Jiddische Lieder is a remarkable, if somewhat flawed recording of old Yiddish folk standards and lesser known gems. It is remarkable because the Yiddish ballads are performed with a deft and beautiful touch. At their best, the arrangements are simple and understated. Dem Milners Trern (“The Miller’s Tears”) alone makes the album worthwhile. Listen to the beautiful mandolin playing on this cut (Listen Here) in which a few notes waft across the interval between the vocal stanzas: gorgeous! On Dortn, Dortn and all the ballads, the tenor vocals convey sweet and ravishing beauty. The song choices are unusual and almost always interesting.
Where else will you hear a German folk ensemble perform songs extolling Jewish resistance (Shtil, Di Nacht Iz Oysgesternt) against Nazi tyranny? The irony of a German (non-Jew) singing the praises of the valiant Jewish female partisan for blowing up the “hated enemy’s convoy” is simply delicious to my Jewish ear (though I wonder whether the group members were aware of this).
That being said, there are a few caveats. This is a GERMAN group performing Yiddish songs. So it is disconcerting to hear Yiddish pronouned as if it were German (which it most definitely isn’t). There are many resemblances & similarities between the two languages, but a non-Yiddish speaking ensemble should take more time to learn correct pronunciation.
The uptempo songs on this recording have a little too much of the German oompa sound to them. Lots of simple, pounding beat and not much subtlety. But even a song like “Dire Gelt,” which gets the oompa treatment big time is such an interesting song that I could almost forgive the overpowering arrangement.
Please Note: This mp3 blog showcases my love for traditional music. I hope you come, listen, enjoy, and follow the links to buy the music. Such good deeds reward the artists I feature here and allow me to cover a small portion of the expense involved in maintaining this blog.