Beyond the Pale
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Beyond the Pale

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band World Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Concert Review, Barrie, Ontario, Feb 26, 2005"

Beyond the Pale excels at playing live. There is an energy about this talented Toronto-based group that transcends their music. The interplay between the musicians, their obvious enjoyment and natural stage presence had many in the audience commenting how good they are. Almost in surprise, for this was one of Barrie Concert Society's more eclectic offerings. And a highly entertaining evening it was.

From its opening number Beyond the Pale captivated the audience. One woman said she felt like dancing. Others did - in their seats. There was much enthusiastic clapping along. And naturally, they gave the group a standing ovation, then another after they came back for an encore.

There were many highlights - some were original compositions by the group, each had its own unique style. Beyond the Pale has practically created its own music genre. - By Susan Doolan for Barrie Examiner

"CD Review of "Routes""

"A rich musical experience which can touch your soul with its plaintive melodies, while at the same time enticing you to kick off your shoes and dance your burdens away....They're extending the traditions of klezmer in a decidedly contemporary way (ever wonder what Bob Marley would have sounded like had he been born in eastern Europe?).....Born of tradition but living in the here and now, Beyond the Pale gives routes music a whole new meaning." - Canadian Musician Magazine

"Beyond the Pale Offers Some 'First-Class Klezmer'"

"One of the best Jewish fusion bands around has got to be Beyond the Pale. Hard to believe that first-class klezmer can come out of the wilds of Toronto, but that's where this group of five uncommonly talented musicians hails from. Their debut disc 'Routes' is a delightful musical journey across Russia, Romania, and Moldavia all the way to the New World, where touches of bluegrass and reggae spice up some of the time-honoured melodies and rhythms of Jewish folk tunes.

'Routes' (a title that in itself is a clever play on words) is great for just listening, but don't be surprised if at some point you feel the urge to jump and dance. There are several numbers that make it hard to sit still.

The best thing about this album - besides the impeccable performances - is that, unlike many 'world' music collections, no two tracks are alike. In case you haven't already guessed, I am crazy about this recording and I just hope my boss doesn't ask to get it back. Fat chance!" - San Francisco Jewish Bulletin

"CD Review of "Consensus" (2004)"

Beyond the Pale is a lovely, graceful combination of world accoustic music. This live recording captures them at a typical high point.

The bands roots are in klezmer and other Eastern European folk traditions, and having assimilated those musics they are busy creating new ones. As they demonstrate on the opening song, "Diaphonous Charms", they have moved with facility to the creation of a new world folk music that seems at home in any tradition, yet belongs exclusively to none. Their treatment of Dave Tarras tunes, on "Tarrastaman" melds klezmer with a hint of reggae creating something new, easy on the ears and still interesting, while the "Moses Nign" does capture both the spirit of Hasiddic nign and the soul of something new. The balkan and jazz intricacies of "Variatiuni Lautari" and "Enosereh" are no less fascinating to listen to on the CD than to watch live.

Visiting troublemaker Josh Dolgin provides some wonderful links to the world folk music fusion of the bands' parents and grandparents. "I Like She", classic Second Avenue and classic Aaron Lebedeff, becomes a wonderful, even wonderfully zany excursion into Yinglish and love, as does the Moishe Oysher chestnut "Skalavaye" (originally, "Alavaye").

The emphasis on fusion doesn't mean that the band eschews dance rhythms. The aforementioned "Tarrastaman" retains a good dance beat, and "Calusari Dance" likewise with its wild bluegrassy—or Romanian—break.

But my favorite parts of the album may be in the intricate interplay on songs such as Martin van de Ven's "Whassat" or bandleader Eric Stein's "Reunion", the latter fusing a variety of klezmer tunes into something intriguingly new. This music sounds like what would happen if Dave Grisman were playing from Jewish roots, rather than merely accompanying them, as he did with Andy Statman years ago. Instead of mere "dawg" music, think of the result here as Jewish-Balkan post-klezmer music in a style that befits a city, Toronto, hailed by the UN as one of the most culturally diverse in the world. The result is sometimes borrowed, sometimes blue, sometimes old; always new, and always a pleasure.

"CD Review "Routes""

It would seem klezmer music is enjoying a second renaissance of late. The first occurred in the 1970s, when such bands as the Klezmorim and the Klezmer Conservatory Band rediscovered the music their grandfathers had performed at weddings and bar mitzvahs, and offered it to a wider audience. Since the 1990s, the second renaissance has consisted of younger bands reinterpreting the traditional melodies, composing their own tunes, and fusing klezmer with jazz, rock, blues, and other forms of world music, creating what has been described by some as "acid klez" and "tribal Jewish funk." Granted, such music (which I like to call "klusion") can potentially adulterate an otherwise rich, vigorous form. But at best, it creates some playful, wonderful new sounds, as "Beyond the Pale does so masterfully on their first cd, Routes. Indeed, their title toys with the idea of klezmer as their "roots" music, while steering it along new and varied "routes."

Collectively, the ensemble has backgrounds in jazz, classical, rock, folk, country, and bluegrass, and much of this diverse influence is evident on Routes. For instance, a piece like ChasenJah, the title of which combines the Yiddish word for wedding with the Rastafari name for God, starts out as a klezmer-reggae hybrid, slow and slinky (think of a yarmulke worn over dreadlocks), before breaking out into a faster, more trad klezmer dance piece. Bulcharescu likewise is propelled by a funky Middle-eastern rhythm thanks to guest percussionist Rick Lazar. And Gyration, a holdover from the band's early days as a "new-grass" fusion band, contains elements of funk, jazz, and rock along with the klez.

But there is plenty of traditional-sounding klezmer on Routes as well. Indeed, some of the original compositions, such as Eavesdropping and Agnia, are practically indistinguishable from genuinely traditional tunes. Roumanian Fantasy, propelled by guest guitarist Dan Goldman, is absolutely haunting. And two songs, Vander Ich Mir Lustig and Vodka, explore the more theatrical elements of klezmer, ably assisted by the versatile-indeed, schmaltzy-tenor of guest vocalist Dave Wall.

The musicians of Beyond the Pale play with grace and style. In their hands, klezmer is not a dead, ethnomusicological oddity, but a living and evolving music that they perform with gusto and sheer joy. - Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange (

"CD Review "Routes""

"This is post-modern klezmer in all the best senses....extremely satisfying....a album expertly grounded, and very much of our specific time. Not just "routes," but "roots." [GRADE: A]"

"Musical Styles never Beyond This Band"

During its early days, the setlist for a concert by Toronto's Beyond the Pale was something of an oddity, depending on the venue. It played traditional klezmer music at weddings. It mined Grateful Dead and Phish territory at club gigs. It even covered songs by bluegrass legend Bill Monroe from time to time.

But having played practically every type of music at one time or another has only helped the band, says band leader Eric Stein. While the all-over-the-map performances may be a thing of the past, Stein says Beyond the Pale's eclecticism is an integral part of its future.

"At the time I started the band, the idea was to throw in everything, including the kitchen sink," he says laughing, "but it was ultimately a little unfocused so we narrowed things down."

Beyond the Pale has now evolved into a combo that keeps one foot in klezmer fusion and the other resting comfortably in more traditional creations. The resulting music is an altogether original mix.

Stein, who plays mandolin and writes many of the songs, is quick to attribute the band's divergent trendencies to the skills and past experience of all the members.

"Collectively, the range of experiences and musical styles that we all come from is really wide, everything from rock to country. I used to be a rock n' roller, our clarinet player comes from a classical and contemporary music background, our bassist studied in jazz, and so on."

Beyond the Pale is looking to make a big splash at FolkFest during its Victoria debut tonight, even with the varied ages that make up a folk festival crowd. In fact, to what audience it plays is of little importance to Stein and his band. He syas Beyond the Pale has enough in its canon to appease almost everyone, klezmer fan or not.

"When I first started this band I wasn't clear about what I wanted to play. I just had a vague conception of it, but I realized it had to be grounded somewhere, and as it developed it became clear that klezmer should be the core of it. Having gotten so deeply into klezmer music I feel there is legitimacy in terms of the innovations we are introducing within the music, because there is a deep understanding of the core tradition. Making klezmer the core of what we're doing, and coming from this place where we're all deeply immersed in it, we can start breaking rules because we know the rules well."

Rule-breaking is at the heart of Beyond the Pale. Stein says the band's name - a double entendre of sorts - is meant to suggest something that rests outside the mainstream.

"The name indicates that while what we're doing is rooted in Jewish music, we're going far beyond. It really speaks simultaneously to the roots of what we're doing musically, and the forward-looking vision we try to introduce to our music." - Victoria-Times Colonist

"CD review"

A riot of rhythm, a montage of modes...can they play! You don't need to be a klezmer afficionado to enjoy it - it's all there in the music. - Folk Trax (Adelaide, Australia)


•"Postcards" (2009, Borealis Records)
•"A New World of Mozart" (2006 CBC radio Broadcast)
•"Beyond the Creaking Trees" (2005 CBC radio Broadcast)
•"Consensus: Live in Concert" (2004, Borealis Records)
•"Routes" (2001, Borealis Records)




One of Canada’s leading world/roots music ensembles, Toronto’s Beyond the Pale has been making its distinctive brand of boundary-busting Eurofolk fusion for 15 years. Mixing Klezmer, Balkan, and Gypsy music with an eclectic range of North American influences, the group’s unique brand of "chamber-folk"music is delivered with virtuosic musicianship, exciting dynamics and an inventive approach to both original and traditional material. Three-time Canadian Folk Music Award winners for “Best Instrumental Group” (2005, 2010) and “Pushing the Boundaries” (2010), the group has toured extensively across North and South America, Europe, and Australia, performing at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall, the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow Poland, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Skirball Centre in LA, BMW Edge Theatre in Melbourne, and many more. Beyond the Pale has collaborated with the likes of Theodore Bikel, Socalled, Flory Jagoda and various Canadian symphonic and choral groups, and has released three acclaimed CD recordings. The group features some of Canada’s most in-demand instrumentalists, including Eric Stein (mandolin), Martin van de Ven (clarinet), Aleksandar Gajic (violin), Milos Popovic (accordion) and Bret Higgins (bass).

Additional MP3 samples and complete live video clips of the band in action can be viewed on their website.