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Vagabond Opera delivers a an evening of Eastern European cabaret

Their music evokes the sounds of the bohemian Eastern European cabarets of the 1920s. But the musicians playing the music are young. And they have an eclectic mix in their repertoire. The 6-piece ensemble Vagabond Opera will bring that mix to Southern Oregon, performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland.

The Portland-based troupe delivers a program of original and traditional compositions, unified by an old-world mood, including elements of early Ellington, tango, Ukrainian folk-punk, klezmer, New Orleans and Parisian jazz, Balkan, Arabic belly dance and neo-classical operatic stylings.

According to WNWR in Philadelphia, "Everything about them is first-class: the music, the band, the voices, the arrangements ... Listening to Vagabond Opera is like taking a trip back in time and into the future at the very same time, and that ain't easy!"

The band's creator, Eric Stern, is a trained operatic tenor who straps on an accordion and sings in Arabic, Spanish, Yiddish, French and Italian. A pianist, composer and consummate showman, Stern trained in Europe and has performed there and in the U.S. and Canada.

Bassist Jason Flores has been studying, transcribing and performing ethnic music, gypsy jazz and swing. His original compositions combine these eclectic influences.

Drummer/composer Mark Burdon's style is an amalgam of diverse influences including African and Brazilian styles of music.

Robin Jackson plays saxophone, marimba, mbira, percussion, didgeridoo and sings.

Cellist Skip vonKuske is classically trained and has played bass and guitar as well as cello in several bands.

Lesley Kernochan plays alto sax.

Advance tickets for the Ashland performance are available Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Havurah office. Tickets are $5 to $15 for adults, and $3 for children under 12. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults, $5 for youth 12-17, and $3 for children under 12. Call 488-7716.

The Vagabond Opera features cello, violin, saxophone, accordion and vocals.