Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shir – Ashk’farad: Klezmer and Ladino

Ashk’farad: Klezmer and Ladino
Arc Music Productions

(This review is from the September 10, 2012 issue of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.)

Shir is a British quartet of Jewish musicians whose previous CDs have focussed on Israeli folk songs. On Ashk’farad: Klezmer and Ladino, they focus on two streams of traditional Jewish music: instrumental klezmer tunes originating in Eastern Europe represent the Ashkenazi tradition while songs in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) represent the Sephardic tradition.

Among the klezmer tunes, I particularly enjoyed the celebratory “Silver Wedding,” featuring the soaring clarinet of Maurice Chernick and swinging violin of Piotr Jordan, a delightful medley labeled “Chossid Wedding Dances,” and the exciting “Nacht in Gan Eden/Odessa Tune,” in which the virtuosity of the whole band shines.

The Ladino songs, for the most part are quieter. “En el café del amanecer” is an especially beautiful love song featuring Chernick’s singing and the gorgeous nylon-stringed guitar playing of Ivor Goldberg. Equally beautiful, despite the bitter lyrics addressed a former love is “Adio querida” sung in harmony by Chernick and Goldberg.

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