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SOUNDS OF A NEW ERA

The Cracow Klezmer Band, founded in 1997 by accordionist and arranger Jaroslaw Bester, makes its West Coast debut at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Zeitgeist: The Harry and Belle Krupnick International Jewish Arts Festival. The festival, featuring music, theater, dance, lectures and film, brings nearly a dozen European and Russian artists to the United States for the first time, showcasing performers who pay homage to their heritage in works with a modern-day sensibility.

The Cracow Klezmer Band infuses its klezmer music with folk music in a style rich in harmonies and improvisation. The group’s most recent album, “De Profundis,” was released in September 2000 on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.

The band performs as accompaniment to the 1925 Russian silent film “Jewish Luck,” an adaptation of Sholom Aleichem’s “Mendel the Matchmaker,” in which Solomon Mikhoels made his film debut.

Performers and artists include the Danish dance company Rosenzweig Works; Zohar, a four-piece ensemble from London that blends Middle Eastern sounds with dance music; graphic artist Peter Kuper, who talks about his newly published adaptation of Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” and Maurice El Medioni, the grandmaster of the PianOriental who performs with Karim Dellali on percussion.

Skirball Cultural Arts Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles; Aug. 12, 8 p.m.; festival Aug. 10-March 25; $15, $10 members, $8 students, call or visit Web site for festival details. (310-440-4500 or www.skirball.org)

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