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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa


By Michael Stone
Published June 22, 2006

Oy! Klezmer

In Yiddish "tummel" means noise, unruly commotion, general disorder, an accurate characterization of this energetic, eclectic Danish-Swedish klezmer band's joyous musical irreverence. Co-founders Sofi Håkansson (flute, darbouka) and Tobias Allvin (bouzouki, mandolin, guitars) inject the ensemble with an especially Eastern sound, melding beautifully with Annika Jessen's warbling clarinet (and vocals), Edin Bahtijaragic's Bosnian-tinged accordion and keyboard work, and the muddy swirl of Pär Moberg's saxophones and Øivind Alexander Slaatto's tuba, all grounded by the dead-on percussion of Daniel Perrson. The repertoire offers eight traditional pieces, including a demonic, heavy-metal "Baym Reben's Sideh"; a fast-stepping, accordion funk-laden "Tanz Yiddelech"; a driving, bittersweet "Sherele"; and Jessen's sprightly interpretation of "Leben Zol Palestina," inspired by klezmer clarinet legend Naftule Brandwein. Rounding out the album are five erudite originals by Allvin ("Mazltov Cocktail," "Baba Ganoush Overload"), Håkansson ("No Problem"), Jessen (a contemplative, almost prayerful "Doina for Restless Souls") and Moberg (a cartoonish "Iono," complete with bull and bicycle horns, skittle rhythm and laughing children). In sum, a refreshing addition to the New Klezmer oeuvre. As Tummel themselves put it, "Forward in all directions!"