Klezmer goes Dutch


Amulet (Chamsa Records, 2004)

Music from the Jewish Diaspora, broadly known as Klezmer, has its roots in
East & West European traditional music. The music became adorned with styles & influences picked up and assimilated as the Jewish people moved west across the
continent, no doubt bringing as much as they had borrowed. There is a
timelessness about this sound, tinged with sadness, joy, loss, celebration,
regret and a million other emotions and Nikitov have encapsulated its very
essence on ‘Amulet‘. Composed of three instrumentalists and a female
vocalist, Nikitov (50/50 US/Dutch and based in Haarlem, near Amsterdam) feature
violin, acoustic guitar and double bass. In recognition of Klezmer’s origins the
group, all trained accomplished musicians, have given their music a strong tinge
of Eastern European traditional music and more than a hint of slinky, rhythmic,
Gypsy jazz. All of the elements of an acoustic classic are here – with the pure and
emotive vocal of Niki Jacobs and Jelle van Tongeren’s violin switching from
lamenting Yiddish melodies to richly evocative manouche moves. American
guitarist Adam Good plays Django-style and, along with slick bassman Jason
Sypher, brings a very rhythmic feel to the set. The recording was made in
downtown Brooklyn, NY (where else?) and the whole album is infused with a warm
and comfortable ambiance in which the various musical influences blend to
perfection. There are 13 tracks in all and the mood ranges from the upbeat to
the downright melancholy – a roots Klezmer classic with more than enough in
terms of light & shade.

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