Preview: Merlin Shepherd Kapelye / Intimate Hopes & Terrors
Merlin Shepherd Kapelye / Intimate Hopes and Terrors: Tales from the Kishkes. Oriente Musik, RIEN CD 58, 2006. Available from Oriente Express
I met Merlin Shepherd about ten years ago at KlezKamp. He was an awesome clarinet player then. He has gotten scarily better. On this outing he gathered up a posse of so-far-unknown-to-the-west klezmer players of the former Soviet Union. The ones you find jamming non-stop at the Klezmer festivals and blowing everyone's minds. These guys already knew the repertoire from KlezKamp, so Merlin wrote new stuff. This is the sort of CD I've been waiting for, for years. New klezmer music. But, at this first listen (the CD only arrived today), it's klezmer that manages to sound both traditional, but also as though it were written this year (which it was). This isn't the worshipful, "I can write like the old guys" klezmer. This is the "okay, the old folks stole all our best ideas. let's work on some new ideas" klezmer. Must get the word out now. May have more to say once the CD has sunk in. You can catch some tracks at Merlin's MySpace page.