24 March sees a very special Riverboat Records release by She'Koyokh, a group of musicians that has been hailed by Songlines as 'Britain’s best Klezmer & Balkan music band'.To celebrate the launch of the album, She'Koyokh is throwing an Album Release Party on 27 March at the Forge in London.
Inspired by wandering nineteenth century klezmorim, She’Koyokh have spent the last decade sponging up the rich folk musics of Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Balkans. The first incarnation of the band cut its teeth busking at Columbia Flower Market in the heart of London’s East End. Nowadays they are more likely to be found stomping the stage floors of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls with Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and London’s Southbank Centre already ticked off the list.
'one of London’s musical treasures, playing the best Balkan and klezmer music in Britain' 5*****stars, The Evening Standard
'among the finest klezmer ensembles on the planet... striking aural experience' 5*****stars, The Weekend Australian
'klezmer, jazz and more from jaunty London outfit' 4****stars, The Guardian
United by their love of rip-roaring artfully delivered klezmer, She’Koyokh spin tales of wild goats, unmarried women and broken hearts drawn from the rich folk traditions of Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Balkans.
Wild Goats and Unmarried Women pays tribute to Eastern European repertoire via the opening track ‘Beregovski Sher/Honga/Freilicher Yontov’, which includes a musical tribute to Ukrainian ethnomusicologist Moshe Beregovski.
Another track, the Romanian tune ‘?ig?neasca de la Pogoanele’ is inspired by the recordings of accordionist Constantin Fulgerica and violinist Tudor Pana, as well as the manouche jazz of guitarist Django Reinhardt and the sound of the taragot reed instrument. Heading further east She’Koyokh uncover Russian tradition. ‘Limonchiki’ is a song first made famous by the Soviet Jewish jazz singer Leonid Utyosov in the 1930s. The track is full of character, Odessa gangster character to be precise: the title is Russian rhyming slang for milionchiki (millions of roubles).
Drifting far southwest to Greece next, ‘Selanik Türküsü’ is a lament for lost love. The lyrics tell the story of a couple who are preparing to marry before discovering that the bride has cholera – the lovers beg death to grant them three more days together. Band members Susi and Matt learnt the traditionally slow tune ‘Argitikos Kalamatianos’ on the overnight boat from Crete to Athens.
Turkish tradition is also illuminated: ‘Teke Zortlatmasi’ takes its name from the tekes (billy goats) that live along the South West coast of Turkey. When the mating season starts, the males jump up and down to attract female goats – allegedly the inspiration for the genre of music heard here.
On other songs She’Koyokh mesh location and genre with genius ease. ‘Der Filosof/Flatbush Waltz’ partners a satirical song mocking rabbis of the Hassidic movement with a waltz that has become a standard of the klezmer repertoire. This arrangement was authored in part by revered klezmer musician Andy Statman who is known for both for his work as a clarinettist and as a bluegrass mandolinist. Join She’Koyokh as they discover, uncover and revel in the uproarious sounds of the klezmer tradition’s fascinating history.
Wild Goats & Unmarried Women takes you on a true klezmer odyssey, with She'Koyokh delivering a classic album that combines the zest of their live performance with the virtuosity and intelligence of their musicianship.