Impromptu klezmer show on a delayed Air Canada flight from Lemon Bucket

When Canada's Lemon Bucket Orkestra -- a swinging klezmer act -- got stuck on Air Canada flight 876 at the start of their Balkan Station Romanian Tour 2012, they treated the fliers to a fabulous impromptu performance. Here's Lemon Bucket's origin tale:

The band grew out of a conversation between a Breton accordionist and a Ukrainian fiddler in a Vietnamese restaurant on Yonge Street. Mark Marczyk had just spent two years in Ukraine playing with the urban folk band Ludy Dobri while Tangi Ropars had returned to his place of birth after a lifetime of Celtic folk. They soon discovered that others, too, were craving the energy of Eastern European fol...See More

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is Toronto’s only Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk Super-Band.

Delayed Air Canada flight gets a dose of Klezmer


  1. I’ve wondered how being trapped on a plane waiting for takeoff could POSSIBLY be made worse.  Thanks for the clarification, I now know that there are worse fates than simply being trapped.

    1. It just couldn’t be worse than this. If this klezmer horror happened on my flight I would find a way to grow tomatoes and then throw them at these people. I think the only way this could be worse is if the band had a tuba player and Clay Aiken doing backing vocals. No, this is invasive and impolite on all levels.

        1. Huh? First, where did the gits in question say they are Torontonians?  Second, the klezmer band are the Torontonians in this story. Probably many of the happy passengers  are also. Third, I’m from Toronto and I loved this.

          Apologize, sir. Apologize at once.

        2. Three years ago, my wife and I were sitting exhausted but happy on the Underground train from Heathrow to Central London. We were weary from the 10 hour plane trip from the States. 10 minutes into the hour-long trip to Piccadilly, a post-punk London teenager dragged herself to the seat directly across from us and proceeded to beat box and recite her loud, apocalyptic poetry/rap at an ear-splitting level

          Since it was London, no one had the guts to tell her to shut up (she looked borderline psychotic) so we dealt with it – personally, there’s certain places I DON’T want to be entertained. In fact, I find most street performers to be very annoying. Klezmer on a plane, nope – sorry – music is over-rated, anyway – in fact, happiness is over-rated

      1. I don’t understand this sentiment, or the one expressed in the parent. Can someone please explain it to me? Is it because I have a love of life, music and spontaneity that I can appreciate that they are making the best out of a shitty situation? Maybe it’s because I don’t have pre-formed opinions about cultural music, or modern derivatives thereof? At least now I know who elevator music is made for; the kind of person who probably loves the stale air, ugly surroundings and banal entertainment that comes with modern commercial commuting.

        1. I LOVE loud music, especially live and despite my general hatred of this hipster wave of acoustic folk inspired crap, these folks seem like a lot of fun.  Outside of a plane.

          I’ve been in my of share really aggressive and loud punk/garage bands, and have made several really obnoxious noise albums, but one of my worst fears is being trapped with other people’s loud music when I can’t shut it off, especially the  “exhausted beyond comprehension” that flying coach engenders.

          I think making the best of a bad situation is AWESOME.  However, anyone with any travel experience knows that you’re not in a position to appreciate loud music when trapped in a small space with dozens of other folks who have been breathing recycled air for what feels like days.   A quick thing like that is amusing, but the rest of the time I’d be worried that they’d start up again and not know when to stop.

          If the plane isn’t moving, the AC isn’t on.  This means that their boisterous music and dancing probably raised the temperature  of the already stuffy space by 10 degrees and used up what little air wasn’t already smelling like the uncirculated stench coming from the toilets.

          Brass instruments are LOUD.  If you’re in a theatre filled with people, you can hear them at the back of the space without amplification.   This means that being 100x closer than that in a reverberant space is probably pretty awful.

          I make ridiculously loud and annoying music and I know most people would hate it, but I would never trap them in a space with me if they weren’t fans of my style or at least had the option of leaving.   

          It’s just arrogant to think people want to hear what you’re doing enough to deny them the option of NOT doing it.  One of the reasons that I feel that street musicians need to be better at their craft than “real bands” is that they’re forcing you to listen to their output without giving you the choice to block them out.  If you’re listening to an mp3 you hate at least you can change the track, if you’re in a public space you have no choice but to leave that space, chased out by a hippy covering “Date Rape” on an acoustic guitar.

          1. You’ve thought about this far too much. It’s a band playing music on a waiting plane. People are mostly smiling. That’s about it.

          2. Concern troll, I’ve clocked more flight time for both work and pleasure than most Americans and I can say with a certainty that if just once, on any of those oppressively boring and miserable flights SOMETHING out of the ordinary like this happened I would have been relieved knowing that this universe has more awesome in store for me. You do understand that from the minute your taxi approaches the airport your free will is sucked away and you are shepherded through an experience that is designed to keep you docile and “safe” while piss poor entertainment is served up to dowse you into a narcoleptic stupor. Hours are lost to the shuffle, and it’s _not fun or edifying_. Even the book or film you brought is often not enough to ward off the feeling that you’re trapped in an experience which requires nothing of you except your servility. Your  embarrassment and discomfort over other people’s good times contribute nothing.

          3. Firstly, brass instruments are loud if you play them loud. Any competent player can play them softly. Judging by the volume of clapping compared to the music; either that plane has got passengers with giant hands, or they’re not playing loudly.
            Secondly if you watch the video do you see anyone looking trapped and pissed off? 

    1. I’ve lived in New York City forty years and ride the subway every week, and I’ve never seen rage induced by performers.  I really honestly have no idea what you mean.  Links or citations, please?

  2. Probably would have been arrested by police after the flight attendants complained if it happened in the US…. flight disturbance mumble mumble

  3. Oh come on! That was way better than reruns from failed network TV shows played on a crappy monitor.  The music is lively, spunky, how could you hate it? It’s not like bagpipes or something. I say they get hired to do Trans-continental flights. Half way through the flight, stand up and music “bomb” everyone!

      1. I’m curious too. Where *are* the assholes living now days? I can only imagine it’s a gray, terrible place where everyone hates an up-tempo song. I’d want to be (rhetorically) killed too if I couldn’t appreciate this. Christ…

      2. Ha! Nicely done. I was looking for a way to express my shock about the sad sacks complaining about this awesome moment, and you did it so well that I no longer feel the need. 

        Thanks for that, I can breathe easy again.

  4. Man, I’ve been on a flight or two where I could have really used a random awesome music performance like that! Especially the one where we sat on the runway for  hours and hours and hours on a smallish, cramped, old, and packed jet. A great live performance can kind of carry you away…my state of mind would have been much improved.

  5. I agree with the_beast. There are few things more hit-and-miss than Boing Boing’s music coverage.

    1. To each his/her own. I can’t think of a musical entry they’ve made that I haven’t liked, at least a bit. And a bit consistently counts for a lot.

  6. Meh, every Aeroflot flight I’ve taken has been like this.  But its been in-flight, and the captain usually drops back from the cockpit to join in.

  7. If this happened on a plane I was on, I’d buy any albums they had in an instant.  In fact, I may go do that right now, they were phenomenal.  :]

  8. I wonder how many times Mr. Trombone hit Guy Fawkes on the head with his slide, before Guy leapt up and wrapped the pipe around Mr. Trombone’s neck. 

  9. Wow. That’s a lot of pretty strong negative feelings toward some pretty great music. Whatever.  I thought it was wonderful, and if I’d been stuck on a plane with that kind of great entertainment, I’d be super-psyched.

  10. Seriously. If I were on a flight, I wouldn’t want to be seated next to any of the old curmudgeons who are hating on it. 

    This is awesome. Bravo to the band! 

  11. This was beautiful.  It must be amazing to bring impromptu joy like this.   Were the first, negative commenters serious or just being fashionable sarcastic (?)

    1. Yeah, when your ear is in the bell of a trombone being inexplicably played in a confined space as the slide waves over you and the other two poor schmucks — who were already on edge _before_ you all found out you would be crammed together for an additional hour accomplishing nothing — there’s no word for it but “joy”. Seriously, look at the man by the trombonist. He looks positively thrilled.

      Oh and look, there’s even an accordionist and a dancer blocking the aisles to the bathroom. Happy day!

      Nobody on the flight wants to even hear your iPod. They generally also don’t want to get roped into a niche concert. However you feel about the quality of music, it’s still a really annoying position to put other people in.

  12. Some people try to take a rather dull and dreary sort of situation and liven it up a little, and yet others seem to have a desire to drop their pants and crap on it. Yes its not the sort of music for everyone, but I can see the attempt there as being more positive than negative. Especially where the plane is going people have a minor expectation for good or ill that they will hear more of it at their destination.

  13. Every time I need a brief reality check, I click on a pleasing, fun, spontaneously weird post from BoingBoing and sadly reflect on all of the humorless asshats breeding their cynical and deadening negativity in the comment section.  

    This video is a glimmer of fun and totally awesome in every way.

      1. Nope. Of course, I wouldn’t do that in the first place. But this isn’t my house, my neighbor isn’t annoyed, and it’s not 4am. It’s a plane waiting on the tarmac with a bunch of passengers and musicians. 

        I can’t imagine a situation in which the band didn’t say “Hey, would everyone be ok if we played some music to kill some time and keep you entertained during the delay?”

        That’s all this is. You can hear the people clapping and see them smiling. Why is spontaneous entertainment in the most controlled of controlled situations so personally offensive to you?

        1. But this isn’t my house, my neighbor isn’t annoyed, and it’s not 4am. It’s a plane waiting on the tarmac with a bunch of passengers and musicians.

          It is indeed a public place, wherein one might have interactions with other humans, talk to a stranger or even be jostled. People have lost all sense of being in public in favor of turning their humps to the crowd and crying “Sanctuary!”

        2. Indeed, who are these curmudgeons who hate life? Spontaneous music on a plane is always wonderful! In fact, I’m sure you’d fully embrace a moment such as this:

          And why not also start a chorus of speaking in tongues? Some Muslim prayers? 99 bottles of beer on the wall? Whoever would be offended by such behavior, and fail to enthusiastically support it, is certainly a horribly unhappy person who hates freedom and life and creativity.

  14. To all the trolls that are harumphing about this video I say this: 

    You are the reason I never want to grow up and the kind of person I hope my (someday) kids never become. 

    When/why did you die inside? This is for posterity, so please, be honest. 

    1. Charles Babbage, one of the greatest people to have lived in the 19th century (he did much more than just design a mechanical computer), despised street musicians for making a racket that he couldn’t avoid, and would have despised this even more had it happened in his lifetime.  I’d think any parent would be proud to have spawned a new Babbage.

      1. Clearly the opinions of Charles Babbage are valid in this situation. For he has the final say on the cultural worth of street musicians. 

      2. Charles Babbage, proto computer geek curmudgeon. I presume you mention him to establish precedent?

  15. Something about Air Canada.  In 1986, Halifax to PEI, we were serenaded by a semi-pro softball team, until the captain ordered the cessation of “singing and playing of musical instruments.”

  16. If the airlines did random stuff like this it would make it worth flying again – I thought it was great! I can see it may not be your taste, and that you might want to walk down the aisle right now, but it didn’t exactly last long.

    1. I flew on halloween last year on Virgin America, and all of the Virgin America ground staff at LAX (not the flight attendants unfortunately) wore elaborate halloween costumes – including one young woman dressed as a wild west sheriff, with gun, which I thought was a nice touch (try getting a toy gun past the TSA yourself – not that it would be difficult, but most likely it would end very unpleasantly for you :) 

      Brought a smile to the otherwise dreary LAX experience, for sure.

  17. I’d rather have something weird and interesting happen that I could tell stories about later instead of just sitting there in silence. Live music is just that sort of thing, and I would welcome it no matter what kind of music it is.

    Also, Klezmer is great, and I am surprised to see so many on this site disgusted with it. Even if you don’t personally like that kind of music, you can at least have a little more appreciation for the diversity of music instead of acting like a 13 year old girl exposed to something that isn’t Just Bieber.

  18. Three points:
     1. the guy the concern trolls are pointing out next to the trombonist seems to be clapping along (0:16 in, look at the gap between the seats, something is fluttering.  either he’s clapping, or…. O_0 )
     2. rotary valve trumpets are srsly ftw
     3. i just watched it again, cause it’s awesome :)

    1. Rotary valve trumpet is being played by Michael Johnson.  He is (or at least, was, when  lived there a couple of years ago) the barman (owner?) of the Communist’s Daughter in Toronto.  Free(ish) jazz concerts every Saturday afternoon. 

  19. Just what I want on a crowded flight — a damn trombone behind my head. The only thing that could improve that is a screaming baby dangling from the slide.

  20. I would wager that shoving a chunk of coal up the ass of most of the commenters on this thread would yield back a diamond in short order. You’re all so edgy and discerning with your trenchant, urbane commentary.

    P.S. Today I learned that some klezmer sounds suspiciously like ska.

  21. Hurray for Klezmer!  It’s hard to tell from the video, but it seems like they are playing much more quietly than they could.  A trombone at full blast would be deafening for the fellow sitting next to it.

  22. Oh, look.  Somebody flagged all the positive comments in the thread.  Congratulations on making me work an extra 15 seconds.  Hopefully that will help to make up for the hideous trauma of being forced to watch the video.

    1. Wow, I hope those folks in Washington hurry up and legalize cannabis so folks in this thread can mellow out a bit. Sheesh.
      After my TSA-arse ramming last week, I would have welcomed some free music on the Tarmak.

      The cap’n on my last flight made a few little jokes before takeoff – they were cheesy, unscripted, and just enough to make me forget how much I usually hate flying. Folks need to lighten up.

  23. Well, I enjoy balkan klezmer wackiness, so I would have liked it.  Given what happens in our house when I play any such music, I suspect my wife would have started to gnaw her way through the fuselage in a desperate bid to escape.

    Still, if I was on that plane with my kids I would be grateful for the distraction.

  24. Is it a question of taste though? It would never have occurred to me to be negative about this, since the Klezmership’s rather decent and it would, I’m pretty confident, have been a nice thing to happen to me, personally.

    But then I see all these negative comments, which I can’t understand, until it occurs to me – what if it had been a happy-clappy religious band singing jeebus songs?

    You might then argue that the klezfolk just did it as a spontaneous act, without an agenda. But doesn’t everybody have an agenda?

    My instinct is to be taken aback by the moaners, but … Ben Goldacre again – I think you’ll find it’s more complicated than that.

  25. It was less than two minutes, for fucks’ sake! What the hell is everyone’s problem?

  26. I find myself sliding towards misanthropy on occasion, and it’s stuff like this that throws me a line and hauls me back.

  27. Wow that was awesome. I can’t believe all the negative comments from people posted here. Sure, its not a style of music I listen to very often, but an impromptu performance like that is a great thing when you are trapped on a plane waiting for something to happen. I would have enjoyed this immensely myself.

  28. Sometimes I see a video and think “It’s possible, that humanity is not doomed after all”. Then I come to the comment section and boom, reality comes back.

    WTF? It was like 3 minutes of that stuff. I for example loathe traditional polka stuff with a vengeance, but even that would be better than the idle boredom of waiting on tarmac.

  29. I’d rather a klezmer band broke out in song, than the Air Canada pilots decide to call in sick, en masse, and have my flight cancelled. 

  30. I think BoingBoing just created the ultimate litmus test!  

     As to WHAT it is testing for…. I’m not sure yet…. but as far as I can tell, its doing a great job of showing me what kinds of people I’d like to hang out with.

    A follow up question might help me refine this a bit… you folks who dislike this video probably would be in favor of allowing restaurants to disallow children… right?   

  31. Had to read the comments after I noticed 91 of the bleeders..

    …I thought we were Happy mutants?! I would say that band would be a text book definition of the phrase.

    Rock (or whatever it is you do) on!

Comments are closed.