Nussbaum, Smidl, Ourgaard / Trio Klezmer
Nussbaum, Smidl, Ourgaard
Kinky Klezmer Records, KKR 007, 2002
Channe Nussbaum had already achieved fame as a Danish pop star when she began exploring Jewish music with the Spielniks. Here she takes us on a quieter excursion, accompanied only by accordion and violin. The focus on this album is more intimate, less flashy, less sexual. And whether she is singing old standards such as "Shein vi di Levune" (how pretty is the moon) or that Olschanezky tearjerker, "Belz", or new compositions such as her own "Golda" or "Jidishe Neshume", the result is very, very satisfying.
As fun and over the top her Spielniks work is, here one really notices her lovely, smoky voice. The accompaniment by Ougaard and Smidl is absolutely perfect, and deservedly steps in front, as on the wild "Suite for violin" with bits of everything from klezmer to rom to hootenany. The result is remote from a reproduction of old repertoire, rather the transformation of the old into fresh Jewish folk music. The excited scat "lie lie lie"s that conclude "Majn Jingele", or her own "Shvindlers Polka" are passionate and excited--a perfect invitation to audience sing-along in a setting that feels entirely contemporary. But neither is that over-the-topness gone. "Bai mir bistu shein" resolves itself into hoarse shouting more reminiscent of Janis Joplin than the Andrews Sisters, and then returns to a sweet tunefulness entirely appropriate to the song and to the mood. Nussbaum is simply a master singer between both the rock/pop world, and singing a masterful Yiddish repertoire. One is tempted to suggest that she team up with Yiddish rocker Wolf Krakowski and see what they can do together.
After a wild instrumental ride, the album ends with a lovely Danish pop tune, "En dag er ikke levet uden kærlighed." The English summary of the lyrics reads a bit like a motto for Ms. Nussbaum: "conquer all the hearts you meet.... Let no one have you to themselves. Remember, you're too precious to be for only one person." There is no shortage of artists trying to make Yiddish song contemporary. What is extraordinary is that Nussbaum has succeeded, and suceeded so passionately and so well. I eagerly await her next recording and send her wishes that she tour outside Denmark. Until then, and beyond, this remains highly enjoyable and recommended.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 6/21/03
Personnel this recording:
Channe Nussbaum: lead vocals
Øyvind Ougaard: accordion
Mette Smidl: violin
- Beltz (Alexander Olschanezky/Jacob Jacobs) 5:24
- Schein vi di Levune (Chaim Tauber) 4:01
- Majn Jingele (Trad./Morris Rosenfeld) 3:36
- Vu bistu gevein? (trad./G. Vilden) 3:19
- Shvindlers Polka (Channe Nussbaum) 3:35
- Jidishe Neshume (Channe Nussbaum) 3:40
- Bai mir bistu shein (Sholom Secunda) 4:41
- Golda (Channe Nussbaum) 3:16
- Jidl mit dem fidl (I. Manger/A. Ellstein) 3:37
- Suite for violin
Shalom Aleichem / Andy's Ride / Bukovina / Lekho Naraneno (trad / Andy Statman / trad., Alpert, Bern / trad., Brave Old World) 7:37
- En dag er ikke levet uden kærlighed (Dan Folke/Børge & Arvid Müller)) 4:20