The Yiddish group HaChucpa was founded in 1997. It began in association with the HaDivadlo Theatre in Brno, Czech Republic. Its initial repertoire was inspired by several performances presented by Wolfgang Spitzbardt at HaDivadlo (Martin Buber’s The Path of Man and Paul Celan‘s Pain of the Syllable). The group is currently formed by HaDivadlo members, students of The Janacek Academy and Brno´s conservatory, members of the Jewish community of Brno, and others.
"Chucpa" is the Czech spelling for chuzpah, and it required some chutzpah on our part to revive the nearly moribund tradition of Jewish culture in Brno. Nonetheless, our group continues to present to the public Yiddish and Hebrew songs as well as Klezmer, often accompanied by readings from European Jewish literature. Our current repertoire also includes classical music created by Jewish composers (Ernst Bloch, Pavel Haas, Joseph Achron). Our Klezmer music originates from within the the tradition of Ashkenazi Jews, though it includes the influence of Moravian folk music. Since we conceive of Klezmer from within its original European context, Jazz is a lesser influence. For us, the magic of Klezmer comes from its mix of melancholy and joy. For as the Talmud teaches, if we are too sad, we should remind ourselves of the command to be joyful, and if we are too merry, we should remind ourselves of the destruction of the Temple.