Zwei Männer, zwei Sprachen, einige Bücher, Mikrophone. Eine Geige, eine Gitarre, ein Akkordeon und, natürlich, wunderschöne, von Hand gefertigte Banduras und Flöten. Zwei musikalische Traditionen aus der Alten Welt, der jiddischen und der ukrainischen.

Zwei Musiker, die uns zeigen, was aus diesen Musikkulturen, von denen nach der totalitären Psychose des 20. Jahrhunderts nur Bruchstücke blieben, hätte erwachsen können. Michael Alpert und Julian Kytasty sind Hüter und Sammler. Auf ihrem langen Weg haben sie viele dieser Bruchstücke aufgegriffen, die sie nun als „Nakhtishe Lider“ zusammenfügen.

Das Album eröffnet uns die überlieferten Welten zweier Künstler, deren Familien aus heute ukrainischen Gebieten in die USA emigrierten. Es erschließt Räume voller Erinne-rung, Tradition und Verlust, voll imaginärer und unwiederbringlicher Landschaften und zurückgelassener Menschen.

Mehr als das, diese Welten werden von den beiden Künstlern verflochten. Wer dem Dialog dieser musikalischen Traditionen zuhört, kann sich eine alternative Heimat, eine alternative Vergangenheit und, ja, eine andere Ukraine, ein anderes 20. Jahrhundert vorstellen. Die Musik dieser CD schafft einen imaginären Ort geteilter Vergangenheit und gemeinsamer Gegenwart: Freude, Schmerz und Leidenschaften, Erzählungen und Geschichten. Sie erweckt das Gefühl einer Heimkehr, doch in ein Land, das wir nie gesehen haben. Und vielleicht existiert es auch nur in einem Raum, den allein Musik heraufbeschwören kann.

1. Adam and Eve (Alpert, Kytasty/trad.) 4:06
2. Bay Mayn Mames Shtibele (trad., arr Alpert/trad.) 0:44
3. Buhai (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty/trad.) 3:14
4. A Shpay In Yam (Alpert) 5:20

5. Two Brothers (trad., Kytasty) 4:28
6. Nukh Havdule (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty) 3:27
7. Wedding of the Birds (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty) 2:02
8. S'iz Gekimen / U Susida (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty/trad.) 2:02

9. Chernobyl (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty/Alpert) 5:06
10. Rekrutska (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty/trad.) 4:10

11. Night Songs (trad., Kytasty/Herts Rifkin, Kytasty, Alpert) 3:44
12. Loy Seyvoyshi / Many Years Waltz (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty) 2:03

13. Home Brew (trad., arr Alpert, Kytasty/trad.) 2:35

Total Time: 43:01


Michael Alpert: voice, violin, guitar, accordion

Julian Kytasty: voice, banduras, sopilka (wooden flute)

Produced by Daniel Kahn

Artwork by Benny Ferdman
Recorded by Ian Gorman at Heart Center Studios, Big Rapids, Michigan and at Earthwork Harvest Gathering, Bernard Farm, Lake City, Michigan in September 2011

Edited an mixed by Ian Gorman at La Luna Studios, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2013

Mastering by Ingo Krauss at Candy-Bomber Studio, Berlin, 2014


Release date: November 1st, 2014



John Pheby, Folk Roots, 11/2014
Intensely yet modestly aware of their milieu, indebted to Adrienne Cooper and all their forebears, this is the essential emigrant sound of stillness, longing and the inevitable and elegiac danger in traditional Yiddish song: “Now all are laughing at her… because for her beloved boy, shackles are being forged… And the girl was left standing by the gate, washing her face with tears.”

These songs are from a central Europe barely known and rarely penetrated (aside from high-profile cyclical invasions). The fascinating mediæval Kyiv troubadour rarity, Buhai, is delivered with such fidelity to the archaic and arcane source that it’s strangely comforting with all its rustic scrapings and barren magic. Other songs have been transplanted into a new global context of itinerant fluidity that mirrors the lives of the original balladeers and musicians for hire. So we have a collection of mainly Yiddish music, from mainly Ukraine, filtered through New York, Canada, Berlin, Poland, Russia and elsewhere. Influences and connections are quietly murmured, in a banduras-led collaboration of intimate sympathy, bittersweet history and luminous playing.

Ukraine is revealed as both beauty and scorched earth. The album is a speculative and defiant exercise into what might have been had the totalitarianism and pogroms not been quite so successful. It’s a resurgent sound track to a better world that never was, an imaginative reconstruction of 20th Century fragments through academic inspection of the earliest recordings and consultation with surviving musicians. These are the sounds of everything that has been left behind, a necessary trick of the memory, a myth.

The whole is an uncomfortable examination of national ideas that are more usually siezed upon by the nationalist or the expansionist. In Night Songs, the apparently contradictory distances between Jews and non-Jews is examined, as a song of welcome drifts benignly from balcony to balcony. Meanwhile, “Today, on our ancestors’ graves, a new Angel of Death is dancing,” despairs a song about an old Hasidic dynasty town known for its attachment to concepts of the earthly and the feminine, as well as images of light and fire, Chernobyl. Despairing accordeon and uneasy sopilka play the sound of humanity, dancing alone, but dancing nonetheless.

Ari Davidow, http://www.klezmershack.com, December 01, 2014

Folklorist, singer, dancer Michael Alpert has been sharing a stage with Julian Kytasty for many years. One sings in Yiddish. The other in Ukrainian. Together they weave together two folk cultures in a beautiful acoustic set, Night songs from a neighboring village. Appropriately timed, given Ukraine's prominence in recent news, this one will leave you feeling all sweet inside—except for "Homebrew," which will encourage you to eschew the store-bought stuff and drink local. I remember the tune as Irish, but what do I know. What a great way to celebrate 20 amazing years of music from Oriente records.

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