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Tsuker-Zis by Frank London and Loren Sklamberg

Multi-instrumentalist Frank London and vocalist / keyboardist Loren Sklamberg are co-leaders of the Grammy-winning klezmer group The Klezmatics. Theirs is a musical partnership that is well into its second decade, and the stylistic ground they've covered during this time is as diverse as anyone could imagine - from revisiting classic Klezmer songs, to adaptations of Woody Guthrie's folk music, to collaborations with classical violinist Itzhak Perlman and Tony Award winning playwright Tony Kushner. London has been involved in countless musical projects of extraordinarily high artistic merit - most prominently the ultra-high energy Klez-fusion band Hasidic New Wave, which he co-led with saxophonist Greg Wall.

However, the music on "Tsuker-Zis" stands on its own, well apart from London's and Sklamberg's other projects and various ongoing collaborations. This CD, whose title means 'sugar sweet,' is actually a collection of Jewish holiday music for Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Passover, and Purim. Sklamberg's delicate tenor remains at the front and center throughout, vocalizing in both Yiddish and Hebrew while London contributes warm and gallantly restrained brass. Emphasizing the reverential, lyrical, and devotional aspects of Jewish folk and liturgical music, the duo introduces a variety of unexpected and seemingly incongruous musical flavors such as Ara Dinkjian's oud and Deep Singh's tablas, and ex-Psychedelic Furs Knox Chandler's effects-laden electric guitar. Acoustic textures dominate, though Chandler's guitar is used to great effect on several tunes. While "Tsuker-Zis" never approaches the energy levels routinely accessed by the Klezmatics, it is a beautiful artistic statement suggesting the existence of some sort of easily accessible cultural and spiritual nexus where people from all faiths can understand and appreciate each others' cultures.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Frank London and Loren Sklamberg
  • CD Title: Tsuker-Zis
  • Genre: World Music
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Tzadik
  • Tracks: A Sukkah of Branches, Blessings Without End, Our Life is Sugarsweet, Our Parent Our Sovereign, Increase Our Joy, The Days Between #1, The Lord Sent His Servant, The Days Between #2, Heed Not The Accuser, Elijah The Prophet Bought A Red Cow, Greeks Gathered Against Me (Intro), Greeks Gathered Against Me, Mighty Blessed Great Prominent Glorious... Is Our God, One Two Three Four
  • Musicians: Frank London (trumpet, alto horn, flugelhorn, harmonium), Lorin Sklamberg (vocals, accordion), Kox Chandler (electric guitar, electronics), Ara Dinkjian (oud, saz, cumbus), Deep Singh (tabla, dhol)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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