Hu Tsa Tsa / Well Tempered Klezmorim

delightful b/w collage and reasonable type Hu Tsa Tsa
Well Tempered Klezmorim

Hu Tsa Tsa HCD01

CD available from

When I first met Jonno Lightstone nearly ten years ago, his Toronto-based klezmer band was brassy, loud, and lots of fun. The band had a regular gig at each of the bi-annual Ashkenaz festivals, and it has been excited to hear how the band has changed as people moved in and out , then kept shifting trying to find a sound that fit the musicians. The current band, finally captured on CD, is perhaps my favorite of a long line of excellent lineups.

The biggest influence may be the inclusion of mandolin/tsimbl player Eric Stein, whose band, "Beyond the Pale" is a wonderful post-klezmer world accoustic music tour de force. Coupled with Jonno's excellent clarinet and new violinist Rona Goldensher this recording builds on recent recordings by bands such as Khevrisa and Budowitz to create a sort of klezmer chamber music ensemble.

Indeed, the result is classically informed, beautiful klezmer with roots in European Jewish music traditions that precede the brassiness and jazz overtones introduced when klezmer came to this continent. In their hands, the "Gasn nign" for instance, becomes less a tune for escorting wedding guests in the street than a quiet melodic piece with gentle violin, clarinet, and tismbl developing the klezmer melodies as chamber melodies of an earlier era. There is intriguing self-referentialism, of course, in that this is not klezmer as it was, but rather a new adaptation of klezmer in the spirit of the songs that would have been played to wealthier clients hundreds of years ago—as modern return to traditions that are long lost, but here, recreated in a modern context, resulting in something far more true to pre-North American klezmer in sound and spirit than one usually hears.

The two suites that form the main body of the CD are tremendous fun. The Moscowitz Suite does, in fact, provide a lively excusion through the music of legendary klezmer tsimbalist Joseph Moskowitz. The Musiker Medley, pulling in material from the last great klezmer album produced before the klezmer revival is an intriguingly good take on what we know recognize as an incredible fusion of klezmer and jazz and americanisms. The album closes with a lovely original composition by Eric Stein, and a delightfully energetic, very traditional rendition of Brandwein's "der Heisser", here called more generically, "Tatar Tants". It is a great closing to a very wonderful album.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 9/12/04

Personnel this recording:

Rona Goldensher: violin
Jonno Lightstone: clarinet
Eric Stein: cimbalom, piano, mandocello


  1. Skotshne (trad., after A.E. Makhonevetski via M. Beregovski) 3:37
  2. Naftule's Terkisher (trad., after Naftule Brandwein) 3:43
  3. Prince Carol Sirba (trad., after Joseph Moskowitz) 7:07
  4. Gas Nign (trad., after A.E. Makhonevetski via M. Beregovski) 4:31
  5. Moskowitz Suite

  6. Doina (trad., after Joseph Moskowitz) 3:33
  7. Hora (trad., after Joseph Moskowitz) 1:33
  8. Hora Batuta (trad., after Joseph Moskowitz) 2:04
  9. Forshpil (Hu Tsa Tsa) 1:01
  10. Oy Tate, s'iz Gut (trad., after Naftule Brandwein) 4:50
  11. Musiker Medley

  12. Di Naye Doina (Sam Musiker) 3:48
  13. Der Kholem Fun Yid (Sam Musiker) 2:19
  14. Sam Shpilt (Sam Musiker) 3:05
  15. Moses Nign (Eric Stein) 3:36
  16. Tatar Tants (trad., after Naftule Brandwein) 3:03

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