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Corsham Festival: Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble
2:32pm Tuesday 24th June 2008 in Leisure
For the first time with a home to call their own Corsham Festival organisers came starkly down to earth almost before this year's festival took off.
With one of their players in one European capital and his passport in another, Kolsimcha had to cancel with less than two days notice. Step in another group with another unpronounceable name.
But, what stand-ins She Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble play a heart-rending mix of Jewish and Eastern European music. It was like a whole evening in a minor key.
They play to each other as much as the audience; you can feel the dimly lit alleyways, smell the little bars and bazaars, hear the burble of a thousand voices as they blend in a laconic, mysterious, evocative and heady sound.
Ben Samuels' mandolin sparkled at the top; the clarinet of Susi Evans simply grew in stature as the evening unfolded with one breathy, intoxicating solo rising above all else.
And holding it all together was the pleasingly under-stated percussion of Vasilis Sarkis and the accordion of tall, bearded Jim Marcovitch, a self-taught Lithuanian Jew. His charming way of playing with and directly to the soloists came from the heart.
And went straight to the hearts of a sell-out audience who probably got a better deal than they'd paid for!