New Internationalist

Out of the Reeds

September 2004

Such is the frenetic output of Tzadik, the label for ‘radical Jewish culture’ set up by avant-gardist John Zorn, that it’s always rewarding to see what the New Yorkers have retrieved, rescued or recorded. This time, it’s Out of the Reeds, a rare CD first released in 2000 by the Knitting Factory imprint. A collection of songs – some traditional, played on ouds, tablas, crumhorns – there’s a timelessness to the album.

It’s also an album that suits Tzadik’s ethos of making connections. (Not many labels would release cover albums of Marc Bolan, Burt Bacharach and Serge Gainsbourg under the umbrella heading of ‘great Jewish Music’; even fewer labels have categories entitled ‘Lunatic Fringe’.) Out of the Reeds has an energy to its material and performance that takes it far beyond the many klezmer or diaspora albums around. Basya Schechter – guitarist, oud player and vocalist – is the main force among her four-strong band and numerous guest musicians. The thrust of the power has to be heard on the opener, ‘Afilu’, or the Ladino-texted ‘Ija Mia’ or the superb guitar work of ‘Im Ein Ani Li Mili’, where traditions and centuries seem to collapse into one another. Out of the Reeds is a joyful, concentrated work.

Louise Gray

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 371 This column was published in the September 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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Out of the Reeds Fact File
Product information by Pharaoh’s Daughter
Publisher Tzadik
Product number TZ7187 CD
Star rating3
Product link

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This article was originally published in issue 371

New Internationalist Magazine issue 371
Issue 371

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