Andrea Pancur: Alpen Klezmer – Zum Meer

October 2, 2017

From Yin-Yang to Oy-Oompah

Listening Post 118. Scholars debate whether Yiddish, the German-based language of Ashkenazi Jews, emerged in the Rhineland or Bavaria. Few have studied Bavarian-Yiddish links more than Andrea Pancur, who focuses less on debating linguistic history than on composing new connections. After nearly three decades in klezmer music, she added her native Bavaria to the mix; Zum Meer (To the Sea) is the second album in her signature genre of Alpen Klezmer. Pancur is a serious artist with great vocal and directorial talents who surrounds herself with the right people and is a master at balancing not only oy and oompah but also traditional and contemporary works from both cultures. In Aufm Markt in Obagiasing (At the Obagiasing Market), she pairs an Italian melody for Chad Gadya—the cumulative-verse Passover song—with personal memory: At the Munich fair of her childhood, “My father bought me a tuppeny balloon/The wind whips up, my balloon climbs into the sky,” she sings in Bavarian German, “Flying far off in the air/Shining like a marble in the light/That fine balloon/My father bought me” (video 1). Rhaynlender, uniting a Jewish polka lyric with a Bavarian folk melody, is three minutes of pure delight, with Pancur singing in Yiddish, accompanied by Lorin Sklamberg of Klezmatics’ renown: “I am fair and you love me not/You’re old and will not marry/
One to the left and one to the right/I’ll dance with you until daylight” (video 2). Pancur’s Dadaist lyrics and music by her multi-instrumentalist co-producer Ilya Shneyveys drive Is do wos? (What Is That?), a song about something—or maybe nothing (video 3). Zum Meer advocates and subverts. Mittelmeergalopp (Mediterranean Gallop) is a satirical/cynical pounding on Europe’s closing door, using cruise ship discourse to evoke refugees in rubber rafts. A Treyfener Nign (An Unkosher Tune) transforms a yodel found in the collection of an anti-Semitic musicologist into a song of love and tolerance. Pancur offers a fascinating journey through a joyful, turbulent and imaginative sea. (Galileo Music)







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