Metropolitan Klezmer | Surprising Finds

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World: Eastern European World: Klezmer Moods: Mood: Fun
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Surprising Finds

by Metropolitan Klezmer

Wonderfully diverse, amazingly arranged, and gorgeously played klezmer on an exotic instrumental array, from wild dances to lilting sinuous tunes to jumping swing & tango vocals, with added spice from "found sound" and bonus live tracks.
Genre: World: Eastern European
Release Date: 

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1. Uncle Moses' Wedding Dance Metropolitan Klezmer
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2:13 $0.99
2. Terkisher Navratilova Metropolitan Klezmer
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4:52 $0.99
3. Ot Azoy Neyt a Shnayder Metropolitan Klezmer
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4:07 $0.99
4. Pick a Pocket or Two Metropolitan Klezmer
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2:35 $0.99
5. Shpil Du Fidl, Shpil Metropolitan Klezmer
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3:20 $0.99
6. Harei At Phillip Karpel
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1:16 $0.99
7. Soothsayer Taxim Metropolitan Klezmer
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1:14 $0.99
8. Tailor's Sher Metropolitan Klezmer
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3:09 $0.99
9. Striver's Sher Metropolitan Klezmer
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1:32 $0.99
10. Der Dish-washer Phillip Karpel
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1:08 $0.99
11. Szol a Kakas Mar (live!) Metropolitan Klezmer
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3:59 $0.99
12. Dreaming Wizard Metropolitan Klezmer
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2:54 $0.99
13. Dray Shvester Metropolitan Klezmer
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3:22 $0.99
14. Kinder Yorn Phillip Karpel
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0:32 $0.99
15. Howie's Doyna / No. 2 Freylekh Metropolitan Klezmer
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4:35 $0.99
16. Abi Gezunt Medley (live!) Metropolitan Klezmer
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7:58 $0.99
17. Der Milner's Trern Phillip Karpel
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0:54 $0.99
18. Blue Doyna Reprise Metropolitan Klezmer
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1:07 $0.99
19. Shadkhn Tango / Rumanian Medley (live!) Metropolitan Klezmer
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11:33 $0.99
20. Moses' Morning After Maurice Schwartz
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0:19 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Metropolitan Klezmer's third CD is their most expressive disc yet, encompassing dynamic live and studio tracks, a wide range of approaches to traditionals (embracing Greek, Turkish, Rumanian, Russian, and Arabic roots of klezmer styles). The disc won a 2004 Outmusic Award for Outstanding New Recording/Instrumental -- though we also include many fabulous vocals, including lesser-known treasures. Interspersed among the band's studio tracks and live cuts is a series of excerpted archival gems. The group even revisits "Pick a Pocket or Two" from Oliver!, with a version that is surprising indeed.

Fun and virtuosic, the eight-piece ensemble's tight and imaginative arrangements bring new life to these pieces, adding trombone for the first time to their mix of clarinet, sax, accordion, violin, trumpet, vocals, ney flute, bass, tuba, drumset, dumbeq, and kanun (78-string plectrum zither). Rarely heard folk and theater songs are sung not only by luscious vocalist Deborah Karpel, but also through the miracle of reel-to-reel tape, by her grandfather Phillip Karpel, whose Yiddish tenor has a breathtakingly lovely old-world feel. A clarinet doyna and yearning hora by klezmer legend/original Greater Metropolitan Klezmer Band member Howie Leess are also featured.

Bonus tracks bring the energy of live performances from noted NYC clubs such as Joe's Pub at the Public Theater and the Knitting Factory, with great on-stage solos. And at the very top and finish of the CD, vocal samples of the great Yiddish theater and screen star Maurice Schwartz in his 1932 role as Uncle Moses, a drunken sweatshop owner, add flavor to the mix.

"Talk about a surprising find! ... the absolute best in the klezmer style. Whoever listens to Metropolitan Klezmer opens the encyclopedia of klezmer. It's a history lesson. Every song has the right liner notes and information on the original composers and performers in the accompanying booklet. Musically everything fits. All styles get their turn, from pieces of Yiddish musicals, from jazzy swing, pure Balkan, tango, and waltzes to a few very strong wedding dances. Some of the songs are presented live, others are medleys that fit together seamlessly and four short pieces are live recordings of Deborah Karpel's grandfather, taped in the mid-Sixties... A mandatory buy for the true lover of Klezmer, to whom I also recommend visiting their website. It is as well-tended as the CD's and booklets." - RootsTown Folk & Roots music magazine [Belgium], translated from Flemish

In addition to wonderful sounds and booklet graphics, all lyrics are printed in Yiddish, with both transliteration and translation into English. And the British reviewers at The Phat Planet (Music from the Whole Wide World) included "Surprising Finds" in their Top 30 Picks for all of world music in 2003.


Reviews


to write a review

Shaun Dale, Cosmik Debris

delightfully multi-dimensional, anything but stereotypical, and nothing but terr
An assemblage of eight outstanding musicians from the worlds of rock, jazz, folk and world music, Metropolitan Klezmer is one of (I'd argue strongly for *the*, but I'm sure of universal agreement on "one of") the best klezmer bands in the world today. That's high praise, but it was earned on the basis of their two previous albums, Yiddish For Travelers and Mosaic Persuasion. Surprising Finds, the group's third release, though, takes them to an even higher level, although I might not have believed such a thing was possible before hearing it.
Combining live and studio tracks with archival recordings from the Yiddish theater and the family archives of vocalist Deborah Karpel, the band draws on everything from the Broadway stage to traditional sources, with a healthy dose of their own creations folded into the mix, to present a delightfully multi-dimensional view of a musical form that is far too easily stereotyped, not only by those unfamiliar with its range, but unfortunately by some of its practitioners as well. Under the direction of drummer/ organizer/arranger/producer/wonder woman Eve Sicular, Metropolitan Klezmer is anything but stereotypical, and nothing but terrific.
If you already love klezmer music, you simply must acquire this album. If you don't know anything about klezmer music, you simply must acquire this album. If you have ears and live on earth, well, by now you know the drill....

Ira Kleiman

Very enjoyable
I really enjoyed this CD, even though I am not particularly into Klezmer and my Yiddish is rusty to say the least. It's just fun music with beautiful vocals. The music provides a wonderful insight into a musical world and culture of days gone by.

barry negrin

electrifying!
Among the best contemporary klezmer CDs, Surprising Finds is one you'll listen to over and over (and not just to annoy your rommate!).

Linda Dailey Paulson, Dirty Linen magazine

Cause for rejoicing
The "surprising finds" that Metropolitan Klezmer makes are musical treasures on Yiddish and mainstream film, as well as home recordings. They've rediscovered "Pick a Pocket or Two" from Oliver! and many traditional folk tunes. Part of the charm of this CD is that all these influences are incorporated into this modern recording seamlessly. The shining vocalist is Philip Karpel, grandfather of Deborah Karpel, recorded circa 1960. His a cappella voice is on four brief tracks. There are also four tracks capturing the group performing live. It's a very wonderful treat....

Each of these are very heart-opening recordings, joyful, introspective, and mindful of the world, played exuberantly by stellar musicians.
- DIRTY LINEN Folk & World Music Magazine

Songlines magazine (U.K.)

Top-class klezmer
The engine that drives the Metros is undoubtedly the band's dummer-leader, Eve Sicular. A polymath who lectures on Yiddish film when she isn't behind her drum-kit, Sicular has been playing for some time with an all-women's sextet, Isle of Klezbos, much of whose personnel overlaps with Metropolitan Klezmer.

Linda Dailey Paulson, Dirty Linen magazine

Cause for rejoicing
The "surprising finds" that Metropolitan Klezmer makes are musical treasures on Yiddish and mainstream film, as well as home recordings. They've rediscovered "Pick a Pocket or Two" from Oliver! and many traditional folk tunes. Part of the charm of this CD is that all these influences are incorporated into this modern recording seamlessly. The shining vocalist is Philip Karpel, grandfather of Deborah Karpel, recorded circa 1960. His a cappella voice is on four brief tracks. There are also four tracks capturing the group performing live. It's a very wonderful treat....

Each of these are very heart-opening recordings, joyful, introspective, and mindful of the world, played exuberantly by stellar musicians.
- DIRTY LINEN Folk & World Music Magazine

Judith Gennett, Green Man Reviews

MK continuing on their sturdy, raucous road with many threads intertwining
[Several] energetic MK tracks are live, but the recording is so good, and conversely the production so true, that it is hard to tell... One full-length "produced" item from the original band is a perky "Tailor's Bounce," which carries a sense of many threads intertwining.
Recommended for danceaholics and partygoers from anywhere...but especially those who like those Eastern sounds!

Ari Davidow, Klezmer Shack

A delectable dish!
Metropolitan Klezmer is one of the best urban klezmer dance bands around. The only thing better than listening to a Metropolitan Klezmer album is seeing them live. Given that, a "preview" of their new album, which includes even a few live tracks, is a treasure. Anchored by Sicular's precise, fluid drumming, and wonderful, brassy horns, Deborah Karpel's voice and a variety of lead instruments... tasty... delectable dish!

Phat Planet world music

Brilliant, breathless stuff, with levity amongst the gravity
One of New York's best known klezmer outfits, Metropolitan Klezmer, have produced a new album. 'Surprising Finds' brings us old music from, and new music within, the tradition, with plenty of levity in amongst the gravity... An apt title as this well-established 8-piece klezmer orchestra sift through evidence of the Jewish socialist tradition. On a fine selection of traditional tunes the group seek out the history of Jewish people arriving and becoming established in America, of the labour disputes and anti-semitic practices which kept Jews out of the mainstream work force. Not all of the tunes here are from tradition, though, there are some self-penned pieces here, such as the moving ‘Dreaming wizard’ which focusses on the separateness of Jews in American society in the early years of the 20th century. Other subjects are covered, too, with a tribute to the Soviet Yiddish Theatre which was eventually quashed by the paranoid Stalin. Overall, a great album celebrating the vibrant and living tradition that is klezmer – serious, melancholy, exhilarating and funny by turns – witness the mad Balkan groove recklessly driving the band’s cover of the Fagin masterpiece ‘Pick a pocket or two’. The first 30 seconds of the album appear in the soundclip below, as the band whip with humour and style into the opening 'Uncle Moses' wedding Dance'. Brilliant, breathless stuff.

RootsTown folk & roots music magazine (Belgium)

Seamless, strong and surprising delight [translated from Flemish]
Talk about a surprising find! ...The absolute best in the klezmer style. Whoever listens to Metropolitan Klezmer opens the encyclopedia of klezmer. It's a history lesson. Every song has the right liner notes and information on the original composers and performers in the accompanying booklet. Musically everything fits. All styles get their turn, from pieces of Yiddish musicals, from jazzy swing, pure Balkan, tango, and waltzes to a few very strong wedding dances. Some of the songs are presented live, others are medleys that fit together seamlessly and four short pieces are live recordings of Deborah Karpel's grandfather, taped in the mid-Sixties.
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