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USA Yale Strom: Klezmer - Cafe Jew Zoo


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My desire to explore the evolution of different sounds ofNew Jewish Music (under the heading of klezmer) was the initial inspiration forthis CD.  The range of musicemanates from the DNA of klezmer, which is the melismatic prayer modalitieschanted by the ancient Hebrews of the Middle East.  We klezmorim today often overlook that Abraham came from Urin Iraq, and not Uman in Ukraine. Thus, in tunes like \Bonesetter's Last Dance," "Dorohoi Khusidl," "HoraDin Caval," and "Shakiris," the Middle Eastern tonalities can be easily heard.  That said, I also want to trace how Jewish music (bothinstrumental and vocal) has developed over the centuries.  Having firmly established the music'sroots, I wanted to explore the limitless possibilities of the music's potential.  Of the vocal pieces, I wanted tochallenge myself to write new Yiddish poetry set to music.  In the tradition of many Yiddish poetsand writers, I wanted these lyrics to reflect my own sense of social,political, and spiritual values and concerns.  This tradition of framing art within a human andhumanitarian context feels particularly Jewish to me.  The positive aspects of the proliferation of Jewish art arebalanced by the fact that there is not an equal proliferation of Jews; thisfact, coupled with the world's negative feelings about the state of Israel andthe continuance of the same old tired anti-Semitic canards, leavens my joy atklezmer being performed all over the world.  The Jewish people have been marginalized throughout history,and despite the popularity of Jewish art forms (films, music, literature,etc.), this has not changed.  Asthe world's Jewish population fails to grow in proportion to other ethnicgroups, the variety of Jews and Jewish cultures in the world is in danger ofbecoming increasingly rare.  Hencethe CD's title - Cafe Jew Zoo - these tunes represent different "species," or aspects of the Jewish experience.- Yale StromMein bager oystsuforshen di antviklung fun farsheydeneklangen fun Der Neier Yiddisher Musik (unter dem rubrik klezmer) iz geven diershte inspiratsye far dem kompaktl. Der greykh fun der musik fliest fun dem klezmer kval, dos zenen direikhe tfiles un nigunim gezungen fun di amolike Ivriim.  Mir, heintike klezmorim, fargessen oftaz Avrom iz gekumen fun Ur in Iraq un nit Uman in Ukrayne.  Heyst ess, az in melodyes vi"Bonesetter's Last Dance," "Dorohol Khusidl," "Hora Din Caval," un "Shakiris,"ken men leikht hern di tener fun mitl mizrekh.  Ikh vil oykh ontseykhenen vi Yiddishe musik (instrumental unmit gezang) hot zikh antvikelt durkh di doyres.  Hobndik eingeshtelt di vortslen, hob ikh gevolt oysforshn diumbagrenetste potentsialen fun der musik. Far di lieder mit gezang hob ikh gevolt fodern fun zikh, aleyn tsushreiben neieh Yiddishe poezye tsu der musik.  In der traditsye fun a sakh Yiddixhe poetn un shreiber, hobikh gevolt az di verter zoln ibbergebn mein eygenem gefiel vegn sotsiale,politishe, un geistike asokim.  Ditraditsye fun einramen kunst in a menchlikhen un humanitarishen kontekst tapton mein Yiddshkeit.Di positive protim fun der tseshpreytung fun Yiddisher kunstzenen balansirt mit dem vos ess iz nito di zelbe farshpreytung fun Yidn; derfakt, tsuzmen mit der velt's negative gefielen vegn Yisroel, un di keseyderdikealte antisemitishe guzmes, derminert mein simkhe vos klezmer musik vert heingeshpielt ibber der gantser velt. Far dor-doyres hut men bagrenetst dos Yiddishe folk, un trots derpopulerkeit fun Yiddisher kunst (kino, musik, literatur), hut zikh dos nitgeendert. In der tseit, ven di Yiddishe bafelkerung vakst nit proportsyonel tsuandere etnishe grupes, iz di farsheydnkeit fun Yiddisher kultur ingefar...Deribber - der nomen fun dem kompaktl - di lieder shteln forfarsheydene protim fun Yiddishe lebns derfarungen.- Yale StromBirobidzhanI discovered this melody in a Yiddish book given to me byFira Kofman, who moved to Birobidzhan (The Jewish Autonomous Region) from Minskin 1934.  Fira is a true idealistto this day, and was one of the major city planners and builders ofBirobidzhan.  I had gone toBirobidzhan to make a documentary film about the history and present times ofthis fascinating chapter in Jewish - and Soviet - history.  That film, "L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!"features two of my original compositions from this CD: "Waltz Amur" and"L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!" as well as this song. The lyrics are typical of thepropaganda fostered by the Soviet government to encourage settlement (and fundsfrom individuals and organizations like IKOR) to the region.  Birobidhzan was the world's firstsecular, Yiddish, communist homeland for the Jews, and predated the establishment of Israel by 20 years.Hora din CavalI was inspired to write this melody during my travelsthrough Northern Romania.  I hearda shepherd playing the caval (a Romanian wooden flute), and the title of this piecetranslates to English as "Hora (Romanian dance) for the caval."  The piece combines Romanian folk withklezmer styles.  I wrote this forFred Benedetti, with whom I've been playing for almost 30 years.  He arranged this for classical guitar.The Bonesetter's Last DanceThis melody is based on the melody that I wrote for "Yekelethe Bonesetter."  I was interestedin exploring the Ottoman influence on Romanian klezmer music, and this piece isin a less typical 9/8 (2-3-2-2) than one more often hears in Balkan music(2-2-2-3).  This 9/8 rhythm isknown as karshlama in Turkish, which means "Face to Face."  The rhythm heard here is common to thefolk music of Albania, Macedonia and Northern Greece.  The piece opens with a taksim.Stoliner Skotshne #1Stolin, a Khasidic stronghold, is a small town just outsideof Pinsk, Belarus.  Thistraditional Khasidic melody comes from the repertoire of the StolinerKhasidim.  I met Asher Wainshteynin Boro Park, Brooklyn in 1982.  Hewas a violinist in a klezmer band that also included a bassist, a tsimbalist, atrumpeter and a Belarussian drummer (the band's only non-Jew).  They performed throughout the Pinskregion from 1906 to 1919 for Jews and non-Jews alike.  Wainshteyn immigrated to New York after World War II.  This melody is one of 94 tunes thatcomprise Wainshteyn's manuscript, which was, in essence, their "gig book."  Because of my Stoliner roots and mykeen interest in klezmer, he gave me the only copy outside the one in theStoliner archives.Imenu MalkatseynuI had been thinking of writing an original prayer melody forthe High Holidays.  When I toldElizabeth Schwartz of my intentions, and that I was contemplating writing aprayer that incorporated the words from the well-known Avinu Malkeynu (OurFather, Our King), she replied, "If you want me to sing it, make it ImenuMalkatseynu (Our Mother, Our Queen)." The time from Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur is one ofreflection, and I wanted to write something that conveyed my feelings ofatonement for how we have completely disrespected and disregarded MotherNature.  The repetition of ImenuMalkatseynu is a mantra to reach a kind of dveykes, which is a concept amongJews that, through repetition, one's prayers become a vehicle to religiousecstasy and adhesion to Heaven. The harmonies for the vocals are inspired by Gregorian chants. Theobvious Brazilian feel of the piece refers to the destruction of the AmazonRainforest...not coincidentally, the Amazons were female warriors in Greekmythology and the arrangement is for a chorus of female voices.Dorohoi KhusidlThis piece was inspired by Berko Gott, a klezmer born inDorohoi, Romania.  I got to knowhim during my various travels to Dorohoi throughout the 1980s.  He was the leader of a kapelye (klezmerband) that traveled throughout the province of Moldavia, and played accordionand violin.  He once serenaded mewith 8
Facts
Item number 76026-2
Barcode 636943702628
Release date 01/07/2003
Category World
Label Naxos World
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Andy Statman
Elizabeth Schwartz
Fred Benedetti
Yale Strom
Composers Traditional
Yale Strom
Z. Kompanayetz
Orchestras Hot Pstromi and Klazzj
Producers Yale Strom
Disc: 1
Ten Plagues
1 Birobidzhan
2 Hora Din Caval
3 The Bonesetter's Last Dance
4 Stoliner Skotshne #1
5 Imenu Malketseynu
6 Dorohoi Khusidl
7 Cafe Jew Zoo
8 Shakhres
9 Yekele The Bonesetter
10 Stoliner Skotshne #2
11 L'Chayim Comrade Stalin!
12 Waltz Amur
13 Ten Plagues
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