Noëmi Waysfeld & Blik
- Antoine Rozenbaum (Bass)
- Florent Labodinière (Guitar)
- Noëmi Waysfeld (Vocals)
- Thierry Bretonnet (Accordeon)
- region:Central Europe
- label:AWZ Records
- type:Band, Composer/Songwriter
- artist submitted by:
Noemi Waysfeld and her band Blik ("the gaze" in Yiddish) are looking towards the East, to the songs of the shtetl and the heart-wrenching ballads of Siberian prisoners. Though the imagery is laden with emotions and history, the band manages to steer clear of cliches, deconstructing Russian and Yiddish schmaltz and adding subtlety and intelligence into the mix. Though purists might be baffled, Noemi Waysfeld & Blik bring youthful originality to today's Eastern European musical styles, navigating between the mysticism of Krakauer, the iconoclasm of Yom and the theatricality of Ella Fitzgerald.
Few singers are capable of conveying emotions in languages other than their own, but Noemi Waysfeld does just that, in both Russian and Yiddish. She recites and sings and simply brings home these lyrics of hope and rebellion. Her style is reminiscent of French diva Barbara's elegance, Russian songstress Elena Frolova's sensibility and Brassens' cool attitude. At times, her incredibly raucous voice has faint echoes of Ella Fitzgerald. She can shout and she can whisper, but mostly she just lets the lyrics speak for themselves.
The Blik boys both follow and lead her into a constant swirl. Antoine Rozenbaum plays the double bass, which he perfected at the American School of Modern Musci as well as France's Conservatoire. Symbolically enough, Antoine and Noemi met at klezmer camp. They now form the band's core, its heart and soul. Their globe-trotting guitarist Florent Labodiniere is a case of "strings without borders", having picked up the oud, guitar and buzuki in his travels (to Morocco, in particular). Thierry Bretonnet is a supremely gifted accordionist and former disciple to Marcel Azzola. This motley crew of friends has developed its very own hybrids by frantically tampering with the genome of Eastern Europe's contemporary music styles.
Blik believes in breaking the rules and crossing the line between musical genres, schlepping their Mediterranean oud into the Russian steppe, and modern-jazzing up a Polish village from the 1920's. Because this band a little kooky, it is ideally suited to appropriate the shtetl folk songs or the "Goulag blues" from the USSR's furthest, desolate reaches, memorialized by Dina Vierny decades ago.