Shtetl rocks

Jamie Ren­ton on a CD of cool kosher mu­sic

The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS/ -

Var­i­ous Artists: Shtetl Su­per­stars (Trikont)

Could this be the sound­track to that much talked-about cul­tural phe­nom­e­non, the New Kosher Cool? Com­piled by Oi-Va-Voi’s Lemez Lovas and Yurly Gurzhy, the man be­hind Ber­lin’s Russendisko club night, this 19-track snap­shot of con­tem­po­rary global Jewish mu­sic is likely to come as some­thing of a shock to those ex­pect­ing mu­si­cal pu­rity or old time sounds.

Yes, you will find tra­di­tional Klezmer here, you will even find pas­sages from the To­rah. But they are mixed up with punk, hip-hop, ska, surf gui­tar and drum n bass.

In other words, this is Jewish cul­ture do­ing what it does best — tak­ing from and con­tribut­ing to which­ever part of the world it finds it­self in. This is the mu­sic of the new gen­er­a­tion who came af­ter the 1970s klezmer re­vival­ists (the last no­table wave of Jewish mu­sic), young peo­ple un­afraid of reach­ing back to their roots, but con­fi­dent enough to draw on what is around them.

Open­ing with Gurzhy’s reg­gae rockin’ remix of the Am­s­ter­dam Klezmer Band’s “Im­mi­grant Song” (one of seven exclusive tracks here), the album moves from UK to USA, Is­rael to Rus­sia, and all over Europe.

Even those well versed in this mu­sic will un­earth some worth­while dis­cov­er­ies, such as US Yid­dish ska mer­chant King Django and Hol­land’s Alec Kopyt.

New con­verts can look for­ward to dis­cov­er­ing such fine tunes as Balkan Beat Box’s “Adir Alam” (a funky dance-floor-filler built around a cou­ple of chanted lines of prayer) and Cana­dian klezmer noir ac­cor­dion­ist Ge­off Berner’s typ­i­cally smart “Lucky God­damn Jew”.

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