun 1994
Galloway, Matt. "Feisty Flying Bulgars conquering klezmer," Now, 20 Feb 1997
Levy-Ajzenkopf, Andy. Canadian Jewish News, Vol. 38, No. 6, 7 Feb 2008
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Flying Bulgars, a popular Toronto-based Klezmer ensemble. Features musician bios, video clips of lively concert performances, an introduction to Klezmer music, and more.
They are crazy for Klezmer
David Buchbinder, founder of The Flying Bulgars band, comments on Klezmer music in this article from the “Jewish Independent,” a Vancouver community newspaper.
The website for the KLEZTORY Klezmer band. Features bios of band members, a concert schedule, and audio and video tracks from their performances.
Flying Bulgars - Tumbling Into Light
A brief video clip in which Dave Wall and David Buchbinder of the Flying Bulgars talk about the meaning of "Tumbling Into Light." From YouTube.
Something Special for Ashkenaz
An article about the Flying Bulgar's exploration of genre-crossing music styles. From "The Live Music Report" website.