Rychard Carrington reports on Moishe's Bagel – The Junction, Cambridge, 16 February 2010

Moishe's Bagel
Junction 2, The


Moishe's Bagel are a five-piece band, formed in Edinburgh in 2003, consisting of Phil Alexander (piano), Greg Lawson (violin), Peter Garnet (accordion), Mario Caribe (double bass),and Guy Nicholson (percussion). Nicholson actually crouched on the floor for the whole set, front of stage, with the others positioned around him in a semi-circle. As the name suggests, klezmer is at the heart of their music, but many other influences are thrown in too. One piece was based around Breton and Fench tunes; another began with arabic influences and then transferred to 1920s New York. There was a waltz, a piece composed in the style of Philip Glass, and the encore had an Elizabethan feel. Each number lasted about ten minutes, undergoing exciting changes of rhythm and tempo in the beguiling journey from opening to climax. This music is tuneful, complex, energetic and elegant. It suggests magnificent old tearooms as often as it does gypsy weddings.

In short, the concert was a treat from start to finish. I have no quibbles whatsoever. Concerts like this remind me of the sheer heartening joy of good honest music, especially when played by masters deeply embedded in its language. Over the past year The Junction 2 has been a very agreeable venue for many such great evenings of acoustic music. For those of us brought up on the posturings of rock, rap etc., it is a deep pleasure to listen to skilled musicians whose devotion is to their musical traditions rather than to their own egos. For all the rich variety of styles that the many traditions have between them, it's the same, very human spirit underneath. While the musicians live and breathe this spirit, the rest of us can at least feel part of it as members of the audience, sip some nectar for the soul.

So do check out The Junction 2's forthcoming programme. And if you'd like to hear consume some of Moishe's Bagel at home, purchase their CDs, Salt and Don't Spare The Horses (see their website).

Writer: Rychard Carrington