First 'backyard concert' this summer planned for Saturday

May 25—GRAND FORKS — A series of free "backyard concerts" is starting up again this summer. The first concert, featuring Jewish klezmer music, begins at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 27, at the home of Betty Bloomquist, 1119 Sunset Drive, Grand Forks.

Everyone is welcome. Guests should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Local musicians, including violin, cello, guitar and possibly clarinet, are planning to perform, said Tamara Bertram, who organized the concerts. Bertram is arranging more such events for June and July; dates and locations will be announced later.

"Klezmer" is a combination of the Hebrew words for instrument (kley) and song (zemer). The traditional folk music is inspired by music from the synagogue, Roma peoples, European folk music and classical music.

The music is from one of the richest and most diverse musical regions in the world, Bertram said. From counties such as Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, the songs are drawn from gypsy and Jewish traditions and are typical of the music played at weddings and major holidays.

Bertram and her fellow musicians play in what they describe as "village style," a high-energy interpretation of these traditional songs that aims to get the audience up and dancing, she said.

The backyard concerts began a few years ago, during the pandemic, as a way for Bertram's music students to gain experience performing for an audience in a casual atmosphere. It also gave area residents — especially older folks who were self-isolating — the chance to enjoy live music outdoors, which allowed for social distancing, Bertram said.