From the opening guitar effects and analog synth bass line to the final sounds of instruments being packed away in their cases, this CD creates a uniquely evocative world. Forshpil has drunk very deeply from the well of Yiddish traditional music and absorbed its finest nuances of expression, phrasing and ornamentation. That forms the constant, steady core in a brilliant new musical synthesis inspired by late 1960s/early 1970s music. But not only the sounds of analog synthesizers, the Fender Rhodes, Farfisa organ and blues/surf guitar on this CD point back to that musical era; even more so it is how they are used in long, stretched-out, improvised jams to take the listener on journeys aimed at something beyond normal, everyday experience. That same spiritual quality prepared the way for young American musicians 40 years ago to appreciate the recordings of doinasterkishers and khusidls by early 20th-century masters such as Tarras and Brandwine, and led directly to the "klezmer revival" beginning in the late 1970s. So Forshpil's synthesis of late 1960s/early 1970s music with much older, traditional Yiddish music is neither exotic nor far-fetched, on the contrary, it makes explicit a deep affinity that has been there all along. This CD rescues the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, soul-searching, booty-shaking, cruel beauties of Yiddish music from the harmful irrelevancy of far too many nostalgic interpretations. Obsessive love, shattered dreams and shipwrecked lives have been the territory of Yiddish folk song for many generations; the music of Forshpil makes us believe it. Ilya Shneyveys's arrangements and keyboard playing are risky and brilliant, Sasha Lurje's multi-colored, deeply passionate singing does honor to the great Yiddish singers of the past and present, Aleksandr Aleksandrov's highly individual guitar playing creates strong links to to R&B, funk, reggae, progressive rock and avant-garde music, and Zheka Lizin's drumming ties it all together with precise and always natural-feeling grooves. The guests on the CD - Christian Dawid, Paul Brody, Dzintars Vīksna and Alan Bern - add valuable contributions from klezmer music, jazz, R&B, Latin music and beyond. It all works. At the end, only one question remains: how many times will you hold your breath listening to this CD?

Dr. Alan Bern,
Chairman othermusic e.V.,
director Yiddish Summer Weimar