Chicago Klezmer Ensemble / 1989

Review | Personnel | Songlist/sound samples

For further info:

About Chicago Klezmer Ensemble

Band website:

Other Recordings:

CD rerelease of this album: Early Years, 1987 - 1989

Chicago Klezmer Ensemble / Sweet Home Bukovina, 1998

The band also appears on the compilation
Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and Earth

For bookings, CDs and other information:

Kurt Bjorling
E-mail Chicago Klezmer Ensemble

Kurt Bjorling has also recording with the Klezmatics and is a current member of Brave Old World.

Album cover: Just the facts, ma'am--the band's name and album title, in Zapf Chancery light italic.

Chicago Klezmer Ensemble

Cassette only
(for CD rerelease, see Early Years, 1987 - 1989

Available for $10+$3/s&h (US); $6/s&h (Europe), from:

Kurt Bjorling
E-mail: Chicago Klezmer Ensemble

From the opening chords of "Sha, sha, di shviger kumt," this is a straight-ahead, incredibly warm and deep traditional klezmer album such as you rarely hear. This is the sort of music that would have sounded familiar and good to Tarras or to Brandwein, and yet, feels perfect and right to modern ears.

I enjoyed the album much when I first got it, and recently, I have been rediscovering it. Then a friend and I got to talking at a recent Klezmatics gig (although the Klezmatics and the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble are both wonderful, they have little other than the genre and excellence in common) and he brought up this recording as one of his all-time favorites. Who would disagree? And, although Kurt Bjorling now also tours with Brave Old World, and Eva Monzingo managed to spend last summer blowing people away as part of Budapest's Di Naye Kaplye as a lark, this is still a band that I'd want to play at my wedding, and certainly a band that I'd travel a long distance to see.

How can I describe this better. By the time I discovered the band back in 1991, only cassettes were available, and it is always hard for me to be sure of song titles on cassettes, especially, as is the case here, the band flows from one song to another in the types of medleys that actually get played in simkhas. But regardless of what I am doing, I find myself suddenly becoming aware of the music, and my heart suddenly gladder, periodically. Is it in the "Freylekhs" part of "Yiddish Hora and Freylekhs"? Am I blown away by the "Terkisher" or is the band already on the "Romanian Hora"? I'm not sure any more. The entire cassette has become a joyous, uplifting, dance-compelling weave as its own, inviolate creation.

I do wish that someone had remembered to note song credits and song times on the cassette cover. The Chicago Klezmer Ensemble is clearly still in business: a recent (1996) recording was part of the compilation, Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and Earth, whence comes this Real Audio sound clip of the band playing "Mazl Tov".

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 5/25/97

Personnel this recording:
Kurt Bjorling: clarinet, accordion, bass clarinet
Joshua Huppert: violin
Eve Monzingo: piano
Al Ehrich: string bass (all selections except #4)

Alan Goldsher: string bass (#4)
Pat Fleming: tenor mandolin (#6, #9)

  1. Sha, Sha, Di Shviger Kumt
  2. Yiddish Hora and Freylekhs
  3. Oy, Di Kinderlakh!
  4. A Galician Dance
  5. Doyna
  6. A Rumainian Fantasy
  7. Mazltov Far Di Mechutonim
  8. Behusher Khosid
  9. Hora and Hangi Tanz
  10. A "Terkisher" Tanz and Kohsid'l
  11. Rumainian Hora
  12. Mazel Tov (dedicated to the memory of David Tarras, 1896 - 1989)

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