Mamaliga / Dos Gildn Bletl

a papercut with nicely cut oysyos, of course!

Mamaliga / Dos Gildn Bletl, 2021

CDs, MP3s available available from Bandcamp.

The young musicians of Brooklyn/Boston-based Mamaliga follow a long Boston tradition of creating contemporary, yet traditional klezmer. Now that they have their first full-length recording out—also their first as a quartet, the pleasure can be shared even among those who have missed them (so far) at KlezKanada, New York Yiddish Festival, Ashkenaz, and other finer venues. Despite feeling contemporary, make no mistake, this is a recording of traditional klezmer. The album's opening "Oy Mamalige!" is, in fact, a tribute to many familiar klezmer tunes. The heart of the album is their original compositions, deeply grounded in traditional repertoire, but also just a bit different. As I am fond of writing when it occurs, this is klezmer that belongs to this time and place, which brings klezmer to this time and place.

By the second tune on the album, "Kinigl," I am also reminded how much these new tunes are still in dialogue with Eastern European music traditions. Two of the band members have, in fact, spent considerable time doing field research in Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere in the Balkans. I also love the twists and turns where the band does the unexpected, without ever losing the dance beat—the whimsy of the fiddle parts as they entwine on "Rafele's Bulgar," the percussive cello on the title track, or the unexpected twists and turns of the accordion midway into "Der Popugay," for instance, all of which mark a fresh approach to very new and very traditional music, while still fitting traditional dance styles.

This recording is easily my favorite klezmer from Ashkenaz this year, so far. Don't hesitate to get your own copy from Bandcamp, and to gift your friends their own copies, as well.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 4 September 2022.

Personnel this recording:
Rebecca Mac: violin
Rachel Leader: violin
Raffi Boden: cello
Mattias Kaufmann: accordion

Song Titles

  1. Oy Mamelige! 3:08
  2. Kinigl 3:17
  3. Pearl's Ascent 6:14
  4. Beryoze Khosidl 3:16
  5. Der Popugay 4:48
  6. Rafele's Bulgar 3:46
  7. Dos Gildn Bletl—The golden leaf 5:45
  8. Fintster un Farshtoybt 2:47
  9. Mitvoyner Zhok 4:07

All songs by Mamaliga. All rights reserved.

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