Monday, October 08, 2007

In Review - konsonans retro: a podolian affair

Berlin-based klezmer uber-clarinetist (or should that be Klarinettist?) Christian Dawid recently gave me his latest disc, konosans retro: a podolian affair. The disc features Dawid's collaboration with the Baranovskys, a family of musicians from Zagnitkiv, a Podolian village near the Moldavian border. Here's the band's website.

Writing a review for this disc has been an irritating experience! Reason is, I keep being distracted by the music, and have to stop working to pay attention. It's my own fault, really, for even trying to get something else done at the same time. (It doesn't help that I've developed the habit of playing along with klezmer recordings lately. Or at least, this recording.)

This is a very nice set! The musicianship is wonderful and the unique repertoire the Baranovskys play -- a blend of Moldovan, Ukranian and Hassidic influences -- is a lot of fun.

Podolia is the birthplace of Hasidism, and those with a Hasidic bent will find deep meaning in the Ukrainian folk song "Oy u hayu pri Dunayu."
In a forest near the Danube, a nightingale is singing. I'm sick with my lonliness and want to fly where my lovely one is now
Naturally, given its origins, the band's repertoire includes Ukranian and Hasidic melodies like "Shabes Nign" as well as tunes with Moldovan, Gypsy, and Russian influences.

The album opening to "Moldovskaya Polka" -- a clarinet doina with warm brass chords behind it -- is sweet! And the set stays up throughout. The horn section is tight, and the musicians who play with the Baranovskys complement them nicely. In addition to Dawid, that would include drummer Guy Schalom and guest clarinetist Gennadiy Fomin.

Favorite tracks include: "Moldovskaya Polka", "Khasitsky Freylekhs", "Podilska" (which features nice interplay between Dawid and guest clarinetist Gennadiy Fomin), "Doina and Sher No 13"(with a gorgeous sax doina), and "Trombon Hora", which features Vitaly Baranovsky on the trombone, but it's hard to pick just a few.

Summing up, "a podolian affair" is a well-played disc of interesting klez repertoire. Great tunes and great musicianship. What else needs to be said?

Amazon has it here: