in Reviews

Connections, feelings and skill

by Amanda Kauranne

"The album rings with tears of joy, as well as joy through tears – in other words, we are at the heart of Klezmer music!"

A love of music creates bridges between people and cultures. The sound of the newest album from the Helsinki-based Klezmer ensemble Freilach mit Kneidlach, resonates with this same ethos. As does the soul of the ensemble: accordionist, pianist, and pedagogue Eva Jacob, who, in the presentation speech for her Intersection Award given at the Etnogaala was thanked for the work she has done to promote Klezmer music in Finland.

This album contains pieces in different styles, originally from Russia to the Crimea, and from Ukraine to Hungary. The arrangements stay true to the original traditional songs, but at the same time, the five-piece ensemble successfully introduce new colors through their own unique, even rough, sound.  This album is the second for the ensemble, which was founded in 1998.

The entire range of life’s emotions are contained in the music. Eyes brim with tears when listening to the amazingly beautiful Rumanian Fantasy collected from Joseph Solinki before the Holocaust, and fill with joy when the ensemble’s virtuosic violinists Benjamin Hirschovits and Laura Airola take off in the brilliant wedding tunes. One’s heart breaks as Eva Jacob sings the touching Mizmor le´Dovid. And why can’t Klezmer be played on a G-violone and nyckelharpa? Here the ensemble’s folk musicians Ilkka Heinonen (double bass and vocals), and violinist-mandolinist Laura Airola do just that in the final piece of the album, the tuneful Hora. We are also touched by Daniel Schaul’s delicate approach to his multi-instrumentalism: in addition to oboe, he plays the cimbalom and sings. 

The album rings with tears of joy, as well as joy through tears – in other words, we are at the heart of Klezmer music!

Translation: Kathleen Weidenfeller


Benjamin Hirschovits: fiddle
Laura Airola: fiddle, mandolin, nyckelharpa
Daniel Shaul: cimbalom, oboe, voice
Eva Jacob: accordion, voice
Ilkka Heinonen: bass, G-violone, voice

Global Music Centre GMCD 1934, 2019