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Songlines picks "Splendor" as one of the 10 best CDs of 2012!
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The Broken Sound, a feature-length documentary about The Other Europeans, is now available! Watch or download it online or order the DVD directly from this website!

Splendor (Ethnomusic Records) – Reviewed in #82
The Other Europeans bring together Jewish and Gypsy music and get their name from the fact that both groups have been marginalised – or worse – by the nations of Europe. But they also explore the way klezmer and Roma lautari musicians worked together in Bessarabia (now Moldova) before WWII . The project is led by American pianist and accordionist Alan Bern and includes Christian Dawid (clarinet), Matt Darriau (winds), Martin Bunea (violin), Petar Ralchev (accordion), Kalman Balogh (cimbalom) and GuySchalom (drums). This live album features largely unknown repertoire, unlike so many klezmer discs which recycle the same tunes (read Bern’s fascinating notes online: www.other-europeans-band.eu). Every time I listen to this, I’m impressed by the music and the exceptional instrumental playing.
--- Simon Broughton, Songline, Dez. 7, 2012
Finally some 's CD that not all musicians simultaneously play the whole concert so there pretty much always a color music sounds. Alan Bern created a tasty combination of diversity in a duo-trio and quartet ensembles. There are several combinations involving over accordion, violin, cymbal, trumpet, clarinet, and plenty of sparkle. In this way the musicians subtly freely. Partly because of the versatility and virtuosity of the Klezmer and Roma musicians create a diverse double-CD with a new approach to Klezmer and Roma music. Constantly being exchanged between the two styles here and there excellent assimilate. In addition, the concert interspersed with ensemble work in which the entire orchestra plays and music as a hot tub rolling and sliding all over you that not a drop goes over the edge. The debut album "Splendor" CD by Alan Bern's Project: The Other Europeans Splendid indeed, brilliant. A group of fourteen musicians were brought together by pianist / accordionist Alan Bern and initiator themselves modestly in the background during this live CD recorded in Weimar (Germany) 2009.

The starting point of the music of The Other Europeans, Moldova. A country that was torn by the IIde World War, the Holocaust and immigration. Alan Bern tries through music unify the 'Other Europe'.
He brought the best and professional musicians from eight different countries together their musical baggage now sharing. The Other Europeans were initially financially assisted by the Cracow Festival of Jewish Culture and Klezmore Festival in Vienna.
Nowadays, the band stand on their own and this wonderful double CD 'Splendor' is a first step in that direction.

Alan Bern (1955) is one of the leading figures in the revival of klezmer music in the '80s. He caused a furore with his band Brave Old World which he (along with the violinist Itzhak Perlman) occurs in the Emmy Award-winning film "In the Fiddler's House". Moreover, he has performed with the Klezmatics, which includes the trumpeter Frank London and reed player Matt Darriau who also plays in The Other Europeans.
The Other Europeans are: Alan Bern (Piano, Director, Accordion) Adam Stinga (Trumpet), Adrian Receanu (Clarinet), Christian Dawid (clarinet), Csaba Novak (Bass), Daniel Black Mountain (trombone), Guy Shalom (Drums) Kalman Balogh (cimbalom), Marin Bunea (Violin, Vocals), Mark Rubin (tuba, bass), Matt Darriau (Sax, Flute, Clarinet), Paul Brody
--- BBC Radio6, 2012
The Other Europeans explore the intersection of Jewish and Roma music
The Other Europeans are 14 musicians from eight different countries in Europe and North America – eight of whom form a klezmer ensemble and six of whom comprise a lautar ensemble.
Lautar is the music of Eastern European Roma (Gypsies). Some of the selections on Splendor, a splendid two-CD set recorded live at the Yiddish Summer Weimar 2009 in Germany, feature one or the other of the two ensembles, or parts thereof, while much of the album has all 14 of the musicians playing together.
The Other Europeans project has been spearheaded by pianist and accordionist Alan Bern, perhaps best known for his work as a member of Brave Old World, a band at the forefront of the creation of new Jewish music over the past couple of decades. Other members of the Klezmer Ensemble include clarinet and saxophone player Christian Dawid; Matt Darriau (of the Klezmatics), on kaval, piccolo, clarinet and saxophone; and Mark Rubin, who started his career as a member of the altcountry duo Bad Livers, on tuba and bass.
Among the members of the Lautar Ensemble are cimbalom player Kalman Balogh, accordionist Petar Ralchev and trumpeter Adam Stinga.
Historically, as Walter Zev Feldman mentions in his liner notes, Jewish and Roma musicians had little, if any, interaction in most areas of Eastern Europe, except in Greater Hungary, primarily in the 18th century, and in Moldova, particularly in the province of Bessarabia, from the 18th century until the Holocaust. The music also crossed over to North America with Jewish immigrants in the late-19th and early-20th centuries,
but declined in both America and Moldova by the 1950s – in America due to assimilationist tendencies, and in Moldova due to the Soviet policy of creating a Moldovan ethnic music that was, as Feldman notes, “free from Jewish influence.”
The repertoire the Other Europeans explore on Splendor – which they perform brilliantly – is the klezmer and lautar music played in Bessarabia before the Second World War.
Whether in the smaller klezmer and lautar groupings or in the combined forces of the full ensemble, the music is compelling, exciting and beautiful.
Among my favourite selections from the klezmer repertoire are “Khaiterma,” a delightful classic that features Darriau on clarinet bouncing his notes off Rubin’s slap-bass playing; and the two-part “Klezmer Suite #1,” particularly the wild second part.
My favourite lautar selection is the two-part “Lautar Clarinet Suite #1,” which begins in a slow, contemplative mode before picking up steam. The piece almost seems classical.
--- Michael Regenstreif, Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, April 23, 2012
Splendor – The Other Europeans
The Other Europeans is a new 'supergroup" of musicians from the world of klezmer (Jewish music) in partnership with lautari (Roma gypsy musicians). Founder Alan Bern (known from the leading Klezmer ensemble Brave Old World) recognized the unmistakable similarity between klezmer and gypsy music and discovered that in Bessarabia (a region in the current Moldova) villages where Jews and Gypsies lived very close together survived until World War II, the Holocaust and emigration drove them apart. The klezmer and lautar musicians of that era took their inspiration from same repertoire but played in a different way depending on the audience. Old klezmer records and ethnographic recordings from Moldova, books and articles, and interviews: all these sources of information served as tools, because ultimately there are no written arrangements that are conclusive as to how the music in Bessarabia when truly sounded.

Alan Bern chose to work with two subensembles. The intention was not to simply revive old music, but to use it as a basis for an innovative and creative project. To fulfill this mission, the finest virtuosos of both worlds are necessary. In the 8-piece klezmer subgroup, we find the following musicians from Western Europe and the United States Alan Bern (piano, accordion), Christian Dawid (clarinet), Mark Rubin (tuba, bass), Matt Darriau (sax, flutes, clarinet), Paul Brody (trumpet), Guy Shalom (drums), Daniel Blacksberg (trombone) and Stas Rayko (violin). Musicians from Eastern Europe populate the sextet Lautari subgroup: Adam Stinga (trumpet), Adrian Receanu (clarinet), Csaba Novak (bass), Kalman Balogh (cimbalom), Marin Bunea (violin, vocals) and Petar Ralchev (accordion).

The result of this intriguing concept can be heard on the double album "Splendor," which was recorded during a concert in 2009 in Weimar, Germany. Although the music is completely instrumental, it was anything but a dull, academic affair, on the contrary, the music oozes enjoyment! And one quickly notices each musician here is excellent in his own right. On the menu are mostly suites of two or three parts. This alternation is an advantage, since not always the same musicians are at the forefront, making room for other combinations of small groups (duo, trio, quartet) or larger ensembles. Klezmer and lautari thus remain well separated, but the segues are very natrual and occasionally the two melt together smoothly, especially when the entire orchestra plays together. Emotions navigate smoothly between subdued, melancholy, passionate and festive!

In summary, this is recognizably klezmer and lautari music but subtly served just a little different than we are accustomed, a refreshing approach that is particularly striking with well known melodies we have often encountered with other ensembles. "Splendor" by The Other Europeans is, as the title reveals, a powerful, virtuosic, versatile, beautiful double CD. This gem is for sale at Xango, among others. Listen to clips on the website of The Other Europeans.

––– wereldmuziek, April 4, 2012
>> http://wereldmuziekavonturen.blogspot.de/search?q=Splendor
Splendor Review: 5 Stars
In spite of the superficial resemblance between Jewish klezmer music and Eastern European Roma music, the two populations were musically independent from each other for centuries.  With one remarkable exception: until the beginning of the 20th century in former Bessarabia (now Moldova), a lively exchange took place - klezmorim would play Roma weddings with no problem, and lautari (Roma musicians) knew the repertoire for Jewish celebrations perfectly well.
Klezmer veteran Alan Bern created an ambitious project in the same spirit of brotherhood, in which fourteen musicians from both worlds learned the nuances of each other's styles, like in the old days, to develop a new common idiom that does justice to both traditions.
The fact that not all "Other Europeans" are as famous as clarinetist Matt Darriau, cymbalom player Kalman Bálogh and accordionist Petar Ralcher doesn’t say anything about their musical qualities. Two hours of top level musicians playing in complete equality and bursting with joy.

––– by Ton Maas, De Volkskrant, March 28, 2012
The Other Europeans – Splendor

Remarkable big-band with unusual takes on klezmer standards
The music and musicianship on this recording is outstanding and the concept intriguing. ‘The Other Europeans’ refers to the Jews and Roma who have both been marginalised – or worse – by the nations of Europe. This project brings together outstanding musicians playing Yiddish klezmer and Roma lautari music largely from Bessarabia (now Moldova), where Jews and Gypsies often played together before World War II.

An eight-piece klezmer sub-group and a six-piece lautari sub-group were assembled by pianist and accordion player Alan Bern (Brave Old World), who leads the project. Alongside Bern, the klezmer group includes Christian Dawid (clarinet), Matt Darriau (various winds) and Guy Schalom (drums), while the lautari group includes Martin Bunea (violin), Adam Stinga (trumpet), Petar Ralchev (accordion) and Kalman Balogh (cimbalom). The recording was made live at a concert at the Yiddish Summer Weimar course in 2009 and is stunning. Out of the full, 14-piece band opening, the serpent-like clarinet of Christian Dawid rises with a sinewy elegance in a lovely Romanian doina.

In Bessarabia there were towns that were predominantly Jewish, others that were predominantly non-Jewish and others that were evenly mixed, such as Edine, from where music appears on the second disc. ‘In many cases, Jewish and non-Jewish audiences demanded the same repertoire but played in markedly different styles,’ writes Bern in the excellent liner notes. There are several tunes that are well-known in klezmer circles (thanks to revival bands), but played here in very unusual versions. For instance, there’s an extraordinary version of ‘Khaiterma’ – better known as the Naftule Brandwein tune ‘Der Heisser Tartar Tanz’ – played by Matt Darriau on clarinet and Mark Rubin on slap-bass in a lop-sided rhythm that the lautari guys apparently loved. Another highlight is ‘Lautar Clarinet Suite #1’ with Moldovan Adrian Receanu on clarinet, Bulgarian Ralchev on accordion and Hungarian Balogh on cimbalom, in which the seductive ‘Sârba’ dance is awesome.

On the second disc there are sequences for violin, trumpet and a full-band ‘Edinets Suite’ which, like all of this music, seems to recreate a lost world of Jewish (and Roma) music. Without question, this is one of the most important klezmer releases in years.

--- Simon Broughton, Songlines, March 2012

>> Songlines review (PDF) download


Umjubelter Auftakt beim Klezmer-Festival

Soviel Andrang war nie: Mit ausverkauften Konzerten, großem Gedränge und einem begeisterten Publikum startete am Wochenende das 12. Internationale Klezmer-Festival in Fürth.

Alan Bern ließ keinen Zweifel offen: «Das ist das beste Festival, das ich kenne.« Ein Lob aus berufenem Munde, das man in Fürth gern hörte. Man kann das Kompliment aber auch zurückgeben: Denn Bern selbst trug freilich nicht unwesentlich dazu bei.

Brachte der seit Jahrzehnten in Berlin lebende Amerikaner – der mit seinen langen grauen Haaren wie eine Art Independent-Version von Steven Spielberg wirkt – dieses Jahr doch ein ganz besonderes Projekt mit. «The Other Europeans« (Die anderen Europäer) nennt es sich und erforscht seit nun zwei Jahren am Beispiel des kleinen, momentan doch eher gottverlassenen Landes Moldawiens, wie Juden und Zigeuner früher gemeinsam musizierten.

Das gibt – in der Praxis, im Konzert – eine hochexplosive Mischung mit herrlichen alten Melodien und unaufdringlich politischer Mission. Auf der reliefschmalen Bühne des Fürther Kulturforums haben die versammelten dreizehn Musiker aus aller Welt (Nummer 14 durfte nicht aus Frankreich ausreisen!) kaum genügend Platz. Und beweisen doch, wie gut sich die beiden Fraktionen – hier die Klezmer-Musiker, dort die östlichen «lautari« – ergänzen.

Klarinette und Hackbrett, Geige und Saxofon: auf, auf zum nächsten fröhlichen Hochzeitstanz! Mit Gästen wie dem US-Trompeter Paul Brody oder dem Flötisten Matt Darriau (von den Klezmatics) hat Berns bunte Truppe sogar prominente Unterstützer zu bieten, aber die Musiker aus dem Balkan stehen ihnen in nichts nach.

--- Wolf Ebersberger, 08.03.2010, NÜRNBERGER ZEITUNG

There were no empty seats in the culture center Mon Ami. The crossover project with 14 renowned players of Yiddish and Roma music promised a captivating musical experience. The concert featured ever-changing ensembles with frequent solo introductions that created a mood of breathless anticipation, carried along by a symbiosis of virtuosity and driving rhythms. Each instrument announced the entrance of the next one. The large hall was cooking, and those seated who still had room to swing their legs a little were lucky indeed. The music created a feeling of something beyond words, between entreaty and joy.  

--- Dr. Ursula Mielke, Thüringer Allgemeine Zeitung


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