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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