Cayuga Klezmer Revival / Klezmology

Album cover: musicians in a field. Nifty type!Cayuga Klezmer Revival
Now available on iTunes only.

E-mail Susan Stolovy

Wow. As I begin to type these words, the tape is just beginning to get really into an amazing original tune called "Wanderer's Song," one of the few openly non-traditional numbers on this album. Something is beginning to thrum in my head, my feet are tapping the floor, I gotta get up and dance. I am so much in awe. This song is one of the most lucid, soulful fusions of klez and rock that I have ever heard. And it's just one of 15 amazing songs, mostly traditional (not always rock tinged), always taken tightly beyond the pale of settled Jewish sound.

And yet, I don't mean to imply that this album isn't reasonably traditional-sounding klezmer, or that traditionalists wouldn't love it. Well, some traditionalists would, as would all of those of us in between. From the opening transformed golden oldie, "Noch a glayzl veyn" to the closing "Hanerot Ha'lalu" (melody via Hungarian folk band), this is an amazingly mature, powerful, exciting recording.

I am suddenly reminded of how the Klezmatics have always blown me away by bending klez, but in ways that always sound klez. Cayuga Klezmer Revival is that good, albeit very different. That the two bands share this sensibility may be related to the fact that group founder Susan Stolovy was a pupil of the Klezmatics' Alicia Svigals. But here, instead of Lorin Sklamberg's traditional-sounding voice there is a pervasive bluegrass sensibility, and, of course, that occasional rock feel (even towards heavy metal on occasion). I haven't fallen so hard for an album since I heard Shirim's last a couple of years ago, or the Flying Bulgars, or the latest Klezmatics. Interestingly, this is also one of the few klez albums I've heard recently without vocals. No Yiddish theatre, no Yiddish folk, no vocals (beyond the occasional excited "spiel" as the band hits high gear, or a starter "eins zwei drei"). There are some Khasidic nigunim (somewhere transformed), but that only reinforces the thought that this is straightforward, tradition-based klez, just, as I mentioned earlier in this sentence, somewhat transformed, and the more remarkable for it.

Even as I listen to this album a year later, I find myself thinking about klezmer very much of this generation. This is klez, and yet, it's something new, as well. It's klez recorded by people who grew up with Doc Watson and the Dead Kennedys. I like it. I don't know when I'll get tired of it.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 5/26/96, last par. revised 5/25/97

Personnel this recording

Seth Kibel: clarinets, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, accordion
Fred Koslov: electric bass
Bennett Kottler: electric and accoustic guitars
Don Muscat: tenor banjo, mandolin, electric bass (#6, #14), upright bass
Susan Stolovy: violin
Jason Warshof: drums


  1. Noch a gleyzl vayn (Another glass of wine!) / (trad.)
  2. Honga tanz (trad. Roumanian)
  3. Doina/Odessa bulgar (adapted from Naftule Brandwein/trad.)
  4. Baym Rebben in Palestina (At the Rabbi in Palestine) / (Broder Kagelle)
  5. Ukrainian (trad.)
  6. Shamil/Golden wings / (trad.)
  7. I want you should tell me (B. Kotler)
  8. SB22 (Oy tate s'is gut) (Man, oh man, that's good!) / (trad.)
  9. Frailach (trad.)
  10. Kolomykia (trad.)
  11. Transylvanian wedding tunes (trad.)
  12. The klezmer conspiracy (S. Kibel)
  13. Little life (B. Kottler)
  14. Wanderer's song (D. Muscat)
  15. Stav Ya pitu/Hanerot halalu (hasidic/trad.)

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