Clarinetist David Krakauer exudes an emotionally raw yet genial presence, baring a tireless spirit, humor and generosity. His best-selling classical and Klezmer recordings further define his brilliant tone, virtuosity and imagination.
As one of the foremost musicians of the vital new wave of Klezmer, David Krakauer tours the globe with his Klezmer Madness! ensemble. Colliding old world with new, Klezmer Madness! delivers a modern brand of Klezmer with equal parts angst and elation. While firmly rooted in traditional Klezmer folk tunes, the band "hurls the tradition of Klezmer music into the rock era" (Jon Pareles, The New York Times). Krakauer's compositions also pay homage to R&B, jazz, classical and funk.
Photograph: Jean Marc LUBRANO
Go to website www.davidkrakauer.com
The clarinetist David Krakauer is one of those privileged artists who are instinctive transmitters. As a tradition reformer and avant-garde bit of a lad, he is one of those musicians who bridge styles because it is their conviction and they vitally need it.
Without him, the revival inspired by the New York neo- klezmer wave at the beginning of the 90’s would not have had the same savor….Without him and some others, like John Zorn and Frank London, this revival of traditional Jewish music would have lacked emblematic personalities.
Krakauer possesses virtuosity, first condition in the field of klezmer music. Today 48 years old, graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School, he started - and carries on – his career working on highly specialized scores of contemporary music with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet and a lot of other bands. Not everyone can play Berio’s wily Sequenza… in front of Berio himself. But virtuosity is nothing without emotion, the second condition. We just have to see him improvise in a concert, to listen shivering to ‘msN.C.’ on his new album to get convinced that Krakauer is able to express the largest range of feelings with the strength of his lips.
What else? Virtuosity, expressivity, improvisation, a few others may claim such assets. Krakauer has a fourth one: an open mind. Maybe because he was not brought up on klezmer music during his childhood, but on jazz and classical music. Maybe because he discovered by himself the musical thread of his Jewish Polish origins, this wedding, festive and sentimental music, in the middle of the 80’s. He integrated it in his own universe without trying to copy from the elders. What would be the use to play like Naftule Brandwein, Dave Tarras, these masters who during the 20’s and 30’s already used to revolutionize the practice of the instruments and turn upside down the heritage? With his band Klezmer Madness, Krakauer tried – and succeeded in- doing something else. While the musicians change according to their other commitments, the instruments remain the same: accordion, bass, drums and electric guitar. Krakauer blends into it jazz, rock and funk elements to create an amazing synthesis. A first album was recorded in 1995 for Zorn’s label, another (Klezmer, NY) as a tribute to Sydney Bechet, his idol forever. Then, a recording on the other side of the Atlantic, for Label Bleu, a still stronger and spiced up cocktail (A New Hot One, The Twelve Tribes), eventually this live recording in 2004, in the town of his ancestors, Krakow. He was there warmly welcomed and lovingly amazed his audience. In the meantime, Krakauer heard a five-tracks record, which haunted him. The Hip Hop Seder, signed by a Canadian crank called Josh Dolgin, alias DJ Socalled. This Canadian musician, twenty years younger than him, discovered like himself Klezmer music late in his life. He is a troublemaker with a nerve and he makes his own grub, adding to it rap old school beats, musicals and old liturgical songs. Krakauer immediately felt that Socalled was for him a new opening track. In 2003, HiphopKhasene, the record partnership between Dolgin and Sophie Solomon, violinist of the London band Oi Va Voi, confirmed the originality of the approach. It is dancing, funny and extravagant. We find in it Krakauer, Franck London and Michael Alpert from the Brave New World. Krakauer played in it as a solo with Socalled and hired him for a few titles on his live record in Krakow. Finally, they met again for a full project, Bubbemeises, supported by the impeccable Klezmer Madness.
Socalled handles the sampler, plays accordion and also raps and sings. ‘Bubbemeises’ is a Yiddish word meaning grandma’s lies, kinds of hilarious nonsense. This six-minute tune is a kind of manifesto, blending all Klezmer Madness’s rock and jazz elements with Krakauer’s powerful music and Socalled’s eloquence. We also find in it the thrilling ‘Moskovitz and Loops of It’, the swinging ‘B Flat à la Socalled’, the funking ‘Bus Number 9999’ and the obsessing ‘Turntable Pounding’, already heard on the live record, whose rhythm is based on Hassidic tradition ‘s hand banging on tables. Finally, these rowdy characters shamelessly revisit ‘Rumania, Rumania’, a Yiddish classical tune from the famous singer Aaron Lebedeff. These ten tunes give ten reasons to be delighted. They give back to klezmer music the inspiration of its origins, the festive mood, the pleasure of dancing, the celebration of life.
Name: LMD Productions/Maïté
Tel: 01 48 57 51 48
Fax: 01 48 57 07 63
Adress: 23, rue parmentier