Veretski Pass' old-world soul

9/17, 9/20

The Veretski Pass through the Carpathian Mountains, once part of Czechoslovakia and now in Ukraine, was the route through which Jews first settled in Hungary in the 16th century. The rugged pass also brought Gypsies, Ruthenians, and Czechs to the region where violinist Cookie Segelstein's father was born. As an adult, Segelstein became obsessed with the music on which she was weaned, a quest that eventually led to the creation of the remarkable chamber klezmer trio called, appropriately, Veretski Pass. The group -- also featuring Joshua Horowitz on tsimbl (hammered dulcimer) and button accordion, and Stuart Brotman on bass, baraban (drum), and Carpathian flute -- released its self-named debut CD last year on Golden Horn Records. Rather than developing a new take on klezmer, the secular celebratory music of Eastern European Jewry, Veretski Pass recovers songs, melodies, and musical practices almost entirely wiped out by the Holocaust. Like an early-music ensemble, the trio has honed a sound unlike any other klezmer band by paying particular attention to authentic musical instruments. While Segelstein is based in Connecticut, where she is the principal violist in Orchestra New England and assistant principal in the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the group has deep East Bay ties. Horowitz and Brotman are longtime Berkeley residents who have both played leading roles in the klezmer revival. Also a member of the celebrated ensemble Brave Old World, Brotman is a highly versatile musician who has toured and recorded with Canned Heat, Kaleidoscope, and Geoff and Maria Muldaur. He has collaborated with Andy Statman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Davka, the San Francisco Klezmer Experience, Itzhak Perlman, and the Klezmorim, producing the band's Grammy-nominated album Metropolis. His Carpathian flute, known in Romania as the tilinca, is a simple, end-blown wooden tube without finger holes, sharpened on one end to form the mouthpiece. The end is opened or closed with one finger to select even or odd harmonics. Horowitz has also gained attention with his ensemble Budowitz, named after the 19th-century master accordion builder whose instruments, constructed out of bone, wood, goat leather, and brass, are noted for their rich, reedy tone.

The trio spends a high-profile week in the East Bay as the headlining band at KlezCalifornia 2005 on Saturday (8 p.m.) at the Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center (1414 Walnut St., Berkeley, BRJCC.org), followed by a day of workshops and master classes. The trio also performs at Freight & Salvage (1111 Addison St., Berkeley, TheFreight.org) at 8 p.m. Tuesday. -- Andrew Gilbert

SAT 9/17

Kid Magic

Heed your inner child

Some mystics believe that the child symbolically represents the new Aeon, or Age of Aquarius, and, as such, is actually a powerful being whose innocent visage reflects a deep cosmic consciousness. That idea isn't inconsistent with dance NAGANUMA's Voices of the Powerful Child, a new work that matches choreographer Claudine Naganuma with conductor Robert Geary and electronic-music diva Amy X. Neuberg. Empower your inner child Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Theater. JuliaMorgan.org or 925-798-1300. -- Eric K. Arnold


The Fourth Wives Club

American movie audiences know Raise the Red Lantern as the visually sumptuous 1991 film by director Zhang Yimou that launched Gong Li as a star -- but the story of a young woman and her misadventures as the "fourth wife" of a 1920s-era Chinese household originated as a 1990 novel by author Su Tong. Now it's a ballet. As performed by the National Ballet of China (right) for four performances Friday through Sunday at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, Raise the Red Lantern is filmmaker Zhang's own adaptation of his screenplay into a spectacle starring 58 dancers and a troupe of Peking Opera performers. Tickets: $36-$48-$68, from 510-642-9988 or CalPerfs.berkeley.edu -- Kelly Vance

MON 9/19

Duel School

Ahoy, matey! Wanna learn how to make a scurvy scallywag dance to the whistling melody of your blade like Errol Flynn in Captain Blood? Sure ye do. And ye can, during Stage Combat: Rapier and Dagger, part of the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre's new fall workshop series, which begins Monday. The series includes adult, teen, and K-8-specific classes on Shakespeare, playwriting, voice, movement, and tips for auditioning. Private audition and voice coaches also available. Info: BerkeleyRep.org or 510-647-2972. -- Eric K. Arnold


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