Moni Ovadia / Theaterorchestra

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For info:

Edizioni Ishtar snc
Via Mecenate 84, 20138 Milano, ITALY
Tel: 02.506 3395 / Fax: 02.554 001 20

Album cover: b/w Ovadia holds head in pain.

Moni Ovadia

Radio Popolare -- Sensible Records, 1995
Edizioni Ishtar snc
Via Mecenate 84, 20138 Milano, ITALY
Tel: 02.506 3395 / Fax: 02.554 001 20

I'm going to have trouble with this one. In terms of what I am used to hearing, Ovadia's vocals are incredibly overdone. He applies a hoarse, intense, cantorial voice to those songs where there are vocals. Sometimes, as in the tragic "Es brent," that's the way to go, and even "Shnirele perele" isn't too bad until he tries to hit the high notes and turns the intensity to satire. (This is especially painful when you have recently heard Loren Sklamberg, of the Klezmatics, sing this.) But to hear a similar treatment for the gentle children's song, "Oy Avraham," or worse, a depressing "Zogt nit kain mol," without the triumph that the song demands, is just no good. It's too much. I get a headache after a while from all of the emoting.

I don't know how this fits into an Italian context, though. By me it feels like shlock. An overwrought review of "the music we used to sing." The band, itself, is quite good--at times reminding me of the instrumental ability of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, the only touring klez band with such a large cast of which I am aware. And every so often, as in "Long live nigun" there are touches of Italian accordion that give the some added grace. But it just isn't enough. Even on songs where Ovadia seems to have grasped the concept (his attempts to give live to "Di grine kuzine" come to mind) this just isn't my idea of klez, and the album-closing "Ale brider" is the only recording of this song (that I've heard) to date that I actively dislike. (Heaven help us, of course, if Tzimmes had recorded it--we'd have awful fiddle on top of everything, but that's another story.)

Still, as I note, the musicianship on the album is quite good, and I don't know of any other Italian musicians doing Jewish folk or klezmer, so you may enjoy checking out the recording just for those.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 3/17/96

From: Lorenzo M. Catucci
Date: Thu, 7 May 1998

This is just a small note on your page about M. Ovadia's recordings. From the song list, I think I can understand that the album you talk about is the one containing the songs from Mr. Ovadia's Dibbuk play, which is based on the Dibbuk play, and I. Katsenelson's Song. I think this is the reason the extrapolated sung part seems this bad to you, but I dare advice you try and find a VHS of the whole performance, which is really something you have to see (IM Humble O!!!) and which lets you understand the reason of that much overtune you feel. If you can, you should listen later theater-orchestra stuff too, since their new singer's voice deserves much admiration, even though someone could find it too `technical' from Ms. Lee Colbert classic/contemporary music background.


BTW Maybe I'm really hearing Kletzmer in a backwards fashion, since Mr. Ovadia has been the first kletzmer singer I've heard, and I've gone to Kletzmatic's concerts only later; I think you should try and find more about the Cohanim brothers `Kletzroym' too... Ms. Eva Cohen sings with a really beautiful (read it as opposed to nice!) voice.

Personnel, this recording

Moni Ovadia: voce
Carlo Boccadoro: percussioni
Ivan Calaminici: bombardino
Gianni Cannata: contrabasso
Amerigo Daveri: violoncello
Maurizio Dehò: violino
Cosimo Gallota: chitarra
Alexander Karlic: buzuki, percussioni
Alfredo Lacosegliaz: tamburica, percussioni
Gian Pietro Marazza: fisarmonica
Massimo Marcer: tromba
Patrick Novara: viola
Emilio Vallorani: flauti


  1. Es brent (Mr. Gebirtig, arr. M. Dehò) 8:31
  2. Der dorst / A glezel vain (A. lacosegliaz - Ed. Ishtar / trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 4:21
  3. Piskhù li (trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 5:47
  4. Di silberne khasene (trad. arr. g. P. Marazza) 4:25
  5. Oy Avraham (trad., arr. M. Dehò) 3:04
  6. Baym Rebns sude (trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 4:29
  7. Zogt nit kain mol (H. Glik - trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 4:44
  8. Di grine kuzine (trad., arr. M. Dehò) 2:21
  9. Long live nigun (trad., arr. G. P. Marazza) 4:53
  10. Shnirele perele (trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 6:24
  11. Cintek de dragoste / Hora lui Damian (trad. arr. G. P. Marazza) 5:56
  12. Tsen brider / Mir lebn eybik (trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 7:35
  13. Der Rebbe Elimeylekh (M. Nadir, arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 3:40
  14. Der hoyfzinger fun Varshever geto (R. Lifshuts - trad., arr. A. Lacosegliaz) 4:19
  15. Ale brider (M. Wischewsky - Piranha Musik) 1:57

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