The Casco Bay Tummlers play up a storm on the stage of the Gates Community Center auditorium. (PHOTO: PAUL WOODFIN)
The Casco Bay Tummlers, one of New England's finest Klezmer bands, were a centerpieces of "WinterFest, An Evening of Jewish Music, Art and Desserts" hosted by College of the Atlantic in the Gates Community Center auditorium in January.
The Tummlers (Tumm rhymes with boom) first got together on Peaks Island in Casco Bay in 1987. The band members play no fewer than a dozen instruments among them. Their lively music draws on a variety of sources, from traditional Klezmer recordings to Balkan folk music and Yiddish swing.
By definition, a Tummler is an entertainer, rabble-rouser and creator of joyful chaos. The Casco Bay ensemble lived up to this description in a performance that opened with a concert of traditional and original selections from the group's 1998 CD release, plus new compositions and arrangements, and ended with a community dance. In the words of one participant, "Warm vibes marked the evening."
The Tummlers recently appeared in a new play, Manifest, at the Portland Stage Company. According to band leader Julie Goell, the play provides an "interesting take on resistance and the Holocaust."