Lerner Moguilevsky Dúo / Klezmer en Buenos Aires

Time lapse duotone of the pair in action

Lerner Moguilevsky Dúo Klezmer en Buenos Aires

El Arca de Noe, AN 611, 1997

Every so often, we North American Jews forget that there are also many Jews south of the equator. No, not just in Australia, but also, for instance, in Buenos Aires, whence come this charming, classically-informed, jazz-influenced, and thoroughly klezzish duo. Using only clarinet and accordion, playing back and forth, trading melodies and riffs, this duo has created a lively, mostly traditional, klezmer album. And then, lest we forget that they are from South America, there are moments, as in the closing "Gasn Nign," where one hears Andean pipes meeting klezmer and there is the brief notice given that, rather than rock 'n' roll or bluegrass, there are other world traditions now merging with klez.

Both musicians are clearly world-class. Moguilevsky's clarinet sings and wails with the best. Lerner's piano is perfect accompaniment, as on the absolutely traditional "Freilach en Cm," or thundering in the Husid'l. Or, accompanying, again, on the weepy, but actually interesting "Roshinkes mit mandlen". (I have heard so many versions of this song that I would almost rather hear "MacArthur Park". Like "Send in the Clowns," it is a song that, except for the exceptional, as here, has been slain by too many bad versions recorded by too many bands who should have known better.) Here, however, there are lovely jazz improvisations that refresh the song, as well as straightforward, unembellished, honest chords. And yet, these are the same musicians who treat us to a playful, Andean "Sirba in F", or fashion the clarinet as shofar to introduce an "Odessa Bulgar". Lovely!

The music is absolutely unpretentious. Songs are even stripped down to their essential names, "Freilach in C minor". If I have a complaint, it is that this is too little South American. There is a new album that should be out now, or soon. Perhaps, now that they have established their solid and deep roots as musicians (and as klezmorim), the group will begin to explore more beyond. If not, not. This album is a pleasure—easy to listen to, deep and tuneful at the same time. And clearly klezmer. Fans, especially, of Andy Statman's most recent work will find themselves right at home, and happy.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 8/7/99

Personnel, this recording

César Lerner: piano, accordion, percussion
Marcelo Moguilevsky: clarinets, flutes, voice


  1. Husid'l en Dm (trad.) 2:50
  2. Kishiniever Bulgar (trad.) 1:59
  3. Freilach en Dm (trad.) 3:27
  4. Freilach en Cm (trad.) 2:12
  5. Roshinkes mit mandlen (A. Goldfaden) 2:54
  6. Tanz, tanz, Idelej (trad.) 2:22
  7. Ot Azoy (Shloymke Beckerman) 3:03
  8. Glik (Alexander Olshanetsky) 1:53
  9. Sirba en F (trad.) 2:14
  10. Firn di mekhutonim aheym (Naftule Brandwein) 4:09
  11. Odessa Bulgarish (trad.) 4:54
  12. Sirba (trad.) 4:02
  13. Husid'l en G Freygish (trad.) 3:32
  14. Freilach en D (trad.) 2:33
  15. Der Heyser Bulgar (trad.) 3:36
  16. Freilach Rumani (trad.) 2:17
  17. Der Gasn Nign (trad.) 5:45

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