For Beyond the Pale's second recording, Consensus, the Toronto-based klezmer fusion band rocks out with a live set at the Al Green Theater in their home town. Judging from the audience's enthusiastic response, the consensus is that a fine time was had by all.
And how could a good time not be had? Beyond the Pale's music is a veritable smorgasbord of genres. Building on a basic klezmer sound that employs both traditional melodies and original tunes, the band adds a spicy mix of jazz, funk, reggae, Latin, bluegrass, folk, classical . . . you name it, and Beyond the Pale will work it in somehow.
The first track, an original composition called Diaphanous Charms, finds the band attacking the music with a will, before pulling back to a slinky, syncopated rhythm better suited for the bario than the shtetl. So it is with much of the music here. Bulcharescu evokes either a night in the tropics or a night in Haight-Ashbury, your choice. Enosereh is so syncopated you're likely to dislocate something while dancing.
They get particularly revved up when the vocalists take center stage. Oy I Like She features theatrical, emotive singing from special guest Josh Dolgin, who keeps the energy high even when flubbing the words a little. Yeva Medvedyuk likewise delivers a dramatic rendition, with Dolgin, on Sha Shtil. Interestingly, the band seems to be at their most trad with their vocal numbers. But even when informing the klezmer with other influences, they manage to retain the melancholy soul of klezmer-the Eastern European minor keys of diaspora, persecution, and dogged hope that sets klezmer apart.
In short: Beyond the Pale is as soulful as they are sexy-in fact, they're one of the sexiest klezmer bands around-and Consensus is a fun, inventive, and dynamic recording.
Beyond the Pale:
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