Beautiful and haunting Yiddish folk songs accompanied by the tsimbl (cimbalom), a harp-like hammered dulcimer. In "On the Paths," Rebecca Kaplan & Pete Rushefsky have brought to life rarely-heard gems of Yiddish music from collections by Moshe Beregovski, the Mloteks, Joseph Moskowitz, Mariam Nirenberg, and Ruth Rubin, as well as materials learned from Soviet-born folk singer Larisa Novicheva and her mother Anna. Both artists additionally contribute original works, including "Shoyn fir yor," a new Yiddish song by Rebecca Kaplan. The CD includes a 20-page booklet that presents all lyrics in Yiddish, transliteration and English translation.
Rebecca Kaplan & Pete Rushefsky have thrilled audiences across the Northeast United States, including performances at the National Yiddish Book Center, the 92nd St. Y, Barbès, the New England Folk Festival, the Eastman School of Music World Music Festival, the Central New York Jewish Music and Culture Festival, the Congress for Jewish Culture and New York's Tonic. The duo's music was featured on WEVD's (New York) Forverts Hour radio program and profiled in the Yiddish Forverts. Their Yiddishland Records release is entitled "On the Paths: Yiddish Songs with Tsimbl."
Rebecca Kaplan (vocals, piano, buben [drum]) has created a vibrant performance style for Yiddish folk song deeply rooted in the Yiddish folk singing tradition, which she has studied with older folksingers and from rare recordings. She received a B.A. in music from the University of Rochester and a Masters of Music Education from Indiana University. She studied Yiddish at both schools, as well as at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Lithuania. An elementary school music teacher in the Boston area, she has performed as a vocalist and instrumentalist with klezmer bands in Massachusetts, Indiana, and New York State.
Pete Rushefsky is a leading revivalist of the tsimbl (cimbalom), or traditional klezmer hammered dulcimer. A string instrument played like a xylophone, the tsimbl employs over 100 strings to create a mystical harp-like sonority. It was a popular instrument in Jewish klezmer bands across Eastern Europe from the 1600's through the first decades of the twentieth century.
Today Pete Rushefsky is one of just a few brave young klezmer musicians to use archival research and fieldwork to create a performance style for the tsimbl. A popular teacher at KlezKamp and KlezKanada, he performs with some of the finest practitioners of traditional klezmer music including Adrianne Greenbaum, Steven Greenman, Rebecca Kaplan, Joel Rubin and Alicia Svigals. He won much critical acclaim for his CD with violinist Elie Rosenblatt entitled "Tsimbl un Fidl: Klezmer Music for Hammered Dulcimer & Violin" and he appears on CDs by violinist Steven Greenman and clarinetist Dobe Ressler, as well as the Yiddishland Records CD "Af di gasn fun der shtot - On the Streets of the City" by Yiddish poet and songwriter Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman.
"The world did need this album... Kaplan's voice is warm, expressive, and beautiful...(Rushefsky's) new instrumental songs, as well as his ability to channel Joseph Moskowitz, are incredible. As for Kaplan, not only does she join the small group of excellent Yiddish song-writers of our time, but her voice is stunning, an 'Isa Kremer of our time,' if not better." -Ari Davidow, www.klezmershack.com
"Rushefsky is carving out a nice niche for himself as a tsimblist, playing that old-world version of the hammered dulcimer quite deftly. The sheer strangeness of the sound to modern ears helps transform even the most familiar tune into something new and Kaplan's haunting vocals help enormously." -George Robinson, NY Jewish Week