Metropolitan Klezmer

Surprising Finds

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There are better-known American klezmer bands, but fame doesn't necessarily mean the same as quality, and Metropolitan Klezmer are up there with the very best musically. Their third release, Surprising Finds, is also their most daring, and most varied, where they not only delve deeper into their Yiddish roots, but also Jewish Socialism, once a major force in the U.S., but long since vanished. And so, alongside recordings of Deborah Karpel's grandfather, and old live tunes (including "Howie's Doyna & Hora" from 1994), there's a remarkable reworking on the Broadway standard "Pick a Pocket or Two," reworked as a Balkan brass gem, while "Soviet Yiddish Theater Suite" digs back into history to show how Yiddish culture flourished briefly in the Soviet Union. As much as involving listeners with some fabulous music (just hear the beautiful "Dreaming Wizard," for example), the band is also intent on making connections to the past -- all the way down to a very well-thought-out CD booklet. Come for the music and you'll stay for the history lesson -- and enjoy it just as much.

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