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World Music CD Reviews North American

KLEZMER JUICE

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 27, 2006

Klezmer Juice
ARC EUCD

This Los Angeles-based band invigorates the soul of the klezmer genre without adding any extraneous modern elements to it. The band appeared in the recent Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson hit comedy Wedding Crashers, and their version of “Hava Nagila” was included on the film's soundtrack. On this disc, they run through a catalog of high-spirited party favorites that will provide diehard klezmer fans and relative newcomers alike with plenty of foot-tapping moments. Particular attention should be paid to the “Waltz Medley,” which blends four traditional songs, linking them with a manic3/4 beat, and “Zemer Atik,” an energetic track, recorded in one take, that encourages the listener to get up and dance. On the other hand, the band has also recorded the beautiful and touching “Ofyn Pripetshik,” a song that became an anthem for the Jewish survivors of WWII and which, according to the album's liner notes, is “a cry for understanding and respect.”