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Out of the Reeds

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Album Review

Out of the Reeds is an absolutely gorgeous album from Pharaoh's Daughter. Leader Basya Schechter learned Hebrew and Yiddish as a child, then joined a step family of Syrian descent. It is this multicultural background that informs the music of Pharaoh's Daughter. Tabla and dumbek provide the rhythm under Schechter's beautiful voice and acoustic guitar or oud. Flute and cello add a sublime richness as she sings traditional liturgical texts in Yiddish and Hebrew. Despite the appearance of downtown players Anthony Coleman and Matt Darriau on several tracks, the music has a very traditional and reverential Middle Eastern feel. The haunting melodies are derived from traditional Jewish music, Armenia, and even West Africa. Pharaoh's Daughter manage to combine these musical traditions in an utterly complementary fashion, resulting in a work of uncommon beauty. [The 2004 re-release by Tzadik adds a bonus version of "Taitsch."]


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 1993 by vocalist Baysa Schechter, the Jewish folk ensemble Pharaoh's Daughter is heavily informed by both Eastern European klezmer and Middle Eastern Jewish music, as well as the sensibilities of Schechter's orthodox upbringing. The group's instrumentation features woodwinds (flute, clarinet, crumhorn), guitar, cello, tabla, and other...
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Out of the Reeds, Pharaoh's Daughter
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