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01 October 2011

Review: London Klezmer Quartet

London Klezmer Quartet have released their self-titled debut album, and if you are a fan of small group, authentic Klezmer, this album fits the bill perfectly. The group has a wonderful acoustic sound, without anything getting in the way of the purity of the music. The arrangements are spot on, and the balance is just right. Whether it be a delicate doina or hora, a bouncing sher, or a blazing freylekhs, LKQ gives a masterful performance, full of exuberance and artistry.

LKQ pays homage to some of the Klezmer greats. A pair of Dave Tarras tunes, Galatas and Bosporus feature Susi Evans on Clarinet. She is very impressive, and plays with great heart, particularly on the latter tune.

Naftule Brandwein’s Firn Di Mekhutonim Aheym is here, too, and the band does a beautiful version of it.

And Sid Beckerman’s Tants a Freylekhs is the centerpiece of a medley along with Doyne and the fast-paced Galitsianer Tensl.

Band member Carol Isaacs’ Camden Patsh is a refreshing take on the traditional Clapping Dance, common Klezmer music. It is named after a neighborhood in London.

Band members Ilana Cravitz and Susi Evans teamed up to write Starlight Hora, a tune that came to them while riding the Coast Starlight train in California.

The final tune, Nakhes Fun Kinder (reprise) is a more open and delicate version the we hear earlier on the album. Carol Isaacs switches to Piano, which is a perfect match for the more subdued and emotional feel of Clarinet and Cello. This track is my favorite on the album.

The audio quality on the recording is outstanding, thanks to engineer Jeremy Cox. The instruments are all clear, and the balance is just right.

LKQ is off to a great start with this album. I will be keeping it in my regular listening rotation for quite some time. I can recommend LKQ highly to both those just starting to build their Klezmer library, as well as those fans looking for a truly authentic sound amongst all the amped-up Klezmer that is being produced these days. Keep up the great work, ladies.

Ilana Cravitz- Violin
Susi Evans- Clarinet
Carol Isaacs- Accordion and Piano
Francesca Ter-Berg- Cello

 Track List:  
 1.   Galatas
 2.   Patsh (clapping) dances
 3.   A Gute Nakht (good night)
 4.   Ukrainian Sherele
 5.   Firn di Mekhutonim Aheym (taking the in-laws home) ~
       Tsum Badekns
 6.   Sher
 7.   Doyne  ~ Tants a Freylekhs ~ Galitsianer Tensl
 8.   Bosporus
 9.   Starlight Hora  ~ Lekhayim  ~ Russian Dance
10. Nakhes fun Kinder ~ Manchester Mekhutonim  ~
      Tants far Ale Mekhutonim
11. Wedding Hora
12. Nakhes fun Kinder (reprise)

 Total Time: 43:57

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