After the smash reception of their eponymous first CD, the eccentric trio Veretski Pass is now releasing a second CD, TRAFIK. A true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, the suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania, Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia, and haunting Rembetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with a large number of original compositions.

Veretski Pass




  • Cookie Segelstein — Violin
  • Joshua Horowitz — Button Accordion, Tsimbl
  • Stuart Brotman — Cello, Tilinca, Baraban

Recorded at Fortune Hall, Connecticut College, New London, CT, January 2007
Recording Engineer: Yves Feder
Produced by: Yves Feder, Cookie Segelstein and Joshua Horowitz for Veretski Pass
Executive Producer: Ates Temeltas
Editing: Yves Feder, Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz
Mastering: Tiny Radio Theatre
Artwork: Matt Strieby
Typography and Layout: Matt Strieby
Photo: Christoph Gie

Genre: Klezmer.


Night to Day
1. Mooncurser 0:46
2. Zero Dark Hundred (Segelstein) 3:25
3. Linejumper Hora 2:00
4. Curly Wolf Patch (Segelstein/trad) 2:29
Full Bow of Horse
5. Dov the Cow Swimmer (Segelstein/trad) 0:42
6. Noisy Dog (Segelstein) 3:09
Roadside Wedding
7. Grass Widow (Horowitz) 3:02
8. Tango Under the Influence 2:45
9. Snowblind (Segelstein/trad) 1:58
10. Keralnik 2:05
Sin of Sleep
11. Wooden Robe (Segelstein) 3:11
12. Radoia Waltz (Horowitz/trad) 1:36
13. Hora Liora 2:16
14. Darkmans Daughter (Segelstein/trad) 1:44
15. Salt Trader (Segelstein/trad) 3:35
The Pass
16. Red Mist (Brotman) 0:39
17. Risen Ground (Brotman) 2:00
18. Klyucharkier Kolomeyke and Hutzulka (Segelstein/trad) 3:50
19. Zbram Zbram (Segelstein/trad) 5:50
20. Petyuk (Segelstein/trad) 2:51
21. Klisalnitse (Segelstein/trad) 2:01
22. Seven by Nine 1:11
23. Zekele 1:04
24. Steshke 1:22
Vojvodina Parting
25. Bratul, Bratanyek (Segelstein) 2:56
26. Fallen Apples (Segelstein) 1:32
27. Three Wheels Czardas 2:01
Count Ties
28. Little Snakesman (Horowitz) 3:20
29. Terkhers Skotshne (Horowitz) 2:16
30. Veretskier Krokodil (Segelstein, Horowitz/trad) 4:04

Veretski Pass – Trafik

After the smash reception of their eponymous first CD, the eccentric trio Veretski Pass is now releasing a second CD, TRAFIK. A true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, the suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania, Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia, and haunting Rembetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with a large number of original compositions.

In the anxiously awaited release, TRAFIK, this transgressive trio of virtuosic klezmer veterans delivers 30 tracks of musical “contraband”. The pieces are titled with slang from all over the world and across time; e.g. klezmer loshn, the secret language of the klezmorim (east European players of Jewish instrumental music), blatnyak: Russian mob slang and Victorian thieves’ slang, and then grouped into 9 suites with such headings as Roadside Wedding, Seed and Darkmans Daughter.

In Eastern Europe, the roots of world music go back centuries. Jews and Moslems, Magyars, Rumanians, Ukrainians and Roma played music together in an atmosphere of sharing, in a multicultural area where professional musicians had to know as many musical styles as the diverse languages of the people with whom they lived and worked. Across the Veretski Pass, the mountain pass in the Carpathians through which Magyar tribes into crossed into the Carpathian basin in 895 AD, and through which the emigrating Jews first settled in Transcarpathia, the musical traditions were as varied as the people who lived there. 

Taking its name from this cultural hotbed, Veretski Pass confidently crosses the border between mature mastery and village madness. The trio has been critically acclaimed in their performances in concert halls all over the world, including Vienna, Krakow, Munich, Chicago and the prestigious Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Veretski Pass offers a fusion of the musical traditions of Jewish, Carpathian, Rumanian and Rembetic cultures woven together with original compositions and improvisations to form a recognizable style of their own. The titles on this CD take slang terms from around the world.

Glossary Of Titles
  1. Mooncursor — a thief who uses the darkness as cover for his crime. 19th C. thieves cant
  2. Zero Dark Hundred — early in the morning. 19th C. thieves cant
  3. Line Jumper – a car that passes others to get in front. American slang
  4. Curly Wolf Patch –“Curly Wolf”, a very tough guy, dangerous man. American slang
  5. Dov the Cow Swimmer – Dov Ickovics learned to swim by holding the tail of the cows he brought to the Latorica River for water, in Munkacs, Ukraine. Veretski Pass (VP)
  6. Noisy Dog — “noisy dog racket”; stealing brass door knockers from doors. 19th C. thieves cant
  7. Grass Widow — divorcee , Cowboy slang.
  8. Tango Under the Influence — VP
  9. Snowblind — fear of marriage at wedding upon seeing the white wedding dress.
  10. Keralnik — drunk man, klezmer loshn (klezmer slang).
  11. Wooden Robe – coffin. American slang
  12. Radoia Waltz - waltz from Radoia, Romania. VP
  13. Hora Liora – old Hasidic melody, dedicated to the memory of Anette Brodovsky. VP
  14. Darkmans’ Daughter — darkmans is nighttime. 19th C. thieves cant
  15. Salt Trader — VP
  16. Red Mist — VP
  17. Risen Ground — VP
  18. Klyucharkier Kolomeyke and Hutzulka — dance from Klyucharki, Ukraine. VP
  19. Zbram Zbram – grandfather, klezmer loshn.
  20. Petyuk – small boy, klezmer loshn.
  21. Klisalnitse — female thief, klezmer loshn.
  22. Seven by Nine – inferior, crooked or common quality, American slang.
  23. Zekele — sack, as in sack of gold, Yiddish.
  24. Steshke – path or trail, Yiddish.
  25. Bratul, Bratanyek — Brother, Little Brother, klezmer loshn
  26. Fallen Apples — VP
  27. Three Wheels Czardas — VP
  28. Little Snakesman — a boy thief, lithe and thin and daring, such a one as house-breakers hire for the purpose of entering a small window. 19th C. thieves cant
  29. Terkhers Skotshne — beggars’ dance, klezmer loshn
  30. Veretskier Krokodil - Quadrille or Sher from Veretski, klezmer loshn.
Glossary of Suite Titles

The Musicians

Cookie Segelstein, 19th Century violin and viola, received her Masters degree in Viola from The Yale School of Music in 1984.She is principal violist in Orchestra New England and assistant principal in The New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Cookie teaches klezmer fiddling at Living Traditions’ KlezKamp and The Albuquerque Academy, has been on staff twice at Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Wash., and teaches a klezmer class at Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. She has performed with The Klezical Tradition, The Klezmatics, Klezmer Fats and Swing with Pete Sokolow and the late Howie Leess, Kapelye, Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Conservatory Band. She is a founding member of The Youngers of Zion with Henry Sapoznik, and has recently joined Budowitz. She has presented lecture demonstrations and workshops on klezmer fiddling all over the country, including at Yale University, University of Wisconsin in Madison, University of Oregon in Eugene, Pacific University and SUNY-Cortland. She was featured on the ABC documentary, “A Sacred Noise”, heard on HBO’s “Sex and the City”, and on several recordings including the Koch International label with Orchestra New England in “The Orchestral Music of Charles Ives”, The Klezical Tradition’s “Family Portrait” and Adrianne Greenbaum’s “Fleytmuzik”. She is also active as a Holocaust educator and curriculum advisor and has been a frequent lecturer at the Women’s Correctional Facility in Niantic, CT. Cookie lives in Madison, Connecticut.

Joshua Horowitz, tsimbl and 19th Century accordion, received his Masters degree in Composition and Music Theory from the Academy of Music in Graz, Austria, where he taught Music Theory and served as Research Fellow and Director of the Klezmer Music Research Project for eight years. He is the founder and director of the ensemble Budowitz and has performed with Rubin and Horowitz, Brave Old World, Adrienne Cooper and Ruth Yaakov. Joshua taught Advanced Jazz Theory at Stanford University with the late saxophonist Stan Getz and is a regular teacher at KlezKamp, The Albuquerque Academy and Klez Kanada. His musicological work is featured in four books, including The Sephardic Songbook with Aron Saltiel and The Ultimate Klezmer, and he has written numerous articles on the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. His recordings with Budowitz, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Rubin & Horowitz, Alicia Svigals, Adrianne Greenbaum and Fialke have achieved international recognition and he is the recipient of more than 40 awards, including the Prize of Honor for his orchestral composition, Tenebrae, presented by the Austrian government. Beside his work as a musician, he led the first post-WWII music therapy group at the pioneering Beratungszentrum in Graz, Austria. He is currently working on a book of his essays for Scarecrow Press. Joshua lives in Berkeley, California.

Stuart Brotman, bass, basy, and baraban, has been an accomplished performer, arranger and recording artist in the ethnic music field for over 35 years. He holds a B.A. in music from the University of California at Los Angeles, and has taught at KlezKamp, Buffalo on the Roof, the Balkan Music and Dance Workshops and KlezKanada and has been recording, touring, and teaching New Jewish Music with world class ensemble Brave Old World since 1989. Long admired as a versatile soloist and sensitive accompanist in traditional and pop music circles, he has toured and recorded with Canned Heat, Kaleidoscope, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and played cimbalom with Ry Cooder at Carnegie Hall. Stu appeared in the Los Angeles production of Ghetto, the San Francisco production of Shlemiel the First, and performs frequently in ethnic music specialty roles for TV and film. A founding member of Los Angeles’ Ellis Island Band, he has been a moving force in the Klezmer revival since its beginning. He produced The Klezmorim’s Grammy nominated album, Metropolis. He toured with the Yiddisher Caravan, a federally funded Yiddish folklife show, and has performed with The Klezmorim, Kapelye, Andy Statman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Davka, The San Francisco Klezmer Experience, Khevrisa and Itzhak Perlman. Stuart lives in Berkeley, California.

The Instruments

The violin, played by Cookie Segelstein, a 19th C. Maggini copy, remained the representative instrument of klezmer music right up until the beginning of the 20th Century, when it was replaced by the clarinet as the “quintessentially Jewish” instrument. Early documents from the 16th Century even show the icon of a violin as the emblem for a klezmer guild. Older styles of bowing, fingering, phrasing and ornamenting, imititating various gestures of East Ashkenazic synagogue singing, were considered lost and forgotten until just recently. These techniques form an integral part of the unique sound of Veretski Pass.

The viola, also called Groyse Fidl [Yid. Big Fiddle], Sekund, Kontra or Zsidó Bratsch [Hun.], played by Cookie Segelstein, is typically used for the constant playing of chords in a rhythmic style. According to descriptions by Gypsies throughout Romania and Hungary, Jews typically used various types of this chord instrument, with either 3 or 4 strings. The function of string accompaniment fell out of use with the increased inclusion of wind instruments in the klezmer ensembles around the end of the 19th Century, and although still commonly used in the folk music of Hungarian minorities throughout Romania, Cookie Segelstein is the only one to have explored the viola as a solo instrument in klezmer music.

The tsimbl (hammered dulcimer, or cymbalom), played by Joshua Horowitz and Stuart Brotman formed the rhythmic and timbral backbone of klezmer music from the 16th to the late 19th Century. Its ability to play accompaniment as well as melody made it a versatile and necessary member of the klezmer ensemble. The construction and tuning of the tsimbls in Veretski Pass were only made possible after years of detailed research into the iconography, descriptions and early existing recordings of the instrument. The various types of strokes, ornaments and asymmetric phrasings and rhythms used, points to an older, more refined approach of playing, and lends a combination of percussive brittleness as well as a soft ethereal sound cloud to Veretski Pass.

The accordion used by Joshua Horowitz was built in 1889 By Karl Budowitz. It represents the earliest type of fully chromatic button accordion, and formed the basis of the Russian Bayan developed in the early 20th Century. The warm, reedy sound, which at times yields the uncanny illusion of a small wind orchestra, is made possible through the materials used for its construction — bone, wood, goat leather and brass. Its ability to ornament and phrase like the human voice is achieved largely through the smaller, more controllable bellows and the specific fingering techniques used. The earliest recordings of klezmer music on accordion (ca.1913) reveal an identical sound and style to that found in Veretski Pass.

The basy played by Stu Brotman is a small bass played in the Tatra Mountains of Poland. It is now usually made out of a standard ’cello. It has three strings: a D string and two A strings an octave apart, played together as a pair.

The bass, played by Stuart Brotman, made in 1822, is frequently seen in early depictions of klezmer ensembles from the 16th Century, often strapped around the shoulder to enable processional playing. The instrument fell completely out of use by the beginning of the 20th Century — a fact that is difficult to understand, given its versatility. Rather than merely taking over a schematized bass, the bass in Veretski Pass weaves in and out of the bass and tenor role, even interacting abundantly with the melody in the lower octave. It provides the very distinct “moaning” sound typical in klezmer music, through frequent use of glissandi and speech-oriented articulation. The short bow also enables variegated articulation and the three gut strings lend Veretski Pass its unique driving sound.

The baraban, (Yid. drum) was reconstructed by the Remo company under the supervision of Stuart Brotman. It has two heads with a cymbal mounted on its top, which is commonly played by a fork or spoon. The Poik provides the backbeat for dancing tunes. In the hands of a skilled player, it can provide an endless array of sounds, at times mimicking the human voice.

The Carpathian flute played by Stu is known in Romania as the tilinca. It is an end-blown flute without finger holes, a simple wooden tube sharpened on one end to form the mouthpiece. It is blown in such a manner as to produce overtones; the end is opened or closed with one finger to select even or odd harmonics.


Veretski Pass brings a unique approach of teaching to the world music workshop. Just as an ensemble must seamlessly integrate the resources of individual players to produce a combined sound, this group of klezmer music veterans presents a team teaching model to facilitate the most successful results in student saturation after an amazingly short amount of time.

Stressing traditional ways of learning folk music, this trio removes the fear of learning by ear, and guides students through a tested method of recognizing and reproducing modal patterns, modulations, and melodic and rhythmic variations. Workshop participants are given the key to unlock the mystery of improvisation in klezmer music; ornaments, melodic fills, rhythmic and cadential variation and spontaneous ensemble arrangement. Above all, proven techniques for keeping musical energy through cross-rhythms, asymmetry, and syncopation are made accessible through exercises and examples.

While some of the courses offered in the workshop model are individually taught, by far the most effective are the classes with all three members at the helm. For example, a group ensemble will be led by Josh, with the other two roaming as satellites, offering pointers throughout the ensemble; Cookie hovering over the melody instruments with pointers for ornamentation, and Stu helping the trombones and bass player with moving lines. This approach has been recognized by participants as the most helpful way to integrate newly learned skills into an immediately applicable ensemble experience.

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