The Klezmatics,
Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf!
(Rounder, 2002)

There is a wide range of music on Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf! by the Klezmatics. At times the songs make you want to dance like a whirlwind, at others you just want to let the music wrap itself around you. The passion in the music ties the album together.

The Klezmatics are Lorin Sklamberg (lead vocals, accordion, high-strung guitar, piano), Frank London (trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet, alto horn, piano, organ, keyboards, percussion, vocals), Matt Darriau (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, kaval, percussion, vocals), Lisa Gutkin (violin, baritone violin, vocals), Paul Morrissett (electric and acoustic bass, tsimbl, piano, violin, hardanger fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, alto and baritone horns, vocals) and David Licht (drums, percussion, vocals). They are joined by the Faux-Hasidic boys' chorus on a few songs. Most of the songs are sung in Yiddish, while lyrics are provided in both English and Yiddish.

The opening song, "Klezmorimlekh Mayne Libinke (Beloved Klezmorim, My Dear Ones)," is full of melancholy. The music slides right into the playful energy of "Kats un Moyz (Cat and Mouse)," followed by "Loshn-Koydesh (Holy Tongues)," a passionate love song. "Tepel" starts off with an a cappella solo and then kicks into full speed when the boys' chorus and musicians join in. From that dance you go to a march in the declarative "I Ain't Afraid." The music floats with a haunting stateliness in "Di Gayster (Ghosts)."

"Yo Riboyn Olam (God, Master of This Universe)" starts off as a gentle song of praise with the music spiraling into a tighter focus. This is contrasted by the lightness of "Bulgars #2 (Tantsn un Shpringen)," where the music invites you into the festivities. They start off "Barikadn (Barricades)" with the tune overlapping an intro to the song.

You can almost hear the prayer in the music of "Davenen (Prayer)." Once again an a cappella solo is used to introduce the melody in "St. John's Nign," which builds up tempo slowly until the end.

There is a heaviness to "Hevliz Havolim (Vanity is Vanities)," yet when the song ends you still want more. They then make you laugh with "Maykht Oyf (Open Up)," as they have a bit of fun. The musicians kick back, making "Perets-Tants" feel like a jam session. The CD ends off with a repeat of "I Ain't Afraid (English Edit)."

The Klezmatics are passionate musicians, and the passion shows in the music on Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf! This is music that you can't just listen to once.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 10 October 2003

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