The Odessa Klezmer Band was formed in 1998 by well-known figures of Hungarian folk-, world-, jazz and rock music. They discovered the folk music of Eastern-European Jews in the course of their work, - partly while collecting folk music in the Carpathian Basin, and partly while composing music for films, theatre and dance performances. As musicians, they were stunned by the beauty of the tunes, the uniqueness of performance, and by the peculiar instrumental ornamentation, which has a characteristic atmosphere - sometimes bitter, sometimes humorous and joking, or, at times, even ironic. They were also impressed by the ability with which the Jewish village performers could transform the music motifs of the people living beside them into their world of musical images, and last but not least by the playful and sometimes meditative improvisational skill which is manifest in their performance.

It would be impossible to list all those people who the Odessa Klezmer Band consider to be their masters. These musicians include H. Steiner, Max Liebovitz, Joseph Solinski, Abe Schwartz, Oscar Zehngut, Dave Tarras, Alex Fiedel, Art Shryer, Mishka Tsiganoff, Vasile . Rajna. Covaci from Maramures, and Avram Bughici from Moldavia, and, among those Hungarian folk musicians who preserved traces of this music, Iván Mádi from the Trans-Carpathian Ukraine, Béla Gáspár, Ferenc Árus, and Árpád Toni, from Transylvania.

The OKB reaches back to the old layer of Eastern European Jewish melodies, and strives for the most precise acquisition of the archaic style. It blends, however, tradition with new and modern music elements characteristic of all living folk music. This makes its style unique and authentic, while remaining faithful to the sound of the Jewish band from Toponár, as remembered in the poem by Csokonai Vitéz Mihály.

01 A rabbi tánca / The Rabbi's dance
02 A klezmer sóhaja / The sigh of Klezmer
03 A fidulás zsidó / Yidl with the fiddle
04 Hajnali dojna / Doina at dawn
05 Nagyapa tánca / Granddad's dance
06 Ifjak tánca / Youth's dance
07 Kárpáti menyasszony / Fiancée form the Carpathians
08 Kárpáti vőlegény / Fiancé from the Carpathian
09 Hora
10 Fáj a szívem, vigadj velem! / My heart aches, rejoice with me
11 Belz
12 Lassú és gyors / Slow and fast
13 Alkonyi dojna / Doina at dusk
14 Bölcsödal / Lullaby
15 D.J. Hasid

Béla Ágoston - clarinets, saxophones
Károly Babos - percussions
Mihály Huszár - double bass, accordion, bass guitar
Ferenc Kiss - koboz, viola, tambura, kaval, harmonica
Zsigmond Lázár - fiddle

Kati Szvorák - voice
László Fekete - The leading cantor of the Dohány street Synagogue - voice
Bence Huszár- trombone
János Mazura - tuba
Miklós Mákó - trumpet
Miklós Lukács - cymbal
Zoltán Szabó- bagpipe
D.J. Mango - scratch


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"Americans who are finally getting used to the idea of their own country as multicultural are often surprised to find that France is undergoing the same stresses and gaining the same musical benefits. Les Negresses Vertes is a magnificent example of the latter. This group's cultural roots are partly in Paris, partly in Algeria and Spain, with healthy amounts of influence from Nashville and urban America. To all these should be added the theatricality of circus music three of the original members had worked in the Zingaro Horse Circus in Southern France, while a fourth was a professional clown. The combination of all these influences is jazzy, street-smart, and very danceable. While some members of the band were less than virtuosos on their instruments, they made up for this deficiency by laying down a boisterous party groove backed by a propulsive brass section. The alternation between Noel Rota's fast and furious solo vocals and the ragged choruses provided by the rest of the band adds to the complex dynamic of the group. Add to this the fact that Rota had a real gift as a songwriter and arranger, and you have a hit machine in the making. Mlah got an excellent reception from critics in Britain and the U.S., and several tracks even managed to get airplay despite the American tendency to ignore anything not sung in English. It was a great start for the band, though it is arguable that they never again approached this level of entertainment."

Richard Foss, All Music Guide

"Les Negresses Vertes' frantic swirling melange of European and African musical traditions provides as good a place as any to enter the swing doors accessing the cross-connecting corridors of World Music, the enjoyment of which need not be the preserve of balding ethnomusicologists with metaphorical butterfly nets. Their first album, from 1989, is a shuffling alphabet soup of sound which bulldozes across musical barriers with feckless abandon - serving up the overlapping sounds of rai, flamenco, ska and the crooning chansons to a divertingly dizzy effect."
Paul Davies, Q Magazine

01. La Valse
02. Zobi La Mouche
03. C'est Pas La Mer A Boire
04. Voila I'ete
05. Orane
06. La Faim Des Haricots
07. Les Yeux De Ton Pere
08. Il
09. L'homme Des Marais
10. Les Rablablas Les Roubliblis
11. Marcelle Ratafia
12. La Danse Des Negresses Vertes
13. Hey Maria
14. Les Pere Magloire

Helno (vocals); Mellino (vocals, guitar); Mathieu Canavese (guitar, accordion, background vocals); Paulo (guitar, bass, background vocals); Abraham Sirinix (harmonica, trombone, percussion, background vocals); Twist (trumpet, percussion); L'Ami Ro (piano, percussion, background vocals); Gaby (drums, percussion); Iza, Juanita, Julo, Nono (background vocals)


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