HOT, sizzling bagels! Many in the audience for Yiddish Twist Orchestra’s February concert at the NCEM noted down details of tonight’s show, the association of Jewish bagel with the Yiddish Twisters being unmistakeable.

There was certainly a Venn diagram element to the music – Jewish klezmer, Yiddish folk songs and Balkan wedding dances common to both bands.

The five-piece Bagels were outstanding in their virtuosity, exploring the dizzying complexities of melody and rhythm inherent in their programme of World music, with complex time-signatures and rhythms which ebbed and flowed within each piece.

Opening with two Macedonian songs, mandolin players Mario Caribe and Greg Lawson began in melancholic minor key before moving to double bass and violin respectively. The keynote of this partnership was their ability to move flawlessly from slow ballad into express-train speed, often in breathtaking unison and in time signatures ranging through 7/8, 11/8 and more over the evening.

Moishe’s Bagel’s programme included compositions by the band alongside material sourced from early 1900s ethnic dance music. Mario contributed a new song, Brazil, featuring percussionist Guy Nicholson, suddenly thunderous on a bewildering range of tablas, bongos, tambour and cymbals after his gentle, whispery hand-drumming so far.

Timgad was composed in tribute to a complete Roman town in the Algerian desert, Flatlands was inspired by the Lincolnshire landscape, while accordionist Pete Garnett recalled a wacky relative with Uncle Roland’s Flying Machine.

The five multi-instrumentalists – double bass, mandolins (two), violin, accordions (two), hand percussion and Phil Alexander at the NCEM piano, were all unamplified, which eminently suited the hard acoustics of the NCEM, creating an absolute treat for a packed NCEM audience.

- Ron and Judy Burnett