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Zoe & Cloyd – “Hoffman’s Hora / David’s Frailach”

Americana; Organic Records — STREAM / BUY single

With their latest Organic Records single, Zoe & Cloyd reveal once again their unique ability to blend mountain music with the klezmer music legacy of Natalya Zoe Weinstein’s family on “Hoffman’s Hora/David’s Frailach.”

Incorporating two klezmer tunes — the first from a 1923 recording by xylophonist Jacob Hoffman, the second from sheet music in the handwriting of Weinstein’s grandfather — the medley marks a further refinement of the synthesis Weinstein and John Cloyd Miller have been exploring since the formation of Zoe & Cloyd, including “Berditchever Sher” and “Zisa Meydele” on 2019’s I Am Your Neighbor. Woven together with their authentic renditions of Appalachian old-time, folk and bluegrass songs, as well as their roots-inspired originals, it’s an integral part of the duo’s musical identity.

 

 

“These two klezmer instrumentals were in my grandfather, David Weinstein‘s, repertoire,” says Natalya. “He was a professional musician who emigrated from Russia (what is now Ukraine) in 1923, and made his living here in America playing music for weddings, functions, and events.”

“Horas and frailachs were dance tunes, and often were unnamed. This version of ‘Hoffman’s Hora’ was named for an early recording of Jacob Hoffman and Kandel’s Orchestra. I couldn’t find another version of the frailach, except my grandfather’s handwritten one, so we named it ‘David’s Frailach.’”

Weinstein’s violin and Miller’s guitar echo the sparse arrangement of their 1923 source on the opening “Hoffman’s Hora” before upright bass and bluegrass banjo — supplied by band members Kevin Kehrberg and Bennett Sullivan — join in to provide propulsive rhythm and melodic embroidery to the strains of “David’s Frailach.”

“I think that bluegrass and klezmer blend together well because of their folk history and sensibilities,” Weinstein notes. “It’s a beautiful fusion!”