Review by Hugh Worrall
Infectious East European Jewish music with Gypsy, Middle Eastern and Jazz Influences.
Klezmeritis are: Ernie Gruner, violin, vocals; Phil Carroll, accordion, ney, zorna, keyboard, vocals; and, Ron Hansen, double bass.
This is a quality album by professional musicians and recorded professionally in a studio.
These musicians have all studied music, play professionally and Ernie has even travelled to the home of Klezmer music to study it in master classes.
His family has roots in those places.
Phil has played in bands in the Middle East where he also studied the ney (Arabic flute).
The CD cover has lots of interesting information about each of the tracks, where the music is from, he musical form and elements, about the musicians and about Klezmer as a type of music, although I did need a magnifying glass to read it!
The cover notes tell us that Klezmer is a form of music created prior to the 20th Century in Eastern Europe, mainly by Jewish people, and developed since then into a diversity of sounds, as Jewish people have moved around the world because of “travel, pogroms and holocaust”.
This is a type of folk music that is about and for ‘the folk’ of a particular place.
It definitely sits in the idea of ‘world music’.
The way Klezmer is played now, it’s not necessarily about all the ‘folk’ being able to play it.
It’s played by all sorts of musicians, not just Jewish people, and it’s a music that requires high levels of knowledge and skills for people to play, these days anyway.
As a non-aficionado of this genre of music, I recognise Klezmer music from the unusual Eastern European sounding dance beats and melodies on the violin, ney and accordion with the double bass providing the chord and rhythm foundations.
It’s a music that is saturated with emotion, both joy and pain, sometimes with melancholy and sometimes while getting you up and dancing.
Even the unusual rhythms in odd time signatures are strangely dance inducing.
Some of it has ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ qualities.
Sometimes we see Klezmer music being played by large groups of people and it can get pretty rowdy.
It’s interesting hearing it in this small group, much more intimate and detailed.
There’s 18 tracks, although some of them are very short at just over 1 minute.
I really like this album.
If you like world music as a genre, or Klezmer music in particular, you will probably like this.
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