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Di Grine Kuzine
T3 Records (

Di Grine Kuzine is a Berlin-based, klezmer-rooted, Balkan brass band. The connection between klezmer and Balkan brass band music is a natural one as the original Eastern European Jewish musical repertoire owed much to Romanian, Gypsy and Ottoman influences. Since klezmer musicians were expected to be able to play Romanian horas and Serbian kolos as well as freylekhs and bulgars it is likely that a well traveled Eastern European Jewish band had an extensive repertoire.

"Esik Esö"
It is less likely that there were many klezmer brass bands until around the beginning of the 20th century. Law in many areas of Russia and Poland limited the musical instruments that Jews were allowed to play. In general, Jews could play quiet string instruments but could not play loud brass instruments. It wasn't until large numbers of Jews were drafted into the Czar's army that you had the conditions where Jews had access to horns, trombones and tubas. Draftees were allowed to keep their instruments when they mustered out of military service.

On Di Grine Kuzine's earlier albums, their repertoire was largely klezmer-based. On this new release, the songs are mostly Serbian and Bulgarian village dance pieces. The band's vocals are a strong suit. Alexandra Dimitroff has mastered the constricted throat sound that is often associated with Bulgarian vocal music. Listen to her vocal lead on cuts like "Esik Esö" and "Gigetanje." There's simply no other klezmer brass band that has a vocalist as strong as her.

Another strong suit is Steve Lukanky's excellent tuba playing. The newest member of the group, Lukanky shines on tracks like "Gustavs Son Tumbao." Compared to the string bass found in most other dance bands, the tuba adds a vibrant color to Di Grine Kuzine's music.

Raucous and unruly, Feribot is not traditional music. It's more like very hip village music played by urban post modernists. As the band says in the album's liner notes: "On this ship there is room for you all." - Aaron Howard

CD available at cdRoots

Di Grine Kuzine web site
Song: "Esik Esö" © 2001 Di Grine Kuzine, used by permission

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