Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Yiddishe Cup's Ark Show

Last week I wrote about the Yiddishe Cup show I caught at the Ann Arbor Ark. It was a fun show, but don't feel left out! The band just uploaded a couple of video's from the show for your enjoyment.

Klezmer Hip Hop

Yiddishe Cup - "Hallelujah" (w/ Gerald Ross)

I'm having an interesting discussion right now with a fellow, Mark Rubin, who isn't much of a fan of Yiddishe Cup and other kitschy klezmer show bands. As far as I'm concerned, each to their own. There's room for lots of different kinds of Jewish music and a night of easy, but well-played, goofiness can be just what the doctor ordered. A steady diet of high art can get a bit overbearing. To Mark's point, though, I should mention that the "klezmer hip hop" in the video above was a fun goof, but not the real deal. For a much more serious (and still fun) take on klezmer hip hop, you should check out David Krakuer's collaborations with Socalled & Socalled's solo work). For Jewish hip hop in general, Y-love is king, though Matisyahu's recent EP "Shattered" shifts from reggae to hip-hop in big way with great results.


Anonymous said...

I like your attitude Jack- I think a big tent approach is not only kinder but it is also better for the music. I think the klez world now has an official "mafia"- folks who have selflessly devoted their lives to the music and who hold the standards of the art. They are wonderful and I'm deeply appreciative of their efforts. But- in other musics that have gone through similar evolutions (I'm thinking specifically of jazz and bluegrass) the class system that the presence of a mafia develops centers around technical virtuosity. That may sound reasonable but the result could be klezmer tonyrice-ism and I think that would be a shame. Luckily, klezmer sort of grew up backwards- with the 80s being sort of technical/arty/flashy and the mid 90s to present representing more of the party. Klezmer is slippery and I hope no one and no group, no matter how wise or experienced or good, ever gets to own it.

Jack said...

Thanks, I appreciate it.

I've always found the "best" music or "real" music game a difficult one. And not because I have no standards or am hopelessly relativistic. It's simply because there are too many ways to justify rankings. Is that I'm listening to a piece of music making me happy? Will it be remembered in a decade? Do the musicians have good tone and technique? Was I surprised? Did I want to be? Did the world change? Did I? Did I get up and dance? Would my daughters? Can I work while listening? Can I run? Can I sit for an hour just listening? Would I want to again? Do a million others feel the same? How about 10? Would I want to pick up an instrument and play? Or a an album and buy?

Positive answers to any of these questions is more than enough by themselves to justify a performance or a recording. Some are more likely to lead to commercial success. Others to artistic admiration. Others to the love. But judging one piece of music by all the questions is pointless. I could listen to Brahms all day (and have) but can't dance to it, or pray to it, or sing it at a campfire.