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Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack review of Shmoozin'

Jessica Nicholas' review of Launch Concert. The Age Fri 20th June 2008

Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack review of The Black Cat

Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack review of Oystralia

Klezmania's lively Oystralia

Sam Lipski

In the beginning there was the Klezmer Trio. Now there is Klezmania, a quartet which grew out of the trio, with more than a dozen instruments (including didgeridoo) between them, playing and singing up a storm on their first CD oystralia. Anyone with the slightest feel for this marvellous music, its classic songs of theatre and celebration, and the power of Yiddish vernacular to stir and amuse should make sure they have this recording.

It is, of course, especially noteworthy that the performers are our own oystralians Freydi Mrocki, David Breytman, David Krycer and Lionel Mrocki. But that doesn't mean we need to make any allowances for the homegrown product.

On the contrary, it is really exciting to see how this latest example of Klezmania's art is a CD whose musical, recording and authenticity standards compare with the best of the international klezmer CDs now proliferating in Israel, North America and Europe. In some aspects of its presentation, such as the way the songs are made available in transliterated Yiddish and English translation, it is even better than the best.

There are some familiar tracks, and some that will be new to lovers of Yiddish song. All are presented with freshness. The title number is a clever piece of Oz-Yiddish and great good fun. On this track and elsewhere, Freydi Mrocki is in better and more robust voice than ever, her playful change of mood and expression in Di Varnitshkes and then the tug at the heartstrings with her a capella lullaby Dremlen Feygl show her growth as an artist over recent years. Her clear Yiddish expression, distinct and word by word is, as always, a joy.

Freydi's fellow musicians give superbly understated support as backing singers where appropriate and come into their own strongly in the instrumental accompaniment and solos - especially with clarinet, harmonica and accordion. (CD Klezmania Records OZKLEZ 001)