Abraham Elenkrig was a trumpeter, a barber, and the bandleader of Abe Elenkrig’s Yidishe Orchestra, one of the very first outfits to record klezmer music in America. Though considered something of a secret treasure by klezmer connoisseurs, Elenkrig has never really gotten his due.
Last week, however, the Library of Congress made Elenkrig’s 1913 rendition of “Fon der Choope” (“From the Wedding”) the first klezmer recording to be included in the National Recording Registry. Other selections include pieces by Little Richard, the Bill Evans Trio, Willie Nelson and Tupac Shakur.
“There are many fine klezmer artists but we settled on the Elenkrig title, first of all because it’s good, but also because it’s so early and it captures a transitional moment in Jewish music in the United States,” said Matthew Barton, Curator of Recorded Sound at the Library of Congress.