Review | Personnel | Playlist | Backlist
For more information:
For more information:
Living Traditions Foundation
For booking and info, e-mail Kapelye.
New York's Kapelye, along with the San Francisco Bay Area's Klezmorim, defined the beginning of the klezmer revival. By the time their third album, Chicken, was released back in the '80s, Kapelye on record began to sound as though the band members were having fun. But, unlike the Klezmorim with their '20s jazz and Russian rap shtick, Kapelye was "just" music. Until now. "Kapelye On the Air" is a concept album in which the band mimics old-time Yiddish radio stations around the U.S. It gives them an opportunity not only to span the breadth of Yiddish music and klez, but to have ferocious and wonderful fun doing it. The music runs the gamut from traditional Jewish liturgical music to a Yiddish parody of "16 tons" ("You load 16 tons/of pastrami....") to the "Yiddish Charleston". By itself, that would be enough for mere music aficionados, but the wordplay also includes plenty of wonderful Yiddish in-jokes in the spirit of the occasion. My favorite is the "Mystery Soprano" brought to us by "Mama Lotion" (Yiddish for "the Mother Tongue"). This album is even more fun than the Austin Klezmorim playing a jazz backdrop to a Lord Buckley-esque story of Purim!
--reviewed by Ari Davidow, 6/28/95
Personnel this recording:
Our friends are:
WCOP, Boston, Jews in the News
WSBC, Chicago, Radio Girl: Mystery Soprano
WBBC, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Talent Hunters
WEVD, New York, Khanele the Khazente
WHN, New York, Yiderbugs
KGFJ, Los Angeles, A Gast in Shtib
After the fact, I should also note that Kapelye has gone through some major reorganization since their earlier recordings. Among the most notable, Michael Alpert is gone (weep)--although he's now recording and performing with Brave Old World, but Adrienne Cooper, amazing chanteuse and wonderful stage presence, is now part of the band (hallelujah). Keep an eye out for something new--Cooper has a solo album of wonderful Yiddish song out, just her voice accompanied by piano. Ari sez, "check it out!"
--Additional comments by Ari Davidow, 6/29/95
Kapelye has three previous releases. Here are the vital statistics, plus what I wrote about them at or near the time:
Future & Past
Levine and his Flying Machine
[B+]. My friend Laurie, who nit picks each new klez album with me, considers Kapelye a great band. To me, they lack a certain excitement. The band was possibly formed around Henry Sapoznik, who is the East Coast equivalent of the Klezmorim's Lev Liverman-- except that Henry is much more dry and less interesting in concert. This is their second album. I like it marginally better than the first, but I refuse to get excited. Hey, guys just like to have fun, but these guys seem to feel that having too much fun on a record wouldn't be quite, kosher. The title song is a fun novelty item, however, and most of the other cuts are interesting and worth hearing at least once or twice.
Personally, I love the song "Chicken," and the rest of the album isn't bad, either. This was the first time I heard the song, "Vot ken you makh? Es iz Amerika?" even though there is at least one compilation of old 78s including the original version. Of course, that was then. Now, even Dutch bands like "Die Gojim" sing it. Harumph.