- Artist: The Klezical Tradition Klezmer Band
- Format: CD
- Release Date:6/10/2003
'The best, freshest traditional klezmer heard in years!' A.Davidow, Klezmer Shack - Top 20 bands (worldwide!) 'essential klezmer library' Essential Klezmer, Rogovoy - National ABC Documentary film feature - Top 10 Klezmer CD's of 1999 Moment Magazine - Best Albums of 1999 NY Jewish Week Our rave reviews for Family Portrait: * An unalloyed delight, from the old family photos in the booklet to the lively interpretations of old chestnuts like 'Russian Sher' and 'Die Goldene Khasene.' Difficult to single out any one contribution on a record as good as this, but Adrianne Greenbaum's rollicking piccolo is a pungent and unexpected reminder of how many of the old klezmorim learned their trade in East European military bands. A set that managed to be traditional and fresh at the same time. Rating: 5 stars G. Robinson,NY Jewish Week * An effortless authenticity pervades the debut recording of this New England based acoustic quartet, which takes listeners on a spirited, witty journey through New World Yiddishkeit, including early 20th century instrumental music and Yiddish theater songs. Vocalist Fraidy Katz sounds like she just walked off a Second Avenue stage. Moment Magazine * [Similarly]the Klezical Tradition mines the past for inspiration, but unlike other groups, this quartet is much more than klezmer. There's also a surprising and intelligent mix of traditional ballads and folk songs that actually dominate this 24 track disc. As a result, the overall feel is incredibly nostalgic, a mood that's reinforced by a number of photos, including one on the cover, of individuals and families from different bygone periods. And it's a striking contrast to some of the over-the-top experimental klezmer acts that have come to represent the notion of Jewish music today. Preserving the past for the future: It's a worthwhile theme and, most important, an accomplishment that's worth hearing. Ed Silverman, Dirty Linen * Family Portrait by The Klezical Tradition is exactly that -- Jewish songs from the personal histories of each of the band members. The history of each song is given, as well as the lyrics in both Yiddish and English, thanks to the translating talents of Fraidy Katz, a noted Yiddish language specialist -- and vocalist in the band. Musically, what we have here is klezmer, freylekhs, and Yiddish folk songs that will raise feeling of nostalgia as well as introduce this kind of music to a younger generation. Worldmusic.com * Like the Klezmer Conservatory Band before it, this New England quartet draws on both instrumental klezmer and the Yiddish-American song tradition for it's repertoire. The result makes a strong case that the two can't be easily separated, as dance tunes flow effortlessly into theater songs and vice versa, bespeaking one, unified culture. Seth Rogovoy, Berkshire Eagle * Presenting klezmer music in it's rich, traditional old-world style is The Klezical Tradition's 'Family Portrait,' a disc packed with dance tunes and poignant Yiddish songs and reminiscences that recreate Jewish life in the shtetls and cities of Europe. Gideon Aranoff, Forward * 'A fresh and innovative approach to our eastern European musical heritage - and a family connection that adds just the right touch of heymishkeit!'Hankus Netsky, Director, Klezmer Conservatory Band * 'A heymish and musically interesting journey using familiar and in some cases rarely recorded Yiddish gems, tastefully interwoven with comments from oldtimers...'Zalmen Mlotek, pianist, conductor, Yiddish Theater * '.....These adventurous, virtuosic, sensitive, and schooled musicians make their music joyously dance alive!' Murry Sidlin, Resident Conductor, The Oregon Symphony * '....In particular, tune in to hear the GREAT new CD, hot off the presses, by The Klezical Tradition. It will knock your socks off!' WCFM, 91.9, North Adams, MA * This is a wonderful recording, and deserves a much wider audience than it has received......a real JEWel! Simon, Hatikvah * Periodically, I decide that I don't want to deal with any more traditional klezmer albums. The interesting material is on the fringes, I opine. And then I hear something as deep and grounded as this particular platter and I change my mind. This is the best traditional American Klezmer album that I have heard since I don't remember when. It is alive. It is exciting. The musicians are amazingly good. And it doesn't invent overtly new stuff. It is solid klezmer and Yiddish song. The album is much more than that, though. At a few critical points, this amazing music is interrupted by a few seconds of reminisces. In these memories, it is clear that not only the music still lives, but how deep and inviting the roots. I'm especially excited to hear Anna Rosenzweig Povodator talk about her excitement at being invited, as a little girl, to dance the sher with her mother and her mother's friends. At a time when we are just now beginning to rediscover Jewish dance traditions from eastern Europe, here is someone for whom these dances were a special part of life. And hearing Esther Krakowski in Yiddish, rather than English, helps remind us that reports of the death of Yiddish have been greatly exaggerated. Rather than interrupt the flow of the music, the still-engaged voices of these women give us context and bring the music alive. So, when, after two intro instrumentals sandwiching a few words by Libe Lebovics Segelstein, Katz' 'Shulem Aleykhem' is right on cue--we've come in, we're ready to sit down and be entertained and we do, indeed, feel welcome. It is worth noting in this context that, like other revival bands, The Klezical Tradition does ham up some older songs, such as 'Shulem Aleykhem,' whereacting up is appropriate. But, unlike most other bands, this is even understated, and the more fun for it. But the whole band is understated. Although there are many friends contributing to the album (Brian Bender's trombone is an entire horn section, when needed, by himself), the core band is just fiddle, flute (klezmer flute? yes!), and clarinet. The primary interplay is between fiddle and flute. No bar mitzvah beat. When percussion does appear, as in the effervescent 'A Heymish Freylekhs', it remains in the background, supporting the melodic instruments. I have long maintained that, excepting the amazing--Julie Epstein or David Licht, forexample--klezmer drumming is largely unnecessary and has little to do with getting the toes tapping and the legs dancing. Here's proof. This is the sort of classically-informed klez that Yitzhak Perlman will play when he learns klezmer. And the audience will dance. The interplay ranges from the whole panoply of Yiddish song, to the poignant doina, to the march-like 'Prinz Carol Sirba,' (in this arrangement, sounding almost as though by John Philip Klezmaphone). As is traditional among klezmer revival bands, the material includes a wide range of Yiddish song, some familiar, some less well known. This, too, adds to the pleasure. Each time I try to write a review, I find myself suddenly lost, moving to the music, and must then listen to the album again, to regain my place and try to take notes all over again. At times, and on some songs, 'Di Boyberike Khasene Hora', for instance, the sheer beauty takes me elsewhere. And then the band follows up with a jaunty 'Goldene Khasene' and I find myself dancing around the room. The music inside is fresh, exciting, and reminds us how alive and sexy Jewish music, when played well, really is. Ari Davidow,'Klezmer Shack' on the Web The Klezical Tradition Klezmer Ensemble represents the pinnacle of klezmer entertainment. Over and over again they have demonstrated that anyone and everyone enjoys their infectious, powerful, engaging performances. You only have to come once to a klezmer concert of this caliber to realize why this genre of music is catching on worldwide. Dancing in the aisles and interactive singing are hallmarks of TKT's concerts with unequaled spontaneous, polished virtuosic playing in a uniquely historic and entertaining style. An incomparable quality concert of Eastern European Jewish music performed by an incomparable group. It's joyous! It's soulful! ___ MORE ABOUT US! THE KLEZICAL TRADITION's evocative rendering of klezmer and Yiddish music takes you back to an era of sepia-toned photographs, victrolas and pickle barrels as it once was in eastern Europe. The old-time Klezmer was a traveling musician much like a gypsy, and he wandered through most of the countries of Eastern Europe including Russia, Poland, Rumania, and Hungary. The Klezical Tradition is a modern ensemble that holds on to many of the old traditions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But, unlike klezmer bands of that time, TKT features the expertise of both men and women, most happy to say. The word 'klezmer' literally means vessel of song, from the Hebrew words 'kley' and 'zemer.' An old-time folk musician of Eastern Europe would have been called a 'klezmer' and would have been considered an insult to the family if he wanted to pursue the profession of a traveling musician. It is most certainly not considered an insult today to be a klezmer performing klezmer music! The Klezical Tradition band will bring you to an old time wedding, will tell the tales of love and courtship preceding the week-long celebration and also interweave the music and tales of poverty, of childhood as well as the humorous side of these many struggles of typical Eastern European Jewish families in the villages and shtetls, the walled, confined towns. Immigrants to America brought their music and dances and now we bring them to you!