Trumpets for Di Fidl-Kapelye

Review by Günther Schöller

well, it's different, and seems to include a closeup of some tsimbl strings

Trumpets for
Di Fidl-Kapelye

Fréa Records, a division of Music & Words, MWCD 4055


Klezmer string ensembles are part of every bigger workshop like KlezKanada or Yiddish-Summer-Weimar. Hearing those ensembles perform at the final student concerts for me belongs do the best moments of such workshops. Their sound is just gorgeous. It's interesting that next to no klezmer string ensembles exist outside of such workshop environments. The only one I know is the dutch klezmer group Di Fidl-Kapelye.

Di Fidl-Kapelye has just released their second album, which is called "Trumpets for di Fidl-Kapelye". Although the title of the album might suggest it, you don't get to hear a lot of trumpet sound on this recording. Only two out of fifteen tracks feature trumpet player Gijs Levelt. He is a guest musician on this album and well known of being a member of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. What the title of the album actually means is that Levelt and other famous trumpet players in the klezmer world like Susan Watts and Frank London have written new compositions especially for the dutch string ensemble. The outcome is really worth hearing.

If a promising band releases its second album, you might be tempted to compare it to the first one and expect the band to make a progress. In this case it is clear that the band did make this progress. I liked their approach to klezmer music and their arrangements already on the first album. On their second album the band did not change their way of arranging (thank g-d), but you can tell that they became more confident in choosing the right pattern of arrangement for each piece. Overall, their sound became more refined and mature.

The new album does not consist of new compositions alone, the band also recorded pieces belonging to the traditional klezmer repertoire. What stands out again are the arrangements. Can you imagine the sound of a brass band playing Goldenshteyn bulgars produced by a string ensemble? Go listen to track No. 10. Cello player Djoeke Klijzing did an amazing job imitating the melody lines of a trombone player. At the beginning of track No. 3, a traditional Skotchne, the doublebass and the cello together sound like a didgeridoo. I don't want to give away all the other things concerning arrangements that makes you smile when you listen to this album. There is a lot in it to enjoy. Even if you know some of the traditional pieces (you won't know much of the other pieces), you will notice some melodic changes that are really beautiful.

Beside Gijs Levelt from the Amsterdam Klezmer Band there is also another guest featured on this album. It's Yankl Falk, a member of another great, but not longer new klezmer band which is called, nevertheless, Di Naye Kapelye. On track No. 6, Simkha's Toreh, Falk joins in and sings this traditionell melody as a nign. But he is also playing clarinet on another track, which he has written for the band. This piece is entitled Left foot Sirba and tricky to play because it has a lot of changes in tempo.

A few words about the new compositions featured on this album. Some of them don't sound like klezmer, saying it frankly. On the other hand these pieces are nice nevertheless. But you can also find the more traditional sounding new pieces that have the potential to become a standard like the Broccoli Bulgar from Gijs Levelt. What makes this album really enjoyable is the right mixture of traditional and new klezmer pieces.

Review by Günther Schöller, 14 Jan 2007, reproduced here with the author's permission.

Personnel this recording:
Madelien Schelp-Verheij: violin
Jiska ter Bals: violin
Pit Hermans: cimbalom
Djoeke Klijzing: cello
Jet Stevens: double bass


  1. Broccoli Bulgar (Levelt) 2:44
  2. Pera Palas (Levelt) 5:29
  3. Skotchne (trad. Engel) 3:18
  4. Honga Elongata (London) 4:04
  5. Hartsklap (Watts) 3:46
  6. Simkha's Toreh (trad.) 5:55
  7. Volekh / Bulgorski Zhok (trad. Belf's) 3:25
  8. Opshpil far di Mekhutonim (Tarras) 3:40
  9. Kolomeika (trad. Brandwein) 3:32
  10. Moldavian Bulgars (trad. Goldenshteyn) 3:53
  11. Tish Nign (trad.) 3:28
  12. Kolodobre (Chajes) 2:58
  13. Shaleshudes (Monzingo) 6:24
  14. Sirba / Left Foot Sirba (trad./ Falk) 4:02
  15. Faith Hora (London) 3:35

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