The Devil's Brides
Passionate, mournful, exuberant Klezmer and Yiddish songs played with violin, tsimbl, accordion, bass and vocals. Each track introduced by Miriam Margolyes; music from and inspired by the audio drama The Witches of Lublin, starring Tovah Feldshuh.
I've already begun to use it on my daily Jewish music program on WWDB and www.wwdbam.com in Philadelphia, and audience reaction has been exceptional. Thank you for this fresh, exciting, and dynamic new approach to klezmer music ... which I'll be using very often on the air!
Program Host / Account Manager
WWDB AM 860
|The Witches of Lublin -
An audio drama
by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz, & Yale Strom
Buy CDs of The Witches of Lublin
They say the Devil came to Lublin, Poland once, in the early spring of the year 1797 of the Christian calendar. For the Jews of Lublin, it was the month of Nisan in the year 5557.
There are two calendars, because there are two Lublins: the Lublin of the Polish Catholics, who fear only God, the Devil, and their local nobleman, Count Sobieski and the Lublin of the Jews, who fear everyone and everything, and with good reason. For despite having lived in Poland for hundreds of years, the Jews live every day in Lublin only by the grace of the Count's uncertain tolerance.
In The Witches of Lublin, as the Jewish holiday of Passover nears, with it hangs the threat of violence. Violence, that the Jewish community has seen before, in Lublin, and all over Eastern Europe. Suddenly, come soldiers with orders of eviction, followed by a gang of angry peasants with torches - a pogrom - to pillage, rape or kill any Jews who doesn't get out fast enough. The Jews of Poland have plenty to worry about in 1797.
Graf Sobieski rules all of Lublin, but within Lublin's Jewish community, there is a social hierarchy - perhaps successful businessmen like the butcher (and the butcher's wife) wield the most power, but it is the Rabbi who is the community's spiritual leader.
A poor, unmarried woman with barely two groshn to rub together,
two unmarried daughters, and an orphaned granddaughter to support, would barely cling to the bottom rung of the social ladder. Unless that woman were Rivke. Widowed, poor and struggling, yes, but Rivke is no ordinary woman.
Daughter of the great Jewish mystic Reb Leyb Sora, Rivke is sister to the rabbi's wife, a weaver of lace, a Talmud scholar, and an extraordinary musician. Rivke has struggled to maintain her little family under the most ."trying circumstances.
It is her insistence that her daughters Leah and Sorele play music (as well as the men - better, in fact) and that her granddaughter Sofiasing that leads to the family's downfall. The women's talents, intellect and spirituality only raise suspicious whispers in the Jewish community.
But when the women's reputation as the best klezmer musicians in Poland spreads beyond the ghetto's boundaries and the Count commands Rivke, her daughters and granddaughter perform at his son, Bogdan's, name day celebration, Rivke is faced with an impossible choice: Do as he commands and risk scandal, or refuse and risk the Count's revenge on the entire Jewish community - a pogrom.
No one could have anticipated the tragic love that heedlessly sows the seeds of disaster for Rivke and her daughters, that exiles Sophia from her people and that opens the very doors of heaven. But there is more to the legacy of Reb Leyb Sora than even those in the Jewish community could have anticipated, and as these witches reveal themselves to be holy women, they leave behind them a legend that cannot die.
The Witches of Lublin is based on true and little known history of klezmer musicians in Eastern Europe. Co-writer Yale Strom's research uncovered the facts that there were women klezmer musicians, and that when klezmers would play for gentile nobility, their reward could sometimes be beatings, death or even kidnappings. This history formed the springboard for this work of fiction by Strom, Schwartz and Kushner based on Jewish women's lives in 18th Century Europe, klezmer music and feminist history, with a healthy dose of magical realism thrown in.
With music by Yale Strom
Directed & Produced by Sue Zizza
Starring Tovah Feldshuh, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblatt and other fine actors
|BORSHT WITH BREAD BROTHERS
Many of the bands in the contemporary klezmer revival have been inspired by the music of the first generation immigrant musicians who came through Ellis Island from Eastern Europe in the great wave of Jewish immigration in the early decades of the 20th century. But, violinist Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi, take a different tack on this passionate and spellbinding CD and play tunes and songs Strom has collected from largely unknown Jewish and Roma musicians he’s met on collecting trips to Eastern Europe over the past 26 years. Many Jewish and Roma musicians worked together in Eastern Europe over the past 200 years. They exchanged tunes, played in each other’s bands and both Jewish and Roma traditions run through many of the pieces heard on this CD.
Among the highlights on the disc is “Szol A Kakos Mar,” a Chassidic song from Hungary sung in Hungarian and Hebrew, with a vocal performance reminiscent of Edith Piaf from Hot Pstromi singer Elizabeth Schwartz, and “Vemen Veln Mir Dinen, Brider,” a Yiddish protest song that laments being forced to serve in the czar’s army. This is a very special klezmer album.
Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
February 18, 2008
Jewish Music – Michael Regenstreif
Recent CDs showcasing diverse Jewish music
|The Absolutely Complete Introduction to Klezmer Vol.1
In addition to being an author, a filmmaker and a violinist of the first order, Yale Strom is also a musical archivist. His frequent trips to Eastern Europe and interviews with Rom musicians have done much to advance our knowledge of what the music was like when the archetypal klezmers and gypsies roamed the countryside and shared repertoire. Drawing upon classic archival material and his own painstakingly assembled tunes, Strom and his band Hot Pstromi present The Absolutely Complete Introduction to Klezmer.
With its companion songbook of the same title, Strom has indeed covered all the ground that he purports to, and then some. His quartet, along with clarinetist Norbert Stachel, accordionist Peter Stan and bassist Jim Whitney, creates a beautifully pure group sound to present these 36 short pieces. The absence of drums assists in allowing the music and individual instrumental colorations and ornamentations, so crucial to the overall feel of this music, to shine through in an exceedingly clean fashion.
Klezmer is dance and celebratory music, and Strom has included many examples of the major components of the core dance repertoire, over and above the more familiar freilachs and bulgars, each with its own defining rhythm and tempo. Likewise, tunes used in the various stages of a traditional Jewish wedding, such as the seating of the bride and march to the canopy, are well represented. In addition to StromÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own collected tunes, the Beregovski archives (discovered in Kiev in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ80s) and Wolff KostakowskyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s International Hebrew Wedding Music (published in 1917) are much in evidence.
One disappointment, especially given that Strom is such a scholar of this music, is the lack of any in-depth explanatory CD notes, but for the person in search of a comprehensive musical introduction to the underpinnings of traditional klezmer or the jazz musician looking for unique improvisatory opportunities, StromÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s package is exceptional.
Track listing: Karahod Fun Varshe (Karahod from Warsaw); Ki Anu Amecha (We Have Sinned); Besarabish Bulgar; Mitn Fidle (With My Fiddle); Der Sarver's Sher; Rumeynish Serba; Bosnian Vals (Bosnian Waltz); Anshel Shachnai's Freylekhs; Makonovetski's Zok; Arader Khosedl; Gulerman's Doyne; Khupe Marsh (Wedding Canopy March); Mazl Tov (Good Luck); Fun Der Khupe (From the Wedding Canopy); Beregovski's Bulgar; Beygele; Rotenberg's Mitsve Tentsl (Rotenberg's Good Deed Dance); Rabinovitch's Dobranotsh (Rabinovitch's Good Night); Koydinover Nign; Bazetsn Di Kale (The Seating of the Bride); Tsu Der Khupe Marsh (To the Wedding Canopy March); Boyberiker Wedding Bulgar; Dubosaary Bulgar; Ropshitser Nign; Sakhnovski's Zhok; Berditshever Khosed; Buhusher Nign; Vals Fun Varshe (Waltz from Warsaw); Sher; Karliner Dveykes Nign (Karliner Adhesion Melody); Ukraynish Kek-Vok (Ukranian Cakewalk); Boogich Bulgar; Dunlitski's Skotshne; Bulgar; Rumeynish Serba; Kolomeyke.
Personnel: Norbert Stachel: clarinet; Peter Stan: accordion; Yale Strom: violin; Jim Whitney: bass.
All About Jazz: New York.
|ABSOLUTELY KLEZMER VOL. 2 (Transcontinental Music)
From world renown musician, ethnomusicologist, documentarian, and klezmer artist Absolutely Klezmer Volume 2! This incredible collection of music can also be found in The Complete Klezmer Songbook available from Transcontinental Music Publication. Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi; mix the traditional Klezmer melodies, with a hot new sound like nothing else you have ever heard. Yale and his band take Klezmer to a whole new level; jammin with some 5, 6, 7 minute tunes. You can also hear the beautiful mezzo voice of Elizabeth Schwartz on such standards as Di Mekhutonim Tants (The In-laws Dance) and Romania Romania. These tunes are from out of print sources as well as from Strom's field recordings. Storm also put one of his own compositions on the CD as well called Moresh-Koyre (Jewish Blues No. 1). Composed just minutes before they recorded it in the studio the melody has a jazz/klezmer feel as if written for a Betty Boop cartoon.
Features: Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals, Yale Strom -violin, Peter Stan - accordion, Norbert Stachel - reeds and Jim Whitney - bass
|NEW! DVEYKES: New Jewish Downtown Music with a Twist (2006)
This CD features Mark Dresser (bass), Marty Ehrlich (tenor sax, clarinet), Diane Moser (piano),
Benny Koonyevsky (percussion), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin, viola).
Strom has composed all the tunes on this CD. He has pushed open the klezmer umbrella even wider,
taking klezmer nuances and weaving them through pieces that range from avant-garde classical to an Arabic modality driven political tune. Dveykes means Adhesion in Hebrew/Yiddish and is the state of being in which a Jew finds himself when prayer elevates him to a trance-like state of being. When one is in "dveykes", one has adhered himself to God. Even though the pieces stray very far from traditional klezmer, each expresses Dveykes through the music.
The tunes are: Krakow 1, (jazz/blues), Nexus ( avant-garde classical/improvisation), Dveykes 2. (Khasidic prayer), Stained Red (Yiddish/English vocals), Tibi's Hora (klezmer), Krakow 2., The Ram's Daughters (neo-Khasidic), If God Moved to the Neighborhood (Middle Eastern/political/vocals) and Dveykes 1. (Khasidic prayer).
Distributed by Global Village Music
|ZMIROS: CHOLENT WITH HUCKLEBERRY (1982)
first klezmer band began in San Diego. Here they perform
traditional klezmer music collected archivally in Eastern
Europe by Strom as well as some well known Yiddish melodies
and two original compositions.
Strom was one of the first klezmer
revivalists in the U.S. to travel through Eastern
Europe and collect field recordings.
Some of the tunes are : Direh Gelt
(vocals), Shwehr un Shweeger Tantz, Lustig Zein, Mazel
ECLECTIC KLEZZ (1986)
recording has some of Strom's own compositions (including
two Sephardic melodies for classical guitar) along with
some Yiddish vocals and traditional pieces.
World reknown bassists Bert Turetzky
and Mark Dresser perform on the CD.
Some of the tunes are : Berd ichever
Khasid, Di Mizinke Oyssgegebn (vocals), Romanian Vollakh
(with tsimbal - hammer dulcimer)
PSTROMI: WITH A LITTLE HORSERADISH ON THE SIDE: (1993)
NYC based klezmer band performs 2 Hasidic melodies
and 5 original compositions influenced by jazz and Arabic
Andy Statman is featured on mandolin and clarinet and
Mark Dresser on bass.
Some of the tunes are : Dripping Water (improvisation
on a Stoliner Hasid melody), King Matt (Cajun - Klezmer),
Hot Pstromi (flamenco - Klezmer) and Kuzguncuk (Turkish
|THE LAST KLEZMER (1994)
recording from the soundtrack of Strom's The Last Klezmer
features Leopold Kozlowski (the nephew of Naftuli Brandwein)
playing klezmer melodies on piano which he learned
from his grandfather, in Poland (1930's). Strom also
several of Kozlowski's melodies for his band. One unique
feature is an archival recording of Kozlowski giving
Strom a klezmer lesson in Krakow --the only klezmer
lesson recorded and available on CD.
Some of the tunes are : Papirossen, Pesakh Brandwine's Nigun, Di Mezinka Oysgebn (vocals),
Oyfn Pripetchok (vocals) and Doina and Bulgar
| CARPATI: 50 MILES, 50YEARS (1996)
recording (Zmiros) from Strom's documentary film Carpati
has lively klezmer music from the Carpathian Mountains,
haunting Hungarian Gypsy tunes, and Strom's original
klezmer compositions. There are also sound bytes from
the film in Hungarian and Yiddish speaking about the
relationship between the Jews and Gypsies in the Klezmer
Featured on the CD playing clarinet,
flute, piccolo, tenor sax and sopranino is Norbert
Stachel, lead horn player for the well known funk
band, Tower of Power.
Some of the tunes are : Tisza , Romanian
Serba , E Chirikli, Hat A Yid A Wiebele, Hava Nagila
WANDERING JEW: (1997)
recording (from the band formally known as Zmiros based
in San Diego) contains all original new Jewish music
He combines Gypsy, jazz, Arabic, and Afro-Cuban rhythms
with klezmer modalities. The beat keeps your feet on
Some of the tunes are : Dybbuk, Leah's Waltz, Tribes - A Romanian Suite,
Ilinka's Smile and 70 West 77th
OUR FATHER SANG(1998): NEW JEWISH MUSIC WITH TAM
recording features musicians from both Klazzj and Hot
Pstromi. All 28 melodies were composed by Strom and
used for the National Public Radio series: "Jewish
Stories from the Old World to the New ", hosted
by Leonard Nimoy. The music combines klezmer with jazz,
classical, Arabic, Greek, French, Russian, swing and
carnival motifs. Each tune musically describes each
short story for it was written for. Norbert Stachel
is again featured on all reeds. The series with the
narrated stories (Richard Dreyfuss, Charlton Heston,
Theodore Bikel and others) and excerpted music is available
Some of the tunes are : In Odessa, A Friend of Kafka, Dreyfus in Kassrilevke,
A Wedding in Brownsville, Mottel and Karl Yankel
of Yidn (2000)
World) This CD is with members from Klazzj and Hot Pstromi
playing Yiddish and Ladino folk songs. The CD features
the vocals (11 tunes) of Elizabeth
Schwartz. A alto with a rich, dusky tone. Some of
the tunes are composed by Strom, other melodies from
his field research in Eastern Europe and some new arrangements
of well-known Yiddish songs. The tunes are : Finf un
Tzvantziker, Reizel, Buenas Semanas, Papirossen, Shava
Brukhes, Moscow Nights, La Comida La Manana, Rebeka,
Doina Tirgu Frumos, Ikh Vill Tzu Gayn Amol, Sha Shtil
The tunes are : Finf un Tzvantziker, Reizel, Buenas
Semanas, Papirossen, Shava Brukhes, Moscow Nights, La
Comida La Manana, Rebeka, Doina Tirgu Frumos, Ikh Vill
Tzu Gayn Amol, Sha Shtil
JEW ZOO (2003)
World) This CD really features the virsatility of Yale
Strom's composing and writing skills. There are tunes
that sound rather traditional like "L'Chayim Comrade
Stalin!" and tunes that really take klezmer to
new realms like the Motown feel of "The Ten Plagues."
Special guest Andy Statman plays four tunes on the CD.
Two on mandolin and two on clarinet. Again the sultry
voice of Elizabeth
Schwartz can be heard on the 6 vocals tunes including
the title track "Cafe Jew Zoo" which Strom
says is his homage to Kurt Weill and Bertol Brecht.
Virtuosi Mark Dresser & Marty Confurius (bass),
Peter Stan & Ismael Butera (accordion), Benny Koonyevsky
& Jim Mussen (percussion), Elizabeth
Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin) make this
a landmark CD in the genre of "new" Jewish
Mark O'Connor Strings Camp (l to r) Rachel Barton Pine, Ben Sollee, Gillian Gallagher, David Wallace Yale Strom in concert.
|REVIEWS from Various Critics
|The Devil's Brides
"...The music is superb, in turns joyful and mournful, recorded in such an intimate acoustic that the listener is really caught up in the ebb and flow of the often brilliant improvisations on violin, cimbalom, accordeon and bass"
"Ethnographer-violinist Yale Strom has researched their repertoire exhaustively, and here – with his klezmer group Hot Pstromi – he presents a few of his trouvailles, some of which have a poignant history."
- John Pheby, Folk Roots Magazine (#346, April 2012)
"...the husky timbre of Elizabeth Schwartz brings an aching authenticity to these songs and dances from the shtetls of pre-1939 Europe. Four Stars."
- Michael Church, The Independent
-The Scotsman, January 2012
"Wild, uplifting or deeply melancholy, this music is of great interest to all klezmer enthusiasts…"
|IN THE MEMORY OF...
"Strom wonderfully painted musical pictures of different moments in our lives, based on Jewish culture he knows so well."
By C.J. Gianakaris | Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette
Café Jew Zoo
"A brilliant addition to contemporary klezmer"
Global Rhythm - Read More
"a splendid introduction to the uninitiated in this Jewish spirit of music making"
By C. Michael Bailey - Read More
|The Rough Guide to Klezmer Revival
Borsht with Bread, Brothers
The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook
"you might as well just buy the whole lot for your klezmer band "
Sound Roots, 06 April 2009
"Best of all, of course, are the 313 klezmer tunes"
Alexander Gelfand - Read More
"the rich song notes give historic and cultural context -- in four languages!"
Scott Stevens - Read More
"Strom has indeed covered all the ground that he purports to, and then some."
Elliott Simon - Read More
"Dveykes is a synergistically soulful cutting edge meeting."
Elliot Simon, All About Jazz.
Rachel Barton Pine performs compostion by Yale Strom
|"I also enjoyed prominent klezmer fiddle player Yale Strom's Vaynshl No. 1, a short virtuoso work that reveals him as an imaginative composer, creating sounds simultaneously evoking George Enescu and folk music of the Carpathian mountains"
from the Synaphaї blog:
ABSOLUTELY KLEZMER VOL. 2 (Transcontinental Music)
|"Yale Strom has assembled all the key ingredients of great klezmer on this recording. There's his own weeping fiddle, the powerful expressive voice of Elizabeth Schwartz, the deep throbbing accordion of Peter Stan, and the woodwind virtuosity of Norbert Stachel on clarinet, sax and flute. Jim Whitney's double bass is solid throughout too, bowed or plucked."
Alex Monaghan, FolkWorld #45 07/2011
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