Golden Horn releases The Magid Chronicles by Veretski Pass & Joel Rubin February 22 2019

Golden Horn and Veretski Pass in collaboration with Joel Rubin presents the group’s 5th CD production, The Magid Chronicles, an instrumental collection based on pieces collected by Sofia Magid, the Jewish ethnographer who worked intensively to document Jewish music in Belarus and Ukraine during Stalin’s regime in the 1920s and 30s. Magid’s 600 recordings contain rare examples of women’s songs and instrumental pieces from these regions. Next to the instrumentals and songs collected by Magid, they include music collected by Magid’s Kiev counterpart, Moyshe Beregovski, among others, and music from Turkey, Greece and Rumania.

 And as always, they combine the archival with the creative impulse to achieve something new, with new compositions, arrangements and improvisations by the members of the trio and Joel Rubin. Sometimes raucous, sometimes meditative, this new program is a true melding of past, present and future.

What separates Veretski Pass from other klezmer groups is their taste for surprise, consisting of odd phrases, striking harmonic twists, swirling ornaments and sudden unisons. From the first suite of The Magid Chronicles, which takes us through a work song, a prisoner's lament, a Turkish battle hymn, a love song, then a "chaos dances", listeners are launched into an old world with new surprises. At times, it has the density of a Dixieland jam session, and at other times is as gentle and sparse as a midnight lullaby.

There's a case to be made for the ingenuity of veterans. At the forefront of the klezmer revival, and with their extensive fieldwork and research, the members of Veretski Pass and Joel Rubin have played with each other in various constellations for over 30 years. The result is a kind of musical telepathy, whereby every melodic left turn is met seamlessly with an answer by someone else in the group.

Veretski Pass, has always delighted its audiences by unearthing the treasures of the klezmer periphery, but with this new CD they and colleague Joel Rubin have essentially blown up the genre. With the intimate and complex interplay of historical presentation and vigorous improvisation this is a CD destined to become an instant classic.