Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack

Have No Fear CD Review

I confess that, notwithstanding the name of this site, I listen to less and less pure klezmer over time. It is no longer new to me. What I know of Jewish music has grown and it is time for one of my periodic acknowledgements that one genre doesn't cover it all. Having said that, it is also true that a devout secularist such as myself tends to listen less to overtly religious text than those less prejudiced against belief. But, why should dogma get in the way? I've had this on rotation for a few weeks now and I still find myself walking around singing the words to "Ani Ohev Et HKB"H" and snapping my fingers with abandon.

Take melodies (nigunim) from the Breslov Hasidic sect, some set to devotional words, some full of "yi di di dums," add Alan Watsky's wailing guitar, Rich Huntley's klezmer-infused thumpa thumpa rock 'n' roll drumming along with Jewish music heavies like Binyomin Ginzberg (Binyomin Ginzberg Trio, et al) and Mike Cohen (Kleztraphobix, etc.) and the heavy metal avant garde bass of Tzadik recording artist (and Yiddish Princess stalwart) Yoshie Fruchter, and you have danceable, catchy magic.

In short, this CD is the happy answer to the question, "Five Breslovers walked into a bar...." (cue attempt to image Allen Watsky, say, as a Hasid) from the sweetness of the "Friday Night Freylakhs" or "B'motzoei Yom Menucha" to the Middle Eastern "Debka Medley" to the driving fuzz of "Ani Ohev Et HKB"H" ("I love the Holy One, Blessed Be He/She/It's Name") the intensity of the title track, or the slow, march of a new-to-me melody for "L'cha Dodi," this is a fun, fun CD.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 25 June 2010.

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