Band Bio

Ernie Gruner (Violin, mandolin, vocals ) and Phil Carroll (accordion, vocals, ney ) play Gypsy, Klezmer, Turkish, French, Italian, Russian, jazz and tango music which range from soulful to wild. They’ve both studied overseas, and played and recorded together in larger bands (Klezmeritis, Yalla!, Flirting Mazurkas). They’ve studied overseas in Montreal, Istanbul, New York, Cracow and Budapest, and recorded 2 CDs. Australian concerts include several National Folk Festivals, the National Multicultural Festival, Fairbridge Festivals, Cygnet Festivals, Yackandandah festivals, Newstead and Mt Beauty festivals, The Boite.

Touring includes regional Victoria, several West Australia tours. Phil and Ernie’s 7 New Zealand tours have included the Wellington & Dunedin Folk Festivals and the Christchurch Jazz Festival, Spiegeltent. Bohemian Nights has played monthly at the Budapest Restaurant for 9 years.

Ernie specializes in Jewish music and Phil specializes in Middle-Eastern music. They have worked together with theatre and dance events for Russian, Armenian, Jewish, Turkish, French and Italian and other productions and communities, as well as parties and weddings since 1999.

Bohemian Nights has released two CDs “Bohemian Nights” 2005, and “Brothers in Borscht” 2010.

Ernie and Phil are experienced at leading music workshops (Klezmer, Middle-eastern, E.European Jewish wordless singing, Fiddle, Improvising, etc) . They are available as roving musicians, or for parades. Bohemian Nights has played for dances : Klezmer/Gypsy, Tango/Milonga, Jazz/Latin, Australian Bush.


Loads of enthusiasm, brilliant musicality!
Wellington Folk Festival, NZ
Accordion Fiddle Fire
Fairbridge Festival, Western Australia
Imagine 1930s Paris Café
Wyreena Arts Café
Your music and your general professionalism played a big part in creating the perfect party atmosphere, fun for all concerned. Everyone had a great time, you were both so easy to deal with and the breadth of your repertoire is truly amazing!
Alison's birthday party
The sensitive and affecting musical accompaniment by Ernie Gruner and Phillip Carroll was exemplary… one of the best productions I saw…
Bagryana Popov


TRAD and NOW 2010 John Williams

“One of the highlights at the 2010 National for me was the live performance of Bohemian Nights (Ernie Gruner and Phil Carroll). Both men have a lot of experience in bands such as Yalla!, Jugularity and Klezmeritis and their live performance was extremely entertaining, as you would expect from two talented musicians with a long performing history.

Listening to this CD brought back some of those memories and I found it a most enjoyable experience.” - John Williams (Trad and Now) review of 2010 CD - Brothers in Borscht


October/November 2005

Melbourne has a reputation for being a multicultural city. Artistically it would be considerably less multi-cultural without the presence of Phil Carroll and Ernie Gruner. When not playing as Bohemian Nights, they feature in Klezmeritis, Yalla and Flirting Mazurkas.    On this outing they divide almost 70 minutes into 30 tracks that cover klezmer, Russian and Hungarian Gypsy, French, Greek, Middle Eastern, Italian and Turkish delights. They even head off to The Argentine for a spot of tango.

Still not content, they do a credible version of Django Reinhardt's Swing 42 with Carroll standing in for Reinhardt's guitar on accordion. With such a mix, sophisticated shifts from track to track are hard to organise. Hence Carroll quickly swaps his accordion for a ney and they move into Miserlou, a hauntingly beautiful Greek melody before darting back to the Middle East for a spirited rendition of Mustapha.

The two klezmer pieces that follow are very much home turf for Gruner whose violin playing skills really shine. Not that he's struggling on the other material. The pair then flits over the Mediterranean for Tu Vuo fa l'Americano and a bit of Italian jazz.
At this point I threw away the map and just listened to the music. After a not so convincing trip to Italy, they offer Yuksek Yuksek from Turkey. As in Miserlou they are able to weave some magic into music that is arguably their real forte.

Bohemian Nights offers a lot of music. Seventy minutes is a long time to sit and listen to multicultural music. On the other hand if you have company and choose to get up and dance this set will keep you going all night.

Tony Thomas' show "Collectibles" Radio 3MBS - written by Lindsay Coker

15th November, 2005

Two of Melbourne’s, and Australia’s leading exponents of klezmer, folk, jazz, and Eastern European Jewish music are Ernie Gruner & Phil Carroll. Ernie is well known to all lovers of this music, while Phil has become special to all who appreciate the sounds of Arabic and Turkish music and culture.

Now, they have teamed up for their first CD, Bohemian Nights. To say they can get the feet of the dead tapping is putting it mildly, and to say they bring a slice of music and life from beyond these shores is nothing less than fact – even though they were born here. Their cultural heritage glows, and we are all the richer for it. Ernie is a violinist of extraordinary talent; Phil plays the accordion and sings with stylishness and heart.

Enough talk, let’s hear them. Here’s a selection from their new album, Bohemian Nights.

Play item 3

Ernie Gruner on Violin, mandolin and some vocals, Phil Carroll, playing accordion, ney, duduk, and singing, with some of the tracks on their new CD, Bohemian Nights.

They have grouped most of the tracks into ‘bohemian’ areas: France, Italy, Hungary, etc., and thrown in a bit of jazz for good measure. We heard the French, Greek, and Italian medleys, as well as Swing 42.

This lighthearted, culturally exciting disc is available from Readings, price around $25. BN 001.

Jan Forbes for


This is lively passionate gypsy music to dance away your troubles by; played on abrasive fiddle and wheezy piano accordion. Bohemian Nights is reminiscent of Hungarian goulash, red wine, French bread, Gitanes cigarettes and sensuous painted ladies from the thirties. It is recorded mostly live; thirty-one full-blooded numbers of familiar old Bohemian songs and animated dance tunes, sung and played by two masters of the trade, Ernie Gruner and Phil Carroll, who as a duo call themselves Bohemian Nights. It goes on for seventy minutes. What a find for a theme party!

Imagine the smoke haze of a workers' café in Paris between the wars; cares forgotten as men with slicked back hair whirl shady ladies around a dimly lit dance floor to tangos and waltzes. The frenzy of swivelling hips and slinky shoulders, the highs and lows of passion; the wild and exotic; a little yearning, a little joy, a little laughter; the theatrical and sensual; the dark and melancholy; the nostalgia of familiar old tunes that include well-known standards such as Dark Eyes, Padam Padam, Funiculi Funicula, Jealousy, Istanbul and Moscow Nights; tunes that might once have been recorded on seventy-eights or for old black and white movies. While most other titles are foreign to me the names don't matter because all the tunes sound familiar and are in the same gypsy style. Still, they represent a wide ranging repertoire from many different cultures: French, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Argentinian and Jewish, as befits the eclectic gypsies, or Bohemians. Highlights include: several atmospheric medleys representing different cultural styles; in particular the Russian medley that starts with Katyusha and as the momentum picks up blends into Moscow Nights; and Yuksek, Yuksek, a haunting instrumental featuring the Duduk, a traditional Armenian flute played by Phil Carroll.


Jewish Wordless Songs - Nigun

With Ernie Gruner

Learn Nigunim – East European Jewish wordless songs. These often simple but energetic or soulful songs and chants, are sung for celebrations and special occasions. Klezmer musicians turned many into tunes. All singers welcome. E.g. National folk festivals, Daylesford festivals, Globe to Globe festival, Newport choir etc...

Klezmer Workshop

With Ernie Gruner

Ernie leads regular festival & public workshops… most Oz folk festivals etc, schools, unis.

Come and learn about Klezmer (Jewish folk music) from fiddler Ernie Gruner, while learning to play tunes on whatever instrument you bring along. Ernie plays regularly in Melbourne for weddings, barmitvahs and other functions where Klezmer music is popular.

He has studied in Eastern Europe (where Klezmer originated) and New York (where it is most popular) and has recorded klezmer with Klezmeritis.and Bohemian Nights and more…


  • Teach tunes to participants by ear, and sheet music if necessary.
  • Aim to have participants playing tunes together by end of sessions.
  • Depending on event/festival incorporate participants playing as part of a concert or parade.
  • Introduce participants to the style of Klezmer music - modes, ornaments, rhythms, arranging.
  • Discuss some history, geography and background to the tunes and contemporary functions.
  • Mention Klezmer trends around the world. Mention sources of recorded and written material.
  • Aim to inspire participants to learn more tunes and style, and keep the music alive.

Middle-Eastern Music Workshop

Middle-Eastern Music Workshop
Bring instruments, drums and voices to learn some Middle-Eastern songs, tunes and rhythms.
Get to know some Makams, which are like scales but each has its own character and personality.
Learn about different middle-eastern instruments. Hear them played and explained.
Music sheets and lyrics supplied.
This workshop successfully run at Port Fairy Festival 1998, Wellington Folk Fest 2003, The Whare Flat Folk Festival 2004,Turramurra family camp 2005 and BAMEDAM middle-eastern music camp 2010, and 2012. Phil also has run Middle-eastern ensembles for tertiary TAFE students.
Phil Carroll has studied in Egypt, Turkey and Morocco the ney (arabic flute), the zurna (mid-East oboe), the mey(duduk) and quartertone accordion.. He lived in Turkey in 2007 and 2008 where he worked as a musician in Istanbul sufi ceremonies, cafes and functions.
He led the six-piece Middle-Eastern ensemble Yalla! for ten years (included Ernie Gruner). Yalla! recorded a self-titled CD, and travelled to many festivals Australia-wide. He currently plays with oud-player Yuval Ashkar in the band Alwan with one self-titled cd.


General Dance

Mix of Klezmer, Gypsy, waltzes, foxtrots and other music for dancing, no caller needed, played for hundreds of weddings and parties – from wild party dancing to slow moody.

Klezmer/Gypsy Dance

With Ernie, Phil and Audrey Fine (if available)

Called dances - either Klezmer only, or mix of Klezmer and Gypsy dances