14 November 2005

Monday's mp3: My Gramma's a Liar

Canadian-born DJ Socalled has been on my radar since his wonderful album A Socalled Seder brought Seder music into the hip-hop era and his collaboration with klezmer violinist Sophie Solomon, HipHopKhasene, did the same to Jewish wedding music. So when I heard that he was getting together with another Jewish music icon, clarinetist David Krakauer (and his band Klezmer Madness!), I nearly plotzed.

Like other genres, klezmer had its classic period. And it's still alive and evolving, adapting itself to the contemporary world. Says Krakauer: "Some people play klezmer technically, but they miss the klezmer sound. I want it to be klezmer, but I don’t want it to stay in a museum and die." Bubbemeises has its narrative story and musical roots in the traditional, but it's far from a museum piece. Turntables meet clarinet, rapping mixes with old vocal samples.

My enthusiasm for this music is culturally inexplicable. Which is to say I'm not in the least Jewish. Just consider it proof of the inherent draw of excellent musicians creating fresh, original, compelling music. Their CD is called Bubbemeises: Lies My Gramma Told Me. Yeah, that sounds a little cold-hearted. But there are lies, and then there are lies. These lies are the kind also known as old wives' tales, made up of myths, fables, and stories meant to keep kids from misbehaving. I can't explain this any better than the album's title track:

Monday's mp3: David Krakauer & Socalled: Bubbemeises
from Bubbemeises: Lies My Gramma Told Me (2005, Label Bleu)
David Krakauer's site | Socalled's site
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Anonymous said...

wait for socalled's ghettoblaster album coming out in 2006 on label bleu. it's going to be off the chain...

SpinTheGlobe said...

Thanks, A -
I hadn't heard about Ghettoblaster yet, though you sent me searching for more info. Found this info in an interview at the Walrus Magazine

Peering out from behind his nerdy glasses, Dolgin epitomizes North America's diasporic makeup. He knows he is lucky to live in a society where he doesn't have to be marked as a Jew unless he wants to be. The tensions that tug at cultures from both sides—nationalism and racism on one, tradition and belonging on the other—are constant preoccupations, but Dolgin never lets himself lose sight of the music. His next album, tentatively called Ghettoblaster, will deal with the idea of blasting out of all kinds of ghettos, including the one the industry places him in by pigeonholing his records as Jewish music.

I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Sophie Solomon has also just finished a new solo album - a great mix of stuff there from the klezmer stuff to more mainstream tunes featuring Richard Hawley and KT Tunstall. Seriously good, she's a star. www.sophiesolomon.com

Anonymous said...

You can check out an audio interview of Socalled at Oy Mendele!