I first encountered accordionist Christina Crowder back in Budapest almost 20 years ago. She was playing amazing klezmer and doing lots of interesting field research. Twenty years later, she is in New Haven, CT, and has a new ensemble, which she calls a "Bessarabian Chamber Klezmer" ensemble. Last night I got to hear it first hand in the relaxed confines of the Armory for the Arts in Somerville.
Bivolița is a klezmer trio, a Bessarabian chamber klezmer ensemble. They play a relaxed interleaving of dance sets based primarily on Crowder's research (both fieldwork, and as a print music geek), with additional special numbers brought to the band by other members. It is a more stately presentation of music than one might be used to, but also a fun one. Crowder's accordion is a powerful anchor. Last night, Brooklynite Keryn Kleiman filled in on lead violin, contributing some pieces new to the ensemble (usually, we would have heard Gretchen Frazier on viola), with Brian Slattery playing an essential, and lively "secunde" violin.
This is a fun approach to klezmer. I am glad that their first release is, in fact, a live recording, Live at USNH, available from CDbaby.com, purveyors of so much fun, independent music. Something to consider with the holiday gift season approaching!