The Free-Reed Review
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CD Review: Ensemble DRAj
Lieder aus den Ghettos
  • Gesang: Anette Kruger
  • Akkordeon: Ralf Kaupenjohann
  • Violoncello: Ludger Schmidt


  • Schtiller
  • Huljet, huljet kinderlech
  • Milners Trern
  • Wilna
  • Margaritkes
  • Fejgl
  • Friling
  • Donaj
  • Der Appell
  • Oj, dortn
  • Di grine kusine
  • Na polu wierzba
  • Schtil, die nacht

    Total Time: 46:30
    Released: 2000
    Review Date: July 2001

    Order from: Ralf Kaupenjohann

    Review by Henry Doktorski:

    Ensemble DRAj is composed of three German musicians and this CD features songs from the Yiddish literature. Some express hope and the joy of life contemporaneously with mourning and despair, as sung in Warsaw and Vilna ghettos as well as in the German concentration camps.

    The trio, which have training in stylistically diverse camps: Kaupenjohann and Schmidt certainly have classical and jazz training, while Kruger seems to excel in popular music, yet I believe the combination gives the songs a new (and authentic) expressivity.

    Don't think for a moment that Ensemble DRAj is an ordinary trio of nightclub musicians. They are experienced chamber musicians; and this album is chamber music of a high quality. The musical arrangements are very interesting to listen to and reveal the group's high standards of musicianship.

    The combination of alto voice, accordion and cello is dynamic and very pleasing to the ear. Sometimes Schmidt treats his instrument like a pizzicato double bass and sometimes like an arco violin. The accordion in Kaupenjohann's hands is always tasteful and never overbearing. It is very important in an ensemble that the accordionist does not tire the listeners by constantly featuring his instrument in the limelight. No, Kaupenjohann has extremely fine taste, and knows how to keep a satisfying balance between members of the ensemble.

    This album is not a virtuoso showcase, but it is a moving tribute to those courageous souls who have suffered greatly at the hands of their tormentors. The CD booklet notes are written in German and English. The songs are printed in Yiddish and German.

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