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The Well

4.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 9, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: World Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 9-OCT-2001

Amazon.com

Loneliness, loss, displacement, and death loom large among the topics covered in the 15 Yiddish poems set to melodies by popular Israeli folksinger Chava Alberstein, and arranged by New York's exploratory Klezmatics, on this deeply sad and beautiful album. Anyone familiar with the Klezmatics' more rambunctious side will be impressed by the inventive delicacy and subtlety they bring to these elegant vestiges of fading Yiddish culture, virtually reanimating it with tangos, Hasidic melodies, polkas, and festive freylekhs that recall its vibrant past. Alberstein's low voice meshes beautifully with Lorin Sklamberg's high tenor, adding extra emotional resonance to a series of poems in the middle of the album that evoke the genocide twilight that enveloped the writers' world half a century ago. Their tragedy is redeemed in The Well. --Richard Gehr

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Di Krenitse
  2. Ikh Shtey Unter A Bokserboym
  3. Ergets Shtil/Baym Taykh
  4. Ver Es Hot
  5. Ovnt Lid
  6. A Malekh Veynt
  7. Bay Nakht
  8. Vek Nisht
  9. Kh'vel Oyston Di Shikh
  10. Mayn Shvester Khaye
  11. Umetik
  12. Di Elter
  13. Velkhes Meydl S'nemt A Bokher
  14. Di Goldene Pave
  15. Zayt Gezunt


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 9, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • ASIN: B00005PJBT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,172 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have long been a fan of Chava Alberstein. And who does not love the music of the Klezmatics?? Combine the two, one vocalist with a voice like honey, and one band, which gives new meaning to the word superlative, and you get "The Well," a glorious CD of new Yiddish poems set to extraordinary music. Too many adjectives here? Well, when you listen to "The Well" I am sure you will agree with my praise.
The songs are tender, soulful, philosophical, heartbreaking, sometimes upbeat and humorous, charming, and always moving. The haunting strains and beautiful lyrics of "Ikh Shtey Unter A Bokserbaum," "A Malekh Veynt," "Ovnt Lid," "Kh'vel Oyston Di Shikh," and "Umetik" can bring tears to your eyes as they evoke poignant memories of a culture and a language almost lost to us. These poems will bring you joy, reminding you that there are artists, and many others, who are dedicated to keeping Yiddishkeit alive. "Mayn Shvester Khaye," (poem by Binem Heller), which commemorates the poet's sister who died in the Holocaust, is one of the most exquisite songs I have ever heard. The uplifting "Di Krenitse" brings memories of life in the shtetle and showcases the talents of the Klezmatics. And throughout, the beauty of the Yiddish language shines.
This is one of my favorite CDs. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
JANA
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Format: Audio CD
People who have followed the Klezmatics know that they are always bending genres in their superb arrangements. People who have followed Chava Alberstein's career know that in addition to being the "Joan Baez of Israel" she has some serious Yiddish chops. This album combines the Klezmatics' musicianship and range with Alberstein's unique sensibilities as she writes the music and they arrange it to interpret the work of some of the greatest Yiddish poets in the 20th Century. The poems speak mostly of universal themes although a couple are more specifically Jewish. If you don't speak or understand Yiddish, don't let that deter you. The liner notes offer complete translations along with tranliterations and original Yiddish (the text COULD be bigger).
This is not klezmer music, not Israeli music, but a wonderful hybrid that acknowledges the poetry's Eastern European roots while looking ahead to give the words a new, living voice.
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This CD contains some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. The Klezmatics are first-rate musicians, and their blend of sounds here is very emotive. Chava Alberstein has a hauntingly rich voice, and her work here is outstanding. This album is among my all-time favorites.
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By A Customer on February 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Please, please don't pay any attention to the 1-star review below -- Alberstein's musical settings and interpretations of Yiddish poems are very striking, and the collaboration with the Klezmatics really works!
However, you can go this one better by snagging a copy of Chava's latest release, "Foreign Letters" (on Rounder Records). Both CDs were produced by Chava and Ben Mink (k.d. lang's former bandleader)-- he knows how to work with singers, and the arrangements alone are worth the price of the CD. My only quibble: the English translations of lyrics aren't as good as they could be, but that's a minor problem at best.
Alberstein's from Israel, but she brings some of the best French chanson singers to mind. Her eclecticism is one of her greatest strengths.
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As a life-long gentile fan of klezmer, let me say this is one set of songs which really speaks to your mind, body, and soul, whether you're Jewish or not. They pretty much showcase a full range of human emotions, as well as drawing on some religious and historical themes. At the same time, the band also incorporates various music genres while leaving the klezmer part intact.
If you should buy this, you won't be the least bit disappointed, but very happy and satisfied. :)
Bottom line on "The Well": A+
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By A Customer on August 11, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is a GRAMMY nomination album. A true Gem. It's a pleasure to see that people are still relating to music and art. Great work Chava Alberstein and The Klezmatics
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Poems by Yiddish poets set to music by Chava Alberstein. The music fits the poetry; the music fits the voice of Ms Alberstein. The album comes with a booklet that has the Yiddish words, a Yiddish transliteration and and English translation. Mayn Shvester Khaye will "tear your heart out." My mother (86 years old) was very moved by Di Elter. I do not understand Yiddish, yet this music moved me.
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This deeply affecting album is a song cycle of poems by Twentieth Centurty Yiddish poets. Transcending any categoration, this is a nearly seamless combination of elements from klezmer, French chanson, lieder and modern folk styles, including Israeli folk. Alberson's music is at once joyful and tragic. Her understated singing is deeply moving, and matches the different poem styles and settings: wry, joyful, melancholic and tragic. This is music from the heart, brilliantly abetted by the Klezmatics, who willingly leave Alberson's singing at center stage, while again demonstrate their ability to carry the Klezmer style and sensibility into modern music. Highly recommended.
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