All manner of musical genres and bi-genres end up in the pile of cd’s I get to look through and review, anything from folk or acoustic singer/songwriter to various offerings from rock, indie and punk but occasionally something turns up that stops you in your tracks and makes you think or (in this case) say out loud “what do we have here?”
The album cover alone was enough for me to want to know a little more about this curious little package of musical mysteries.
First things first though I should warn you that this is not a genre or style of music for everyone, I’m still undecided if it’s a style of music for me, and I can see that this will only appeal to a certain slice of the general public but if you want something a little different in your cd collection, this isn’t a bad contender.
The style of music is traditional Yiddish folk and it’s presently perfectly from Canadian musician Josh ‘Socalled’ Dolgin, who has spent years producing hip-hop and quietly exploring and collecting music from his own Yiddish culture.
I confess that this is the first time I’ve ever heard anything Yiddish outside of various films soundtracks but give it a chance and you’ll be treated to a style of music that is haunting, beautiful and holds within it centuries of persecution, pain but also the celebration of being alive.
The music is expertly played by long-time collaborators the Kaiser Quartett, that bring a certain gravity to the recordings with warm, timbered tones from their instruments, add to this the authentic vocal delivery of Socalled and you’ve got a powerful combination. I think the best compliment I can give to this album is that it could have been recorded during any decade of the last hundred years, it feels so steeped in its history and so authentically recorded that you feel transported to an era of horse drawn carts and the turbulent times of the last century.
Powerful, beguiling, haunting and uplifting all at the same time.