Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Ox Orkestar - 2004 - Ver Tanzt?

Black Ox Orkestar
Ver Tanzt?
Recording Date: 2003
Release Date: Apr 2004
Label: Constellation

Jewish Folk

"Evenly split between instrumentals and vocal tunes, this debut album is a compelling blend of originals and new arrangements for pieces pulled from various Eastern European songbooks. The band aims to expand the definition of Jewish diasporic music, by learning and reinterpreting songs and rhythms from all over Slavic and Balkan Europe. Lyrics are in Yiddish and aim to speak forcefully to the bloody history and intractable contradictions of Jewish diaspora and 'return'. With backgrounds in punk-rock, free-jazz, and other liberation musics, the all-acoustic playing on this record benefits from a genuinely spirited delivery and intensely original approaches to arrangements that never feel forced. This is modern folk music from Eastern European sources played strong, unburdened by antiseptic production and/or cheap sentimentality.

Songs range from the propulsive to the sublimely restrained. "Fishelakh in Vaser" explodes with a pumping free-music rhythm section, "Cretan Song" is a staccato Balkan dance, and "Ver Tantz?" is an angry, politically-charged klezmer-punk original. Instrumentals "Shvartze Flamen..." and "Nign", along with the brilliant original "Toyte Goyes" (lyrics taken from a poem by Yiddish writer Itzik Fefer) are meditative and heartrending. Jessica Moss (violin, bass clarinet), Thierry Amar (contrebasse) and Scott Levine Gilmore (vocals, mandolin, cymbalom, drums) all play in Silver Mt. Zion, and Gabe Levine (clarinet, guitar) was chief songwriter in Sackville." ~constellation


01 Shvartze Flamen, Vayser Fayer
02 Papir Iz Dokh Vays
03 Fishelakh in Vaser
04 Cretan Song
05 Ver Tanzt?
06 Stav Ya Pitv
07 Nign
08 Toyte Goyes in Shineln
09 Kalarash
10 Forn Forstv
11 Skocne
12 Moscowitz Terkisher
13 Di Khasente