Shtreiml / Eastern Hora

very beautiful Hebrew Torah calligraphy

Shtreiml /
Eastern Hora, 2014

CD/MP3s available via

When you need a pick-me-up, sometimes nothing but a festive Shtreiml will do. On their latest outing, Eastern Hora, the band continues its celebration with Turkish musician Ismail Fencioglu, blending klezmer seamlessly with Turkish music and coming up with a result that makes the klezmer sound fresh, with energy and life. The result is something not just Jewish or Turkish, but also, as in the case of "A Saturday Evening Blues," as Jason's plaintive harmonica melds with Ismail's soulful oud and with the band, the result is something unique.

What is surprising to me is that fewer klezmer bands have made the Turkish connection. After all, klezmer itself grew up in the borderlands between the Ottomans and Europe. To take a full-on North American klezmer sound, with Thierry Arsenault's progressive drumming, Jason Rosenblatt's harmonica and keyboards, nth-generation Philly klezmer Rachel Lemisch's trombone (take a good listen to her riffs on "Rayrus Spielt" and throughout the CD), and the dance-friendly bass-lines of Joel Kerr, and then re-merge it with Fenicoglu's fluent oud and you have a match made in heaven. From the opening, full-steam "Grand Theft Stutinki" and onward into "Chassidl pour les batards" on through the closing, gentle "Lullaby for Halleli" the band is a cure for a world in need of healing dance and soothing music. It is not only clear why this is one of the best wedding bands around, but, here, in concert mode, we get the band exploring a broader dimension of joy and music than would normally come through at a simkhe, with the bonus lightning oud strikes.

Like 2006's "Fenci's Blues," this CD exemplifies what is most exciting about modern klezmer. The playing of traditional music is fluid and celebratory, but the renewal that comes from the encounter with new Turkish music creates a magic that will please not only klezmer fanatics, but fans of Turkish music as well. You can get your own copy, as well as copies for your friends via iTunes or

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 1 Sep 2014, from the Ashkenaz Festival where Shtreiml are featured performers.

Personnel this recording:
Thierry Arsenault: drums
Ismail Fencioglu: oud
Joel Kerr: bass
Rachel Lemisch: trombone
Jason Rosenblatt: Harmonica, keyboards

Avi Fox-Rosen: guitar (2, 8)
Craig Pedersen: trumpet (8, 11)
Tevet Sela: sax (8, 11)
Adam Stotland: guitar (11)
Ziya Tabassian: percussion (4)

Song Titles

  1. Grand Theft Stutinki (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 2:48
  2. Chassidl Pour Les Bâtards (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 5:09
  3. Çiftetelli (Ismail Hakki Fencioglu) 5:32
  4. Abou Khalil's (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 4:01
  5. Rayrus Spielt (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 4:34
  6. A Saturday Evening Blues (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 3:42
  7. The Old Mill (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 2:30
  8. Eastern Hora (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 3:57
  9. Waltz Azoi (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 5:03
  10. Lullaby for Halleli (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 2:51
  11. After Party Freilach (Israel Jason Rosenblatt) 4:56

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