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The Jewish Monkeys are masters of identity play, knights of the absurd, musicians and comedians, who deliver an exhilarating show. They love breaking ethnic and religious taboos, combined with liberating salvos of satire and Balkan klezmer’esque rock music in English and Yiddish. They rarely fail to get people on their feet, dancing: from Syrian refugees in a Dresden transit camp to anti-Pegida protesters the next day. Or from culturally savvy music lovers in [...]

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ASSAF PARIENTE: VOCALS
JOSSI REICH: VOCALS
GAEL ZAIDNER: VOCALS
RAN BAGNO: ACCORDION
YOLI BAUM: BASS
HENRY VERED: DRUMS
OMER HERSHMAN: GUITAR
MORAN BARON: TROMBONE
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Tracks

High Words

Oy Brigitte 
Jm Fever 
Post Midlife Dance 
Alte Kacker 
Titina 
Pupik 
High Words 
I Wonder 
Romania 

Mania Regressia

Caravan Petrol 

Caravan Petrol / I want control / Nissan Patrol 
Remote control / Caraca-racara… / Caravan Petrol 

Oy isn’t it an oily planet? /Money feeds the oily expectations of the oil-consuming nations / Leads to global exploitation / I used to be a motherfucker, not knowing what to do in life/I was looking for sensation / In the army of salvation/ But they didn’t have a clue/If only they would see/ How clean the world could be/If they just exchanged the oil for solar energy / Wouldn’t it be nice? / If I went to paradise / Leaving earth a better place /Unspoiled by human race / 

I used to be a motherfucker /Not knowing what to do in life / I was living in disguise / And was hiding from my wife / Desperately wandering in the desert/Trying to purify some water/ But instead I met the daughter / Of the Sheik who owned the well / Well well well well! Fatima Morgana / I showed her my banana / We listened to Santana / This desert is Nirvana / Fatima Morgana /Was licking my banana / Erupting a Fontana / Her Papa was in oil / oyoyoyoyoy Oil /I start to like the goil 

He needed the sheik’s water/ But instead I fucked his daughter / Now the sheik he wants to slaughter / Everyone who fucks his girl / A little defloration /That was such a big sensation / Had to take her for my wife / To escape her Papa’s knife / Kni kni kni kni kni knife / The best chance of my life! 

(instrumental intermezzo) 

If only it could be / That the oil belonged to me / I would sell this whole Nirvana / And end my misery / Be rich eternally / Fuck solar energy / And all humanity / If only they could see / That the king of oil is me / And my oily queen is Fati.. Fatima Morgana/ Ala ala ala / I want her Papa’s car / I’m going to be a star/ I don’t give a shit about pollution / Only the petrol distribution / Is the only right solution / Stop this eco-revolution

Black but Sweet 

What is the woman and you will see, a nice black woman they call Didi / When she presses sweet lips to mine / I said Mammy kiss Pappy all the time 

She is black and only and that is all / She is black and only and that is all / When men meet her, they bound to fall / Until her Mammy doesn’t sleep, oh Lord 

What is the woman and you will see / A nice black woman they call Didi / when she presses sweet lips to mine / I said Mammy kiss Pappy all the time / Didi is that bright of my heart / I felt so funny with her to part / The people in the country of Caroline / can tell how Didi loves Houdini 

Young boy think that they fight for me / Don’t put yourself into difficulties / For it is for this positive fact / The sweetest women in the world of luck / Don’t you mind when you get up old / It’s for never mute, keep cost in your soul / With your black baby you are born to stay / You cannot leave her and go away 

I said Didi, I’m going away / But no longer I cannot stay / Mammy as it is, for this is fact / Sweet Houdini soon is coming back

Luba Lubaviczer 

Petrosilia / Che Guevara 
Rojte Paprika / Mata Hari 
Superwomen / Metaplastik 
Mamographia 

LUBA LUBAVICZER 

Krimme Fiess / Groisse Zitzkalach / Ciciollina 
Mania Regressia / Pizda Kurva 
Kama Sutra / Pseudo Palavra 

LUBA LUBAVICZER 

Luba, Luba, Luba, Luba!! / 
Dayne Oygn hobn sech arayngedrayt in mayne Nishume/ Und ich bin im / Ganzn meshigge gewordn / Oy oy oy oy 

(English): 
Luba, Luba, Luba, Luba!! / Your eyes crashed into my soul/and I became totally crazy/Oy oy oy oy 

Papirossen / Hare Krishna 
Cucarracia / Hiper Histeria 
Noch a zingale / Semi Conductor / Toda la Noce 

LUBA LUBAVICZER 

Alte Kretshme / Poco poco 
Trichomonas / Sensationell 
Psychotherapia / Hysterectomy / Apoplexia 

LUBA LUBAVICZER 

Luba, Luba, Luba, Luba!! / As du kishst mech, brennt a fayer in mir / Oy oy oy oy 

(ENGLISH): When you kiss me, a fire burns in me/ Oy oy oy oy 
Schoyn avek der Nechten / Noch nisht du der Morgen /Es is noch du a bissale Haynt / Ster ihn nisht mit Sorgen 

(English): 
Yesterday is already gone / Tomorrow is still not there /There is still a little bit of Today / Don’t disturb it with sorrows

Johnny is the Goy for Me 

“Johnny is the goy for me” /This is what she said to me … 

“Tall and blond / His eyes are blue / He fucks like hell /Doesn’t smell” / Oy, vey Jossl can’t you see?/ “Day and night / I think of him/ He rides a horse / He goes to the gym” /This is what she said to me … 

DaDai… 

“Johnny is the goy for me” / So I said “Nuuu? Why not a Jew?” 

“All the day / You count and pray / You promise the moon/And come too soon” / Oy, vey, Jossl, can’t you see?/ “You bring no check / Got hair on the back / You snore at night / Mama was right”/ Jossl, you’re no joy for her 

DaDai… 

(Intermezzo): 
Jossl is no joy for her / For Johnny Goy she’s just a toy 

I jumped from a tree / I broke my knee / I rode a bike / Even fucked a dike / Nothing’s good enough for her/ But now I found my Suzy Jane / She can’t do Tshulent / But never complains / For Sue I’m not a lousy Jew / For Sue I’m like a Johnny too 

DaDai…

So Nice 

Louis was a financial fart/Spent all his money eating tart / It made him fat and stopped his heart/ Financial fart was not so smart 

Everything’s so nice / Oy, it’s just so nice / Isn’t it paradise? / Some people eat just rice 

Terry was a terrorist/ Couldn’t handle his father’s fist / The people thought that he’s a joke / Some of them went up in smoke 

Everything’s so nice / Oy, it’s just so nice / Isn’t it paradise? / Some people eat just rice 

Everything’s so great/ Just enjoy your fate / Everything’s so great/ Just enjoy your fate/daidaidai… 

Jezebel she couldn’t smell/ Her father’s breath was responsible / When he touched her in the loo/ She lost her other senses too 

Everything’s so nice/ Oy, it’s just so nice / Isn’t it paradise? / Some people eat just rice 

Everything’s so great/ Just enjoy your fate / Everything’s so great/Just enjoy your fate/daidaidai… 

Geraldine had a spleen/Everything had to be clean/She was never satisfied/ ’Cause the shit came from inside /…From inside… from inside…from inside… 

Everything’s so great/Just enjoy your fate / daidaidai… 
Everything’s so great/Just enjoy your fate/daidaidai… 

Don’t you mind your enemies /Enemas and bumble bees/ Love your neighbor, kiss your wife/ You will probably meet them in the afterlife 

Everything’s so nice/ Oy, it’s just so nice / Isn’t it paradise? / Some people eat just rice

Misirlou 

(Yiddish) 
Vayt in dem midbar / Fun heyser zin farbrent/ Hob ikh amol a meydele dort gekent / Misirilou heyst zi/ Yeder dort veyst zi gut/ Kh’vel di printsesn mer shoyn fargesn nit. 

Far in the Desert/ Burnt by the hot sun /I once knew a girl / Misirilou was her name / Everybody there knew her / I will already not forget the princess 

(Yiddish) 
Shtil, ovent kil, Un ikh fil az ikh vil mayn gefil /Far ir oysgisn un zi zol visn nor, Az nor zi lib ikh, Mayn lebn gikh ir, yo / 

Silence, cool evening, And I feel / That I will my feeling 
Spill out in front of her / And she should know / That only her I love / My life I give to her 

(Yiddish) 
Her, s’iz mir shver, Mit a trer zog ikh dir un ikh shver / Midber printsesn, kh’ken nit fargesn dikh / Kum hayl mayn benkshaft, nor di kenst hayln mikh / 

Listen, it is difficult / With a tear, I tell you / And I swear 
Desert princess, I cannot forget you / Come heal my longing / Only you can heal me 

(Yiddish) 
Misirilou mayne, meydale fun orient, Di oygn dayne hobn mayn harts farbrent / Mayn harts vert kranker, in chulem sey ikh dikh/ ants far mir shlanke /Drey zikh geshvind gikh. Midber printsesn, kh’ken nit fargesn dikh / Kum heyl mayn benkshaft, nor di kenst heyln mikh / Mayn mizrakh, blum misirilou 

My Misirilou, girl from the orient / Your eyes have burnt my heart / My hearts gets sicker / In my dreams I see you / Dance in front of me, my beautiful / Turn around even quicker(Desert princess, I cannot forget you / Come heal my longing / Only you can heal me 

My eastern flower, Misirilou

Heat, Meat, Beautiful Feet 

Sitting in my back yard /Everyone’s here / Trying to get the fire start / Listening to my friends fart / Uzi gets stoned / Moishe likes beer / Uzi’s wife wished he had Moishe’s career/ Mama is excited – I’m feeling so alone / Watching my dogs – chewing on a bone/ My lips are swollen and my head is numb / The sun is boiling /I had too much rum 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – what more do I need? 
Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy a mechaye – is it guilt, is it greed?

It couldn’t be much better / There’s pressure in my chest / Everyone is boring / The dogs are depressed 

Never wanted to become one of those / Why are the kids always pulling my nose? 
The drinks are warm / The girls are lame / The guys are laughing, I am getting insane/ Life is too long / And it’s mostly cruel / My prostata is burning /I wish I had a pool/ 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – what more do I need / 
Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – is it guilt, is it greed? 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – what more do I need? 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – is it guilt, is it greed? 

I wonder why the women that I love / Always have to live with the men I hate/ 
Maybe a fancy house is enough / To make them believe that these shmocks are great/ I’m asking for a hand, doing me a favor / But she’s always busy with her pussy-shaver/ I should’ve sticked to my family’s taboo – / “Never mar ry a woman uglier than you” 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – what more do I need? 

Meat, heat – beautiful feet / Oy, a mechaye – is it guilt, is it greed? 

Suddenly everyone’s a little bit stressed / The neighbor’s daughter is practically undressed But I will stick to the rules of the game /’ Cause “EDIPUSSY” is my second name

Banana Boat vs. Hava Nagila 

Day oh, Day oh / Daylight come and we wanna go home / Day is the day is the day is the day is the day is the day oh ho hou / Daylight come and we wanna go home 
Announcer: Wait a second. Why do you wanna go home yet? / You want a peace in the Middle East?? 
The two Jews: Don’t they say, make love not war 
The Arab: Leave our land, and we won’t break your jaw 
The two Jews: They killed us in Europe, we need real estate 
The Arab: You gave us the Nakba, now go get your fate 
The two Jews: For 2000 years we are longing for Jerusalem 
The Arab: Al-Quds is ours, Al-Aqsa won’t fall 
The two Jews: For 2000 years we are longing for the Promised Land 
The Arab: Since Muhammad we had the upper hand 
The two Jews: For 2000 years we are longing for Zion, 
The Arab: We don’t have a chance but we fight like a lion 
The two Jews: We are the chosen, the people of God 
The Arab: We’re blessed by Allah!!! Eternal Jihad 

Day oh, Day oh / Daylight come and we wanna go home / day it’s the day oh… / Daylight come and we wanna to go home 
Announcer: Actually, Why don’t we live in peace and harmony / like in Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat / Look there is a Russian, an Indian, an African, an American 

I work all night and I drink all rum / Daylight come and we wanna go home. / Come Mr. Tallyman, tally me banana / 
Daylight come… 

A beautiful bunch, a ripe banana / Daylight come… / Hide the deadly black tarantula/ Daylight come… 
day it’s the day oh… / Daylight come and we wanna to go home 

It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, bunch! / Daylight come… 
Daylight come and we wanna go home 
Announcer: Did you see? / They are singing and dancing together /In fuck’n peace and harmony, Like in Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat 

Let’s take the Banana Boat to the fuck’n Middle East

You, You and You 

I am so desperate / I cannot separate / Just don’t know what to do / It’s not my fault, 
That you confuse me / And you – you confuse me too 

Is it possible ?/ You think there’s someone else / And it tears my heart in two / You must believe it / For me there’s only one / And that’s you, you and you 

You got to choose / You just have to decide / You got to choose / Which one of us is right, is right, is right 

You say you love me/ But you don’t trust me / You say I have to decide / I would do anything /But my love for you / I can never divide / You don’t believe me / You misconceive me / What do you think I do? / I am not ambivalent / There’s no equivalent / To either one of you 
You got to choose / You just have to decide / You got to choose / Which one of us is right, is right, is right 

Misty psychics, psychiatrists and my cleaning woman, too /They do all agree / Unequivocally / That I am crazy about you / In my diary / In my testament / And my shopping list too / This one and only line / I never redefine / Just says you, you and you 

You got to choose / You just have to decide / You got to choose / Which one of us is right, is right, is right 

If I must choose / There’s no doubt what to do / If I must choose / My choice is you, you and you

Add It Up 

Why can’t I get just one kiss? / Why can’t I get just one kiss? / Believe me there’s something I wouldn’t miss, but I look at your pants and I need a kiss. 

Why can’t I get just one screw? / Why can’t I get just one screw? / Believe me I know what to do, but something won’t let me make love to you. 

Why can’t I get just one fuck? / Why can’t I get just one fuck? / I guess it’s got something to do with luck, but I’ve waited my whole life for just one… 

Day after day I get angry and I will say / that the day is in my sight, when I’ll take a bow / And say good night. 

Oh ma ma ma ma ma Mom / Have you kept an eye, an eye on your son / I know you’ve got problems/ You’re not the only one, when your sugar left / he left you on the run. 

Oh ma ma ma ma ma Maminyu 
Take a good look what your boy has done / He’s walking around like he’s number one / He went downtown and got him a gun. 

Don’t shoot shoot shoot that thing at me / Don’t shoot shoot shoot that thing at me / You know you’ve got my sympathy, but / don’t shoot shoot shoot that thing at me. 

Oh ma ma ma ma ma ma Mother / I would love to love you lover / The city’s restless, it’s ready to pounce / Here in your bedroom ounce for ounce. 
Oh ma ma ma ma ma ma ma Maminyu / I would love to love you lover / The city’s restless, it’s ready to pounce. / Here in your bedroom ounce for ounce. 

I am giving you decisions to make, things to lose, things to take / Just as he’s about ready to cut it up, / I said “wait a minute honey, I am gonna add it up” 
Add it up Add it up Add it up… 

Day after day I get angry and I will say / that the day is in my sight, when I’ll take a bow / And say good night.

Live Music

Rumania @ Vienna Accordion Festival 
Johnny is the Goy for me @ Nachtleben Frankfurt 
Heat, Meat, Beautiful Feet @ Furth 
Add It Up @ Vienna Accordion Festival 
Hit me with your Rhythm Stick @ Furth 
Luba @ Fuerth 
Papirosen @ Vienna Accordion Festival 
Titina @ Fürth 
videos

Official Videos

Jewish Monkeys – "Pupik"
Jewish Monkeys – "Heat, Meat, Beautiful Feet"
Jewish Monkeys – "Romania"
Jewish Monkeys – "Caravan Petrol"
Jewish Monkeys – "Banana Boat vs Hava Nagila"
Jewish Monkeys – "Black But Sweet"

Unplugged

Jewish Monkeys – "Shprayz Ikh Mir" (Live @ Salon 99, Frankfurt)
Jewish Monkeys – "Misirlou feat. Despina Apostolou" (Live @ Salon 99, Frankfurt)
Jewish Monkeys – "Luba Lubaviczer" (Live @ Salon 99, Frankfurt)

Berlin Sessions

Jewish Monkeys - "Titina"

The German Chronicles

The German Chronicles Part 1 – Jewish Monkeys Playing for Refugees in Dresden (2015)
The German Chronicles Part 2 – Jewish Monkeys Protesting Pegida in Dresden (2015)

Live Videos

Live @ Passing Clouds, London
Black But Sweet (Berlin @Rykestr-Synagoge, September 2014)
So Nice (Berlin @Rykestr-Synagoge, September 2014)
press
If you like the wilder klezmer bands, then step right up to the Monkeys.
(Folkworld Review 01/09/17) +

“Klezmer punk is what I was expecting and it is what this collective delivered. The pace is there, but there is a lighthearted nature to their approach, which keeps it fun and invigorating. So much gypsy punk is based on pace and energy with a certain craziness within. This has much of that, but it is far more relaxed and focused on melody, even with a slower song here and there. So if gypsy punk is something you are only half into, this may be the half you are looking for. And if you like the wilder klezmer bands, then step right up to the Monkeys.”
David Hintz, Folkworld Review, September 2017

A fine statement against the all too politically correct thinking.
(Written In Music 02/07/17) +

“A fine statement against the all too politically correct thinking, with a very nice soundtrack … This produces a very exciting, danceable album, which is undoubtedly worth seeing live.”
Philippe De Cleen, Written In Music, July 2, 2017

Anarcho-klezmer with a wink.
(Rebel Base / Tropicalidad 19/06/17) +

“The title track of this new album is an indictment of the establishment that is trying to appease the people with the kind of demagoguery we can still remember from the last world war, instead of focusing on real problems like inequality and ecology. But the fact they also have a lighter side, the band proves with ‘Alte Kacker’ (loosely translated: “old fart”), a cynical song about the ungracefulness of old age. Anarcho-klezmer with a wink!”
– Rebel Base (Belgium), June 19, 2017

Also available on: Tropicalidad (Belgium).

On ‘High Words’ the notorious klezmer punks take another swipe at a broad range of topics and deliver a satirical blow to any and all presumed taboos.
(Bayern 2 03/05/17) +

“On their new album ‘High Words’ the notorious klezmer punks take another swipe at a broad range of topics and deliver a satirical blow to any and all presumed taboos. This includes mercilessly self-pitying Yiddish songs dealing with old age (‘Alte Kacker’), anti-love songs such as ‘Pupik’ or title track ‘High Words’, detailing a righteous fury towards the establishment in the age of Global Warming, that is currently making a return to the demagoguery of the former World War era.”
Tobias Ruhland, BR.de, Bayern 2 (Bavarian radio), May 3, 2017

To try and pigeonhole them would be ridiculous.
(Musikexpress 01/05/17) +

“Album number two by the Israeli Balkan/Klezmer/Punk band once again lays proof to the fact that trying to pigeonhole them would be ridiculous… They manage to turn their fragmented identity in a unique pop statement, while masterfully riding diverse genres as they do languages, dialects and topics.”
4,5 / 5 stars, Thomas Winkler, Musikexpress, 05/2017

Here you have a bunch of creative individualists making completely unorthodox music.
(konkret 01/05/17) +

“Here you have a bunch of creative individualists, two of whom met in the Frankfurt synagogue’s boys’ choir in the ’70s, making completely unorthodox music. And even though their musical blend of punk, jazz, rock, Balkan beats and klezmer is suitable for the masses, their provocative lyrics, a mix of English, Yiddish, Hebrew and German, are filled with (self-)irony and address a more particular kind of listener. Their songs are hardly the material most Yiddish-speakers, seculars or the ultra-Orthodox would relate to. This in part is also due to the fact that their Yiddish is not authentic, but rather a stylistic device to transport folklore and Jewish tradition.”
– konkret Magazin (Monthly publication), 05/2017

The Jewish Monkeys are never malevolent, as they wrap their pungent lyrics in a fine blend of vintage cabaret, folk punk rock and anarchic speed klezmer
(Westzeit 01/05/17) +

“And they are still as audacious as ever: politicians, women, compatriots, no one is spared. Much less the gentiles. That being said, the Jewish Monkeys are never malevolent, as they wrap their pungent lyrics (‘I Wonder’) in a fine blend of vintage cabaret, folk punk rock and anarchic speed klezmer.”
– Karsten Zimalla, Westzeit magazine, 05/2017

Their uptempo songs are forceful and dirty, basking in the glow of their corny ballads.
(Deutschlandfunk Corso 22/04/17) +

“Klezmer, punk rock, Balkan sounds: The Jewish Monkeys deliver another great album alias ‘High Words’. Their essence is not actually political, but they do love satire. Anything that crosses their path is ridiculed. Their uptempo songs are forceful and dirty, basking in the glow of their corny ballads. Once on stage they include bouts of improvisation on guitar or trombone. Music you can really dance to.”
DLF Corso (National German Radio), April 22, 2017

If this is what the proverbial post-midlife dance sounds like, then I do not want to be one bit younger.
(Plärrer Stadtmagazin Augsburg 01/04/17) +

“If the Jewish Monkeys’ beat is what the proverbial post-midlife dance sounds like, then I do not want to be one bit younger.”
Plärrer, Augsburg (Local monthly magazine), April 2017

When played live, this vibrant mix releases an energy akin to a punk rock show
(OX 01/04/17) +

“Musically the Israelis blend ska, pop, klezmer and Balkan sounds. When played live, this vibrant mix releases an energy reminiscent of a punk rock show.”
– OX Magazin Nr. 131 (Hardcore fanzine), 04/05/2017

A wildly danceable mix of klezmer, punk and circus music, paired with uninhibited satirical lyrics.
(taz, Die Tageszeitung 11/03/17) +

“A wildly danceable mix of klezmer, punk and circus music, paired with uninhibited satirical lyrics.”
taz, Die Tageszeitung (German daily), March 11, 2017

Great. Stunning. A unanimous exaltation.
(Darmstädter Echo 10/03/17) +

“Loud, snotty, blunt: these musicians want to provoke. Jewish Monkeys concerts are fun  and never cease to entertain, baffle or even confuse audiences… Great. Stunning. A unanimous exaltation.”
– Darmstädter Echo (Local daily), March 10, 2017

Such is the group’s nonconformity that dictates their every move, starting with their choice of music.
(musikansich.de 09/03/17) +

“That the Jewish Monkeys are not ones to stick to the many conventions of the music business is no longer news to the well-informed. Such is the group’s nonconformity that dictates their every move, starting with their choice of music: Their self-determined brand of klezmer punk will meet any three-chord aficionado’s expectations, but equally cause nervous palpitations among klezmer lovers. Punk in this regard is the band’s said nonconformity, though paired with a hunger for the most diverse musical surprises, feeding on multiple styles, take Balkan elements for instance… That being said, their entire setlist comprises just three songs in a major key, the rest is minor. But their innate ability to turn that into a cheerful live event lays further proof to the fact that this is not your ordinary band, making them all the more valuable. If you get a chance, go see them!”
Roland Ludwig, musikansich.de, March 9, 2017

Their autonomous mix of klezmer, punk, rock, Balkan music and pop is nothing less than an extraordinary circus act.
(Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung 08/03/17) +

“Merry, socio-critical, cutting, highly frivolous and politically incorrect are ways you may choose to describe their songs. Oh and filled with innuendos. As the accordion squeezes out Europe’s final countdown, revealing hidden quotes from the Beatles, their melodies stir up memories. This wild bunch from Tel Aviv, comprising eight musicians in all, sings in Yiddish and English. Eight men and just as many musical influences. At least. Their autonomous mix of klezmer, punk, rock, Balkan music and pop is nothing less than an extraordinary circus act.”
– Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung, March 8, 2017

From the Frankfurt boys' choir to Israel and back: Their music is thrilling as ever.
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung 05/03/17) +

“From the Frankfurt boys’ choir to Israel and back: The Jewish Monkeys continue to baffle German audiences with their cheerfully frivolous brand of klezmer punk. Following a change in lineup, the still eight-man combo delivers another stellar album with High Words. Once again, the band digs deep into the profound Jewish tradition. Take ‘Titina’ for instance, a modern-day reinterpretation of the 1917 original, later used by Charlie Chaplin in his iconic film ‘Modern Times’. While ‘Romania’ pays homage to and equally mocks the glorification of Eastern European folklore, tracks such as ‘Post Midlife Dance’ or ‘Alte Kacker’ are gloriously self-deprecating. Their music is thrilling as ever.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (biggest German Sunday paper), March 5, 2017

Anarchists like the Marx Brothers the Jewish Monkeys are anything but kosher.
(Journal Frankfurt 01/03/17) +

“Tel Aviv’s impious rock & rollers see themselves as ‘Darwin’s final dillusion, the Jewish missing link of evolution’. Anarchists like the Marx Brothers they are anything but kosher. And although their two frontmen Jossi Reich and Roni Boiko originally met as choir boys in Frankfurt’s Westend synagogue, they were always more drawn to disco. The politically incorrect Jewish Monkeys are more than your ordinary klezmer punks.”
– Journal Frankfurt (Local magazine), 03/2017

No time to get all sentimental.
(AUDIO 31/03/16) +

“On ‘Mania Regressia’ the Jewish Monkeys demand listeners leave their sentiments at the door. The Tel Aviv trash combo employs an aggressive mix of cabaret, circus marches, Frank Zappa-ish horseplay and klezmer punk to shock its audiences, Jews and non-Jews alike.” – AUDIO, 04/2016

Building a Cultural Bridge between Tel Aviv and Dresden – An official statement
(Greedy for Best Music 21/01/16) +

“The concerts were a wonderful experience for the band. It was very moving to see how this ‘guerrilla event’ could magically transform the faces of these tired, fearful, uprooted and traumatised people. Young men danced the Dabke (a popular line dance in Syria) to old Yiddish songs and beaming children experienced their first rock concert. After the show they stormed the stage to touch the drums and guitars in awe. Careful at first, the band did not let the public know they were from Tel Aviv, however, some of the band members delighted their listeners with Arabic greetings and phrases of gratitude. During conversations with the public, when asked, ‘where do you come from?’, one of the band members, said: ‘Tel Aviv’. This answer did not cause animosity, but joy and surprise.”

– Greedy for Best Music

Hard times for a band specializing in klezmer-rock. A tour diary
(Die Welt 24/11/15) +

“Cooped up in a minivan, though way more comfortable than being in one of those cattle wagons from back in the days heading East, we embark towards our next destination, a street festival in Dresden. Upon arrival we face a small stage blaring Arab rap music for a bunch of belligerent looking adolescents, jumping up and down and waving their fists in the air. Then it’s our turn. We step on stage, Boiko and I share an awkward smile with the crowd, while Gael refreshes his Arabic. It all goes down as expected: They absolutely love us, singing along to our Yiddish ‘dai, dai, dais’ and dancing Dabke as if at an oriental wedding. It was delirious.”

– Jossi Reich, Die WELT (German daily)

In the end, entertainment wins.
(Badische Neueste Nachrichten 16/09/14) +

They pulled all the stops at their gig, engaging head and heart alike. They get people on their feet with familiar Balkan folk sounds and get them listening with complex rock arrangements and melancholic laments. How to describe Jewish Monkeys? A political band? Pure entertainment? Both? In the end, entertainment wins. The room is owned by ecstatic dancers.

– Badische Neueste Nachrichten

A fantastic live band in the spirit of punk
(Süddeutsche Zeitung 15/09/14) +

Jewish Monkeys pluck the flowers for their bouquet of clichés from a luxuriant garden of neuroses, burgeoning with self-irony, over-indulgent mothers and inferiority complexes. They are provocative, hounding their listeners out of their comfort zones and making them dance. Because this Klezmer ensemble living in the fast lane is first and foremost a fantastic live band in the spirit of punk. The trombone fires hot salvos at the singers while the guitar’s insistent off-beat rhythm pushes the band in the direction of Ska. Their live performance is overwhelming in its furiously unchained attack on tradition. At the anarchistic climax of the evening, Reich, Boiko and Zaidner launch Harry Belafonte’s famous Banana Boat off towards the Middle East, to bring peace to the region at last.

– Süddeutsche Zeitung (one of Germany’s leading dailies)

A Sense of Nonsense: the Anarcho-Klezmer Band Jewish Monkeys!
(Deutschlandfunk Corso 10/09/14) +

A Sense of Nonsense: the Anarcho-Klezmer Band Jewish Monkeys!

– Deutschlandfunk Corso (national German radio)

Shades of cinematic heroes such as Woody Allen
(Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05/09/14) +

They ridicule the obscenities of international relations with the same tongue-in-cheek attitude they adopt toward their own culture, with a healthy mix of sophistication and anarchy. Shades of cinematic heroes such as Woody Allen, with an added dose of high-calibre party mood.

– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany’s leading daily)

Mildly disturbed eternal adolescents
(Spiegel Online 05/09/14) +

The Jewish Monkeys‘ album Mania Regressia plays on Jewish clichés and anti-Semitic reality. This post-Klezmer, post-Pop, post-Alija band from Tel Aviv has created an album brimming with love, rage and joy that reveals just how they are themselves: mildly disturbed eternal adolescents with a soundtrack for the panic attacks of our time. All of which makes Mania Regressia more than just music to listen to – from old and obscure songs with new geopolitical fire, such as Caravan Petrol or the satirical hit Johnny is the Goy for Me – and instead a rollicking, joyful, despairing peal of laughter on the margins of the western world.

– Spiegel Online (Germany’s No. 1 political news website)

Spirited, disrespectful, Jewish humour at its finest
(3Sat Kulturzeit 03/09/14) +

Spirited, disrespectful, Jewish humour at its finest. A wild, cult-worthy mix of Klezmer, Balkan and Rock.

– 3Sat Kulturzeit (TV channel for Austria/Switzerland/Germany)

Trashy hits with lyrics that tumble helter-skelter between Yiddish and English
(Kulturnews 01/09/14) +

Their love songs are delightfully filthy, full of unexpected emotions and virtuoso hilarity. Jewish Monkeys wallow in trashy hits with lyrics that tumble helter-skelter between Yiddish and English. A truly international line-up!

– Kulturnews (Germany’s largest culture mag)

An eagle eye on what is happening in the here and now
(Deutschlandfunk 29/08/14) +

They really do have some political cheek – highly critical, with an eagle eye on what is happening in the here and now. They make music that cuts to the quick, and that’s what I find so exciting: really good, thought-provoking lyrics. 

– Martin Kranz, Director of the Jewish Cultural Days, Berlin

If Hitler hadn’t nearly won the war
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung 06/07/14) +

If Hitler hadn’t nearly won the war, Jewish music would sound like this: naturally stoned, fast, and madly melancholic.

– Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (biggest German Sunday paper)

Racing polka beats, calypso, rumba and gutter blues redolent of Tom Waits
(Nürnberger Nachrichten 18/03/14) +

The incredible Jewish Monkeys from Israel epitomise the inexhaustible experimental drive of Jewish music. Jewish Monkeys manage, seemingly effortlessly, to transpose Yiddish songs into an impressive alternative World pop context worthy of any indie rock festival. Racing polka beats, calypso, rumba and gutter blues redolent of Tom Waits, with a dash of trombone, accordion and a distinctive guitar twang give the three singers plenty of dynamic impetus to launch their wackily irreverent, witty songs. Energetic fun that fires up the audience to fever pitch.

– Nürnberger Nachrichten (biggest Bavarian daily)

Roof-raising, rambunctious rock
(Nordbayerische Zeitung 17/03/14) +

Roof-raising, rambunctious rock by the Jewish Monkeys – three singers at once, like animators moderating between pop and funk, with a smattering of traditional songs.

– Nordbayerische Zeitung (Bavarian local daily)

A satirical emancipatory coup
(Fürther Nachrichten 17/03/14) +

The Jewish Monkeys from Tel Aviv unleash a satirical emancipatory coup at the Kulturforum with a show verging on cabaret. Tapping into the tonal syntax of the present day, klezmer strikes on a contemporary note. And the audience spontaneously goes along with it, as evidenced by their enthusiastic participation.

– Fürther Nachrichten (Bavarian local daily)

Whatever people say they are, that's what they're not
(Haaretz 07/01/14) +

At an age when most people retire, these guys are releasing their debut album – in English, Spanish, Esperanto and Yiddish. […] When three middle-aged men perform with wild abandon on stage, it’s clear to anyone watching that they have to conduct a restrained family life for the rest of the year. This is not a supergroup composed of rock stars who first came to prominence in the 1970s, nor is it a choir project of the neighborhood community center. Despite the men’s ages, the Jewish Monkeys (are) a young band at heart, whose members prove that you’re never too old to start performing.

– Ha’aretz (Israeli daily)

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Feverish

Shantel Reworks The Jewish Monkeys' "Fever"
Greedy
 

Shantel and Jewish Monkeys' frontman Josef Reich go way back. It may or may not come as a surprise then, that Shantel took matters into his own to hands to deliver a feverish remix of the band's single "Fever" off [...]

Shantel and Jewish Monkeys' frontman Josef Reich go way back. It may or may not come as a surprise then, that Shantel took matters into his own to hands to deliver a feverish remix of the band's single "Fever" off their latest album "High Words", just days before the Jewish Monkeys return the love and open for Shantel at four shows in Austria and Germany, starting this week. Check below for all four dates. 

In any case, and because we want to share a bit of the story behind, Shantel and Jossi's friendship dates back to the mid-80s, which the two spent growing up in Frankfurt and visiting some of the most popular hedonist hotspots of the time, be it Batschkapp or Eckstein or somewhere else. In 1987, Shantel founded the legendary underground club Lissania Essay, while Jossi and his entourage were among the regulars; an urban legend in the making. 

Fast forward to Tel Aviv in 1997, Shantel's home away from home and the place where their paths crossed again. Tel Aviv's melting pot of sounds became Shantel's testing grounds and Jossi? Well, Jossi most definitely shared Shantel's passion for trans-European pop culture, traditional influences and electronic experiments to be found in the city's vibrant scene. Eventually, Shantel signed Jossi and his Jewish Monkeys to his Essay Recordings label, along with Quentin Tarantino's beloved Boom Pam and Balkan Beat Box. 

"We go way back," says Jossi. "We first met in Frankfurt, then reunited in Tel Aviv. Shantel's love for Balkan and Klezmer music is really where we connect artistically. I was deeply impressed by his profound knowledge of Yiddish songs and their heritage. We probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him. His songs and mixes always lead to ecstasy and crazy dancing. A good concert to us is one that ends like his do," Jossi adds.

Now, 12 years later, Shantel and Jossi reunite for a 'third' time with the prior's official remix of the Jewish Monkeys' "Fever". "The idea to do the Fever remix was driven by my desire to lend the Jewish Monkeys an electronic outfit. The beat is quite minimalistic and feeds off of various genres: It's like Romanian dancehall meets hypnotic brass licks and vocal acrobatics. I even added some Romani lyrics of my own as we conjure cosmopolitan hedonism and breathe new life into Central European party culture," Shantel explains. 

As for his interest in Yiddish sounds: "The West often mistakes Jewish music for nostalgic, whiney Klezmer music. But we forget that pop musically relevant styles such as punk rock, new wave or indie had their beginnings in the Jewish emigrant circles of New York, London or Paris. This is also the tradition the Jewish Monkeys and their frivolously cynical brand of humor pay tribute to, a tip of the hat to their punk great-grandfathers from the early 20th century cabarets and speakeasies. Had the Marx Brothers ever taken to punk rock, it would sound like the Jewish Monkeys," Shantel concludes.

Listen to the Shantel remix of "Fever" via the SoundCloud player above or watch the Leo Liberman-directed companion music video below, the first-ever professional Snapchat clip shot solely on cell phone. 

Upcoming Jewish Monkeys Tour Support for Shantel:
December 14th A-Vienna @ WUK
December 15th A-Innsbruck @ Treibhaus
December 16th D-Munich @ Muffathalle
December 17th D-Frankfurt @ Batschkapp

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Disko Monkeys

The Jewish Monkeys To Support Shantel At Four Shows In Austria & Germany
Greedy

Frankfurt's one and only 'disko partizani Shantel is currently touring Europe with his famed Bucovina Club Orkestar to celebrate "Shantology - 30 Years of Club Guerilla". 

Supporting him at the last four upcoming [...]

Frankfurt's one and only 'disko partizani Shantel is currently touring Europe with his famed Bucovina Club Orkestar to celebrate "Shantology - 30 Years of Club Guerilla". 

Supporting him at the last four upcoming shows in Austria and Germany are non other than our very own Jewish Monkeys:

December 14, (AT) Vienna, WUK
December 15, (AT) Innsbruck, Treibhaus
December 16, (D) Munich, Muffathalle
December 17, (D) Frankfurt, Batschkapp

It's a family affair!

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Can You Name Them All?

A Short Animated Introduction To The Jewish Monkeys Ahead Of Their Fall Tour
Greedy

Just ahead of their upcoming tour of Germany, the Jewish Monkeys decided to drop a short, animated teaser video, introducing the band's individual creative geniuses. 

We were trying to win over the legendary Michael [...]

Just ahead of their upcoming tour of Germany, the Jewish Monkeys decided to drop a short, animated teaser video, introducing the band's individual creative geniuses. 

We were trying to win over the legendary Michael Buffer to voice these ringside announcements of the eight Jewish Monkeys. Due to monetary concerns however, we let main man Jossi Reich do the honours and introduce his band of merry men one by one. 

Check the video below and to see if you can name them all. And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's get ready to ruuummmbbbllleee! Find an up-to-date list of all upcoming Jewish Monkeys shows here and be sure to lend an ear to their "High Words".

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What's This Fall About?!

The Jewish Monkeys Announce New Live Dates For September/October
Greedy

Yes, dear friends. Playing the World Music Stage at Sziget Festival two weeks ago was an absolute blast. Take this Facebook video for instance of the Jewish Monkeys engaging their crowd in some intense physical [...]

Yes, dear friends. Playing the World Music Stage at Sziget Festival two weeks ago was an absolute blast. Take this Facebook video for instance of the Jewish Monkeys engaging their crowd in some intense physical activity. Talk about authority. 

In any case the band has just announced new Germany shows coming up in late September, early October. The Jewish Monkeys will be playing a string of shows in Wiesbaden, Konstanz, Mannheim, Viechtach, Frankfurt (am Main) and Reutlingen. So get your tuches over there. 

Find a list of all Jewish Monkeys shows here. And don't forget to bring your dancing shoes. Their current album "High Words" is available from Bandcamp.

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Ayalew Mesfin

Rediscover A Rare And Beautiful Moment In Ethiopian Music History
 

Now-Again Records and Vinyl Me, Please have teamed up to release "one of the last treasure troves of Ethiopian Funk" by Ethiopian legend Ayalew Mesfin, over 40 years after its initial appearance. Recorded in the [...]

Now-Again Records and Vinyl Me, Please have teamed up to release "one of the last treasure troves of Ethiopian Funk" by Ethiopian legend Ayalew Mesfin, over 40 years after its initial appearance. Recorded in the 1970's with his Black Lion Band, Mesfin's music "is among the funkiest to arise from Addis Ababa".

With a near two dozen 7" singles and several reel-to-reel tapes to his name, "Hasabe (My Worries)" is the first anthology of his music. Only four of his songs were previously reissued within Francis Falcetto's "Ethiopiques" series. “Most of my works revolve around social issues, as well as political commentary. Even though my songs appear to be about lovers, or other mundane topics, they are open to interpretation,” Mesfin explains. 

As the Derg regime took control of the country in 1974, Ayalew Mesfin was forced underground and was eventually imprisoned for three months: "My discontent with the military government grew over time, until I got to the point in deciding to expose the brutal dictatorship through my music,” Mesfin states. For more context, read an excerpt from the liner notes.

Listen to the very James Brown-esque "Liba Menta Hone" in the SoundCloud player above and watch the short film below on Ayalew's story and his music. A variation of the record will be released on Now-Again in late 2018.

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Simple Love

Ghanaian Wordsmith M.anifest Shares Gorgeous New Music Video

Crowned "Best Rapper" (in addition to winning "HipHop Song of the Year" for "God MC") at the 2017 Ghana Music Awards, M.anifest picked the day after Valentine's Day to drop the gorgeous companion video to "Simple [...]

Crowned "Best Rapper" (in addition to winning "HipHop Song of the Year" for "God MC") at the 2017 Ghana Music Awards, M.anifest picked the day after Valentine's Day to drop the gorgeous companion video to "Simple Love", off his 2016-released album "Nowhere Cool".

Directed by Makere Thekiso with Motheo Moeng in charge of photography, the short film follows a ballet dancer's supple movements in slow-motion, as she winds her way through a bustling street market scenery by a harbour and M.anifest sings: "I want that simple love, money cannot buy."

It looks like the Ghanaian rapper, singer and songwriter has big things in store for 2018. But for now, "Simple Love" is all we need. 

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Death Is Not The End

UK Label & NTS Radio Broadcaster Readies Yet Another Dusty Excavation

Little seems known about the London-based imprint and monthly NTS Radio show host  Death Is Not The End, specializing in "dusty gospel, blues, folk and excavations from the field". If you are into obscure digs [...]

Little seems known about the London-based imprint and monthly NTS Radio show host  Death Is Not The End, specializing in "dusty gospel, blues, folk and excavations from the field". If you are into obscure digs however, you may find extreme pleasure from rummaging through the label's Bandcamp page and the numerous releases up for grabs, ranging from mid-20th century Louisiana State Penitentiary spirituals to Mexican mushroom ceremonies and Circassian folklore

Earlier this month DINTE kicked off a new series on Greek Rebetika artists, recorded in the US during the '20s and '30s. First in line is George Katsaros with his "Greek Blues in America, Vol.1", which you can listen to and download here on a name your price basis. 

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The Wizard

WATCH: Brazilian Icon Hermeto Pascoal Perform a Free-Spirited Live-Set in São Paulo

In his native Brazil the multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Hermeto Pascoal is no short of a cultural icon and known as 'o bruxo', aka the wizard. UK-based record label Far Out Recordings recently released [...]

In his native Brazil the multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Hermeto Pascoal is no short of a cultural icon and known as 'o bruxo', aka the wizard. UK-based record label Far Out Recordings recently released a lost studio session from 1976, which was one of our favourites of 2017 and is now a staple of our private record collection.

That being said, early last year, Boiler Room uploaded a 50-minute live set of Hermeto Pascoal and his group performing live at Dekmantel São Paulo in front of a sunbathed crowd of partly enthusiastic onlookers. His band features Jota P on winds, Andre Marques on piano, Itiberê Zwarg on bass, Ajurinã Zwarg on drums and Hermeto's son Fabio Pascoal on percussion.

As for the music, well, if you like Brazilian jazz, free improvisation, intricate arrangements and masterful musicianship, then this should be your cup of tea. Watch the full show below. 

 

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Les Tout-Puissants

WATCH: Benin's Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Perform Live in Berlin (Full Show)

Back in June of last year we first introduced Benin's 'Almighty Polyrhythmic Orchestra of Cotonou' to our readers, on the occasion of their 2016-released "Madjafalao" LP (Because Music). That same month the largest [...]

Back in June of last year we first introduced Benin's 'Almighty Polyrhythmic Orchestra of Cotonou' to our readers, on the occasion of their 2016-released "Madjafalao" LP (Because Music). That same month the largest and officially the longest active African formation performed live in Berlin for the first time ever, adding to their steadily rising acclaim and rocking the crowds at YAAM Berlin with lively and equally virtuosic aplomb.

Today, we are excited to present you the live recording of that night, which you can enjoy below. What more is there to say about this impressive artistic presence and musical showmanship other than, 'wow'!

Then again, there must be a reason this formation has been around for 50-something years and counting.

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King Coya

Taking South American Folklore To New Heights

This one takes us back in time or forward, you decide. Hailing from the Northern Argentine Andes, renowned composer Gaby Kerpel is somewhat of a musical visionary. His digitalised, imaginary alter ego King Coya has [...]

This one takes us back in time or forward, you decide. Hailing from the Northern Argentine Andes, renowned composer Gaby Kerpel is somewhat of a musical visionary. His digitalised, imaginary alter ego King Coya has made a name for himself, by blending traditional elements from Colombian and Peruvian cumbias as well as Argentine folklore with electronic music.

His 2009 release on ZZK Records entitled "Cumbias de Villa Donde" features "an accessible yet timeless collection of original down-tempo, electro folklorica that bridges indigenous music out of South America with global dance". His tracks are the result of live performances at Buenos Aires' Zizek Club, "rich, layered compositions blending the new world with the old, the East and the West, an exercise in digital cross-global pollination" that is not readily pigeonholed.

So without further ado, treat yourselves to this full-length throwback, alias King Coya's "Cumbias de Villa Donde" and if time permits, make sure to check out the special King Coya ZZK mixtape below. Have a nice weekend!

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Guy One

Award-Winning Ghanaian Artist Releases International Debut On Berlin's Philophon Records

Berlin meet Bolgatanga on this recent release via Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint, featuring Guy One. Simply entitled "#1" this is indeed a first for Guy One, "who grew up in remote northern Ghana with no [...]

Berlin meet Bolgatanga on this recent release via Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint, featuring Guy One. Simply entitled "#1" this is indeed a first for Guy One, "who grew up in remote northern Ghana with no schooling, spending a life herding goats, building his own instruments and teaching himself to sing". At home and in the surrounding local villages the award-winning Guy One and his Frafra music are well-adored by a "fervent following", his voice a regular at weddings and funerals as well as on TV. 

Max Weissenfeldt began travelling to Ghana back in 2010, where he chanced upon a CD by Guy One and set out to find him: "Hours later the pair are driving to a funeral; the air is still warm, the metre-thick baobab trees cast shadows on the dusty fields under the shine of the moonlight. The village members are gathered between the mud huts as Guy One quietly picks up his Kologo (a sort of two-string banjo instrument that is fundamental to Frafra music). As he begins with his eulogizing voice, the village members immediately all form a huge circle around him. Witnessing this intense and potent interaction between music and community and life and death, Weissenfeldt knew he needed to get Guy One to Berlin and into a studio."

And so it ensued that in 2013 Guy One left Ghana for the very first time in his life, headed to Berlin to join Weissenfeldt and various band members and began recording an album dictated by groove, rhythm and musical intuition. In 2015 the band was invited to play the renowned Danish Roskilde Festival and a few days ago "#1" was released out into the open: "#1 is an album rooted in tradition as much as it is the contemporary but given the fact that the traditionalism of Frafra music itself is a largely unknown force, the results are more even more potent and stirring in their creations. Choirs, trumpet, organ, bass, drums, synthesiser, vibraphone, saxophone and piano, the album is as bursting with instrumentation as it is with ideas and innovation." Head over to Bandcamp and listen to Guy One's extraordinary musical journey, aka "#1". There is also a mini-series documenting life in Bolgatanga, to be found on the Philophon YouTube channel. Watch Part 1 below.

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Entremundos

Brazilian 10-Piece Nomade Orquestra Reveals An Audio-Visual World Of Sound On Sophomore Album

Hailing from the busy streets of São Paulo and "blending West African themes with Ethiopian jazz and North American styles" are Brazilian ethno-fusion collective Nomade Orquestra. In a review for The Guardian, [...]

Hailing from the busy streets of São Paulo and "blending West African themes with Ethiopian jazz and North American styles" are Brazilian ethno-fusion collective Nomade Orquestra. In a review for The Guardian, Robin Denselow writes: "This inventive, 10-piece instrumental band match a powerful brass section against guitars, drum and bass, creating tuneful big-band music driven by insistent riffs and constantly changing direction."

What he was referring to, was "EntreMundos" (Between Worlds), aka the band's second longplayer, which was recorded at Red Bull Studios in São Paulo and released on Far Out Recordings in May 2017. "EntreMundos is like a cosmic musical playground where Ethio-jazz, Indian classical and Oriental sounds dance around Afro-Brazilian roots rhythms and Northern hemisphere jazz, funk, soul, library music and hip-hop influences." 

It will hardly come as a surprise then that this album has gained Nomade Orquestra international recognition and turned heads across the globe. It doesn't seem like there's a musical influence not included in their rich and groovy tapestry. What's more, the band released a mind-boggling audio-visual companion to their second album, which definitely adds to the experience. Watch below and prepare to enter a world of sound. Also, for further reference, we would recommend this mini documentary.

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Super Liminal


London Afro-Latin Collective Penya Drops Percussion-Led New LP
 

Released late last week via Pete Buckenham's London-based, forward-thinking Jazz imprint On The Corner Records (which was just awarded 'Label of the Year' at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards) and whom you may [...]

Released late last week via Pete Buckenham's London-based, forward-thinking Jazz imprint On The Corner Records (which was just awarded 'Label of the Year' at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards) and whom you may already be familiar with through the Mugwisa International Xylophone Group release in 2017, is the amazingly energetic new "Super Liminal" LP by Afro-Colombian electronic four-piece Penya, aka the band led by multi-instrumentalist/composer/producer and percussive investigator Magnus P.I., alias Magnus Mehta (electric guitar / percussion).

Through extended field trips to Cuba, Morocco, Turkey, India or the streets of South London, "Magnus has built up an extensive knowledge of musical cultures and traditions and has earned a reputation for his creative and innovative approach to percussion", which he now incorporates into the carnivalesque, hypnotic, sound of Penya, be it "Cuban rumba or Haitian house" (Dr Rob, Test Pressing).

"Super Liminal", part of the group's most recent playful investigations into rhythmic patterns and percussive variations is uplifting to say the least and breathes new life into somewhat meditative musical traditions. Hit play on the SoundCloud player above for the full album stream.

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Innov Gnawa

A Performance Of Songs From The Jewish Songbook Of Moroccan Gnawa

If you haven't yet heard of Gnawa music, it is part of a North African tradition of spiritual religious songs and rhythms that remains one of the major musical currents in Morocco to this day. Often dubbed [...]

If you haven't yet heard of Gnawa music, it is part of a North African tradition of spiritual religious songs and rhythms that remains one of the major musical currents in Morocco to this day. Often dubbed 'Moroccan Blues', "Gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania [that has] a raw, hypnotic power"

Based in New York City and formed in 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir LanGus, the Grammy-nominated musical collective Innov Gnawa has been keeping this ancient musical tradition alive, while adding its own contemporary spin. Late last year the outfit performed a two-part set (Set 1 / Set 2) live at the B'nai Israel Synagogue in Baltimore, Maryland, which you can watch a 20-minute excerpt from below; a rare performance of Jewish songs from the Gnawa repertoire: 

"Jews first settled in what is now Morocco as early as 70 CE, and at its peak in the 1940s, Morocco’s Jewish population exceeded 250,000. Early communities settled among and were made up of converted Berbers. A second wave of Sephardic Jews settled in the region after being expelled from the Kingdoms of Spain in 1492.”

For more Gnawa music, feel free to check out Innov Gnawa's self-entitled debut release over here

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Israel's Groove Scene

12 Essential Acts From The Tel Aviv / Jerusalem Scene

Another week has come to an end and thus, with some off-time in sight, we would like to tip our hat to Dave Jenkins and the friendly folks over at Bandcamp for their recent feature on the Israeli groove scene. With [...]

Another week has come to an end and thus, with some off-time in sight, we would like to tip our hat to Dave Jenkins and the friendly folks over at Bandcamp for their recent feature on the Israeli groove scene. With the help of Tel Aviv DJ and producer Sabbo, the article spans 12 essential acts on the local scene, along with links to their respective pages. 

“Maybe it’s a cliché, but Israel is all about fusion in its food, its architecture, and art,” explains Sabbo. “It’s in our genes already to mix things. It’s never been a thing to be a purist. We don’t intend to mix things, it happens naturally.”

The recommended artists and band include familiar faces the likes of Kutiman, Boom Pam and Ouzo Bazooka as well as Jerusalem-based sound man Markey Funk or 'mutated funk' outfit The Apples and afrofunk fusion combo Hoodna Orchestra. Head over to Bandcamp for the full feature and enjoy the extended dig.

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Before the Revolution

Listen To A Mix Of Pre-Revolution Music From Iran

In line with the recent protests in Iran, French daily La Libération published an article earlier this month detailing the continued censorship of music recorded before the revolution of 1979, during the reign of [...]

In line with the recent protests in Iran, French daily La Libération published an article earlier this month detailing the continued censorship of music recorded before the revolution of 1979, during the reign of the Shah. Such is the music by the likes of Gougoush, Ramesh, Zia, Shahram, Shabpareh or Mohammad Nouri that to this day, along with the usual pop music suspects from the Western hemisphere, remains forbidden. 

Ever since the revolution, all cultural production in Iran is under the strict auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to preserve so-called 'public chastity'. It's the ministry that decides if an artist may record his or her music, perform on stage or otherwise diffuse their work. In a 1979 interview with Ayatollah Khomeini, the country's former supreme leader claimed that music from the West "with its implications of pleasure and ecstasy, dulls the spirit" and that pop music "is similar to a drug".

However, during the past years DJs and reissue labels such as Finders Keepers, Pharaway Sounds or Light in the Attic have begun to unearth a host of pre-revolution productions. Take Finders Keepers co-founder Doug Shipton's wonderful "Pomegranates" compilation of 60s/70s Persian pop, funk, folk and psych nuggets for instance. The task is a risky one that demands patience and endurance, seeing as said productions remain illegal in Iran and thus hidden from view, but nonetheless popular. 

To accompany their article, foreign correspondents Marion Armengod and Franck Haderer added a 52-minute Pre-Revolution mix of tracks discovered during their stay, courtesy of French DJ Super Freak. Unfortunately, a tracklist was not included. Listen to the full mix here and read the full article "Téhéran: à la chasse aux chants cachés du Shah" here.

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