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SRO at Kaplan-Rushefsky concert in Newton

Pete and BeckyOne of the most amazing duos performing Jewish music today is the combination of singer/pianist Rebecca Kaplan and tsimbalist Pete Rushefsky. I have my own vested interest in the duo—I typeset the liner notes for their CD—but there were easily 200 people crammed into the largest meeting room in the Newton Library today, ranging in age from just born to grey hair. Maybe it was the fact that this was a free, Sunday afternoon concert, but I have to suggest that part of the credit lies in that incredible combination of Becky's voice—referred to by one reviewer as "this generation's Isa Kremer" and Pete's wonderful tsimbl playing. The two just belong together. The result is sublime: not recycle Yiddish folk shlock, but instead, something that fits this time with songs new or unfamiliar. And it sounds great.

The songs, including one lively tsimbl piece introduced by Pete as "the sort of piece Bruce Springstreen might have written had he been Jewish and played tsimbl," and a wonderful recent song authored by Kaplan and recorded on their CD in which she tells her lover that it is time to decide whether to commit or to move on. A favorite of the audience was a satire with the punch line, by a rabbi, that to "kasher" a philandering husband, the wife should scub him and put him in the fire and then put him in the ground for a year.

Kaplan and Rushefsky also had a sold out house at their concert, with Dobe Ressler and Di Bostoner Klezmer, celebrating this website's 10th anniversary earlier this year. If we can get an audience this good for the closing 10th anniversary concert (March 25th and March 26th, with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and a mini Jewish Music Festival), all will be well.

You can get a copy of Becky and Pete's CD, "On the Paths", from CDBaby.com

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