Clarinet master David Krakauer is one of the original, free-minded heroes of the new klezmer revival, a great and daring instrumentalist who keeps expanding his musical language. Bubbemeises: Lies My Gramma Told Me, a collaboration between Canadian DJ and sampler man Josh Goldin, aka Socalled, and Krakauer's trusty and impeccable unit, Klezmer Madness!, retains the festive and merry mood of klezmer music but adds a hot mix of jazz, funk, rock, and hip-hop. This infectious and fun-filled brew is so rewarding that you wish for more, much more.
Socalled, who first joined Klezmer Madness! on Krakauer Live in Krakow (Label Bleu, 2004), becomes a focal member of this group as a producer, wordsmith, vocalist, arranger, and co-composer. The title track, which sets the tone for this release, is based on a Yiddish phrase which means "grandma's tales" or "folk wisdom." Socalled uses vocal samples from Jewish comedian Herschel Bernardi ("Remember who you are"), and on top of it turns grandma's superstitious beliefs, such as "get off the table, otherwise you'll never get married" or "if you'll masturbate, you'll go blind," into hilarious nonsense. Krakauer's swirling clarinet sets the dance-like feel, and the rhythm section of guitarist Sheryl Bailey, bassist Nicky Parrott, and drummer Michael Sarin adds a funk/soul groove. "B Flat A La Socalled" continues this crazed dance of hip-hop grooves, samples, and klezmer, while Sarin interlocks with Socalled's stream of samples. Krakauer and accordionist Will Holshouser use this platform to soar through the track.
Socalled's samples from 78 rpm records and random Yiddish conversation is used through "Turntable Pounding," which is based on a traditional Hasidic tune. Its rhythm, traditional Hasidic hand banging on tables, is mixed with Bailey's screaming metal chords. Rapper 99 Hooker refers to Jewish urban fears of non-Jewish neighbors on his spiky "Bus Number 9999." The classic Yiddish tune by singer Aaron Lebedeff gets a rowdy and powerful treatment, coupled with its condensed reworking, on "Rue Mania."