Saturday, February 17, 2007

Jewish-Ukrainishe Freundschaft

Where to start? With a swawking horn. Honk. Grind. Bump. Wail. Let's a Gypsy part of town. Kick in the horns. Grind. I smiled at the world, there'll still be no changes...Lets go!

Jewish music has been bouncing off of it's neighbors musics for a long time. In Eastern Europe and the Balkans, klezmer musicians and Rom (gypsy) musicians regularly shared tunes and techniques (as well as bottles and stories). The tradition continues. JUF is an extension of the group Gogol Bordello. Ground Zero for JUF and Gogol Bordello is the Balkans as imagined by JUF and GB lead singer Eugene Hurtz that mixes gypsy, flamenco, klezmer, Turkish, dancehall, reggae and Rai with industrial rock and a punk ethos. JUF adds to a distinctly New York DJ club feel.

The Jewish connection to the music is understated but clear, showing up as scales and fills in song after song. The musicians that help bring out that connection are Tamir Muskat and Ori Kaplan aka Balkan Beat Box. Muskat and Kaplan have played in a number of my favorite Jewish flavored New York bands including BBB, GB, Firewater, and Shot'nez.

The Balkan Beat Box album is a thing of manic beauty is much more a 'Jewish' album, and I love Gogol Bordello albums. But this week's obsession is JUF. There is something about the freedom from song structure and a love for sounds (not notes) that a DJ can brings that can help a group loosen up and let go. This is the party I wish I was ever cool enough to be invited to and the club I look hard for and never found.


Unknown said...

I´m looking a Balkan vesion of Hava Nagila, ezequiel from Argentina

Jack said...

Hi Ezequiel. I'll bet there are some good ones out there. Let me see what I can dig up.