Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Bulgar_Klezmer_Band

Flying Bulgars
Also known asFlying Bulgar Klezmer Band
Years active1988-2010
LabelsTraditional Crossroads
MembersDavid Buchbinder
Dave Wall
Max Senitt
Peter Lutek
Tania Gill
Victor Bateman
Allen Cole
Daniel Barnes
Marilyn Lerner
Bob Stevenson
Laura Cesa
John Lennard
Martin Van de Ven
Allan Merovitz
Andrew Downing

The Flying Bulgars (formerly the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band) was a Toronto-based Canadian band, which played music rooted in the Jewish music of Eastern Europe. The band's style incorporated elements of rock, jazz and salsa. 'Bulgar' in the group's name refers to a dance form, not an ethnic group.

The band's final line-up consisted of David Buchbinder (trumpet),[1] Dave Wall (of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir) (guitar), Max Senitt (drums), Peter Lutek (woodwinds), Tania Gill (piano) and Victor Bateman (bass).

The Bulgars recorded five CDs and received three Juno nominations. They are the only Klezmer band to have created a music video which received airplay on MuchMusic.[citation needed]


After the founding of Israel in 1948, the Yiddish language and the art associated with it were marginalized by many Jews, for whom Yiddish represented the ghettos of Eastern Europe and the holocaust. In the fifties and sixties it was chic to sing songs in Hebrew, the language of the new Jewish state. In 1975, a group of young San Francisco musicians, The Klezmorim, released an album called "East Side Wedding", and the Klezmer renaissance was on. Across North America and Europe dozens of new groups sprang up, reclaiming the tradition of Eastern European Jewish music. Klezmer music brought together the traditions of the Tsarist Russian military band, Gypsy music, Nigun (Hasidic religious song), and Afro-American jazz. The Jewish New Wave, as it came to be called, brought funk, r&b, new music and free jazz into the mix.

The Flying Bulgars was a product of the rebirth of interest in Yiddish culture in North America. While they performed material from the early days of Klezmer, the majority of their repertoire was new music written by band members. The development of a personal sound, along with a highly charged performance style, opened extensive performing opportunities.


Formed by Buchbinder in 1988, and co-led by Dave Wall, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band was a product of the rebirth of interest in Yiddish culture in North America. In 1988 they played its first concert at Toronto's famed Clinton's Tavern.[2] That was followed by a 1989 show as part of the Mariposa Folk Festival (to which it would return in 1992).[3]

In 1990, the band released its first (self-named) album.[4][5][6] and performed at the Folk on the Rocks Festival in Yellowknife (it would return the following year).[7][8] The album was nominated for Best World Beat Recording at the Juno Awards of 1992.

By 1993, the band name had been changed to The Flying Bulgars, and the band released its second album, Agada.[9][10] The album was very well received[11][12][13] and was nominated for Best Global Recording at the Juno Awards of 1994.[14] The band toured in support of the album, appearing at the Vancouver Folk Festival[15] and Mayfest Glasgow in 1994.[16]

In 1996, The Flying Bulgars released their third album Fire, with the Yiddish singer Adrienne Cooper.[17][18] That year, with the popularity of the genre growing, the band played at Klezmer Mania! in Berkeley, CA,[19] and played shows in various North American cities.[20][21]

1999 saw the release of the band's fourth album, Tsirkus[22][23][24][25][26] and, in 2000, they performed at New York's Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival.[27] In March 2001, the Flying Bulgars were part of Toronto's Feast of the East festival; their performance was aired on CBC Radio's Play with Jian Ghomeshi.[28]

In May 2002 the Flying Bulgars performed their show Shekhine-Spirit in the Natural World before a sold-out crowd at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre.[29][30] The concert (which featured guest artists Jane Bunnett, Levon Ichkhanian, Rick Shadrach Lazar, Stephen Donald and Alex Poch-Goldin) was the group's first theatrical presentation, melding music, poetry and visual elements (stage design and video).

A recording of this work, produced by David Travers-Smith and featuring new compositions by every band member, was released in June 2003 as Sweet Return.[31][32][33][34] Sweet Return received rave reviews and was nominated as World Music Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2004.

In 2004, the band started off with an appearance as a headliner at the Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver. It played at Ottawa's Tulip Festival,[35] the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival, Festival d'été de Québec and, back in British Columbia, the Mission Folk Festival.[36]

The Flying Bulgars have toured throughout Canada, and performed internationally, including at the WOMAD festival in Morcombe, England, and the Tollwood Festival in Munich.[37] They also participated annually in the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto, a festival of Jewish culture which was founded by David Buchbinder and is one of the world's most prestigious festivals of its kind.[38][39]

The Bulgars sixth studio album, Tumbling Into Light, was released on November 10, 2009.[40] The recording was produced by David Newfeld and engineered by Jeremy Darby at Toronto's Canterbury Music Company. On January 31, 2010, the band staged a multi-media, multi-disciplinary performance of Tumbling Into Light featuring Andrea Mann (dance), Bruce McDonald (film) and Lorenzo Savoini (design) at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.[41] It was directed by McDonald, and co-produced by the band, McDonald and BravoFACT.[42]

The Flying Bulgars disbanded in 2010 but, on February 3, 2018, they played a show to mark the 30th anniversary of their first performance at Clinton's Tavern.[43]



  • Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band - 1990 (Traditional Crossroads)
  • Agada - 1993 (Traditional Crossroads)
  • Fire - 1996 (Traditional Crossroads)
  • Tsirkus - 1999 (Traditional Crossroads)
  • Sweet Return - 2003 (Flying Bulgar Recordings)
  • Tumbling Into Light - 2009 (Flying Bulgar Recordings)


  1. ^ King, Bill (23 February 2018). "A Conversation With .. David Buchbinder, Feb 2018". fyimusicnews.ca. FYI Music News. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  2. ^ Tsekouras, Phil (22 February 2020). "Clinton's Tavern closes after 83 years...Feb 2020". toronto.ctvnews.ca. CTV News. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  3. ^ "Past Performers". mariposafolk.com. Mariposa Folk Festival. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  4. ^ "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band Customer Review". amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  5. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band – The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  6. ^ Tarte, Bob. "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band Review". allmusic.com. AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  7. ^ Fruitman, Steve. "The History of The Great North Wind, 1999". backtothesugarcamp.com. Back to the Sugar Camp. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  8. ^ "Folk on the Rocks, 1991" (PDF). cfmb.icaap.org. Canadian Folk Music Bulletin. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  9. ^ Lyon, George W. "Klezmer in Canada, East and West, A Review Essay" (PDF). cfmb.icaap.org. Journal of Research Practice. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  10. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band – Agada: Tales From Our Ancestors". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  11. ^ Borsos, Erika. "A Musical Expression of Truth: Closing the Circle, Dec 2002". amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  12. ^ Davidow, Ari (11 May 1996). "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band / Agada, May 1996". klezmershack.com. KlezmerShack. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  13. ^ Tarte, Bob. "Agada Review by Bob Tarte". allmusic.com. AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  14. ^ "Past Nominees and Winners". junoawards.ca. Juno Awards. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  15. ^ Kurylo, Jason. "CDs 'n Stuff, July 1994" (PDF). core.ac.uk. The Other Press. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  16. ^ "Music Rock & Blues. The List March 1994". archive.list.co.uk. The List. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  17. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band with Adrienne Cooper – Fire". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  18. ^ Davidow, Ari. "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band / Fire, Feb 1997". klezmershack.com. Klezmer Shack. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  19. ^ Prestianni, Sam. "Hear This, Nov 1997". sfweekly.com. San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  20. ^ Leong, Alphonse. "Live Review: The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, April 1997". dropd.com. Drop-D Magazine. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  21. ^ Tesser, Neil. "FLYING BULGAR KLEZMER BAND/LIZ CARROLL IRISH ENSEMBLE, July 1997". chicagoreader.com. Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  22. ^ "Off the Beaten Track" (PDF). www.singout.org. Sing Out!. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  23. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band – Tsirkus". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  24. ^ "Tsirkus Customer Reviews". amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  25. ^ Lewis, David. "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band Tsirkus, Nov 1999". exclaim.ca. Exclaim!. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  26. ^ Davidow, Ari. "CD Review: Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band / Tsirkus, June 2000". klezmershack.com. Klezmer Shack. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  27. ^ King, Chris. "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band Brings Tsirkus To Town, June 2000". mtv.com. MTV. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  28. ^ "Events Listing, March 2001". yorku.ca. York University. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  29. ^ Galloway, Matt. "Boss Bulgar, May 2002". nowtoronto.com. Now Magazine. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  30. ^ "Booking Ahead, April 2002". theglobeandmail.com. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  31. ^ "Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band* – Sweet Return". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  32. ^ "Variations on Klezmer, Dec 2003". jewishindependent.ca. Jewish Independent. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  33. ^ Davidow, Ari. "Sweet Return Review May 2003". klezmershack.com. Klezmer Shack. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  34. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band October 29, 2006". archive.upcoming.org. The Upcoming.org Archives. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  35. ^ "Tulip Festival Concerts, April 2004". occasionallywright.typepad.com. Occasionally Wright. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  36. ^ "Past Festivals - 2004". missionfolkmusicfestival.ca. Mission Folk Festival. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  37. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band - Where They've Been". garycristall.com. Gary Cristall. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  38. ^ "About Ashkenaz Festival". ashkenaz.ca. Ashkenaz Festival. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  39. ^ Poliakov, Rita. "The Flying Bulgars give klezmer a modern twist, Aug 2008". thecjn.ca. The Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  40. ^ "Flying Bulgars* – Tumbling Into Light". discogs.com. Discogs. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  41. ^ Olds, David. "Editor's Corner, January 2010". thewholenote.com. The Whole Note. Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  42. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band". riddlefilms.com. Riddle Films. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
  43. ^ "The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band: 30th Anniversary Concert". hughsroomlive.com. Hugo's Room Live. Retrieved 2021-10-13.