Klezmer Review: Old World Folk Band / Crossing New Borders

Album cover: lovely collage of old and new world delights and a map

Old World Folk Band
Crossing New Borders

Old World Productions, OWFB 2314

2435 N. Third St.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(717) 232-7817
E-mail Dale Laninga

This fifth recording from the delightful Old World Folk Band is a wonderful showcase of the diversity of Ashkenazic Jewish music and klezmer today.

One of the first things the listener notes (well, the very first thing the listener notes is that this is yet another album that begins with the thoroughly delightful and I may never get tired of it, "7:40", but that's its own issue) is how solid and well-arranged the music is. The listener also notes the very strong Russian influence as the band (like Chicago's amazing Maxwell St. Klezmer) takes good advantage of recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. This is especially reflected in songs such as "Kalinka" and "Korobushka" that are absolutely Russian, and reflected in the first, gentle half of the closing "Moldova Hora" before the band switches into high gear and reminds us all that we came to hear klezmer, and the band can pour it on with the best.

The next thing the listener notices is the inclusion of contemporary klezmer and Yiddish songs: Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman's "Harbstlid," and Michael Alpert's adaptation of the old folky Hutsatsa, "Chernobyl," and their own modern meditation, "Prayer." Propelled by the lovely voices of Susan Levitan and Dina Krashunskaya, the band also touches bases with many of my favorite traditional songs, such as "Borscht" and "Yoshke for awek" (which features the entire OWFB chorus). I am especially appreciative of this because it often seems to me that too few bands are aware of the new klezmer and Yiddish music being composed around them. It's important to remember that we listen to this music not just out of nostalgia or tradition, but because of its currency. Oh, and because you can dance to it all night.

All in all, this is a delightful outing. I am eager to begin delving back into the band's prior recordings, or better yet, to catch them performing when I am next tempted a bit further down the East Coast. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 3/28/98

Personnel this recording:
Stan Green: violin
Gary Grobman: flute, piccolo
Jess Dalton Hayden: clarinet
Anna Hope: tenor, banjo, hammered dulcimer, piano, harp
Henry Koretzky: guitar, mandolin
Anatoliy Krashunskiy: clarinet, saxophone
Dina Krashunskaya: vocals
Dale Laninga: trombone, baritone horn
Susan Leviton: vocals
Katie Margo: piano
Frederick Richmond: trumpet
Karen Richmond: bass


  1. 7:40 (trad.) 3:41
  2. Yoshke for avek (trad.) 3:56
  3. Kalinka--Little raspberry bush (trad.)
  4. Harbstlid--Harvest song (Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman) 3:35
  5. Kretchma (Eugene Raskin) 3:08
  6. Hoculka (trad.) 3:13
  7. Chernobyl (lyrics: Michael Alpert; music: trad.) 4:50
  8. Anatoliy's Freylekhs (trad.) 3:20
  9. Korobushka (trad.) 2:45
  10. Borscht (trad.) 3:24
  11. Prayer (Gary Grobman) 3:34
  12. Tate Ziser Suite 5:09
    Moyshele / Betlekhe Lid / Tate Ziser
  13. Moscow Nights--Podmoskovniye Vetchera (music: Solovev Sedloj; lyrics: Mikhail Matusovskij) 3:13
  14. Dem Zeydn's Nigndl--Grandfather's little tune (music; Saul Berezovsky; lyrics: Shike Driz; translation: Barnett Zumoff) 3:50
  15. Otchi Tchorniye--Dark Eyes (trad.) 4:13
  16. Moldova Hora (trad.) 4:11

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