Amsterdam Klezmer Band


Essay AYCD019


Full Price (61 mins)

Originally published in Songlines.

Out of all the myriad bands out there deconstructing and then rebuilding new repertoire out of klezmer and Balkan music, there can be no doubt that the Amsterdam Klezmer Band are one of the most accomplished bands around. Famed for their cooking live shows and ultra-tight horn section, it was 2007’s Remixed album that really set them apart, pairing their dancefloor friendly licks with top DJs and producers, and inviting Yiddish music to let loose in the global gypsy club revolution. Now they are back with Zaraza, their fifth original studio album and the second for ground-breaking label Frankfurt label Essay, and their recipe of new compositions with sparkling clarinet, sax and brass melodies and infectious accordion propelled grooves is as tasty as ever. The ace in their pack is undoubtedly singer Alec Kopyt – an iconic Odessa born raconteur whose early recordings as Poza are essential – and here his trademark sweet, sandpaper voice is on typically fine form, lamenting about life on “Takaj Zhizn,” although on the intricate Balkan-sounding “Gde”, the vocals feel like something of an afterthought, as Kopyt’s voice isn’t allowed enough space to shine above the densely layered instrumentation. Alongside a plethora of action-packed instrumentals, the best track on the album is “Op Een Goppe” in Dutch – I have no idea what it means, but the rhythm of the language works a treat, somehow giving the band a lighter, more organic feel. All in all, another solid, impressive release from one of the best in the business.

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