Description: An Album of Yiddish folk songs and instrumental Frielachs by a rousing six piece Sydney based Gypsy orchestra.
Song list: Play a Song in Yiddish Deep as the night No Name Sirba One More Dance Abi Gezunt Di Grine Kusene Bent Bareh Czardas La Vie En Rose Nacht in Balmain
Fay Sussman, born in Wallenberg, Poland, sings the songs of her youth in her native Yiddish.
Zeppo Zimmerman, reed player, has been adapting the styles of the great Klezmer Clarinet players to the soprano Saxophone.
CD Review by Tony Smith
The Hebrew words, Kley (vessel) and zemer (song), combine to produce Klezmer.
The Klezmer Connexion offered ‘this selection of folk tunes to add to the vessel of the Klezmer tradition’.
Shpilzhe Mir A Lidele inYidish, 2006.
Fay Sussman has been described as ‘the Yiddish Piaf’.
A picture of Sussman aged eight makes a perfect cover photo.
Sussman was made a refugee from Waldenburg in Poland and her passion for the culture, unjustly denied her for so many years, is plain in her singing.
The injunction to ‘Play Me A Little Song in Yiddish’ (Heneck Ken and Josef Kotliar) is followed by soulful renditions of ‘Deep as The Night’ (Abe Ellstein and Eva Franklin), ‘One More Dance’ (Charyim Towber), ‘Abi Gezunt’ (Abe Ellstein and Molly Picon) and ‘Di Grine Kuzine’ (Abe Schwatrz and H. Prizant).
‘Czardas’ (Monti) is a typical Hungarian gypsy whirl with a slow start and fast finish.
‘No Name Sirba’ (Dave Tarris) is a Romanian line dance in which participants place their hands on the shoulders of those near and move sideways.
While most of the tunes seem to be identifiably East European, a couple show more Middle Eastern influence.
‘Tantz Tantz’ (Abe Schwartz) has the rhythms of a belly dance and ‘Bent Bareh’ (Cheb Mami) is from Algeria.
‘La Vie en Rose’ (Louis Gugliemi, Edith Piaf and Mack Davis) shows why Sussman has legitimate claim to be known as the Yiddish Piaf.
A nice Sydney touch is found in the final track, ‘Nakht in Balmain’ by Raoul Hawkins, who also produced the album.
Klezmer Connexion consisted of Alex Compton, bass, Philippe Wittwer, accordion, Kees Steen, guitar, Scott Kociuruba, drums, Zeppo Zimmerman, saxophone and Fay Sussman, vocals.
While it seems unusual that a Klezmer ensemble does not include a fiddler, the balance of instruments works well.
It is not clear whether the group remains active in Sydney but if it is not, then this is a loss not only for Bar Mitzvah and other Jewish occasions, but also for multicultural music in general.
As with our Indigenous peoples, the very survival of Jewish people in the face of genocide is something we should treasure and we should be grateful for the reminders of ancient civilisations.
I was busking one Christmas and wished a donor a Happy Christmas but he corrected me saying that he celebrated Hanukkah.
I was glad to be reminded of the assumption in my carols!
Fay Sussman has more recently led the female group, ‘The Klezmer Divas’, who continue to use music as a means of pursuing peace.
We need more Klezmer.