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Magnus Säll: The jewish folk music sends a signal through the time

On the sepiafärgade old photo you see the eight musicians arranged in the studio environment. Young, serious men in dark suit, tie and brushed back hair. They have the guitar, the mandolin or the balalaika in the hands. The picture was taken in 1925 and depicts the Stahlhammers orchestra, which played at weddings and parties in the Polish town of Krasnik. After the second world war was not the orchestra left. Holocaust firestorm had swept by them, as well as the most of the vibrant jewish music scene in Central and Eastern europe.

The older man in the picture is the orchestra director Zisel Stahlhammer. Almost a hundred years after the photo was taken gives his grandchildren Semmy out the album ”In memory” (Cugate Classics), with its group Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic Trio. It is a tribute to his grandfather, and his band. The photo is reproduced on the cover.

technically powered. This is kammarklezmer in evening dress and evening dress, dignified and elegant. They also play tango, a march, a few jewish couplets. The music is far from the location of the do-it-yourself attitude of some of the other bands. Not so strange, either, Semmy Stahlhammer is distinguished violinist and has been first concertmaster at the Royal Opera house (he has also written about the family's dramatic story in the book ”Codename barber My fathers story”).

In August, the group comes out with another album, ”Vayter”, together with singer Anne Kalmering. She sings in yiddish and ladino (the language spoken in medieval jewish Spain), and the trio is playing it straighter and with a more direct approach. Kalmering characterize the songs with her warm, smoky voice. Sadly, playful, strong.

current record with the jewish music is ”Shtoltse suffering” (Kakafon/Naxos) with the young Swedish-Danish duo of Ida & Louise. They highlight five female jiddischpoeter out of history's oblivion. They are doing fine and responsive interpretations on vocals, piano and soprano sax. A lonely melody blows like an autumn leaf through an alley.

I look at the old photo again. It sends a signal through the time: We have been around! Jiddischkulturen dog never really out. The music of Stahlhammers orchestra has wriggled through the history of the hole and landed in the present day.

Read more musiktexter of Magnus Säll, for example, Yemen Blues has the joy of playing.

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