Radical Klezmer Party

Geoff Berner - Victory Party
Geoff Berner

Victory Party (Mint Records, 2011)

Canadian musician Geoff Berner is part of the new Klezmer music wave. His new album is titled Victory Party. It incorporates traditional klezmer music and songs with a new urban sensibility as well as punk and new wave elements.

This is Berner’s fifth full length studio album and it was produced by Josh Dolgen. “I know this sounds extreme, but with producer Josh Dolgin’s help, and Mint Records’ backing, I was finally able to realize my potential in the medium of recorded music,” says Berner. “I wanted to make an album that sounded bigger, more “klezmer-ey”, and more transgressive, all at the same time. And I knew I couldn’t do it alone. In fact, I knew that I couldn’t do it without Josh.”

Benjy Fox-Rosen and Michael Winograd traveled from Brooklyn (New York) to play bass and clarinet, respectively. Wayne Adams plays percussion and Diona Davies and Brigitte Dajczer contribute their violins. Winograd and Fox-Rosen are among the first true new klezmorim in 70 years. Benjy and Michael learned to play their instruments by learning klezmer. According to Berner, that really hasn’t happened since before the Holocaust.

We’re all trying to put out a vision of Jewish culture that’s the opposite of the conservative, knee-jerk pro-Israel, judgmental bullshit that’s emerged in recent decades,” says Berner.

Victory Party is a ferociously powerful snapshot of the new North American klezmer music.

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