Yiddish Art Trio
Yiddish Art Trio, 2014
Disk/download available from yiddisharttrio.bandcamp.com
I did not realize that I have never reviewed this recording for the KlezmerShack. Certainly, I have been talking it up for over two years among friends as a striking example of the new directions in which the kids of the klezmer revivalists are taking the music. The members of the Yiddish Art Trio grew up in the KlezKamps and KlezKanadas and other gatherings of the Klezmer Revival. To them, Yiddish folksong and klezmer were part of the musical world, just as jazz, or modern classical, or hiphop are part of the world. And when they make music, it sounds new—of this time. It is Jewish music of the 21st century more than it is Jewish music revived from the 19th.
What hasn't changed from the revivalists is an ear for the sensual poetry of the Celia Dropkin and Rukhl Fishman in "Aza freyd" (such joy). Music by Patrick Farrell:
Not to touch with the tongue.
Not with fingers to taste
Not to hide with a shirt,
Not with breath to quiet
Equally notable is the new, intricate music composed by accordionist Patrick Farrell. Traditional-sounding pieces like his paired "Kale Bazetsn" followed by a "Sher" sound familiar, but reveal a depth that rewards close, frequent listening.
Unlike many more recent recordings that take archival materials are reproduce them, or integrate them into modern sounds, the Yiddish Art Trio defies time and treats the traditional Eastern Europe sound and singing traditions and mixes them with 21st century music (which, in their hands, sounds familiar, but moreso, to the older music—as though the tunes and playing have been evolving, uninterrupted, for a century or few).
I would be remiss if I didn't highlight Benjy Fox-Rosen's voice and ability to set poems worth feeling to music worth hearing. I've mentioned the versatile Patrick Farrell on accordion, already. New Orleans' loss has been NYC's tremendous gain. And finally, contributing his own new melodies and arrangements, I have to credit master clarinetist Michael Winograd. Take a listen to the not-so-familiar intro to his simple-sounding "Zhok's on Me." Don't just listen to his parts—enjoy how the three musicians weave back and forth in perfect understanding. Then listen to the wall of dread that drives "Guilt," then to the joyous rendition of "Di rebitsin," with which the album ends. A mekhaye!
This is the current "band to hear." If you don't get a chance to hear them at a club near you, this recording is the next best thing, and an extraordinarily rewarding thing, at that. Enjoy.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 30 August 2016.
Personnel this recording:
Patrick Farrell: accordion
Benjy Fox-Rosen: bass and vocals
Michael Winograd: clarinet
- Baym yam baynakht (text: Celia Dropkin; music: Fox-Rosen) 3:55
- Kale bazetsn (Farrell) 1:52
- Sher (Farrell) 1:52
- Eybik (text: H. Leyvik; music: Shalom Secunda; arr. Winograd) 4:24
- Zhok's on me (Winograd) 3:53
- Guilt (Winograd) 4:28
- Ven du host shtil (text: Celia Dropkin; music: Fox-Rosen) 3:24
- Seven months away from home—Waltz (Farrell) 1:47
- Seven months away from home—Terkisher (Farrell) 2:03
- Seven months away from home—Freylakh (Farrell) 2:02
- Aza freyd (text: Rukhl Fishman; music: Farrell) 6:00
- Shema Yisroel (music: Glantz; arr. Winograd) 4:34
- Di rebitsin (Adolf King; arr. Yiddish art Trio) 3:28