Yuriy Gurzhy - Richard Wagner & die Klezmerband (CD) Auf der Suche nach dem neuen jüdischen Sound in DE
Catalogue No.: ERJ000
Release Date: 23 Dec 2022
Genre: Experimental / Kraut Rock
Earlier this year, Yuriy Gurzhy, former DJ of the legendary "Russendisko" and co-founder of the multilingual Berlin band RotFront, presented his first book: a fascinating interview volume compiled in a kind of sampling aesthetic on the subject of "Richard Wagner & and the Klezmer Band. In Search of the New Jewish Sound in Germany" (Ariella Verlag). The idea for it arose in a conversation between Gurzhy and Rainer Kern, the director of the Enjoy Jazz Festival. The book quickly attracted keen interest far beyond the feuilletons. "Suddenly readers were complaining to me that reading it had made them very keen to hear the music, but they couldn't hear it. What they wanted, and I thought it was actually quite logical, was a soundtrack to the book."
And that very soundtrack is now available. Yuriy Gurzhy, as a DJ a specialist in the field of compiling, has knowledgeably selected all the pieces himself. "It was important to me that the music could be listened to with pleasure even without having read the book. It's a good eclectic mix, ranging from folk to hip-hop. In the end, however, it will be in many cases that the music will make you want to listen to the book and vice versa. The two dimensions complement each other perfectly." The 18-track CD is also the first release from Enjoy Jazz Records, the new "festival label for jazz and more."
At first glance, it may seem irritating that Gurzhy mentions the avowed anti-Semite Richard Wagner and klezmer, i.e. Jewish folk music, in the same sentence. In the "Jüdische Allgemeine" Gurzhy answered the question why he included the German composer in the title of his book: "This is just my little revenge on Wagner, because his anti-Semitism is also a cliché. And for many musicians and music listeners, klezmer is also a cliché and a synonym for Jewish music, although there is much more to it than that."
Against this background, by the way, Gurzhy himself provides one of the highlights of the album. For in the RotFront song "Girl from Bayreuth" he bilingually tells the absurdly convoluted story of how a man falls unrequitedly in love with a blond German violinist during a Wagner concert in Tel Aviv and from then on incessantly maltreats his neighbor through the thin walls with a mixture of crying fits and Wagner music. In addition, there is a wonderfully ironic side-splitting by Geoff Berner, performed in a children's song ductus ("Half-German Girlfriend"), a Balkanese brass version of the folk song "Hava Nagila" by Shazalakazoo/Edi Partizani or the organ-soaked rock of Forshpil ("Meydl in di yorn"), of course with guitar solo.
Both the CD and the book deliberately refuse to give a clear definition of what Jewish music actually is. But it is precisely from this careful distance to encyclopedic delimitation that an open and exciting musical discourse emerges. For Gurzhy himself, by the way, Jewish music was first and foremost "the music that my grandfather played to me on his record player when I was a child in Kharkiv". Since those days, the Ukrainian-born musician, who has lived in Berlin for almost 30 years, has said: "Music is a home." And with a wink he adds, "With music it's probably like with love. You can analyze for a very long time why you feel so comfortable with a person, but to really explain it is difficult."
Yuriy Gurzhy sums up the meaning of this music for himself as follows: "It's the soundtrack to the search for one's Jewish identity." Because, Gurzhy says, "For me, questions like 'What does it fundamentally mean to be Jewish?' but also 'What does it mean to be Jewish in 21st century Germany?' are always connected to music." Thus, this music curated by Gurzhy has at least one common denominator. Specific musical as well as extra-musical Jewish experiences are collected in it - in great diversity and filled with the artistic power to permanently renew itself. Yuriy Gurzhy is available for interviews. Appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Vivian Kanner – An allem sind (immer noch) die Juden schuld
2. Geoff Berner – Half-German Girlfriend
3. Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird – Six Million Germans
4. You Shouldn´t Know From It – Tants, Tants
5. Jewrhythmics – Kinder Yoren
6. Paul Brody´s Sadawi – Mighty Max
7. Solomon & Socalled – Alt. Shul Kale Bazetsn
8. Fayvish – Yeder Yesh
9. Jewdyssee – Beltz, mayn shtetele
10. RotFront – Girl from Bayreuth
11. Forshpil – Meydl in di yorn
12. Jewish Monkeys – All the great things
13. KlezCore – Pferdeporno
14. The Disorientalists – Prince of the Orient
15. Andrea Pancur – Isar
16. Yahoodi – Crazy Ass Jew
17. Frank London´s Klezmer Brass Allstars – Oysgemischt
18. Shazalakazoo/Edi Partizani – Hava Nagila
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