2 Cole Crescent
East Coburg VIC 3058 Australia
Tel: (+613) 9386 7108
Fax: (+613) 9386 0228
After hearing the amazing Australian band, "Klezmania," a couple of years ago, I am able to face this wonderfully capable traditional klezmer band from Melbourne with greater equinamity. This is straight-ahead, traditional instrumental klezmer as taught by usual suspects of the klezmer revival. It just happens to be played extraordinarily well by a very tight ensemble.
At the same time, this is a traditional band in the American Klezmer Revival sense. And thus, there are elements that creep in that make the recording slightly different and special. The piercing zorna that starts off the "Terk in America," for instance, reminding us that the melody is part of several repertoires. Then, the ney (arabic flute) that starts off the Araber Tantz, for instance, at first, sounding like a howl from somewhere in the Australian wilds, then reminding me of the haunting flute that introduces the original Israeli recording of the "Bedouin Love Song" (Shem Tov Levi on flute; Yitzhak Klepter singing with the band "tuned chord;" I am not referring to the whiny David Broza version). But long before I have time to finish that thought, the rest of the instruments have blended this into a straightforward dance, one can feel one's body move in time to the music, and when the ney reprises, it is part of the beat of a traditional Jewish dance.
If this album has a fault, it is in the regularity of the beat. The time is too regular and too good, and there too much of that solemn, tum tum, tum 'tum, tum 'tum! You feel this on the opening number, and you feel this especially on a song such as "Boogich's Boogie" when the violin heads for the stratosphere while the bass is far slower to let the beat vary or speed up, at all. This is great for dancers, except that the pace stays the same for too long--there is none of that wandering beat discussed by Josh Horowitz in the Budowitz/Mother Tongue liner notes. The net result is that the music is somewhat less interesting, despite the energy conveyed by accordion and violin, especially violin.
Still, overall, this is an incredibly well-done traditional klezmer album. It's very easy on the ears, and very good for people learning klezmer. There's a lot to be said for playing this well and not feeling obliged to invent the music all over. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 6/10/00
Personnel this recording:
Ernie Gruner: violin, vocals
Phil Carroll: accordion, ney, zorna, keyboard, vocals
Ron Hansen: double bass
- Mini-Doina (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 0:23
- Rabbi in Palestine Hora (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 3:33
- Mazeltov Freylach (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:28
- Kolomeike (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:44
- Araber Tanz (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 5:54
- Broyges Tanz (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:28
- Odessa Bulgar (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:19
- Stolliner Nigun (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 6:24
- Boogich Bulgar (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 1:52
- Af Shabbes in Vilna (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 1:08
- After Three Glaces (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 1:45
- Rumanian Hora (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:10
- Khosidl 1 (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 1:48
- Khosidl 2 (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 1:27
- Sherele (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 3:11
- Leybedik (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 2:30
- Uskadar / Turk in America (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 5:04
- Tanz Tanz Yiddelekh (trad., arr. Klezmeritis) 3:03