Casco Bay Tummlers / Klezmer Music

Album cover: earth colored map of the globe with the band members sailing in a tiny folded cloth sloop.

Casco Bay Tummlers
Klezmer Music

Musical EdVentures Records, MEV-1, 1997

Musical Edventures Records
106 Arundel Rd.,
Kennebunkport, ME 04046. USA

A friend of mine from Maine sent me this CD recently, along with the note that he was incredibly grateful and blown away that the local klezmorim were this good and he hoped that I heard it on the CD.

Indeed, this is a very nice recording, clean and played very well. I do like it. I also appreciate Balkan-ish touches, as on the hint of Bulgarian-style on the "Tum Balalaika" round. The repertoire is pretty standard, and even features a couple of lively originals. A couple of songs from the Holocaust Ghettoes are featured, and the band works hard to feature the words and emotions in arrangements that are less heavy and emotional than traditional, without losing the impact of the words, themselves. "Friling" has never sounded less like a lounge lizard song, although I am not sure that the bouncy jazz setting is quite the solution. "Dremlen Feygl" is more successful, to my ears, in part due to the dissonances of this arrangement, working closely with quiet vocals and an understated melody.

On the other hand, the album also features two truly excellent arrangements of "Rozhinkes mit Mandlen" (the second and third I've reviewed today), and the frolicking "Wie Bist Die Dewesen vor Prohibition" is quite nice. Of course, now that I know the song has words (see Australian Klezmania / Oystralia), and knowing how good the singers in "Casco Bay Tummlers" are, I wouldn't mind hearing that sung out. As an instrumental, I note that this is one of several songs on the album that feature klezmer flute, a rare and beautiful thing.

I do have some criticism for the album. As much as I enjoy it, I also feel that it has too much of a neutral "American Folk-jazz" feeling. These are klezmer and Yiddish theatre and Holocaust songs played and sung almost too prettily and too cleanly. While I don't want to encourage over-emoting, there is a "krekhts" that doesn't come through here, despite the general enthusiasm and high playing ability. Still, I can live with this, with pleasure, especially when compared to the affectations of many a lesser band. And, the harmonies on "Abi Gezunt" may not have Molly Picon's Yiddish-whatever, but they are a very, very reasonable substitute. Try it, you'll like it, too.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 1/24/98

Personnel this recording:
Anne-Marie D'Amico: tuba, vocals, percussion
Carl Dimow: flute, guitar, bass flute
Julie Goell: mandolin, vocals
Nancy 3. Hoffman: piano, accordion, vocals
Hayes Porterfield: drums
Ed Roseman: clarinet, tenor mandolin, bass clarinet, guitar, tamboura, piano, recorder, electric bass, bones


  1. Wordmalic Tanz (Carl Dimow) 2:18
  2. Parksville Freylach (trad.) 4:06
  3. In Odess' (Louis Gilrod & Peretz Sandler) 3:16
  4. A Nacht in Gan Eden--A night in the Garden of Eden (Harry Kandel) 4:03
  5. Rozhinkes mit Mandlen I--Raisins and almonds (Abraham Goldfaden) 4:36
  6. Ot Azoy--Just like that (trad.) 4:06
  7. Doina (modal improv.) / Der Yid in Yerusholayim (Naftule Brandwein) / Varshaver Freylekhs (Abe Schwartz) 8:23
  8. Friling--Springtime (Abraham Brudnow & Shmerke Kacerginski) 3:24
  9. Wie bist Die Gewesen vor Prohibition (Naftule Brandwein) 3:00
  10. Tum Balalaika--Play, balalaika (trad.) 3:48
  11. Di Alte Sher (I.J. Hochman) 3:24
  12. Dremlen Feygl (Leyb Yambolsky and Lea Rudnitsko) 4:18
  13. Ozidanie (trad. Russian) 3:24
  14. Sweedler's Dance (Ed Roseman) 2:54
  15. Lebedik un freylach--Lively and joyous (trad.) 2:00
  16. Kalisky's Bulgar (trad.) 3:24
  17. Rozhinkes mit Mandlen II (Abraham Goldfaden) 2:00
  18. Abi Gezunt (Music: Abraham Ellstein; Words: Molly Picon) 3:24
  19. Der Heyser Bulgar--the hot bulgar (Naftule Brandwein) 4:18

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack Ari's home page
to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page