Volume 93, Issue 60
Tuesday, January 18, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fiddler finely serenaded
Knitting on the Roof
In the field of tribute albums, Knitting on the Roof is a unique enterprise.
Its purpose was to bring Jewish musicians together to create modern interpretations of songs from the legendary musical, Fiddler on the Roof. It's a brilliant idea and for the most part, the various artists who contributed to the effort pulled it off impressively.
The interpretations are incredibly vast. The album opens with "Tradition," a rollicking instrumental nicely done by the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars. Other highlights include the feverish "Tevye's Dream," composed and mixed by negativland, Jill Sobule's soft and aching, "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Miracle of Miracles," by Dr. Eugene Chadbourne, which was complete with the sounds of the Red Sea.
Although the artists assembled here make a serious attempt to capture the meaning of the musical, some parts of the album stumble. The Residents' version of "Matchmaker" is terrible, "To Life" by Naftule's Dream is downright sloppy and Paradox Trio completely miss their opportunity to make a grand finale with "Anatevka," the song designated to depict the poignant ending of the musical.
Overall, the album is a musical treat which offers a nice break from the status quo. Who knows, perhaps these artists have tapped into what may turn out to be "the next big thing." After all, can't you picture Limp Bizkit singing songs from Grease or Fiona Apple as the next star of My Fair Lady?
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