MP3 The Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble - Vessel of Song: The Music of Mikhl Gelbart
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15 MP3 Songs
SPIRITUAL: Judaica, WORLD: Yiddish
Released in late 2003, Lori Cahan-Simon's "Vessel Of Song" is another fine collection of Yiddish songs by this outstanding Yiddish singer. Sub-titled "The Music Of Mikhl Gelbart", the album presents fifteen songs (two of which are medleys) by one of Yiddish song's greatest composers. Born near Lodz, Poland in 1889, the son of a poor khazn (cantor), Gelbart started writing music for a theatre group he toured with between 1909 and 1911 before immigrating to the United States in 1912. There he continued his theatrical and compositional activities, eventually also teaching singing, first at the Workmen's Circle in New York. Mikhl Gelbart died of bone cancer in 1962 and is still remembered by many of his students with great affection. He left a huge body of work that includes six oratorios, fifteen operettas, eight orchestral pieces, and settings of the works of some one hundred and twenty poets. He also published some twenty books of Yiddish songs. Gelbart's music is of a deeply folk-rooted nature and thus was often assumed to be traditional folk music of anonymous origin. The Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble's "Vessel Of Song" presents a superb if necessarily tiny cross-section of Gelbart's vast body of Yiddish songs. The arrangements on "Vessel Of Song" are outstanding and spot-on traditionalist. Lori Cahan-Simon's ensemble consists of stellar klezmer and classical flutist Adrianne Greenbaum on historical wooden flutes, Alexander Fedoriouk, probably America's best-known cimbalom player whose credits include performing and recording with jazz flute legend the late Herbie Mann, on cimbalom, percussion and vocal, Walt Mahovlich, a member of an early incarnation of klezmer ensemble Budowitz and currently leader of Eastern European folk group Harmonia, on accordion and vocal, Steven Greenman, another early Budowitz member and co-founder of the Khevrisa ensemble, on violin and vocal, and Henry Shapiro of the Steel City Klezmorim on bass and vocal. With such an impeccable line-up and Ms. Cahan-Simon's outstanding vocals and supremely distinct diction, it is only to be expected that this should be the recording of the highest pedigree that it is. The ensemble playing is superb, and Lori Cahan-Simon's vocals are a delight. The opener of Lori Cahan-Simon's "Vessel Of Song" is "Urim burim: a purim lidl", a lively, happy song about the Purim holiday. "A gut yontev yidn" is another celebration of Purim, with a particularly fine violin solo by Steven Greenman. An altogether more sombre mood prevails with "Treyst mayn folk", with lyrics by the deeply socially conscious Yitskhok Leyb Peretz, one of the fathers of modern Yiddish and Hebrew literature. "Moyde ani" is another sombre, reflective piece, the lyrics being by Mark Schweid. A medley of three songs for and about children, "Boys and Girls Medley", switches back to a happier mood. The third of these, "A yingele, a meydele", is a particularly jolly piece with an irresistible dance beat. The theme of children continues with "Kumt ale in shul", and again with "Muzikantn", the latter especially cheerful, the light-heartedness beautifully emphasised particularly by Adrianne Greenbaum's lively, happy flute. "In shul arayn" still remains with the subject of children, and the tune's likely Polish inspiration is reflected in the arrangement. An irresistibly happy tune, it prominently features violin, cimbalom, bass and drum. Good cheer continues to prevail on "Khad gadyo", a humorous tale starting with a kid goat and ending with an ox and a butcher. "Chanukah Medley" is the second of two medleys, this one consisting of three delightful Chanukah songs. The Sabbath is celebrated with "Shabes". One of the best-known of Gelbart's songs, "Milkhome", with lyrics by Avrom Reisen, is also one of his most haunting, and Lori Cahan-Simon's rendition is suitably tragic and heart-rending. A setting of a poem from a cycle of children's poems by Peretz, "A viglid (Shteyt in feld a beymele)" is a gentle, dreamy lullaby, its qualities underscored subtly by Alexander Fedoriouk's cimbalom and especially Adrianne Greenbaum's wispy flute. "In an orem shtibele" is a mostly up-tempo song that contrasts material poverty and the riches of love, the love of a mother for her child. The closer of Lori Cahan-Simon's "Vessel Of Song", "A maysele (In himl shvimt a volkndl)", opens with and features Adrianne Greenbaum's haunting flute and Alexander Fedoriouk's dreamy cimbalom alternating with the whimsical, lullaby-like lyrics. The liner notes are no less excellent than the recording itself. In addition to the transliterated Yiddish lyrics and English translations, they feature a solid introduction to the life and work of Mikhl Gelbart. There are also fairly extensive notes on the lyricists. The only small niggle I have is the extremely small and dense print, which I find very difficult to read without the aid of a magnifier. However, as is the booklet contains some twenty-four pages, and the need for some economy is completely understandable. As excellent an overview of the work of Mikhl Gelbart such as Lori Cahan-Simon's "Vessel Of Song" is not only beyond essential in any Yiddish song collection but moreover a priceless treasure. Â© 2004 Renaissance Man/Rainlore. All rights reserved. https://www.tradebit.com
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It's a great time to be a Jewish music fan. Creative work is being done in a variety of styles and genres, ranging from neo-traditional klezmer to cutting-edge Jewish jams, from new liturgical sounds to old-time Yiddish folk and theater tunes. Sometimes all these different styles show up on one recording - or even in one song. To varying degrees and for better or worse, fusion seems to be the modus operandi of all but the most diehard traditionalists. At the very least, and as the following random survey of recent releases suggests, there's something new - or old - to interest any and all tastes in a field that in no small way constitutes an entire "world music" all its own.
You couldn't ask for a better tribute to folk composer Mikhl Gelbart than "Vessel of Song: The Music of Mikhl Gelbart" by the Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble. A veritable supergroup of Yiddish instrumental and vocal talent, the musicians - including Adrianne Greenbaum (flute), Alexander Fedoriouk (cimbalom), Walt Mahovlich (accordion) and Steven Greenman (violin) - tackle 15 of the 20th-century composer's works, including holiday numbers, art songs and children's tunes, including some Chanukah melodies familiar to all. A few tunes feature lyrics by the likes of I.L. Peretz and Avrom Reisin, and others were written by Gelbart himself. All of them have the sound of timeless folk songs, and Cahan-Simon's extensive notes and lyrics included in the 24-page booklet accompanying the CD make it a veritable semester's course in Yiddish Folksong 101.--Seth Rogovoy, (author of The Essential Klezmer), The Forward
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To anyone who hasn't discovered this treasure yet,
I especially recommend Lori Cahan-Simon's "Vessel
of Song". I've played a number of cuts on our radio
show and I look forward to featuring a couple more
on our upcoming Purim special. Here's how much
I like the album: I paid retail for it!
Jack (Yankl) Falk
The Yiddish Hour (https://www.tradebit.com, 10-11 am PST) / Di Naye Kapelye
You're darn right it is...it's the first title on our new release page...this is the kind of CD that deserves wide recognition and an excellent example of how a project should be produced...great songs, great interpretation, and
fantastic musicians...Check it out at:
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Gelbart was a wildly prolific composer whose output ranged from settings of great Yiddish poets like Abram Reisen and Y.L. Peretz to holiday songs for children. With her earthy contralto, Cahan-Simon brings real life to these tunes, which, like the texts they embrace, run the gamut from the folklorically simple kids' material ("Good Purim to Us," "Kumt Ale in Shul") to a powerfully mournful "Treyst Mayn Folk" from Peretz. The band is excellent, stark, simple and straightforward. A set full of varied charms. Rating: 4 1/2 stars. --George Robinson, The Jewish Week, NY
For Vessel of Song, vocalist and Yiddishist, Cahan-Simon has partnered with some of the finest traditional klezmer musicians to present newly recorded versions of the songs of Mikhl Gelbart, a prodigious 20th century Yiddish composer. Including selections appropriate for Chanukah, Purim, Passover and the Sabbath, this program is a potpourri of holiday magic, children's tunes and faith based song. A special seasonal treat is Gelbart's "Ikh bin a Kleyner Dreydl", the well known "I Had a Little Dreidel", presented in the context of a 3-part Chanukah medley. Cahan-Simon's vocals make all this variety work as her rich voice and expertly expressive Yiddish ranges far and wide through heartfelt cantorial emotion, playful phrases and swinging exhortations that will have the whole family singing and dancing. Steven Greenman's violin coupled with Henry Shapiro's bass is able to match Cahan-Simon's passion on songs like the powerfully poetic "Moyde Ani" or augment her lightheartedness on the more uptempo numbers. Likewise, the wide textural scope of Alexander Fedoriouk's cimbalom and Adrienne Greenbaum's wooden flutes add depth to the diversity. With English translations and skillfully researched liner notes, Vessel of Song is not only a holiday delight but a year round inauguration into Yiddish culture for all. "Happy Chanukah 2004"Posted: 2004-12-02 in All About Jazz--New York Magazine, by Elliott Simon
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LORI CAHAN-SIMON is a singer and teacher of many things. She has been singing for as long as she can remember, professionally since the age of 14, and has performed in countries and venues throughout the world ever since. She has worked as a songwriter for Motown Records in Los Angeles, and has sung in festivals, Atlantic City Casino showrooms, venues in many countries, has been a featured performer on radio in the United States and Mexico, and has done much studio work in the United States, including jingles, children's material, comedy, and in Rock, R&B, and Jazz styles.
She is the singer with the Workmen's Circle Klezmer Orchestra, which performs at many local venues and at the annual Yiddish in the Park Concerts, directs the I.L. Peretz School children's chorus, and performed a show of the Yiddish children's songs she has been collecting at the recent 100th year jubilee of the Workmen's Circle show. She also sings with an R&B group called N. O. S., which was vote radio station WMJI's House Band as best "oldies" group in Clevland, and performs Yiddish music on her own and with small groups. Simon was the featured vocalist in the ensemble playing for famed New York choreographer David Dorfman's recent multimedia dance concert entitled Moving History! at Cleveland State University. Music from the previous ablum, Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Vol. 1: Passover, is used in the Menscher Brothers film "Seder!"
Lori and her ensemble presented this Gelbart program as the keynote performers at the opening of the 2003 International Association of Yiddish Clubs confernce.
Simon teaches Yiddish Culture and Language at the Workmen's Circle in Cleveland through the visual, performing, and culinary arts. She earned an M. A. in Art Education from Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Institute of Art, and additional certification from Cleveland State University in Spanish. She has studied voice with Margaret Eaves of the Cleveland Institute of Music and with Hazel Zehner of the Cleveland Music School Settlement, earning auditioned scholarship awards each year.
STEVEN GREENMAN, recognized as one of the few practitioners of traditional Eastern European Jewish klezmer violin, is a seasoned performer of klezmer music, as well as a serious composer of traditional klezmer music, and a musical arranger and lecturer. He is one of the first American-born klezmer violinists to create a program and performance style based entirely on the repertoire of European klezmer violin music. Together with Walter Zev Feldman, Greenman co-founded the Khevrisa ensemble, dedicated to preserving and reconstructing Eastern European klezmer music through research, concerts, workshops, and lectures. Steven has also performed internationally with Khevrisa and with such notable klezmer ensembles as the Klezmatics, Budowitz, the Flying Bulgar klezmer Band, and Kapelye. Steven received a grant to be the first recipient of the Louis E. Emsheimer Memorial Artist in Residence Program in Cleveland, Ohio, for which he led klezmer workshops for classical string players and lectured on klezmer music. Steven has collaborated with New York dancer/choreographer David Dorfman and the Cleveland State Dance Ensemble as musical director in Dorfman's Moving History!, a modern dance piece about Jewish identity, and has substituted for members of the Klezmatics in their performance of Tony Kushner's adaptation of S. Ansky's Dybbuk. Steven has lectured and performed at the Jewish Culture Festival n Krakow, Poland, and has been a regular performer with various ensembles at Toronto's Ashkenaz-A Festival of New Yiddish Culture. As a teacher he has taught at the KlezKanada festival, KlezFest London and at Living Tradition's KlezKamp. Working with educators Mitchell Korn and Amy McClellan of the Cleveland Orchestra educational department's "Learning Through Music: program, Steven was selected as a "Teaching Artist" and developed a children's program combining storytelling and klezmer music. Steven is a serious performer of Hungarian Nota, Romanian Gypsy, and Slovak folk music, and has performed with the ensemble Harmonia, which he co-founded with Walt Mahovlich in 1993.
Steven received both his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Linda Sharon Cerone, Dr. Eugene Gratovitch, and the late Bernhard Goldshmidt. As a classical violinist he is a regular guest soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, performing his own arrangements of traditional East European Gypsy violin music. He has also performed as a member of the Canton and Akron Symphony orchestras, and has participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Together with Walter Zev Feldman, Steven co-produced and is featured on the recording, Khevrisa--European Klezmer Music on the Smithsonian Folkways label. Steven is also featured on the following recordings: as lead violinist with Budowitz's "Mother Tongue"; as violinist and musical producer/arranger on Lori Cahan-Simon's "Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Volume One: Passover"; as accompanist with Alicia Svigals "Fidl"; and with Budowits and Alicia Svigals on Ellipsis Arts "Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and Earth".
WALT MAHOVLICH got his start at the age of 19 playing Croatian and Macedonian weddings with traditional village musicians and began playing klezmer music in 1973. He has played frequent concert tours of Europe and throughout North America. A featured artist at the Smithsonian's 1976 Festival of American Folklife, he has performed at Smotra Foklora in Zagreb, as well as in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center. A staff member at the Buffalo on the Roof klezmer workshops, Walt toured and recorded with Budowitz. He made his off-Broadway debut in Tony Kushner's A Dybbuk, performing at New York's Public Theater. Walt currently leads the East European folk group Harmonia. Walt studied ethnomusicology at Sarajevo and produced the Unesco award winning album, Nova Domovina: Balkan Slavic Music from the Industrial Midwest. Walt appears on Lori's other Yiddish recordings.
ALEXANDER FEDORIOUK began playing the cimbalom (tsymbaly) at the age of seven in Kolomyia, Ukraine, and received a Bachelor's degree in music from the Kiev State Conservatory, division of folk instruments; and an Associates degree in Music from the State Musical College in the city of Chernivtsy. He studied for his Master's degree in ethnomusicology at Cleveland State University. Alexander has performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Odessa Philharmonic, the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Életfa Hungarian Folk Band, and the Cheres Unkrainian Band. Alexander is currently a full-time member of and featured soloist with Harmonia, the renowned Cleveland-based folk ensemble. He appeared in the Ukrainian musical movies, Pisne Kalynova and Namysto Dlia Berehyni, and received awards at the national competition on folk instruments in 1987 and 1991 in Ukraine, and in Nebraska in 1997. Alexander has toured through the Ukraine, United States and Canada, performing at such concert halls as the United Nations General Assembly Hall, Kennedy Arts Center in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall. Since coming to the United States nearly a decade ago, he has recorded over twenty-five albums, including two movie soundtracks, Truth About Charlie, and Over My Dead Body. Alexander has recorded with Nigel Pulsford of Bush, Erik Friedlander and Topaz, recorded and performed with the legendary jazz flutist Herbie Mann with Sonna Terra, and with John Cale of Velvet Underground, performing with him at Carnegie Hall. In addition to being heralded as one of the greatest cimbalom players in Naorth America, he is the leader of the Cleveland-based fusion ensemble CCX. Alexander can be herad on Lori's other Yiddish albums.
ADRIANNE GREENBAUM, klezmer flutist, is the founder and leader of The Klezical Tradition, performing on flute, piano, cimbalom, as Yiddish dance leader, and flutist with FleytMuzik, a traditional ensemble with cimbalom, fiddle and bass, devoted to bringing back the original klezmer performance concepts of the pre-big band era. She has been on the faculties of KlezKamp, Boxwood, and KlezKanada. As a clinician interested in sharing klezmer music with young people of all ages and backgrounds, Adrianne presents school workshops and directs three student klezmer bands in New England. Having performed many eyars with the NYC Ballet Orchestra and teaching at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, she is currently Associate Professor at Mount Holyoke College and Solo Flutist of the New HaVEN symphony and Orchestra New England. She can be heard in recordings on Koch International, CBS Materworks, and her own solo CDs, "Sounds of America" and "FleytMuzik". The flutes Adrianne uses on this recording are wood, Boehm system instruments, both over 100 years old.
HENRY SHAPIRO studied jazz performance and arranging at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Though well-known as a performer of swing music with his band Swing Fever, he has been a member of various folk music groups: Traditional American, Bluegrass, Calypso, and Latin, Hasidic, and English Country Dance music styles. He is the leader of the Pittsburgh-based Steel City Klezmorim. His debut album, "Whatever Swings", was named best jazz album of the year in 1994 by the Newsweekly, in Pittsburgh. Shapiro has performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland and toured in Europe. He has been informed by knowledgeable sources that he sings Yiddish with a heavy American accent.
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