Klezmer Juice bandleader and clarinet player Gustavo Bulgach was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A part of the large and active Jewish community there, he learned Klezmer music from his family at a young age. Inspired by the religious and secular life of the Argentine community, Bulgach, who now lives in Los Angeles, has traveled around the globe, finding that Klezmer music is the “soundtrack of the Diaspora.”
While the term “klezmer,” Yiddish for professional folk musician, can be traced back centuries into the Old World, most of Klezmer music as we know it owes its sound to the various 19th-century Eastern European musical forms brought to the New World by Jewish immigrants around the turn of the century. These Ashkenazi were a diverse group that had for centuries lived amidst and interacted with numerous other European cultures. Their music reflected this diversity, encompassing traditional music styles from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Russia among others. While many of us associate this music with European immigration to the United States, Jews at the turn of the century were settling all parts of the Americas, and they and their descendants have a rich history in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and many other Latin American countries.
Gustavo Bulgach has played as a member of the House of Blues Foundation house band in Hollywood, California since 1994, backing artists Little Richard, Taj Mahal, and The Wailers, among others. He has played with Chris Botti and Panamanian rapper El General, and also composed and performed the theme song for the movie “A Wonderful Life,” starring Bai Ling. Klezmer Juice was featured in the Hollywood mega hit movie “The Wedding Crashers,” starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.