The Plum Tree Songs

What is traditional culture? Is it something we can only show reverence in its most historic, classical form, or can we honor it by moving it forward as living art? This collection seeks to do both, by using classical klezmer instrumental melodies as the foundation for new songs with contemporary lyrics. The lyrics refer to the history and geography of the original compositions, but do so through the writer’s frame of reference as a Jewish woman who is tied to both the new world and the old.

The Plum Tree Songs are an experiment in revitalizing lesser known music – and the rich culture from which it came – by introducing it to new listeners. The songs reference the traditional Jewish experience, but the lyrics are in English for a wider listenership. If you like these songs, please find and listen to the traditional melodies on which they are based. The tree is the Jewish symbol of life and renewal. The tree is rooted in the past as its branches stretch away from its roots – like these songs.

Listen

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The Plum Tree

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Lyrics: Elizabeth Schwartz  |  Music: Traditional (Bosnian Waltz)  |   Arrangement: Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz
Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals), Norbert Stachel (flute), Pete Rushefsky (tsimbl), Sprocket (bass)
Recorded at Peter Karl Studios, Brooklyn  |   Mixed by Tripp Sprague, San Diego

Second Avenue Square Dance

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Lyrics: Elizabeth Schwartz  |  Music: Abraham Ellstein (Second Avenue Square Dance)  |  Arrangement: Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz
Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals), Norbert Stachel (clarinet), Bud Burridge (Trumpet), Peter Stan (accordion), Sprocket (bass), David Licht (percussion)
Recorded at Peter Karl Studios, Brooklyn  |   Mixed by Tripp Sprague, San Diego

Lager, A Lament

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Lyrics: Elizabeth Schwartz | Music: Traditional (Romanian Hora) | Arrangement: Elizabeth Schwartz
Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals)
Recorded at SoundTripp Studio, San Diego | Mixed by Tripp Sprague, San Diego