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These days, there's a DJ in every band, even David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness!

Wednesday, Mar 17 2004
On Live in Krakow, virtuosic clarinetist David Krakauer 's extraordinary third recording since parting ways with the popular Klezmatics in 1996, the artist updates the ancient folk music of the Eastern European Jews with a contemporary edge that sets him apart from the dozens of klezmer revivalists currently on the scene. Adding organic funk rhythms to the snaky melodies, chugging tempos, and celebratory spirit of the tradition, the classically trained bandleader achieves the near impossible: He makes one of the world's most exuberant song styles -- a staple at glass-smashing shindigs like weddings and bar mitzvahs -- sound more festive than ever.

The key to Krakauer's success lies in the adventuresome makeup of his group, Klezmer Madness! , and the fresh contribution of guest collaborator DJ Socalled . The combo's instrumental configuration not only features the clarinet, accordion, upright bass, and drums of a fairly standard ensemble, but also on many songs takes the groove power to the next level with thumping electric bass, wah-wah guitar, and the hip hop cool of Socalled's beat-box and sampling artistry, which includes eerie ululating vocals on "Turntable Pounding," a postmodern appropriation of the classic tune "Dem Trisker Rebn's Chosid." Krakauer's daring hybridization of old- and new-school forms doses the dignity of the past with the vitality of the here and now.

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Sam Prestianni


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