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Trad folk in an Israeli vein

Fringe of Blue
Fringe of Blue
By RebbeSoul

Global Pacific: 1995

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This review first appeared in the January 5, 1996 issue of the North County Times.

Bruce Burger, aka RebbeSoul, has produced an alluring collection based on Israeli and Jewish traditions. Deeply steeped in Israeli folk music, it is somewhat similar to the early 1970s British trad folk and artists like Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and Renaissance that drew on medieval English traditions – in both style and instrumentation – for a folksy yet modern sound.

"Fringe of Blue" ranges further afield from its Israeli roots than its English cousins did from theirs, though. For example, "A Narrow Bridge," which relates the story of a Ukraine rebbe (a highly respected rabbi with many followers) is as influenced by Wes Montgomery's mellow yet polished jazz as it is by Israeli or Yiddish folk. And Burger goes further back in time, all the way to a chorus of shofars – or rams' horns, used since Old Testament times. But he can also bring the music all the way to the present with electric guitar, as on "The Hope."

The music here is what really shines, though. Like all the best music from any culture, "Fringe of Blue" speaks to the heart with a fluency that transcends language.