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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
shows

Jewish Monkeys / Jewish Monkeys Tour 2017

Mar 07th
Darmstadt / Hoff-Art Theater
Mar 08th
Cologne / Underground
Mar 09th
Leipzig / Werk 2
Mar 10th
Rostock / Zwischenbau
Mar 11th
Berlin / Roter Salon / Volksbühne
Purim Party w/ DJ Yuriy Gurzhy
Mar 12th
Frankfurt / Das Bett
Purim Party w/ DJ Janeck Altshuler
Doors: 19:00 Start: 20:00
Mar 13th
Mar 14th
Wrocław / Carpe Diem
May 19th
Flawil / Kulturpunkt
May 24th
Augsburg / tba
May 27th
Hamburg / Kampnagel
Tracks

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

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"

Official Videos

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"

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
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)

Related posts

Fever

The Jewish Monkeys Unveil First Track Off Their Forthcoming Sophomore Album
Greedy
 

Not to say the Jewish Monkeys' latest outing for Berlin Sessions wasn't highly infectious, but this brand new track off the group's forthcoming sophomore album sure has temperatures running high. On "Fever", the [...]

Not to say the Jewish Monkeys' latest outing for Berlin Sessions wasn't highly infectious, but this brand new track off the group's forthcoming sophomore album sure has temperatures running high. On "Fever", the band is anything but bashful, eager to reclaim their rightful spot at the top of the neo-Yiddish palm tree:

We are Jewish Monkeys, we are bandits 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are shmendriks 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we’re demented
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we’re fragmented, 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are anxious 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are pretentious  
We are Darwin’s final delusion
We are the Jewish missing link of evolution.

Listen to the track in full from the SoundCloud player above and witness the dawn of a newish, Jewish era. By the way, "High Words" (the group's second album) will be releasing on April 28th and it is hot, hot, hot! Lehaim!

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Les Jewish Monkeys

Interview: Quand Le Klezmer Revient A La Mode
Greedy

Here's a little something for all our francophone friends, followers and supporters out there. Recently recorded in Tel Aviv, Jewish Monkeys frontman Gael Zaidner joined television host Valérie Pérez and [...]

Here's a little something for all our francophone friends, followers and supporters out there. Recently recorded in Tel Aviv, Jewish Monkeys frontman Gael Zaidner joined television host Valérie Pérez and journalist Arielle Sibony at i24News to speak about the ongoing Klezmer revival, the role of the Jewish Monkeys in all of this and more.

When asked, where the band gets its inspiration from, be it politics, religion or current events, Gael answered: "I think it's all of above. We're not religious, but we do have feelings for or against religion, or for or against politics. We try to be critical, but the vessel for our criticism is always humour. People tend to defend themselves less against humour than they do against a more violent expression of criticism. [...] We never really discuss politics within the group, but we are well aware that all our actions are political."

Well said. So without further delay, here's the clip in French: Le voici! Also, if you happen to be in Tel Aviv this Tuesday (February 7th), the Jewish Monkeys will be playing a gig at Kuli Alma, including brand new songs from their upcoming album "High Words". Check the event!

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Berlin Sessions

VIDEO: The 'Newish' Jewish Monkeys Perform "Titina" + Announce Upcoming Tour Dates
Greedy

All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite [...]

All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite tracks "Titina", which you may remember from here. "Titina" is an infectiously upbeat tune that originally featured in Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times", but was given a Yiddish makeover by the band, adding a touch of their very own funk and punk to the mix. The song is about a "Chussenbucher", a 50-year-old groom-to-be, who is still looking for his special someone. 

Meanwhile, Berlin film production company Bear Film sent a team to Tel Aviv, in search of famed underground acts to recruit for their Berlin Sessions live music format. There they met with the Jewish Monkeys crew and scheduled a shoot in a somewhat leftfield location, being a junkyard in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, the band came dressed to impress and literally brought the house down with a energetic rendition of, you guessed it, "Titina", which you can watch below.

On another note, you may have noticed a slight change in lineup, as the charismatic Assaf Pariente steps into the Jewish Monkeys' frontman triptych in place of Ronni Boiko. Assaf will also be joining the band on their upcoming Germany tour this March. You will find all dates in our updated Shows section. And with that, we say thank you and daidaidaidaidaidaidaidaidaiii!

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Meat Heat Beautiful Feet

New Jewish Monkeys Video: When Suburbian Ennui Goes Freudian
Greedy
 

This one has been a long time coming. Nestling up to the other nine tracks on their debut album "Mania Regressia", somewhat like that pink elephant no one was willing to talk about, but whose presence was felt by [...]

This one has been a long time coming. Nestling up to the other nine tracks on their debut album "Mania Regressia", somewhat like that pink elephant no one was willing to talk about, but whose presence was felt by everyone, "Meat Heat Beautiful Feet" tells the story of suburbian ennui gone Freudian. 

It all started with a sentiment, a slight feeling of discomfort songwriter Dr. Boiko used to tell his guests about during regular weekend barbecues in his pool-flanked residence amidst dense and wild vegetation, located somewhere between greed and guilt. 

As this innate frustration grew, the song itself evolved: a song lamenting the overwhelming boredom and dullness of that oversaturated and oversexed suburbian lifestyle, alias the ennui of having it all. 

And so the Jewish Monkeys turned to the multitalented Billy Levy, frontwoman of the rock band Billy and the Firm and visionary director (i.e. Balkan Beat Box), to produce this brand new, scintillating music video and release the guys' subconscious musings out into the open. 

What may be perceived as disturbing then, is no more than that ruthless Jewish Monkeys candour, an outlet for their innermost emotions and forbidden feelings. Watch the provocative clip below and listen to an early live version of the song in the player above. 

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Liquid Love

Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers Testing The Limits Of Afrofunk With Album Number Two

Releasing today on Agogo Records (who rarely disappoint) is new heat by the fabled Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers, a contemporary afrofunk five-piece out of Berlin, combining traditional and modern African music [...]

Releasing today on Agogo Records (who rarely disappoint) is new heat by the fabled Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers, a contemporary afrofunk five-piece out of Berlin, combining traditional and modern African music with elements akin to their own musical heritage such as psychedelic synth excursions, slices of freejazz and minimalistic grooves to meet any audiophile's needs.

Out now, is their eagerly awaited sophomore album "Liquid Love", a mesmerising, 9-track work of vibrant passion, overflowing with dense musicianship, playful improvisation and pulsating rhythms, drawing listeners in from the start. The album's title track, for instance, will have you second guessing if 33rpm was the right choice, as the viscous melody flows on, dragging lusciously towards infinity. Watch the official music video below. 

"The (entire) album incorporates bits and bops from the past, present and future, drawing influences from both very familiar and also far away places. Just to name a few, there’s Krautrock, AfroFunk, traditional Moroccan Trance, Future Jazz and much more to be found. The Beatles excluded, though," the release page reads. 

Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers are the globetrotting Johannes Schleiermacher on sax, woodwinds and modular synth, Jörg Hochapfel on old organs and analog synths, Kalle Zeier on guitar and vocoder, Kalle Enkelmann on bass and microphones as well as Bernd Oezsevim on drums and cymbals. Adding to the mix are selected guest vocals by Maria Schneider, Natalie Grefel and  Olga Xavier, mainly on the elaborate, four-part suite "Somebody".

"Liquid Love" is definitely a body of work to dance to, to dream to, to dive into, to get lost in, to fantasise about and, well, we're sure you're going to find even more ways of putting these somewhat mystic and abstract yet highly infectious compositions to good use. That being said, do yourself a favour and listen to the full release as often as you can. Feel free to let us know, when the effect wears off. We sincerely doubt it will.

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Dancing To Nothing

MALOX Add Assaf Talmudi To The Mix And Unveil Raucous Live Studio Take
Greedy

BREAKING: Our favourite two-man wrecking crew... Wait a minute. Re-wiiind! Make that a three-man wrecking crew. Yes, you heard right. MALOX, our favourite three-man wrecking crew, has evolved and will be performing [...]

BREAKING: Our favourite two-man wrecking crew... Wait a minute. Re-wiiind! Make that a three-man wrecking crew. Yes, you heard right. MALOX, our favourite three-man wrecking crew, has evolved and will be performing as a trio from now on. Joining the musical one-two punch of Eyal Talmudi (sax, clarinet, bag-pipes) and Roy Chen (drums) is Eyal's brother Assaf Talmudi, who will add his keyboard genius and electronic flair to the already potent mix we witnessed on the combo's latest LP "Gaza Trip".

This literally opens up an entire new realm of possibility, which has us twitching nervously in anticipation of what's to come. That being said and if only to put our restless souls at ease, the new and improved three-piece just released a brand new studio video, recorded and performed live at Slik Studios in Tel Aviv and even including what looks to be a vocalist. You decide.

The video is called "Dancing To Nothing" and is a rawer, more straight-forward take on a previous collaboration between Eyal Talmudi, Roy Chen and Buttering Trio's Rejoicer, released via Time Grove Selections on a record called "Saved My Eyes From Tears" (featuring Omri Mor). New MALOX member Assaf Talmudi, by the way, is a leading producer, composer and instrumentalist on the Israeli pop and experimental circuit and has produced albums for the likes of Berry Sakarof, Ehud Banai, Shlomy Shaban and Shai Tsabary. But for now, let's enjoy "Dancing To Nothing". This track really has a vamped up Ethiopian jazz / Mulatu Astatke vibe to it. Don't you think? 

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Donut of the Heart

Pakistan's Jaubi Release Debut EP And Hindustani Tribute To J Dilla

The concept of time is one of life's greatest enigmas, but equally fundamental, when it comes to the art of rhythm and beatmaking. Which brings us to one of the most prolific and celebrated beat champions of all [...]

The concept of time is one of life's greatest enigmas, but equally fundamental, when it comes to the art of rhythm and beatmaking. Which brings us to one of the most prolific and celebrated beat champions of all time, being Detroit's James "J Dilla" Yancey, master sampler and pioneering hiphop producer, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 32. Every February for the past 10 years and counting fans around the world have been coming together to celebrate his life and work.

One of last year's tributes rather unexpectedly came by ways of Lahore, Pakistan, as now brought to greater attention in a recent piece by Bandcamp writer Jordan Ferguson: "Jaubi, a collective of Indian classical musicians from Lahore, Pakistan, quietly uploaded a video on Youtube to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Dilla’s passing: a cover version of “Time: The Donut of the Heart” from Dilla’s final album Donuts. A sarangi plays the signature loop, tabla and vocals provide a surprising bounce and plaintive acoustic guitar chords add melodic cohesion. In 60 short seconds, the members of Jaubi take Dilla’s original and turn it into something wholly different, yet instantly recognizable."

Within days, the video generated thousands of views and ultimately led to the vinyl release of their debut EP "The Deconstructed Ego" on London's Astigmatic Records imprint. As revealed on the group's Bandcamp page, "Jaubi (جو بھی) is an Urdu word roughly translating to 'whatever'. Creating whatever sounds good and whatever feels good is the goal".

Incorporating elements of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, Jaubi emphasize the free-flowing nature of their tracks: “It’d be very difficult to replicate what we record. If I was to play what was recorded I’d have to go back and learn it like a new song, because I can’t remember most of that stuff. The other guys would say the same thing, because it’s just that moment in time,” says Ali Riaz Baqar (Jaubi's founder/guitar/kalimba), the 'other guys' being Zohaib Hassan Khan (sarangi), Kashif Ali Dhani (tabla/vocals) and Qammar Vicky Abbas (cajon/vocals).

Read the full story here, find the full EP here  and watch the J Dilla tribute video below:

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Everything Has an End, But the 'Wursht' Has Two

Video Premiere: Joe Fleisch Teams Up With Ori Toledano & Guy Bolandi To Turn Stefan Remmler's '80s Hit Into A Yiddish Chart-Breaker
Greedy

Ever heard of Stephan Remmler and his band Trio? Maybe not. However, you may have crossed paths with his German new wave hit “Da Da Da”, released at the ultra-coolish, icy beginnings of the '80s; a monotonous, [...]

Ever heard of Stephan Remmler and his band Trio? Maybe not. However, you may have crossed paths with his German new wave hit “Da Da Da”, released at the ultra-coolish, icy beginnings of the '80s; a monotonous, semi-callous, numb, yet cynically funny anti-love song with that now iconic, recurring line, quasi spoken by a deep and seemingly indifferent male voice in the same repetitive groove as the Da Da Da bass: “Ich lieb Dich nicht, Du liebst mich nicht” (I don’t love you, you don’t love me). The strength, authenticity and honesty of this track propelled it to worldwide recognition, as an English version was in high demand.

One moment later in history, with the '80s in their finishing round, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince were very much alive and kicking, new wave and punk were past their peak, while former B-movie actor Ronny Reagan was in full swing, poised to crush Gorbachev’s Soviet Empire with his “Star Wars”-ish arms race; it was around that time in the year 1987 that Stephan Remmler’s band Trio released “Alles hat ein Ende (nur die Wurst hat zwei)” (Everything has an end, but the sausage has two), a comical and once again deeply cynical ‘Schlager’, which basically boils down to the grim insight that almost every relationship must come to an end, save for the sausage, which literally has two ends. The track to this day remains a hit, on the national level at least. It may have overdosed on that particular kind of humoresque German primitivism, that is less understood elsewhere, but the phrase and song, now staples of German pop culture, have since taken on a life of their own.

Which, almost 30 years later, brings us to a certain Joe Fleisch (pronounced ‘flysh', meaning meat or flesh in German) aka Jossi Reich, frontman and controversial crooner of the notorious Jewish Monkeys. 

Immodestly, Joe Fleisch, the self-proclaimed “neo-Yiddish singer”, claims his singing in the old language “is how Yiddish Pop would have sounded, had Hitler never been born”. A son of Jewish-Polish Holocaust survivors, who after the war found a new home in Germany of all places and who then emigrated to Israel in the late 90s, Joe had always been obsessed with an aspiration to transform the German hits of his youth into Yiddish tunes. Hence, the German sausage, alias “Wurst”, turned into the Yiddish “Wursht”. It just so happened, that Joe approached one of his closest buddies, the video clip director Guy J. Bolandi, who put him in touch with composer/producer Ori Toledano, both acclaimed artists on the Tel Aviv scene.

The latter outfitted Joe Fleisch’s tune with a contemporary, electro-oriental club sound, while Guy J. Bolandi, one of Israel’s most sought after commercial directors for all kinds of tasteless and less tasteless consumer products, always trigger-happy when it comes to doing something provocative, set up a dark, nightly forest scenery and filled it with a bunch of mind-bogglingly erotic female models, who in turn, having just escaped their teens, symbolize that lurking temptation facing millions of poor, horny, heterosexual men on a daily basis, once they have decided to stay true to their chosen one for the rest of their lives.

In order to make the depth of his Yiddish lyrics more comprehensible, Joe urged Bolandi to add some karaoke flair to his “Wursht”. This inspired Bolandi to not only body-paint his actresses with the English translation to Fleisch’s lyrics, but to even take things one step further and integrate a typographic visualization into this stunning lyrical metamorphosis from German to Yiddish. Bolandi combined visual elements usually found in works by contemporary graphic design artists with strong references to the works of Robert Brownjohn, one of the pioneering title-sequence-designers of his time (i.e. James Bond, “Goldfinger”). 

The result is an innovative pop music video, likely to become the very first international Yiddish chart-breaker of the past seven or more centuries (ever since Yiddish came into being, sometime in the dark, German, medieval ages). Yeah!

In closing we say, cursed be the one, who almost exterminated this language. His body may have been burned to ashes after he committed suicide, but his genocidal legacy lives on, be it in the killing fields of Cambodia, in former Yugoslavia, Ruanda, Darfur, Syria, etc. But this shall not be our concern. Instead, we care about fashion, love and ecstasy. So have no fear. Even though the end is near, Joe Fleisch’s “Wursht”, from the hands of Ori Toledano and Guy J. Bolandi, will be sure to console us and keep us afloat, as Global Warming and unfortunate wars threaten to melt and burn us very soon; to ashes. Enjoy!

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#ArtUnderThreat

Freemuse documents 1,028 violations of artistic freedom across 78 countries in 2016

In a recent mailout by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression, we were saddened to learn about some concerning statistics. Entitled "Art Under Threat" the [...]

In a recent mailout by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression, we were saddened to learn about some concerning statistics. Entitled "Art Under Threat" the report states that Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China and Russia lead the list of countries "systematically violating and failing to secure artistic freedom in 2016". In fact, these six countries account for 59% of the serious violations recorded last year.

This is not about pointing fingers, but rather about creating awareness for an issue that needs to be addressed on a global scale, be it the act of silencing, censoring or prosecuting artists or any other attempt to stifle artistic expression. As poignantly stated by Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov: “When populist and nationalist governments, as well as others in a position of power, forcefully try to secure a single dominant narrative, artists are at increased risk. Artistic expressions do not and should not fit into one frame. A healthy society needs alternative creative voices.”

In total Freemuse registered 1,028 cases of censorship and attacks on artistic freedom across 78 countries in 2016, doubling the number of cases registered in 2015, being 469. In addition Freemuse documented 188 total serious violations – killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments and threats – and a staggering 840 acts of censorship. The full report on #ArtUnderThreat is available here.

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Fever

The Jewish Monkeys Unveil First Track Off Their Forthcoming Sophomore Album
Greedy
 

Not to say the Jewish Monkeys' latest outing for Berlin Sessions wasn't highly infectious, but this brand new track off the group's forthcoming sophomore album sure has temperatures running high. On "Fever", the [...]

Not to say the Jewish Monkeys' latest outing for Berlin Sessions wasn't highly infectious, but this brand new track off the group's forthcoming sophomore album sure has temperatures running high. On "Fever", the band is anything but bashful, eager to reclaim their rightful spot at the top of the neo-Yiddish palm tree:

We are Jewish Monkeys, we are bandits 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are shmendriks 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we’re demented
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we’re fragmented, 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are anxious 
We are the Jewish Monkeys, we are pretentious  
We are Darwin’s final delusion
We are the Jewish missing link of evolution.

Listen to the track in full from the SoundCloud player above and witness the dawn of a newish, Jewish era. By the way, "High Words" (the group's second album) will be releasing on April 28th and it is hot, hot, hot! Lehaim!

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Les Jewish Monkeys

Interview: Quand Le Klezmer Revient A La Mode
Greedy

Here's a little something for all our francophone friends, followers and supporters out there. Recently recorded in Tel Aviv, Jewish Monkeys frontman Gael Zaidner joined television host Valérie Pérez and [...]

Here's a little something for all our francophone friends, followers and supporters out there. Recently recorded in Tel Aviv, Jewish Monkeys frontman Gael Zaidner joined television host Valérie Pérez and journalist Arielle Sibony at i24News to speak about the ongoing Klezmer revival, the role of the Jewish Monkeys in all of this and more.

When asked, where the band gets its inspiration from, be it politics, religion or current events, Gael answered: "I think it's all of above. We're not religious, but we do have feelings for or against religion, or for or against politics. We try to be critical, but the vessel for our criticism is always humour. People tend to defend themselves less against humour than they do against a more violent expression of criticism. [...] We never really discuss politics within the group, but we are well aware that all our actions are political."

Well said. So without further delay, here's the clip in French: Le voici! Also, if you happen to be in Tel Aviv this Tuesday (February 7th), the Jewish Monkeys will be playing a gig at Kuli Alma, including brand new songs from their upcoming album "High Words". Check the event!

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Berlin Sessions

VIDEO: The 'Newish' Jewish Monkeys Perform "Titina" + Announce Upcoming Tour Dates
Greedy

All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite [...]

All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite tracks "Titina", which you may remember from here. "Titina" is an infectiously upbeat tune that originally featured in Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times", but was given a Yiddish makeover by the band, adding a touch of their very own funk and punk to the mix. The song is about a "Chussenbucher", a 50-year-old groom-to-be, who is still looking for his special someone. 

Meanwhile, Berlin film production company Bear Film sent a team to Tel Aviv, in search of famed underground acts to recruit for their Berlin Sessions live music format. There they met with the Jewish Monkeys crew and scheduled a shoot in a somewhat leftfield location, being a junkyard in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, the band came dressed to impress and literally brought the house down with a energetic rendition of, you guessed it, "Titina", which you can watch below.

On another note, you may have noticed a slight change in lineup, as the charismatic Assaf Pariente steps into the Jewish Monkeys' frontman triptych in place of Ronni Boiko. Assaf will also be joining the band on their upcoming Germany tour this March. You will find all dates in our updated Shows section. And with that, we say thank you and daidaidaidaidaidaidaidaidaiii!

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Radio Garden

Exploring Global Frequencies, One Locality At A Time

Just a few decades ago, in certain regions of the world, radio was considered a window to the latter. Families spent hours, seated in front of their respective transmitters, scanning the airwaves, hoping to catch a [...]

Just a few decades ago, in certain regions of the world, radio was considered a window to the latter. Families spent hours, seated in front of their respective transmitters, scanning the airwaves, hoping to catch a moment of static-free reality from a far-away place or in some cases, from home. 

While radio today has seemingly taken a backseat to visual alternatives, online radio is still alive and kicking. As a matter of fact, besides our own humble venture to bring you a regular selection of extraordinary sounds from around the globe or great initiatives such as Radiooooo.com, here's another undertaking that has the potential to keep all you audiophiles out there glued to your devices for hours on end. 

As recently (dis)covered in a piece by Deepak Singh for NPR's Goats and Soda section, the newest kid on the block is Radio Garden, a platform launched in December, based in the Netherlands and funded by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision with no immediate commercial aspirations. Radio Garden is instant fun for the curious at heart. Ring up the page and you will face a world map with a sheer endless amount of illuminated dots. Each dot highlights a certain locality in the world and offers users a choice of one or more 'local' radio stations to tune in to. 

"The main idea is to help radio makers and listeners connect with distant cultures and re-connect with people from home and thousands of miles away", says Jonathan Puckey, one of the project's founders. And the idea seems to have struck a worldwide chord. In an interview with Singh, Puckey confirmed that he is currently being inundated by calls from around the world, requesting to be added. 

In addition to the stations, Radio Garden offers a selection of other features, e.g. History, Jingles and Stories, definitely worth checking out. We've literally just spent our afternoon, browsing the world map, tuning into radio stations in Tehran, Addis Ababa or Tallinn and cannot believe our ears. Highly recommended! Right this way...

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22 Letters

Victoria Hanna Opens Conference Of Hebrew Language With 'Book Of Creation'

A few days ago, Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna, whom you may remember from her hiphop-tinged exploration of the Hebrew alphabet, opened a Conference for Hebrew Language with her acclaimed, kabbalistic "Book of [...]

A few days ago, Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna, whom you may remember from her hiphop-tinged exploration of the Hebrew alphabet, opened a Conference for Hebrew Language with her acclaimed, kabbalistic "Book of Creation" / "22 Letters" performance, which you absolutely need to watch. We actually have three videos to share with you. Here's the video she just posted of said opening and for those non-Hebrew speakers among us, here's her lecture / performance at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from back in September of 2016 with English subtitles. And of course, last but not least, below you will find the official music video of "22 Letters" that will also feature on Victoria Hanna's eagerly awaited debut album. More to come... 

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Fantastic Man

A Documentary On The Late Nigerian Electronic Musician William Onyeabor

On Wednesday, NYC-based record label Luaka Bop shared the sad news of Nigerian electronic artist William Onyeabor's passing. In 2013 the imprint released a highly acclaimed compilation of Onyeabor's work entitled "[...]

On Wednesday, NYC-based record label Luaka Bop shared the sad news of Nigerian electronic artist William Onyeabor's passing. In 2013 the imprint released a highly acclaimed compilation of Onyeabor's work entitled "Who is William Onyeabor?" in reference to the "elusive mystery man of music" (Mike Rubin, New York Times, 2013). The release ranked among TIME Magazines best 10 albums of 2013. However, to this day, little is known about the man behind the music.

And so, leading up to the now notorious release, a team set out to find out more about a man, who "paved the way for a different kind of sound coming out of Africa in the 70s". The result is the 30-minute documentary "Fantastic Man" by Alldayeveryday director Jake Sumner, in association with Luaka Bop Records, featuring a host of prominent and less prominent contributors. 

But before we let you watch this invaluable piece of work, here are some introductory quotes from the film, to help set the mood and context. Enjoy!

"The Nigerian civil war lasted from 1967 to 1970. One thing that kept peoples' spirits up was music. You had a lot of young people forming rock'n'roll groups." –Uchenna Ikonne (music historian / DJ)

"They were into Western music, the sort of experimental, psychedelic rock and the blues and the soul. But they took it all and they just mashed it up with their own styles." –Damon Albarn (musician)

"Nothing sounds like William Onyeabor. It's like nothing that was being heard in Nigeria at that time. [...] 'Willy' took it to another dimension by using synths. To use them how he did, that's the extraordinary thing. [..] Even people who knew about he entire scene, knew very little about William Onyeabor. A lot of the other musicians had all played on the same circuit together [...] so they knew each other. But very few of them had ever come across Onyeabor." –Duncan Brooker (record collector)

"For years I guess I've been playing his song 'When the Going is Smooth and Good' in my DJ sets and people always respond, people always cheer like they know the song really well. The thing that sets his use of synthesizers in his later music apart is that he's using sequencers and drum machines to create this kind of perfectly robotic loop, using repetition as a primary element in making music, which was an idea that was definitely happening in the beginnings of dance music. He was developing the same kind of ideas that were developing at that time in the United States, but independently." –Dan Snaith/Caribou (musician / DJ)

"It was certainly groundbreaking. I had been a Kraftwerk fan and for me it was like, he was doing something similar to what Kraftwerk had been doing, but clearly in his own way and combining our own tradition/Nigerian context to an electronic format. No one as far as I knew was doing anything that avant-garde. It had constant airplay. The video was constantly being played. [...] There are people who had some knowledge of him, but then, no one really had anything to say about his personal nuances. It was more like, 'Oh yeah, I saw him drive past' or 'I went to his studio and we saw him in passing'. So he was practically all around us, but really nothing was know about him." –Ed Keazor (music historian) on William Onyeabor's "When the Going is Smooth and Good" (1985)

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Misirlou

The Jewish Monkeys And Despina Apostolou Unplugged In Frankfurt
Greedy

Misirlou, Miserlou, Miserilou? We've had our own share of discussions on how to spell it. Finally we decided it wasn't about the spelling, as much as it was about the music, the song to be exact. And yet, there [...]

Misirlou, Miserlou, Miserilou? We've had our own share of discussions on how to spell it. Finally we decided it wasn't about the spelling, as much as it was about the music, the song to be exact. And yet, there seems to be a distinct meaning encapsulated in this title, possibly stemming from the Turkish word for Egyptian, mısırlı

While the song itself was popularized by Dick Dale's 1962 American surf rock version and gained further international acclaim by prominently featuring on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's cult movie "Pulp Fiction", the song's origins can be retraced to the Eastern Mediterranean region and an early 1927 Greek rembetiko composition. 

The inherent catchiness of the tune resulted in a variety of alternate, traditional interpretations of the song, including Arabic, Armenian, Persian or Turkish versions as well as Jewish klezmer. Which brings us to our very own Jewish Monkeys and their debut album "Mania Regressia", most notably track #6, aka Misirlou. It is a song sung in Yiddish, about a desert princess, about love, desire and longing: "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".

Now a few months ago, the Jewish Monkeys took their show to Frankfurt, to play their first ever unplugged gig at Salon 99. A regular to the venue as a soloist, acclaimed Greek pianist Despina Apostolou was also among the audience that evening and more than familiar with the song. As such, she kindly accepted to play her own interpretation as an intro to the Monkeys' performance.

You can watch and hear the magic happening below. So for now, we shall let the music take center stage and leave you with Despina Apostolou, the Jewish Monkeys and of course, "Misirlou".

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