Shimmering Lights

Violinist Yale Strom is Professor and Artist-in-Residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University, and is considered one of the world’s leading ethnographer-artists of Klezmer and Romani music and history. His research and findings were instrumental in forming the repertoire in 1981 for his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi.

Strom has composed original music for theater, film and television, and his musical compositions have been performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Hausmann Quartet, Burdick-Thorne String Quartet, Rachel Barton Pine, Mike Block, Bordeaux Philharmonic, the Ostrava Philharmonic of the Czech Republic, and others.

With fifteen CDs to his credit, Yale’s music runs the gamut from traditional klezmer to “new” Jewish jazz. He refers to his current band as a Broken Consort. The idea being that it’s a mixed and varied collection of all different kinds of instruments gathered to create on specific sound. “Ultimately, we play broken music for a broken world,” said band mate David Wallace.

Their latest project, a Holiday CD set to release in July – meant to play on the idea that we can celebrate any time of the year – not just traditional holiday seasons. Yale says Shimmering Lights is “a festival. It commemorates the freedom of faith; the freedom to believe or not to believe.” Vocalist and co-producer on the project, Elizabeth Schwartz said, “some of the songs are sung in Hebrew, others in Yiddish, and still others in Ladino and English.”

The feel is not as you might think though. There’s everything from jazz, Texas Swing, classical, bluegrass, and even rock music emulating from the 10 tracks on this new CD. “I finished the first tune, which suggested the second,” Yale said. “Tune two informs tune three and so on.” This process allowed the “broken consort” to unfold organically, yet seamlessly connected at the same time.

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