Various Artists

Assorted Short Reviews

Originally published in fRoots.

CARL NELKIN, Irish Heart – Jewish Soul, CJN001
Danny Boy meets Fiddler in ‘well-intentioned’ fusion project.

YOMGUIH/CUNIOT, The Golem on the Moon, Buda 822822
Virtuosic, irreverent klezmer stylings from Parisian clarinet and piano duo along the lines of Moguilevsky and Lerner’s Klezmer in Buenos Aires project. Parent band the Orient Express Moving Schnorrers is also excellent.

KLEZMIC NOIZ, Oode, Alea/Wild Boar Music WBM 21044
Belgium’s best known klezmer band for good reason – singer Patricia Beysens convinces, and the band know exactly when to krekhts, and when to party. Jazz dub version of Sephardic Ah El Novio deserves special mention.

EMIL BRUH, Klezmer violinist and instrumental ensemble, GLOBAL VILLAGE CD 102
Searching for the perfect soundtrack to accompany that grainy old footage of weepy train station farewells? Look no further. This is a 1950s Russian classical klezmer schmalzfest of the highest order. In terms of violin style, Bruh is a pure Budapest cafehouse Gypsy box of tricks, and as cheesy period reissues go, it doesn’t get any better.

ABAYUDAYA, Music from the Jewish People of Uganda, Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40504
Although the Abayudaya are recently converted tribe from the early 20th c. rather than an ancient lost one, this is nonetheless fascinating listening. Detailed liner notes explain the prayers, psalms and pop tunes in the local language Luganda and Hebrew. Beautifully recorded too. Worth it just for the Ladysmith Black Mambazo style version of Lkha Dodi.

LILI BONICHE, Oeuvres Recentes, A.P.C. 023
The original King Creole and grand master of Algerian post-war crossover pop in possibly his last studio recording. Not as good as the classic, Bill Laswell produced ‘Alger Alger’ but in Dis moi, dis moi the producers have come up with an anthem to stand alongside his greatest moments.

Double live CD from old guard German Yiddishist Lutz Elias and full band. Picked guitars, flute, violin and tambourines accompany the bard’s vocals which are part stripped down hushed narrative, part heartfelt Yiddishe outpouring. Raw, sincere stuff.

VARIOUS, The Hidden Gate: Jewish Music Around the World, Rounder 116615083-2
Two cds in this Klezmer vs. The Rest of the World globetrotting guide. Gems aplenty like the Orchestre Andalou d’Israel featuring Moroccan cantor Emil Zrihan and Maurice El Medioni’s rolling pianoriental. Add some gorgeous harmonies from the Rusape Jews of Zimbabwe and tabla and harmonium action on an Indian Shabbat song and you have one interesting compilation.

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