Saturday, January 28, 2017

Canadian Spaces – CKCU – Saturday January 28, 2017

CKCU can be heard at 93.1 FM in Ottawa and on the web. This particular show is now available for on-demand listening.

Canadian Spaces on CKCU in Ottawa is Canada’s longest-running folk music radio program. It is heard Saturday mornings from 10:00 am until noon (Eastern time).

It was hosted for more than 33 years by the late Chopper McKinnon and is now hosted by Chris White and a rotating cast of co-hosts.

This week’s show was co-hosted by Mike Regenstreif and Chris White.

Guests: Greg Kelly; Jamie Anderson; Shirt Tearing Boys

Moore & McGregor- The McGregors/Donald Angus Beaton’s Trip to Toronto
Dream with Me (Ivernia)

April Verch- That’s How We Run
The April Verch Anthology (Slab Town)

The Bombadils- Train in the Night
New Shoes (Borealis)

Yonder Hill- Northern Lights
Yonder Hill (Yonder Hill)

Noah Zacharin- Another She
Strange Rider (Noah Zacharin)

Sue & Dwight- When the Music Stirs Her Soul
For a Moment (Sue & Dwight)

Bruce Murdoch- Anytime at All

Coco Love Alcorn- Mary Mary
Wonder Land (Coco Love Alcorn)

Doug McArthur- Tears Like Rain
Tears Like Rain (Doug McArthur)

Kaia Kater- White (Long Time Traveling)
Nine Pin (Kaia Kater)

Ian & Sylvia- Handsome Molly
Ian & Sylvia (Vanguard)

Naming the Twins- The Last Song
Turn Styles (Duet Right)

Greg Kelly- Always Hope
Live in the studio

Greg Kelly- The Last Time I Ever Said Goodbye
Ghosts (Greg Kelly)

Greg Kelly- Words Unspoken
Ghosts (Greg Kelly)

Jamie Anderson- Menopause Mambo
Dare (Tsunami)

Shirt Tearing Boys- I’m Satisfied with You
Live in the studio

Shirt Tearing Boys- Me and My Blue Satin
Live in the studio

Shirt Tearing Boys- New Moon Over My Shoulder
Live in the studio

Ten Strings and a Goat Skin- Auprès du Poêle
Auprès du Poêle (Ten Strings and a Goat Skin)

I’ll be co-hosting Canadian Spaces again on March 25.

In the meantime, I’ll be hosting Saturday Morning (7-10 am) on February 4 and March 4.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Klezmatics – Apikorsim/Heretics

World Village

The most recent albums by the Klezmatics were the superb in-concert set, Live At Town Hall, released in 2011 but recorded in 2006, and the Grammy-winning Wonder Wheel, featuring the Klezmatics’ wonderful settings of newly discovered Woody Guthrie lyrics on Jewish themes, in 2006. So, it’s been much too long since we’ve had a new album from perhaps my all-time favorite klezmer band – in fact, one of my all-time favorite bands period.

Apikorsim/Heretics is a return to the kind of progressive Jewish cultural albums the Klezmatics were making in the first half of their now 30-year history: superb material drawn from both traditional sources and their own imaginations  matched by brilliant singing and playing.

In some ways, it’s an album of contrasts. On the one hand, there are songs like “Zol shoyn kumen di geule (May Redemption Come),” a joyous longing for the coming of the Messiah, and “Ver firt di ale shifn? (Who Guides the Ships?),” a contemplative song about God, which express religious concepts which could be embraced by the most fervently Orthodox Jews. On the other hand, there are songs like the equally joyous title track which celebrate a completely secular lifestyle that rejects all of the restrictions of an Orthodox – or even moderately religious – lifestyle.

There are also songs of class struggle including “Der yokh (L’estaca),” a Yiddish translation of a Catalan song, “Kermeshl in Ades (Party in Odessa),” whose joyous music is in contrast to the bitter subtext in the lyrics, and “Vi lang? (How Long?),” which challenges oppressed workers to rise up and overcome their chains in terms similar to those expressed by the likes of Joe Hill or Woody Guthrie.

Among the most poignant songs are “Tayer Yankele (Dear Little Yankl),” a traditional Yiddish song about an economic migrant or refugee who went to Istanbul looking for a better life only to be murdered, and “Der mames shpigl (My Mother’s Mirror),” about the realization so many of us have as we age about how much there is of our parents in ourselves.

One of the most infectious songs on the album is “Shushan Purim,” which celebrates the tradition, practiced by some, of getting so drunk on the holiday of Purim that you can’t tell the difference between Mordechai, one of the heroes of the Purim story, and Haman, the evil villain of the story – but, then, waking up the next day, Shushan Purim, with a horrible hangover. The music to the song was composed by Klezmatics’ trumpeter Frank London, while the lyrics were written by author and Yiddish scholar Michael Wex, my oldest childhood friend. 

While all of the songs are sung in Yiddish, the CD booklet includes English translations of the lyrics so there is no language gap for non-Yiddish speakers.

As always, the lead singing of Lorin Sklamberg, is a delight throughout the album as is the playing of each of the Klezmatics. As well as on the arrangements to the songs, their playing is featured on several great instrumentals including violinist Lisa Gutkin’s “Der geler fink (The Yellow Finch),” clarinetist Matt Darriau’s “Three-Ring Sirba,” and Frank London’s “Green Violin.”

Apikorsim/Heretics was released late last year but it arrived just a couple of weeks too late to claim a spot on my best-of list for 2016. But, because I only got to hear the CD this month, it will definitely be in contention for the 2017 list.

Find me on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

--Mike Regenstreif

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Moore & McGregor – Dream With Me

Dream with Me
Ivernia Records

Dream with Me by Moore & McGregor – veteran musicians Wendy Moore (harp, oboe, English horn, pennywhistle, vocals) and Arthur McGregor (guitar, banjo, bodhran, and most of the lead vocals) – is a marvelous debut album of songs and tunes by a duo who have long worked together (often performing kids’ shows as the Celtic Rathskallions) that includes superb original songs by Arthur, traditional Celtic tunes, and several excellent songs drawn from other writers.

Arthur’s writing is most impressive. The album opens with “The McGregors,” Arthur’s up tempo account of his family’s emigration from Scotland to Canada when he was a small child and his and the family’s embrace of their new home more than 60 years ago.

Arthur’s other songs include “Back on the Farm,” co-written with producer Paul Mills, in which the narrator celebrates his return to the family farm, and the farmer’s life, that he forsook as a young man for a nomadic life; “Dream With Me,” a beautiful love song written for Wendy; and the infectious “Dancing Shoes,” a toe-tapper that celebrates dancing and small town life.

Wendy’s contributions as an instrumentalist and occasional harmony vocalist are felt throughout the album but she is at the forefront on “Path of the Paddle,” David Archibald’s lovely hymn to canoeing on which she sings the lead vocal, and the instrumental medley of “The South Wind/The Battle of Glencoe,” two beautiful traditional tunes she plays on the harp.

The rest of the album is equally strong but I particularly love their interpretation of Warren Zevon’s “Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” a song that is a kind of off-centre prayer and affirmation; and their version of “Summertime,” the Gershwin classic from “Porgy and Bess” set at the corner of Folk, Blues and Jazz Streets. Wendy’s oboe playing on this track is positively haunting.

In addition to Wendy and Arthur, the only other musicians are Curly Boy Stubbs (Paul Mills) on guitar, mandolin and percussion and David Woodhead, the always inventive bassist. The arrangements and contributions of all the singers and players always serve the best interests of the songs.

A gem of an album to begin the new year.

Find me on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

--Mike Regenstreif