On the Spot: David Krakauer

Abraham Inc. is here to give kids who play clarinets and accordions a chance to be cool. The group’s three main members — David Krakauer, a classically trained clarinetist, trombonist Fred Wesley and Canadian hip-hop artist Socalled — produce a distinctive, unexpected sound. Ahead of Thursday’s show at Strathmore, Krakauer discussed Abraham Inc.’s klezmer-hip-hop-rock.

What inspired you to combine these three disparate forms of music?
The blend of klezmer with Western music has been going on for quite a long time. Back in the 17th or 18th century, people started using stringed instruments, mixing in Western harmonies. Then, in the middle of the 19th century, there was an introduction of European military bands, and music that had been primarily for stringed instruments got trumpets and trombones.

But why bring hip-hop and funk into it?
In 2001, I met Socalled. He was continuing a trend of bringing world music to hip-hop. The idea of hip-hop is that you represent who you are. Socalled is a Canadian Jewish person, and he was representing himself by making samples from old Yiddish records. I felt him to be a kindred spirit. Fred Wesley is one of the few living pioneers of funk music. Funk is the root of hip-hop, so it made total sense.

Did you expect that you’d gain the audience that you have?
When I originally got into klezmer, we were thinking, “A lot of old people in Florida might like this, but that’s about it.”

Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda; Thu., 8 p.m., $25; 301-581-5100. (Grosvenor-Strathmore)
Kristen Page-Kirby covers film, arts and events for Express.
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