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contact for Bashert Klezmer Band (was RE: Review of Bashert Klezmer Band -- An amazing find!)
- From: Seth <rogovoy...>
- Subject: contact for Bashert Klezmer Band (was RE: Review of Bashert Klezmer Band -- An amazing find!)
- Date: Tue 28 Mar 2000 15.01 (GMT)
contact Brian Bender at brianbendermusic (at) hotmail(dot)com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org
> [mailto:owner-jewish-music (at) shamash(dot)org]On Behalf Of Dick Rosenberg
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 9:45 AM
> To: World music from a Jewish slant
> Subject: RE: Review of Bashert Klezmer Band -- An amazing find!
> Do you have a web site/contact information for Bashert?
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Seth [SMTP:rogovoy (at) berkshire(dot)net]
> >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2000 9:37 AM
> >To: World music from a Jewish slant
> >Subject: Review of Bashert Klezmer Band -- An amazing find!
> >Hevre: When was the last time you were totally blown away by a
> >You know the kind I mean, when what you see totally shocks and
> surprises you,
> >and defies all the expectations and preconceptions you had going into the
> >As a music critic, I see a lot of concerts, Jewish and not, and
> this happens
> >at most once a year and if I'm lucky, twice.
> >So I'm writing today to tell you about my most recent surprise. This past
> >Sunday night, I took the mishpokhe to see the Bashert Klezmer
> Band. It's a
> >new group, a quartet, with several familiar faces. With Sruli
> Dresdner and
> >Lisa Mayer of "Oy Vey!" and Klezchester fame, and Brian Bender of the
> >Wholesale Klezmer Band and too many other side projects to
> count, we knew, or
> >I should say, we thought we knew, what we could expect: a
> solidly performed
> >show of mostly traditional klezmer infused with a heymishe Yidishkayt.
> >Boy, was I wrong!
> >This isn't to say that Bashert didn't solidly perform "a show of mostly
> >traditional klezmer infused with a heymishe Yidishkayt," but
> merely it was so
> >much more!
> >First of all, besides being a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist,
> holding down
> >the accordion, clarinet and pok seats, Sruli was a deeply warm
> and personal
> >musician, particularly on clarinet. Drawing on his childhood
> background in
> >Hasidism, he brought a vibrant spirituality to his playing,
> which at times
> >reminded me of Andy Statman, but even warmer than Statman.
> >Lisa, too, transcended "solid" and was a dynamic soloist and
> accompanist, one
> >who executed hard-driving melodies and pulsing sekunde rhythms with equal
> >aplomb. And Brian Bender gets better every time I see him; he is
> an inventive
> >musician on trombone, piano and melodica, continually exploring
> new roles for
> >the instruments in the ensemble. And as an ensemble, the trio played with
> >freewheeling spirit and a seamless telepathy.
> >And then there was the ringer.
> >The fourth member of Bashert was the only one with whom I was totally
> >unfamiliar, and, I believe, with whom most readers of this list
> are likewise.
> >I don't know very much about vocalist Felicia Shpall, other than
> that for the
> >last 15 years or so she has been a major force in the
> Double-Edge Theater, an
> >avant-garde Jewish theater troupe that apparently frequently
> performed at the
> >Cracow Yiddish cultural festival.
> >I don't think she has extensive experience performing Yiddish
> vocal music,
> >not that you could tell, because Felicia apparently was born to sing
> >"Mekhuteneste Mayne" and the like.
> >Think you could live the rest of your life without ever hearing
> that song, or
> >"Di Seposhkelakh," again? Think again. Not only will you hear
> these songs in
> >a whole new light when you hear Felicia sing them; you'll want
> to hear her
> >sing them again and again.
> >I don't know where to start in talking about Felicia. It's almost
> >embarrassing to be so effusive, but, as I said, I haven't felt like this
> >since I saw Bruce Springsteen on his comeback tour last August
> at the Fleet
> >Center in Boston. Because that's the level of focus, intensity and
> >theatricality that Felicia brought to the show. Arena-sized, in a small,
> >coffeehouse-style venue she and Bashert transformed into an Old
> World tavern
> >for an evening (the place was Club Helsinki in Great Barrington,
> Mass., and
> >all klezmorim within a day's drive should call them up or send promo kits
> >immediately while the klezmer vibes are still hot there).
> >Felicia's theatrical background was immediately apparent. But it
> wasn't the
> >sort of "excessive theatricality" that unfortunately too often spells
> >"schmaltz." I don't know if there's a fine line or not between
> "schmaltz" and
> >what Felicia pulled off. Maybe it had something to do with her virtuosic
> >vocals. She has a deep voice, which swung from cantorial style, with the
> >requisite krekhtsn, tshoks and kneytshn all in the right places,
> to Second
> >Avenue and a bit of post-Second Avenue Broadway, to cabaret, with the
> >occasional, slight hint of jazz and chansons. All of it
> incredibly artfully
> >done, parceled out with just the right amount of sugar and
> spice, and just
> >the right amount of edge.
> >I guess maybe it's that edge that makes all the difference. But
> this wasn't
> >camp, either. Felicia never camped it up, and there was no post-modern,
> >ironic winking of the eye. IT was a fully-committed performance
> of classic
> >and modern Yiddish theater and art songs (others included "Kotsk,"
> >"Chernobyl," "Pastikhl," "Aye Lyu, Lyu Mayn Tayere," and "Ani Ma Amin"),
> >delivered in an intimate setting, with just the right amount of
> >walking into the audience and singing directly to audience members. Her
> >Yiddish rolled off her tongue as if she was a native speaker (thank her
> >grandmother for speaking Yiddish to her). And Felicia's earthy sensuality
> >somehow made it timeless: both classic and contemporary, without
> breaking the
> >spell. I guess I can get around the sexist commentary by quoting
> one of the
> >women in my party, who said afterwards, "You just wanted to take
> a bite out
> >of her." Indeed.
> >For whatever reason, there are so few who can really pull off this
> >repertoire, the Yiddish vocal repertoire, without sending a discerning
> >listener screaming for the exits. I can count them on one hand, and they
> >include Fraidy Katz of The Klezical Tradition and of course, the great
> >Adrienne Cooper. And their styles are totally different.
> >But I kid you not, Felicia Shpall (who?) is right up there with
> the best of
> >them. As I said, I know little about her, and I don't even know if she's
> >really serious about making a career out of this (she apparently
> has other,
> >non-musical work in mind, too, but I'll leave it to her to do
> the explaining
> >if she feels like it). If she didn't, it would be a huge loss to Yiddish
> >IN addition to Bashert, Shpall apparently performs with a NYC-based group
> >called the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble.
> >I can't tell if I've done an adequate job describing just how amazing a
> >performer she is. I'll also be writing a "professional" review
> of this show
> >for the Berkshire Eagle (I'm avoiding doing just that by writing
> this to the
> >list). If you're interested in reading it, Email me and I'll
> send you a copy,
> >or check the Eagle website on Wednesday (www.berkshireeagle.com
> ><http://www.berkshireeagle.com>) or my website
> >(<http://www.berkshireweb.com/rogovoy>) in a few days.
> >Seth Rogovoy
> >author of "The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover's Guide to
> Jewish Roots and
> >coming in mid-May from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
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