On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Klezmatics – Ale Brider (1988)
The Klezmatics are an American klezmer music group based in New York City, who have achieved fame singing in several languages, most notably mixing older Yiddish tunes with other types of more contemporary music of differing origins. They have also recorded pieces in Aramaic and Bavarian.
We are leaving the Balkans and making our way back to the US and to New York today, dear reader. Formed in 1986 The Klezmatics were from a Jewish community in the city and descended from Ashkenzai Jews that migrated to the Holy Roman Empire in the first millennium. Singing in a range of languages, most notably Yiddish, the group blended traditional songs and music with more contemporary pieces. We join them in 1988 with the song Ale Brider.
Ale Brider translates as All Brothers and the song is a simple celebration of love and community. The people featured here sing, laugh and dance together. They are all brothers, regardless of bloodlines, they are happy and at ease with one another. The song also makes mention of sisters towards the end as well, ensuring both sexes are addressed. The song had an upbeat and passionate feel to it throughout, a sense of warmth and comfort that you only get in a friendly community.
I was not familiar with Klezmatics prior to this challenge but this was a pleasant number all the same. It’s been so interesting learning of the origins of music on this list but also those artists that created hybrids of their own traditions and joined them with other contemporary styles to fuse new genres. The Klezmatics continue to perform to this day and have remained faithful to their Jewish roots, traditions and culture.
Favourite songs so far: