loading
Jewish Monkeys
Shows
Tracks
Videos
Press
Articles
en
de
fr

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 [...]

Read full bio
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

May 26th
Hannover / Cafe Glocksee
May 27th
Hamburg / Kampnagel
Jul 14th
Düsseldorf / Asphalt Festival
Aug 12th
Budapest / Sziget Festival
Aug 19th
Sep 23rd
Ottersberg / KuKuC e.V.
Sep 24th
Emsdetten / Stadtfest
Oct 02nd
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

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
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)

Related posts

Tour Be Or Not Tour Be?

BREAKING: The Jewish Monkeys Kick Off A New String Of Live Shows In Switzerland & Germany
Greedy

The infamous Jewish Monkeys have arrived in Germany, again! Well actually they have touched ground in Switzerland, where tonight they kick off a string of eight live shows, to present their brand new longplayer "[...]

The infamous Jewish Monkeys have arrived in Germany, again! Well actually they have touched ground in Switzerland, where tonight they kick off a string of eight live shows, to present their brand new longplayer "High Words" and shake some Teutonic limbs. "High Words"  is now available to stream and download via Bandcamp, right over here, and comprises 10 newish tracks, including the recently released "Pupik", a tale of love in the age of social media. This time around the band will take to the stage in Flawil (CH), Munich, Dresden, Frankfurt, Karslruhe, Hannover, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. You can find a list of all their upcoming shows here. Don't sleep!

close
continue

Underwater Love

VIDEO: The Jewish Monkeys Premiere Loredana Antonelli's Superbly Animated & Choreographed New Music Video to "Pupik"
Greedy

Today marks the official release day of "High Words", album number two by the crowd-pleasing Jewish Monkeys and well, what more can we say than: we are such proud parents!

Never ones to shy away from giving, this [...]

Today marks the official release day of "High Words", album number two by the crowd-pleasing Jewish Monkeys and well, what more can we say than: we are such proud parents!

Never ones to shy away from giving, this band of middle-aged crooners, psychoanalysts and self-proclaimed womanizers picked this day to air the brand new music video to their album track "Pupik". The clip tells a tale of love in the time of social networks, beautifully brought to life by Naples-based multimedia artist Loredana Antonelli and touchingly narrated by yours truly. The video was premiered earlier today via Jazzthing and is now available for public viewing on JewTube or below. 

As for the group's sophomore album, bearing ten newish bangers and even more unbearable wisdom, you may want to ask your local record dealer or stick to Bandcamp/iTunes. From the whole family here at Greedy, we wish you a heartfelt 'gut shabbes' and sincerely hope you enjoy these high words!

close
continue

Monkeying Around

Just Ahead Of Album #2 The Jewish Monkeys Get Interviewed by the Jerusalem Post
Greedy

With only a week to go before their highly anticipated sophomore album's official release, the Jewish Monkeys are revving up the promo engine or as The Jerusalem Post called it, Monkeying Around. In a recent [...]

With only a week to go before their highly anticipated sophomore album's official release, the Jewish Monkeys are revving up the promo engine or as The Jerusalem Post called it, Monkeying Around. In a recent interview with Ariel Dominique Hendelman of the leading Israeli English newspaper, Ran Bagno (accordion) and Gael Zaidner (vocals) shared their thoughts on the band, talked about a momentous performance in front of Syrian refugees and hinted at the fact that there already is a third album in the making.

"As a band, we started off with a more Balkan/Klezmer sound. Now it became more high energy, more exciting, more rock, more punk. It’s more of a blend of all of the places we are coming from. The band is a fusion of our stories; an Israeli salad", says Ran Bagno at one point. "I would like to emphasize that our sound is very Middle Eastern", Gael Zaidner points out.  

Asked why it is so important to laugh at taboos, Bagno answers: "I think it’s the only way to deal with them. We can’t preach about things. If you speak about something with humour, it’s much easier to contain it in my opinion. We are a funny band. We have three singers in the front who are all very strong characters. It’s powerful. The audience is dancing and responding. When we see that, we know that something moved them. Some of our songs have very funny lyrics and we see the audience’s reaction to that. We see that they got the point."

Read the full interview here and give the Jewish Monkeys' second album "High Words" a listen while you're at it. Gut Shabbes!

close
continue

High Words

The Jewish Monkeys Unveil The Title Track To Their Forthcoming Sophomore Full-Length
Greedy

March Madness! Hot on the heels of their recent, raucous tour of 'Doitschland', which capped off with a sold-out show in their hometown of Frankfurt, the Jewish Monkeys continue to unleash new heat off their [...]

March Madness! Hot on the heels of their recent, raucous tour of 'Doitschland', which capped off with a sold-out show in their hometown of Frankfurt, the Jewish Monkeys continue to unleash new heat off their forthcoming sophomore full-length "High Words", to be released officially next month on April 28th!  

Following the release of the first heated album preview "Fever" they now premier the companion video to the album's title track, filmed at the same scrapyard you may remember from their blazing Berlin Sessions performance of "Titina" and featuring another onslaught of witty eloquence:

"Transformation, realization /Adulation, young sweet Asian / Specification, over population / Oi Vey, we are the last generation!" sing the three Jewish Monkeys frontmen, including charismatic new addition Assaf Pariente. The group will be back to perform in Germany in May. Check the dates!

close
continue
more

Oy, Jew Are Not Alone!

Michael Croland Takes A Closer Look At Yiddish Culture & Punk Music
Greedy

As our Jewish Monkeys continue their pursuit of fame across Germany, performing live in Hanover tonight and in Hamburg tomorrow (check our Shows page here), we decided to reference a recent article by Michael [...]

As our Jewish Monkeys continue their pursuit of fame across Germany, performing live in Hanover tonight and in Hamburg tomorrow (check our Shows page here), we decided to reference a recent article by Michael Croland for young Jewish online magazine Jewcy, fittingly entitled "Mosh Your Tuches Off!". The short yet pop culturally highly relevant piece embarks on a short exploration of current Yiddish punk performers or punk bands incorporating Yiddish elements, "Oy" or "Oi" being the most obvious common ground between the two. The piece names a handful of bands keeping the Yiddish punk spirit very much alive and is but an excerpt from Croland's book "Oy, Oy, Oy, Gevalt!", published in April 2016:

"Step inside a fascinating world of Jews who relate to their Jewishness through the vehicle of punk—from prominent figures in the history of punk to musicians who proudly put their Jewish identity front and center. Many key figures in punk’s history—including members of the Ramones, the Dictators, the Clash, Bad Religion, and NOFX—were Jews."

That being said, we believe this work to be of essential nature. After all, it also represents a large part of the Jewish Monkeys' artistic universe and acoustic heritage.

close
continue

Afro Golden Line

Amir Bresler To Drop A Hot New 2-Track 7" On Raw Tapes

Tel Aviv-/Berlin-based tastemakers Raw Tapes return with a forthcoming digital/seven-inch vinyl release by Israeli drummer Amir Bresler, one of the most sought after percussionists on the block. Bresler, who was [...]

Tel Aviv-/Berlin-based tastemakers Raw Tapes return with a forthcoming digital/seven-inch vinyl release by Israeli drummer Amir Bresler, one of the most sought after percussionists on the block. Bresler, who was first exposed to the wonders of jazz music at age 15, today performs with some of the best jazz musicians in Israel as well as on prominent international stages around the globe. 

Some time ago, Bresler was approached by Meinl cymbals and asked to contribute four tracks to their drummers videos series. Bresler turned to his friend Yuval Havkin aka Rejoicer to help with the production side of things and was subsequently joined by some of his best friends and fellow musicians for the recording session. A few months later, he flew to Germany to record drums and film the new tracks at Meinl. Loving the results, he then decided to make them an official release, choosing two of the tracks to be made available to the public. 

The release's title track "Afro Golden Line" is a '70s African-high-life-inspired, odd-meter afrobeat track, featuring Sefi Zisling on trumpet and Uzi Ramirez on guitar, while "Fish" on the B-side (which is not yet available to be streamed) is a rework of an old L.B.T. track (originally featuring vocals by Büttering Trio's KerenDun) with additional composition by Beno & Nomok. In any case, we are more than excited to get our hands on this beauty and can't wait to hear more! Tune-in...

close
continue

Tour Be Or Not Tour Be?

BREAKING: The Jewish Monkeys Kick Off A New String Of Live Shows In Switzerland & Germany
Greedy

The infamous Jewish Monkeys have arrived in Germany, again! Well actually they have touched ground in Switzerland, where tonight they kick off a string of eight live shows, to present their brand new longplayer "[...]

The infamous Jewish Monkeys have arrived in Germany, again! Well actually they have touched ground in Switzerland, where tonight they kick off a string of eight live shows, to present their brand new longplayer "High Words" and shake some Teutonic limbs. "High Words"  is now available to stream and download via Bandcamp, right over here, and comprises 10 newish tracks, including the recently released "Pupik", a tale of love in the age of social media. This time around the band will take to the stage in Flawil (CH), Munich, Dresden, Frankfurt, Karslruhe, Hannover, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. You can find a list of all their upcoming shows here. Don't sleep!

close
continue

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra

Berlin's Ensemble Extraordinaire Shares 11-Minute Track Off Their Forthcoming LP
 

Established back in 2006, the 20-something-piece Berlin-based Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra (AMEO) is definitely a musical force to be reckoned with. Unlike your average large ensemble, AMEO has created a whole [...]

Established back in 2006, the 20-something-piece Berlin-based Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra (AMEO) is definitely a musical force to be reckoned with. Unlike your average large ensemble, AMEO has created a whole new and genre-bending musical language that quite literally "dwarfs anything heretofore experienced" (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). With a penchant for experimentation this group of self-organized,  like-minded and in-demand musicians, hailing from various countries and just as diverse musical backgrounds, already has three acclaimed albums to its name and a reputation for wildly fun and highly combustible live shows.

Adding to their bold and multicoloured supersonic repertoire will be their forthcoming fourth album "Vula", finally set to be released on July 7th via the Notwist-affiliated imprint Alien Transistor on CD and 2LP, after what turned out to be quite a long and winding almost five-year process: "It has its own distinct sound and features some of our most heavily played material over the last years. In comparison to our last two albums, there are more harmonic and melodic elements to it, but also a frenzied and urgent energy that keeps pushing throughout this one-hour ride", says the group. 

Earlier this week, our fellow tastemakers from XLR8R premiered the track "J Schleia"*, gifting us a sensational first taste of what's to come: The 11-minute track kicks off with an upbeat overture of woodwind-driven flirtation, taking on a more ethereal form as time keeps ticking and strings join in the springtime flourish, then shifting gears yet again as a smoothly operating saxophone explores afrobeat-inspired terrain before regrouping and shining another light on the many musical roads just travelled. And that's only up to about the 5-minute mark. That being said, we believe you need to hear this track with you very own ears. Download it here or listen in the player above. 'nuff said.

*This would in no way be referencing the versatile Johannes Schleiermacher of the wonderful Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers now would it?

close
continue

Safar

Music from Afghanistan

Afghanistan suffered immensely under the Taliban regime and subsequent insurgencies, which took their toll on the country's rich cultural diversity and musical traditions. Music was forbidden under Taliban rule, but [...]

Afghanistan suffered immensely under the Taliban regime and subsequent insurgencies, which took their toll on the country's rich cultural diversity and musical traditions. Music was forbidden under Taliban rule, but survived at the hands of master musicians, who continue to pass along their invaluable knowledge to younger generations.

One such project is "Safar" (meaning journey) that marks a continued musical exchange between the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar and the Afghanistan Music Research Centre to support Afghan musicians in their efforts to keep their heritage alive.

Below you can watch a 75-minute live concert by the Safar ensemble recorded back in 2015, consisting of renowned Turkish ney flautist Kudsi Ergüner, masters and students of the Afghanistan International Institute of Music (Kabul) as well as students from the Musikgymnasium Schloss Belvedere (Weimar) and three German jazz musicians:

Kudsi Erguner - Ney
Ustad Khial Modh Saqizada - Rubab
Ustad Fraidoon Miazada - Tabla
Ustad Abdul Latif Sharifi - Dhol
Ustad Modh Murad Sarkhosh - Ghichak
Ustad Ahmad Farid Shefta - Clarinet

Christian Kögel - Guitar
Oliver Potratz - Bass (+ Arrangements)
Jan Burkamp - Drums

Via Undomondo

close
continue

Underwater Love

VIDEO: The Jewish Monkeys Premiere Loredana Antonelli's Superbly Animated & Choreographed New Music Video to "Pupik"
Greedy

Today marks the official release day of "High Words", album number two by the crowd-pleasing Jewish Monkeys and well, what more can we say than: we are such proud parents!

Never ones to shy away from giving, this [...]

Today marks the official release day of "High Words", album number two by the crowd-pleasing Jewish Monkeys and well, what more can we say than: we are such proud parents!

Never ones to shy away from giving, this band of middle-aged crooners, psychoanalysts and self-proclaimed womanizers picked this day to air the brand new music video to their album track "Pupik". The clip tells a tale of love in the time of social networks, beautifully brought to life by Naples-based multimedia artist Loredana Antonelli and touchingly narrated by yours truly. The video was premiered earlier today via Jazzthing and is now available for public viewing on JewTube or below. 

As for the group's sophomore album, bearing ten newish bangers and even more unbearable wisdom, you may want to ask your local record dealer or stick to Bandcamp/iTunes. From the whole family here at Greedy, we wish you a heartfelt 'gut shabbes' and sincerely hope you enjoy these high words!

close
continue

High Words, The Remix

Yuriy Gurzhy & Uros 'DJ UCE' Petkovic Take On The Jewish Monkeys
Greedy
 

Hold onto your seats everyone as the Jewish Monkeys are about to officially drop album number two tomorrow! That's right, "High Words" is just around the bend and you can already stream/download the masterpiece in [...]

Hold onto your seats everyone as the Jewish Monkeys are about to officially drop album number two tomorrow! That's right, "High Words" is just around the bend and you can already stream/download the masterpiece in full via Bandcamp. Yes, word on the streets rings true as the mischievous bunch is back with a Yiddish vengeance that is very much contagious.

Among the latest mishpoche to have caught the proverbial Fever is Ukrainian-born/Berlin-based all-rounder* Yuriy Gurzhy, known to make a living as a prolific musician, DJ, producer and radio broadcaster, who also delivered a wicked set at the Jewish Monkeys' Berlin show last March. Most recently Yuriy recorded and performed with Daniel Kahn and Marina Frenk as The Disorientalists in his latest production "Who Was Essad Bey?".

Which brings us to DJ UCE, alias Uros Petkovic, a Serbian multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer equally based in Berlin, with an eclectic musical repertoire as well as a claim to fame on the Balkan and E-Swing music scene with projects including ShazaLaKazoo, the BalkanBeats Soundsystem and Jazzotron.

Both Yuriy and UCE have now taken on the title track of the Jewish Monkeys' forthcoming album and added a little spice of their own, best described by Yuriy himself: "In October 2016 I spent an unforgettable week in Tel Aviv. Daily swims, delicious food, visiting old friends, meeting new friends, buying vintage records, discovering new music, speaking English and Russian... When I first heard the Jewish Monkeys' new record I was instantly reminded of these amazing times. And so it was a true honour and a lot of fun for us to be able to remix the title track. Right off the bat, we knew what we wanted to do with 'High Words'. There was no doubt about it. Uce programmed the beat and I brought my ancient Casiotone MT-100 as well as my guitar to the studio that same day... The original is still easily recognisable in our work. We didn't want to move too far away because we actually liked it the way it was, but we did try to contribute another dimension."

We just love that added bounce. How about you? Have a listen in the player above or head over to Yuriy's SoundCloud page.

*Alongside German-Jewish writer Wladimir Kaminir Yuriy Gurzhy established the now legendary "Russendisko" club events, hosted the "Russendisko Klub" radio show on Berlin's Radio MultiKulti (2000-2006), released his 2006 "Shtetl Superstars" compilation of funky Jewish sounds from around the world and followed that up with his 2010 "Revolution Disco" release of modern revolutionary anthems. Yuriy also released three albums with his band RotFront, co-founded the Shtetl Superstars and collaborated with the likes of Shantel, Alec Kopyt, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, 17 Hippies, Perkalaba, Zhadan & Sobaki, MaMa Diaspora, Russkaja and many more. In 2016 he launched a new monthly event series in Berlin entitles "Born in UA", dedicated to Ukrainian music in all its variety and released his "Borsh Division - Duture Sound of Ukraine" compilation via Trikont.

close
continue

Monkeying Around

Just Ahead Of Album #2 The Jewish Monkeys Get Interviewed by the Jerusalem Post
Greedy

With only a week to go before their highly anticipated sophomore album's official release, the Jewish Monkeys are revving up the promo engine or as The Jerusalem Post called it, Monkeying Around. In a recent [...]

With only a week to go before their highly anticipated sophomore album's official release, the Jewish Monkeys are revving up the promo engine or as The Jerusalem Post called it, Monkeying Around. In a recent interview with Ariel Dominique Hendelman of the leading Israeli English newspaper, Ran Bagno (accordion) and Gael Zaidner (vocals) shared their thoughts on the band, talked about a momentous performance in front of Syrian refugees and hinted at the fact that there already is a third album in the making.

"As a band, we started off with a more Balkan/Klezmer sound. Now it became more high energy, more exciting, more rock, more punk. It’s more of a blend of all of the places we are coming from. The band is a fusion of our stories; an Israeli salad", says Ran Bagno at one point. "I would like to emphasize that our sound is very Middle Eastern", Gael Zaidner points out.  

Asked why it is so important to laugh at taboos, Bagno answers: "I think it’s the only way to deal with them. We can’t preach about things. If you speak about something with humour, it’s much easier to contain it in my opinion. We are a funny band. We have three singers in the front who are all very strong characters. It’s powerful. The audience is dancing and responding. When we see that, we know that something moved them. Some of our songs have very funny lyrics and we see the audience’s reaction to that. We see that they got the point."

Read the full interview here and give the Jewish Monkeys' second album "High Words" a listen while you're at it. Gut Shabbes!

close
continue

ZMEI3

On A Musical Trip Through Transylvania

"Rough Romanian Soul" is the title to their debut album and that is exactly what the Berlin-based quartet Zmei3 formed around two Romanian immigrants delivers. Classically trained vocalist Paula Turcas and band [...]

"Rough Romanian Soul" is the title to their debut album and that is exactly what the Berlin-based quartet Zmei3 formed around two Romanian immigrants delivers. Classically trained vocalist Paula Turcas and band leader Mihai Victor Iliescu on guitar are joined by master vibraphonist Oli Bott and the full sound of double bass player Arnulf Ballhorn as the group conjures up a powerful blend of urban music inspired by its rural Romanian heritage. Recorded live and without overdubs in Transylvania by Grammy® award-winner Ian Brennan (whom you may remember from the Zomba Prison Project), their "beautiful and heartfelt music rises from the harsh realities and struggles of a post-Communist rule", both primal and at times haunting. 

"Eastern Europe in general has been neglected by the rest of the world in terms of interest and exploration of music and culture. It has literally and deliberately been treated as a bloc. There is a great ignorance amongst many as to what Eastern Europe even is after World War II, so to have vibrant and modern music from Romania is a very valuable thing." (Ian Brennan)

Below you can watch the 30-minute documentary by German journalist Roman Rhode, which follows the group on their journey 'home' through breathtaking Transylvanian landscapes, rich in hue and heritage. 

"Rough Romanian Soul" will be released on April 22nd via San Francisco imprint Six Degrees Records.

close
continue

Song From The Forest

The Story Of Louis Sarno: Preserving The Musical Traditions Of The Bayaka

Sad news reached us last week, as an obituary page in the New York Times informed us of Louis Sarno's passing. Aged 62, the New Jersey-born Sarno had devoted himself to studying and most importantly preserving the [...]

Sad news reached us last week, as an obituary page in the New York Times informed us of Louis Sarno's passing. Aged 62, the New Jersey-born Sarno had devoted himself to studying and most importantly preserving the music of the Bayaka, a pygmy tribe in the Central African Republic. Sarno spent nearly half of his life with the tribe, fully immersing himself in their culture, their language and most notably their music, which is what drew him there in the first place. He first heard the Bayaka's "mesmerizing melodies" on the radio, while studying in Amsterdam in the early 1980s and almost instantly set out to find out more about them. His journey finally led him to the village of Yandoumbe in the Dzanga-Sangha Forest Reserve, where he found the music that had first spellbound him and pressed record.

"I was drawn to the heart of Africa by a song," Mr. Sarno later recalled. "I boarded a plane that would take me into the equatorial heart of a continent where I did not know a soul, on a quest for a music that might have been nothing more than a state of my imagination." (NY Times)

Released in 2013 the German documentary "Song from the Forest" by Michael Obert visits Sarno in his forest home and accompanies him on a trip to New York City with his adopted pygmy son Samedi. Sarno's life story is fascinating, inspiring and deeply moving. The film not only documents his life with the Bayaka, but also shows Sarno in his role as a dedicated ethnomusicologist (over the decades Sarno has recorded more than 1,500 hours of unique Bayaka music), loving father and tireless activist. We were touched by his life story as well as the news of Louis Sarno's passing and tip our hats to this man, who took the road less traveled.

close
continue

Nem Kaldı

Meet Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şİmşek AKA The New Anatolian Psych-Pop Sensation
 

Drawn in at first by the vibrant artwork, young singer and multi-instrumentalist Derya Yıldırım's voice on this Anatolian psych-pop sensation's debut EP literally struck us like a lightning bolt. Which brings us [...]

Drawn in at first by the vibrant artwork, young singer and multi-instrumentalist Derya Yıldırım's voice on this Anatolian psych-pop sensation's debut EP literally struck us like a lightning bolt. Which brings us to the rest of this 'outernational' five-piece, alias Grup Şimşek (Turkish transl. 'lightning'), composed of British drummer Greta Eacott (G-Bop Orchestra / One-Take Records) as well as three quarters of the respectable Orchestre du Montplaisant (Antonin Voyant, Graham Mushnik, Andrea Piro). Recently released via Bongo Joe Records / Catapulte Records, the group's 4-track EP has spent the day on repeat in our office, blowing our minds with a cutting-edge blend of psychedelic Turkish grooves and electrifying instrumentation: 

"Their debut EP kicks off with legendary Aşık Mahzuni Şerif's 'Nem Kaldı', a groovy lament with killer melodyline, where saz and synth wave through a stream of wah-wah guitar arpeggios. The Graham Mushnik-penned instrumental '3,2,2,3' is a 5/4 psychedelic mover lead by the acid sounds of the organ – a subtle tribute to the architects of Anatolian Rock, Moğollar. On side B, Derya delivers a splendid interpretation of Özdemir Erdoğan's song Gurbet. Gurbet is a Turkish word describing a particular form of homesickness: watching from afar as things turn bad in your [And finally,] 'Davet', a Grup Şimşek composition, is a dancy, Saz-lead song likely to shake many dancefloors with emotion. The lyrics are drawn from a poem by Nazım Hikmet, father of modern Turkish poetry."

Head over to the group's Bandcamp page now to stream all four tracks or hit play above to stream their lead single "Nem Kaldı", also available in video form below.

close
continue

My Word Is Free

Tunisia's Emel Mathlouthi Drops A Powerful Mix Of Traditional North African Music
 

Back in 2011, Tunisia played a significant role in the uprising now known as the Arab Spring with its own revolution, which resulted in the ousting of then president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and lead to the [...]

Back in 2011, Tunisia played a significant role in the uprising now known as the Arab Spring with its own revolution, which resulted in the ousting of then president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and lead to the implementation of a democratic parliamentary system. Around the same time, Tunisian singer/songwriter Emel Mathlouthi landed a viral hit with her powerful song "Kelmti Horra" (Arabic transl. 'my word is free'), which went on to become an anthem of sorts among Arab Spring protesters. 

Earlier this year, she released her latest album "Ensen" on Partisan Records, alongside her main collaborator, the French/Tunisian producer and physicist Amine Metani. Recorded in seven countries across three continents the album's expansive soundscapes feature additional production by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Sigur Ros, Bjork) and Johannes Berglund (The Knife, Shout Out Louds, Ane Brun). Leading up to the album, Emel put together a noteworthy 27-minute mix of traditional music from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania for leading music/lifestyle publication The FADER.

"Growing up in Tunisia we were so open to anything that came from the West," she explains. "It wasn’t a big deal that it was from the other side of the world, and that we didn’t understand the lyrics... it’s such a shame that the connectivity and the openness doesn’t work both ways. Maybe this moment will help open ears and hearts."

Read the full interview here, watch the "Ensen" album trailer below and listen to the full mix in the player above.

Tracklist
Louisa Tounsia - "Al Bab" 
El Hadhra - "Fares Baghdad"
Chikh El Efrit - "Lach Tfakker Fia"
Bouètaiba Sghir - "Malgré Tout" 
Line Monty - "Ektebli Chouaya"
Ouleya Mauritania - Unknown
Unknown (old Tunisian track from the '50s)
Chichi Imam - "Idha Chams"

close
continue
more