Isle of Klezbos

Greetings from the Isle of Klezbos

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It's interesting to note the Isle of Klezbos is an all-female band in the male-dominated field of klezmer (admittedly, nowhere near as male-dominated as it used to be), but don't read too much into the punny name. It's better to judge any band by the music it makes, and some of this is remarkably good. "Golden Khasene," for example, trades off clarinet and trumpet leads backed by some excellent accordion for a strong take on a wedding tune. The wittily titled "Klezmerengue" nimbly fuses klezmer with a meringue beat so seamlessly that the join never flows -- a tribute to the musicianship on offer. Much of the disc is made up of the band's takes on traditional pieces, a few recorded live, such as "Szol A Kakas Mar," but there are some originals, like Debra Kreisberg's "Abrah," which proves to be a good exercise with some roots in klezmer. Not everything is perfect on the record, however: as much as it strains, "Father's Cadenzas" never quite manages to take off and go places. That aside, this is excellent stuff, as good as any klezmer album around today.

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