Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Diwon's "The Beat Guide to Yiddish"

Album Cover for Diwon's 'The Beat Guide To Yiddish'Diwon, that Yemenite Kid, aka DJ Handler of the Shemspeed website and organizer of the Sephardic Music Festival, has put out a new dj mixtape, "The Beat Guide to Yiddish." I love the audio whiplash of mixtape tracks like this, and Diwon doesn't disappoint. The Beat Guide is a gentle, upbeat, romp through reconstructed classic Yiddish and Hebrew melodies (Belz, Tum Balalika, and Hava Nagila among others), hip hop beats, mid-eastern semi-tones, radio fuzz, and odd guitar and electronic bits. Great fun.

I was, however, a bit thrown by the title. In addition to being a Jewish music nerd, I'm also an American literature nerd. When I see the phrase "The Beat Guide to ..." I assume the author is referring to the Beat Generation, a period in the 1950's and 1960's that produced an amazing output of counter-culture poetry and literature. (Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Kaddish for Naomi Ginsberg (1894-1956) and d. a. levy's City being personal favorites). I got excited thinking that Diwon was going to be riffing off of Yiddish music of that period or with some similar vibe, but not so much. Instead, he was playing the phrase "The Beat Guide" to refer to hip-hop beats. Clever, I guess. Oh well. Anyway, here's Diwon, that Yeminite Kid's, "The Beat Guide To Yiddish."

The Beat Guide To Yiddish

And best of all, it's yours for free download courtesy of the JTA Global News Service. Here's an excerpt from Diwnon's JTA interview explain the mixtape...
"I don’t know of any Yiddish mixtapes that have ever been made — you know, Yiddish through the eyes of a street mixtape DJ. It was a challenge to take the source material flip it over my own beats and remixes and then throw in some of my friends who are fusing Yiddish with electronic music and what not. Plus that Andrew sisters “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” is so hot."
Read the whole interview. You can get more info on Diwon and hear / download more great mixes at the websites linked above, the Diwon Music website, and at his MySpace page.

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