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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa


Published April 7, 2006

The Twelve Tribes
Label Bleu

A founding member of the Klezmatics, clarinetist David Krakauer established his reputation as a spirited and deft player of klezmer, the fast-paced music of Jewish wedding ceremonials. As a solo artist, Krakauer has explored the solemn, spiritual side of Judaic music, but on The Twelve Tribes he picks up the tempo. On “Tribe Number Thirteen,” Krakauer and Klezmer Madness put the klezmer cry to an angular, 12-beat blues for a sound marrying old world Jewish ghetto to avant-jazz demimonde. The band then plays some traditional cuts with bristling energy, and some nontraditional electric guitar. Krakauer follows with two long, somber pieces, linking the cry of the Jewish shofar on Rosh Hashanah with the World Trade Center attacks. As a reminder that klezmer is high-spirited and not high-minded, the band does “Television Frailachs,” a klezmerized take on theme songs from old sitcoms. Recently klezmer was virtually dead, but musicians like Krakauer have loved it back to life.