Tzimmes / A lid for every pot

Album cover: 
lovely drawing of band singing up a tzimmes. Tzimmes
A lid for every pot

Tizmmes, TZ-22, 1995
Available from OySongs

It came as a surprise to me several years ago to learn that not all good Jewish music was klezmer. I don't know why this was so: Klez is a specific form of Jewish folk music played at Ashkenazic weddings and other simkhas. Most modern "klezmer revival" bands recognize how our song lives have changed by incorporating, at least, some Yiddish theatre and other fun vocals. Tzimmes goes all the way and plays a wonderful variety of Jewish music. Virtually none of this music belongs to that specific category of "klez," but who cares?

One of the things that I like best about this band is their ability to perform Jewish world folk music with both grace and a sense of authenticity. I very much enjoy the accoustic, folkie feel of the music and the harmonies. The musicianship, from the instrumental "Debka Khasid", to the Russian Sher, is lovely and entrancing. Although the very occasional song (Oyfn Pripetshik) comes out a bit too sweet, and the band does push one of my anti-patriarchy buttons with a new rendition of "A woman of valor," this is a lovely collection--even better than the first album, Sweet and Hot. I especially enjoyed the translation into Hebrew of a favorite spiritual, "The River is Wide," in the best tradition of folk borrowing and sharing.

As Jewish folk albums go, this one even with a bit of klez, you couldn't ask for a nicer sampler better done.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 6/16/96

Personnel this recording:
Yona Bar-Sever: Lead guitar, vocals, electric bass, tambourine
Moshe Denburg: vocals, rhythm and lead guitars, hand percussion
Myrna Rabinowitz: vocals
Julian Siegel: accordion, accordion/synth, synth bass, harmonica

Adel Awad: Darabuka (arabic drum), bongos, congas, djembe (african drum), frame drume

Special Guest

Heather Hay: violincello (on Eishet Khayil)


  1. Shabkhi Yerushalayim (text: Psalms 147:12-13 / Music: Avihu Medina) 4:38
  2. Debka Khasid (Debka: trad., 'Debka Uria'; Khasid: Moshe Denburg) 3:57
  3. Avre Este Abajour / Open the shutter (trad., Ladino repertoire) 2:51
  4. Yome Yome (trad., Yiddish) 4:01
  5. Tres Ermanikas / Three little sisters (trad., Ladino) 4:43
  6. Oyfn Pripetshik / In the tiny grate (Mark Washawski; coda by M. Denburg) 5:34
  7. Russina Sher (trad.) 4:07
  8. Eishet Khayil / A woman of valor (text: from Proverbs 31 / Music: M. Denburg) 4:07
  9. Tayere Malkele / Dear Malkele (Nokhem Sternheim) 3:10
  10. K'heref Ayin / In the wink of an eye (Lyrics: M. Denburg, S. Ophir / Music: M. Denburg) 3:57
  11. Rakham hayam / Wide is the ocean (Lyrics: M. Denburg, S. Ophir / Music: Trad., 'O Waly, Waly') 4:37
  12. Shuvi, shuvi / Return, return (Text: from 'Song of songs' / Music: M. Denburg) 5:42

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