Christian Dawid / Christian plays Jewish

I get the joke, but still one of the ugliest covers ever displayed on the KlezmerShack

Christian Dawid / Christian plays Jewish, 2021

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As an American, unless you are an attendant at klezmer gatherings such as KlezKamp, Klezcanada, or Yiddish New York, you may be entirely deprived of the music of German klezmer and teacher Christian Dawid. That would be too bad. He has been a driving force on the Klezmer scene almost from the beginning of the revival, and like many klezmorim, he has also been a vital part of the folk dance music scene in general, in bands ranging from Sukke, to Konsonans Retro, to tours and recordings with equally vital members of the revival from Arkady Gendler to Michael Winograd, Dan Kahn and Ben Caplan.

I presume that the idea for a solo CD with him playing all of the instruments is a result of the covid-19 pandemic lockdown. I miss the usual interplay between him and friends. But, I'm not complaining. Any new Christian Dawid recording is fun and an excuse for celebration.

My favorite tunes, however, are those that focus on clarinet, such as "Zay genunt" or "Tsu der khupe" (although even in this case, he manages to pull in all the brass as the song builds). It's an enticing tour through traditional klezmer repertoire, with just a few detours to remind us of the wider traditions into which all of this fits. The closing pair of the brassy "Dabke" and then sparse clarinets on the final "Volekh" are a perfect summary of what has come before. I need this pandemic to end so that I can see Christian play Jewish, or whatever he chooses, live, near me, again (Note: I have traveled considerable distances to see him play—one of my favorite memories being him and Michael Alpert providing the musical accompaniment to a production of Sholem Asch's "God of Vengeance," in New Haven, CT. This recording means that you don't have to go quite so far to experience his very, very Jewish klezmer.)

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 1 January 2022.

Personnel this recording:
Christian Dawid: reeds, brass, percussion

Song Titles

  1. Hora 2:44
  2. Freylekh Bulgarish 3:13 Tsu der khupe 4:20 Zay gezunt 4:07 Honga Plyeskun 2:44 Nero di seppia 3:28 Nign 2:29 Grikhish Terkish 2:56 Dabke 3:32 Volekh 1:51

All songs by Christian Dawid—loose takes on traditional folk genres, klezmer and related. All acoustic, from the boisterous brass band to the dulcet clarinet quartet.

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