Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yiddish beats

I haven't done a music post for a while, so here we go.

Arieh sent a YouTube of a great Yiddish reggae track "Shtiklakh (Klezmer goes Rocksteady)" by NYC's King Django in his Roots and Culture Band guise. Note cool anti-Deutsche politics from Schmidthorst69 in infobox at top right. King Django's Ashkenazi/urban mashup goes back to 1997, predating, I think, the likes of Matisyahu, Oi-Va-Voi, SoCalled and others who do that kind of thing. Listen to more at MySpace &, read interviews at Redstar73, Shemspeed & Global Rhythms, and read reviews at CDBaby & Jewish News.

"Shtikhlakh" (sing.: shtikl), by the way, means little morsels: it was the word Irving Howe's father used for Howe's short essays (Howe being one of my heroes). A really little morsel is a shtikele, as in the heart-rending Dovid Edelshtat poem "A shtikele broyt".

Arieh also sent a rather sweet rendition, in bad Yiddish, of "Vakht Oyf" by Edelshtat (with music by Jacob Schaefer): Vi lang, oy vi lang vet ir blaybn nokh shklafn un trogn di../װי לאַנג, אָ װי לאַנג װעט איר בלײַבן נאָך שקלאַפֿן און טראָגן די. An accurate, if rather bombastic, version is here. The English words are here, wrongly attributed to another song of the Yiddish labour movement, "Makhnes Geyen" by Mikhl Gelbart, which you can listen to a version of by the Chorus of the Workmen's Circle of Boston here, and whose Yiddish words are here. Edelshat, by the way, had a strong London connection, and frequently wrote for Rudolf Rocker's Arbayter Fraynd. (If you like this sort of thing, check out Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher's wonderful documentatary Free Voice of Labour, re-released a couple of years ago by AK.)

1 comment:

jams o donnell said...

Great stuff Bob. I love it!