Klezmonauts

Oy to the World: A Klezmer Christmas

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An odd coalition of music in theory, but with beautiful execution. The Klezmonauts, a somewhat avant-garde (at times) klezmer group in their own right, have taken it upon themselves on this album to rework a number of Christmas songs (here's where the theory gets sticky -- klezmer is traditional Jewish music). On top of the obvious discrepancy in religion of the music, other bits are thrown in from time to time: surf guitar helps power through "Little Drummer Boy," a bit of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," Gershwin in "Jingle Bells," and Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" in "Good King Wenceslas." The vigor of klezmer actually works exceptionally well for the music (at least the selections that they decided to pursue). One original work also appears, co-written by Mark Pierce and Paul Libman, the group leader: "Santa Gey Gezunderheit." The instrumentation of the klezmer group works well for the music, as does the ability of the performers. The music is jumping inordinately, and that's a good thing for the case. It's traditional Christmas music that forces the listener to tap their feet. Pick it up as a fan of klezmer or as one of the innumerable Christmas albums available, but make sure to pick it up.

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