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new Veretski Pass CD, Trafik available now; official release Feb 22, 2008

Veretski Pass / TrafikI am sitting here listening to my new favorite CD, the latest release by those hutsul-trafficking masters of traditional music, Josh Horowitz, Cookie Segelstein, and Stu Brotman: Veretski Pass. The official release claims:

"A true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, the suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania, Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia, and haunting Rembetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with a large number of original compositions.

"In TRAFIK, this trio of virtuosic klezmer veterans delivers 30 tracks of musical “contraband”. The pieces are titled with slang from all over the world and across time; e.g. klezmer loshn, the secret language of the klezmorim (east European players of Jewish instrumental music), blatnyak: Russian mob slang and Victorian thieves’ slang, and then grouped into 9 suites with such headings as 'Roadside Wedding,' 'Seed' and 'Darkmans Daughter.'"

That Horowitz, Segelstein, and Brotman are transgressive, we always knew. How else would we be such good friends? Hence the reliance on outsider slang to label the pieces. That they are brilliant musically (and even moreso, together) we also knew, from the first album. Here is more of the same, but different. This isn't pop music or reified tradition-in-amber. Change is good. All I know is that it is clearly by the same folks who made the first album, but it sounds refreshing, different—as did the first in its day (and still does, when I go hours without listening to it). More, once I get a chance to get to know the new recording. In the meantime, if you weren't one of the lucky folks who grabbed copies at KlezKamp, you can order it from the publisher, Golden Horn Records: