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Band:   Geoff Berner (Canada) | CD (2009) MP3  Artists website Real Media Stream
Release:   Klezmer Mongrels MP3  myspace Real Media Stream
label cat.:    9pm 037 Infos:  JPG downloadPDF download
Buy CD:   Buy now Kioski Online  other Releases:  next release
- Klezmer Mongrels

It's indeed unbelievable what a massive number of tour-gigs this man has been playing over the last few years. Playing shows worldwide as solo-performer either alone or supporting artists like Billy Bragg, Balkan Beat Box or his friends of Kaizer's Orchestra from Norway or the numerous festivals he's been invited to.
We're talking about Geoff Berner, Canadian Singer/Songwriter and accordion player of jewish descent, former candidate of the Canadian green party and – most importantly – the one who's taking Klezmer music to new shores. His debut-album „We Shall Not Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End“ already being a massive load of brillant singer/songwriter material with obvious Klezmer influences Berner announced in 2005 while releasing his second album „The Whiskey Rabbi“ this being the first part of a Klezmer-trilogy played with a Klezmer trio. A good one it was (mainly about drinking) and part two of that trilogy, „The Wedding Dance Of The Widow Bride“ (2007) was possibly even better taking on the theme of marriage. Both of those releases were again great songs taking on the basic idea of Klezmer music (according to Geoff Berner) being political, dirty and passionate. Controversial stuff for probably a big part of the traditional Klezmer audience.
Berner's new relase in our opinion is his most convincing one so far. And again (possibly even more than the previous ones) it's a provocative go on the genre but never in a disrespectful way. „Klezmer Mongrels“ is in a way dealing with Klezmer-traditions in a positive way but then again it's an album one can easily see in the tradition of big Canadian songwriters like for instance Leonard Cohen. A timeless piece of great songwriting that has got everything to add new aspects to Klezmer music and make it interesting for people that probably never would buy a Klezmer record.
Berner is political and sarcastic. He can be dismissive at times but that's good in the way he does it. And – most importantly – he's got the rare talent of writing/interpreting both heartbreaking songs („One Shoe“) and singalong-hooklines being witty and critical at the same time („Half German Girlfriend“ or „The Rich Will Move To The High Grounds“). This man has got something to say and it's definitely worth listening to what he's talking about. With „Klezmer Mongrels“ Geoff Berner has finally and definitely reached what he was aiming for:

“I want to drag klezmer music kicking and screaming back into the bars. I want to make original klezmer music that’s drunk, dirty, political and passionate. As a Jew of eastern european descent, I feel I have a calling to make this music live, not just preserve it under glass like something in a museum.”

Well done, Mr. Berner!

1. Shut In
2. Luck In Exile
3. The Whiskey
4. Half German Girlfriend
5. King Of The Gangsters
6. No Tobacco
7. Play, Gipsy, Play
8. Authentic Klezmer Wedding Band
9. One Shoe
10. High Ground
11. Fukher

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