Yiddish Lidele (ARC Music, 2009)
Although most of the klezmer music made in the United States seems to be concentrated in the northeast, specially New York, the West Coast also has a growing scene. Argentine clarinetist Gustavo Bulgach leads one of the top klezmer groups in California, Klezmer Juice. Gustavo Bulgach’s distinctive and lively style has earned him the title The Prince of West Coast Klezmer.
"The rest of the world is really eager to listen to what’s going on in the West Coast Klezmer movement," states Bulgach, who lives in Los Angeles "California is known for being a very diverse state, and that may be the bridge to connect Jewish life to mainstream life."
Yiddish Lidele is the latest recording by Klezmer Juice. Bulgach’s background contributes to Klezmer Juice’s musical eclecticism, which includes Argentine tango, blues, swing and Indian ragas. "Klezmer is like a soapy pig. Everybody’s trying to catch it, but every time someone gets a hold of it, it slips away from them."
The CD’s repertory includes traditional klezmer songs arranged in Bulgach’s own inimitable style, as well as tunes composed by the likes of legendary klezmorim Max Epstein. There are also two original tracks, including Librescu Tango, an uplifting dance written by Bulgach in memory of Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor murdered in the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre.
Professor Librescu, a Romanian Jew, was shot while barricading a gunman out of a room from which his students were escaping. "The great courage he showed in the final moments of his life inspired me to transform the anger I felt at the time into a beautiful melody, a dance song" says Bulgach. "The survivors of the Holocaust are always showing us the way to live correctly and courageously."
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