This self-titled recording by female quintet Mikveh builds on the increasing popularity and familiarity of Klezmer, the musical tradition of Ashkenazic Jewry. Jazzy, cartoony brass is de-emphasized in favor of a more intimate sound, secured by Lauren Brody's accordion and Nicki Parrott's bass, foundation for Margot Leverett's festive clarinet. The spires of Mikveh are the sinuous, demonic fiddle of Alicia Svigals, and the passionate, contrasting vocals of Brody and Adrienne Cooper, one deep and full-bodied, the other light and winged. Lyrics, translated to English in the booklet as appropriate, unfailingly avoid tedium and cliché, the entire production benefiting from a live feel, immediate and direct.
The wonders of the post-salvation world recounted in "Vos Vet Zaym" invite comparison with Lou and Peter Berryman's "Glorious Prediction," the accordion-based waltz waxing hypnotic as many voices and Svigals' fiddle join in a round, resolving into an accelerating two-step. "Di Arbuzn's" bouncy accordion two-step, with three-voice harmony vocals declaiming harvest and fertility, keeps spirits high.
Mikveh leads you through plenty of emotional ups and downs, but with a pleasingly expressive authenticity and a complete absence of maudlin manipulation. - Jim Foley
Audio: "A gutn ovnt Brayne" trad/arr Mikveh
Comment on this music or the web site.
Write a Letter to the Editor