Tumbling Into Light (independent)
The Yids are alright! That’s probably the reaction members of Toronto’s Flying Bulgars, formerly the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, were hoping for when they decided to team up with Broken Social Scene mixmaster Dave Newfeld.
Unfortunately, that kind of schmaltzy praise will only be heard at bar mitzvahs and weddings, because Tumbling Into Light fails to edge Yiddish folk music any closer to the mainstream. As left-of-centre klezmer, however, with its swinging drumbeats, singalong chanting and bursting horn sections, it’s more than competent.
Newfeld’s production style works well with the multi-instrumental, layered blend of traditional Jewish music. The band is at its best when occupying subtle, quiet territory, as on Angel. But if the album’s intent was to move mountains, expectations were too high. The borders of klezmer remain unchanged.
Top track: Angel
The Flying Bulgars play the Young Centre Sunday (January 31).