The Workmen's Circle Goes Beyond the Pale

If, when you think of Toronto, you think of white people living by a lake, siding with the redcoats and dodging the draft, you are way out of date. Yes their money has the queen’s head on it, but twenty first century Toronto has a thriving multiethnic cultural scene to go with their excellent healthcare, faultless public transportation and unsurprisingly effective ice hockey.

Over the past decade Toronto band Beyond the Pale (Not to be confused with metal band Beyond the Pale which has its own beauty but less impressive mandolin playing) are one of the bands who have stamped a distinctively north American sound onto their eastern European fusion of klezmer and Romany music. This week they are traveling to entertain les Quebecois, some anglo-Quebecois (chas vehalil) then ducking down into Obamaland through the beany reaches of eastern Massachusetts and south to the New York Workmen’s Circle — erstwhile home of this august publication — for their Sunday afternoon show.

Playing songs from their newish (July 2009) CD “Postcards” this week they’ll be making your toes tap, your head nod and your kishkes kish somewhere near you if you live on the North East coast of the American continent. If you live on the West Coast, you’ll have to wait until February but those shows, unlike the Workmen’s Circle show, will have no free latkes.

Watch Beyond the Pale in performance in 2007.

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