Shtreiml / Fenci's Blues

decent typography for a klezmer band featuring oud

Shtreiml /
Fenci's Blues, 2006

CD/MP3s available via

It opens with a conventional series of blues hooks, which except for the fact that this is a klezmer album, makes perfect sense. Next thing you know, Mr. Fencioglu is wailing away in Turkish. Shades of 3 Moustaphas 3! This third outing by KlezKanada graduates (and Montrealer friends) is what happens when you let kids grow up with lots of good music and then listen to hear what they do with it. As a klezmer band, Shtreiml is one of the best to which I have celebrated simkhes. As a klezmer jam band, they are without peers. But here, on "Fenci's Blues," they provide a scintillating mix of traditional klezmer and Turkish music, intertwined, with everything else good in reach. The result is one of the best and most danceable 2nd generation klezmer revival recordings ever. This recording, in fact, is one excellent reason klezmer had to be revived: so that a new generation could weave exciting new music.

I have always been a fan of Jason Rosenblatt's klezmer harmonica (!!!) and keyboards. Rachel Lemisch's trombone is without peer, as befits a 3rd? more? generation klezmer. Thierry Arsenault is the rare drummer who "get's it," something I credit to a childhood misspent listening to Prog Rock and other music with varying rhythm schemes. What is especially exciting isn't the fresh klezmer. It's the idea of a klezmer band playing popular and traditional Turkish music. "Bu Duzen" is exceptional. Listen to Arsenault's impeccable percussion behind Fencioglu's intricate fingering on the long intro to "Nikriz Longa." Rosenblatt's long harmonica solos on "Hicaz Mandra" sparkle.

The same intricacy also applies to more traditional Jewish music. Listen to the interplay between oud and harmonica on a remake of Rosenblatt's signature "Rachel's Bulgar," the intertwining and frenetic pace of "Howard's Sirbisch," or the quiet oud on "Shabbat Hayom L'Hashem." I am especially taken by the presence of two songs by Udi Ibrahim Efendi (1879–1948). Born in Aleppo, eventually settling in Istanbul, he is considered one of the greatest of the Ottoman classical oud players, and was very influential on Turkish Jewish liturgical music, Maftirim. Here, the band shares recordings of two of his synagogue settings, "Semalarden Gunes Hala Inmiyor" and "Seni Herdem Aniyorum." In a profound way, these are also the link between Turkish and Eastern European musics mixing. Klezmer, after all, is a Jewish take on Ottoman music spilling into Jewish communities formerly part of that empire.

Intrigued? You should be. Musically excited? You should be. You can get your own copy, as well as copies for your friends via iTunes or

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 12 Oct 2014.

Personnel this recording:
Thierry Arsenault: drums, percussion
Ismail Hakki Fencioglu: oud, vocals
Adam Stotland: bass
Rachel Lemisch: trombone
Jason Rosenblatt: Harmonica, piano, e-piano, organ

Song Titles

  1. Fenci's Blues (I. J. Rosenblatt) 2:39
  2. Beyoglunda Gezersin (trad., arr. Shtreiml) 2:23
  3. Roman Dunya (I. H. Fencioglu) 4:19
  4. Bu Duzen (music: I. H. Fencioglu; words: O. Veli) 3:29
  5. Nikriz Longa (Cemil Bey, arr. I. H. Fencioglu) 3:51
  6. Hicaz Mandra (trad., arr. Shtreiml) 2:36
  7. Semalarden Gunes Hala Inmiyor (Udi Ibrahim Efendi) 4:04
  8. Howard's Sirbisch (I. J. Rosenblatt) 3:36
  9. Nihavend Longa (trad., arr. Shtreiml) 5:52
  10. Seni Herdem Aniyorum (Udi Ibrahim Efendi) 2:41
  11. Chassidl Medley (trad., arr. Shtreiml) 6:04
  12. Shabbat Hayom L'Hashem (trad., arr. I. J. Rosenblatt) 6:10
  13. Rachel's Bulgar (I. J. Rosenblatt) 3:00
  14. Erkilet Guzeli (trad., arr. Shtreiml) 7:13

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