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24 October 2009


A short video from Watcha Clan's appearance last July in Los Angeles. They put on a great show!

20 October 2009

Review- Traktorist

Di Naye Kapelye

I’ve been listening to Traktorist from Di Naye Kapelye for quite a while now, and I’ve become quite a fan of the group. The album embodies all the best parts of what we think of as traditional Klezmer village (or shtetl) music. While the musicianship of the group is outstanding in its own right, the collaboration with the village band from Tjaciv lends a special quality that brings us right to the heart of the Hungarian Jewish musical tradition. This music grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very end.

The vocal selections immediately transport you to the local village hangout, and you feel as though you’re spending the evening with a group of really close friends, having a great time, just singing. Try listening to this album without trying to join in the fun. I bet you can’t do it.

The album features some unusual instruments. When was the last time you heard solos on the Caval and Cimpoi, as well as the Vioara Cu Goarna? Well, they are featured here, and give the album a little something extra that not only adds to the authenticity, but also introduces us to a new sound that is interesting and joyful in this age of electronic instrumentation. Listen to Pastekhl/Moldavian Caval and Hamanut from Dragomiresti to hear these instruments.

Uncle Arpi’s Nokh a Bisl is a Tsimbl (Cimbalom) feature, and shows what the instrument is capable of in the hands of a master. Sadegurer Hosid is another feature, one that may be familiar to many listeners.

Yankl Falk does a terrific job on both Clarinet and Vocals. Listen to his Hasisic-inspired vocal on Hoaderes and contrast that with some nimble Clarinet work on the opener Nit Bay Motyen and also on the lively tune Pirim.

The village band from Tjaciv lends a lively folk style to the album. There is nothing quite like the village sound this group puts out. These musicians have soul to spare and it shows through on this recording. The performance is completely genuine, with some wandering intonation. But this is a window into village life, and this is the gift they give to the listener, whether a serious student of Carpathian music or a casual listener. You cannot help but let yourself be transported to Tjaciv and see with your ears what life is like there. Listen to Baj Van Medley, Hutsul Medley, 7:40, and Chernobyl. I’ve heard 7:40 many times before, and even played it quite a bit myself, but it never sounded like this. See for yourself. Chernobyl has a Russian feel to it, and Falk is featured again on the Yiddish lyrics.

Michael Alpert is one of my favorite musicians on the planet, and makes a guest appearance here with DNK. Mashke is my favorite among his tracks. Trading verses with Falk, he blends well with the group. He has a story to tell, and he gets his point across, even if you don’t understand Yiddish.

Bob Cohen has a wonderful way of interpreting this material on Violin. Listen to his emotional intro to Moldvai Zhok. When he’s not soloing he blends with the rhythm instruments to give us that village vibe that makes this album so memorable.

As an extra surprise we get to hear Josh Dolgin on two tracks, playing Accordion and Piano. It’s rare to hear him play the traditional folk style, but he is a serious musician and he brings his love and dedication to the art to DNK and does an admirable job.

The recording quality is very good and the album sounds great on computer speakers and earbuds, but really opens up when I listened on my home theater system. There is a nice balance between the instruments and vocals and the mix sounds very even throughout. I couldn’t find any engineering/mixing/mastering credits for the album, except that it was produced by Yankl Falk. But I have an idea that Bob Cohen had a hand in the recording process.

The 20-page CD booklet is quite good. It contains information about each track, some very good quality photos of the band, tracks, personnel, and some additional info.

I like the fact that DNK takes such care to find the music, bands like Tjaciv, and then pulls off an album of village music like this. They’ve been at it for a long time, and they are true masters. Listen for yourself and see if you don’t agree that DNK is one of the best bands around.

Di Naye Kapelye
Oriente Musik RIEN CD 69

1. Nit Bay Motyen (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 3:12
2. Traktorist (Trad./lyrics by Emil Saculets, arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:07 

3. Pastekh / Moldavian Caval (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 5:55

4. Schwartz's Sirba / A Briv Fun Yisroel (Trad./lyrics by I.Schwartzmann, arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:53

5. Baj Van Medley (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:51
Az Nisht Keyn Emine (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 4:58

7. Hamanul from Dragomiresti (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:22

8. Uncle Arpi's Nokh a Bisl (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 1:49

9. HoAderes (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 3:05

10. Sadegurer Hosid (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 1:41

11. Hutsul Medley (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 3:51

12. Mashke (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 5:47
Pirim (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:50
Moldvai Zhok (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 2:38

15. “7:40” (Trad. arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 4:02
Chernobyl (Trad./lyrics by Michael Alpert, arr. Cohen/ Técsö) 3:29

total time 53:30

Di Naye Kapelye:

Bob Cohen – violin, vocals, koboz, Carpathian drum, vioara cu goarna (Stroh fiddle), cimpoi (Moldavian bagpipe) 

Yankl Falk – vocals, clarinet

Antal (Puma) Fekete – kontra, Carpathian drum

Gyula (Kosztya) Kozma – bass 

Ferenc Pribojszki – cimbalom, caval, Carpathian drum

Special guests:

Michael Alpert (vocals, violin, percussion) – 3, 4, 6, 12

Aron Cohen (vocals) – 6

Josh Dolgin (accordion, piano) – 4, 10

The village band from Tjaciv (Técsö), Carpatho-Ukraine – 5, 11, 15, 16:
Joska Csernavec (bayan accordion),
Misu Csernavec (tsymbaly),
Jura Csernavec (drum, plonka, voice),
Ivan Popovics (violin)

Tom Popper and Imre “Kutyuli” Keszthelyi (chorus vocals)

Di Naye Kapelye
Oriente Misik

18 October 2009

Klezmer Podcast 58- Klezfactor

Klezmer Podcast 58- Klezfactor. My interview guest this week is Mike Anklewicz from the band Klezfactor, based in Toronto, Canada. The band's latest album is Klezmachine. Anklewicz talks about recording the album, his recent experiences at Weimar and KlezKanada, his work with the band Zebrina, and his future plans.
Run time: 25:55.

Klezmer Podcast 57- The Sway Machinery

Klezmer Podcast 57- The Sway Machinery. There is so much music going on this week, including a concert by my own band, South Coast Simcha Band, on Oct. 11 in Bellflower, California. My interview guest is Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery, a band that combines traditional Chazzanut with the powerful sound of a Rock/Blues horn section. We hear Anim Zemiros, a track from the album Hidden Melodies Revealed by The Sway Machinery.
Run time: 17:48.