\"Veretski Pass,\" East European Jewish Music

San Francisco, USA – Golden Horn Records has released Veretski Pass,
Traditional East European Jewish Music
by the trio of the same name, made up of klezmer veterans Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz and Stuart Brotman. Much of
the music on this recording comes from and near the region of the Veretski Pass
(after which the group is named) in the Transcarpathian region of what is now
Ukraine, the main crossroads through which the Jews traversed the Carpathian
Bow. Some melodies were passed on to Cookie by her father who was born in the
town of Nizhni Veretski, at the base of this pass. Others were collected by the
members themselves in their travels throughout Eastern Europe. Much of the music
on this CD is recorded for the first time. The instruments used on this
recording are largely 19th Century versions of the violin, viola, 3 stringed
bass, basy (3 stringed polish folk cello), bayan (early chromatic button
accordion), tsimbl (Jewish hammered dulcimer) and baraban (Jewish bass drum).There is a suite of Crimean Tatar music. The Crimean Tatars are considered one of the three indigenous peoples
of the Crimean Peninsula. Hoping to strip the Crimean Tatars of their ethnicity,
Stalin eliminated close to half of their population and decimated their cultural
institutions. The Tatars therefore viewed the German occupation of Crimea as
their last hope of survival. The Nazis in turn saw this as a unique opportunity
to turn other Russian minorities against Stalin, so they declared the Tatars a
people and recorded their folk music on 78 r.p.m discs. These recordings were
made available to Verestki Pass by Prof. Martin Schwartz (from the collection of
Dr. Zev Feldman) and reappear here for the first time in a new interpretation.

There is also a rare Karaite song, followed by improvisations and a fiddle song performed on a scordatura violin. The Karaite Jews accept only the
written word of the Old Testament and reject the rabbinical Oral Commentaries.
As a people, they have also been brutally subjugated by their neighbors and
spurned by the Jewish Community at large. Their music has been kept close to
their culture.

There are also original compositions, a suite with a bass and viola duet,
traditional Jewish and Ukrainian dance tunes all accompanied by booklet with
rich photographs and finely wrought essays by each of the members of the trio,
making this album a treasure trove of sound and word.