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Postcard / A Kartl – EP
When I’m on the road, I love to send postcards to my family and friends. Traveling in time and space, to the pre-war 20th century Belarus and Poland presents an amazing opportunity to send this little card, and to sign it with a song written nowadays in the New World, but in the language that was widely spoken back then, Yiddish. – Zisl Slepovitch.
Raysn : The Music of Jewish Belarus
“An extremely welcome arrival on the Jewish music scene.” – Songlines magazine, #121
“Invigorating… Appealingly exotic” – The Jewish Week
“Enormously entertaining” – Jewcy.com
“Exhilarating… mix of feral dances and haunting dirges.” – New York Music Daily
“A recording of unadorned beauty.” – KlezmerShack
Read a raving review in New York Music Daily!
PRESS RELEASE (Download as PDF)
Litvakus called by some critics an “acoustic Gogol Bordello” is a unique klezmer collective, and the first to focus exclusively on the music and culture of Belarus. The Litvakus repertoire is a mix of traditional Belarusian and Litvak (Belarusian Jewish) folk music, as well as contemporary pieces written in the spirit of roots music.
The new (2014) Litvakus album, RAYSN, the Music of Jewish Belarus, explores a previously unknown side of Jewish and klezmer music. The album tells a powerful story about a place where Jews and Litwins (the Belarusians’ pre-colonial ethnonym) coexisted for more than seven centuries, creating the unique Belarusian culture, separately and together. RAYSN (pronounced rye-sin) presents rarely heard music from two endangered cultures, Yiddish/ Litvak and Belarusian/ Litwin.
For a contemporary klezmer record, the sounds of RAYSN may be unexpected. It does take by surprise, but it also overpowers by the warmth of the deeply rooted tradition. Bagpipe-like drones, drones on the fiddle and bass, shtetl disco feel, authentic and vibrant, come to life as this music had existed before being washed away by urbanization, Soviet and Nazi genocide, the decimation of the non-majority culture, emigration, assimilation, and a slew of other atrocities. Seven centuries of existence preserve this music its rightful place in the future, and Litvakus gives it a voice.
The album’s cover art is designed by Ilusha Tsinadze and illustrated with a rustic landscape, a 2006 painting by the acclaimed artist Boris Zaborov, the only living artist whose paintings have been acquired by the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
What people say:
“Great stuff” (John Zorn)
“By far your best one yet, really fun” (Frank London)
“Beautiful” (Judith Cohen)
I’m really digging this @litvakus record — though now I (oddly?) want to translate “Shipping up to Boston” into Yiddish.
— Eitan (@elkensky) October 29, 2014
— Parmis Mire (@ParmisMire) December 19, 2014
The album release event (10/29/2014) at the Center for Jewish History in New York was presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance – An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture, in collaboration with Center for Jewish History, National Yiddish Theatre— Folksbiene, Sholem-Aleichem Cultural Center – Bronx, and The Workmen’s Circle/ Der Arbeter Ring.
This album is partially funded by the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations in New York (COJECO). The BluePrint Fellowship Project of COJECO is made possible through a grant by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.
A lot of the funds for the album have been raised through the fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. We want to thank those whose generous donations have helped this project come into life:
TriBeCa Synagogue for the Arts, New York
Zack Buchman, for helping us make the promotional video
Prof. Paul Geluso of New York University
Nina Rogov, in memory of her husband, actor David Rogow
Boris Zaborov, for donating the right to use his artwork
Cantor Jessica F. Epstein
…and many others who have supported the creation of this album through their generous donations, spreading the word, and all those little things without which this album would have less chances to become a reality.
Litvakus EP (eponymous)
Litvakus: EP (eponymous), 2011
Featuring Daniella Rabbani
Stream and download at Bandcamp.