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.
Performs with Klezmer Madness! on
Friday, March 19, at 6 p.m.
The band appears again on Saturday,
March 20, at 2 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre
in the Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness (at
McAllister), S.F. Tickets are $7-15; call
398-6449 or go to ww
w.performances.org. Also on
Saturday, the group will perform with
Socalled at 8 p.m. at the Wheeler
Auditorium, Bancroft & Telegraph, on the
UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $20-25;
call (510) 848-0237 or go to www.brjcc.or
Community Music Center, 544 Capp (at
20th Street), S.F.
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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