Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Klezmer a la Russe: Jewish Music From Eastern Europe
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
Rather more Russian/Yiddish than klezmer
David Turns | Liverpool, UK | 02/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Ho-hum. "Klezmer a la russe", says the subtitle on the cover. This is an entertaining and enjoyable album. It consists of high-spirited songs played mostly at breakneck tempo, which makes it exhilarating and exhausting in almost equal measure. Overall I enjoyed listening to it, and would recommend it......with the proviso that it isn't really klezmer to any great extent. Some tracks certainly are klezmer tunes (the Sher, for example), but most of them are actually Yiddish songs, which is an entirely different genre to klezmer. One of the differences should be immediately apparent: klezmer music is overwhelmingly instrumental. The few vocal pieces are usually solos with a defined ritual element (e.g. songs to accompany certain stages of the traditional East European Jewish wedding repertory), not songs with instrumental accompaniment.And another thing: the instrumentation sounds very odd. The reason is that it consists of an ensemble of violin, balalaikas (including a bass balalaika) and - wait for it - GUITAR! I'm sorry, but this is not a klezmer ensemble (the authentic instrumentation should consist of violins, double bass, tsimbl and accordion or clarinet).On balance, this album is a strange mixture. The Kazbek Ensemble (an oddly chosen name since Mount Kazbek is in Georgia, not Russia) seem to be trying to produce Jewish music, with some stylistic uncertainty between Yiddish song and klezmer, with a Russian folk ensemble. 3 stars for the enthusiasm of the performers (and even then, their insistent folksiness comes dangerously close to kitsch at times) and the entertainment value of the result, but zero for authenticity."