+ Michael Winograd
Some call him the «Avenging Angel of Klezmer» (whatever that means). To others, he’s «The Whiskey Rabbi» (you know what that means). Fronted by his ever-present accordion, Canadian singer-songwriter, klezmer wrecker, whiskey lover, polit-activist, author and rabble-rouser is blasting into town again. Cherished all over the globe as a songwriter and book author. With a title like «The Fiddler is A Good Woman». (Yes, Diona Davies from Po Girl fiddles on his second album). There’s a message to his madness; take his latest Balkanik punk-klezmer album «Grand Hotel Cosmopolis» from 2019: Social activists converted a school in Augsburg into a refuge for refugees mainly from the Middle East, the pay-what-you-can variety. With his performance there, the Berner probably blew the minds of those folks not yet used to decadent Western ways. Earlier he penned the album «Canadian Grotesquica», produced by Paul Rigby who’s worked with Neko Case and who lends his guitar and pedal steel. An album that must have earned the Berner plenty of «huh’s?! and wtf’s?!». This was proceeded by his firstborn «We Shall Not Flag Or Fail, We Shall Go On To The End». It’s a pity that the Berner and his Yiddish humor couldn’t make an appearance in Mel Brook’s original «The Producers» where Jewish comedians Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder belt out the songs «Come on now and be a smartie, come and join the Nazi party» and «Springtime for Hitler and Germany», a film soaked in Jewish humor. Which has no equal, fershteystu?
But back to our esteemed guest tonight: Is there one more accolade that could be heaped on the head of this original artist? Yes, there is: «Cherish him, cherish him, for there really is no one like him. Fantastic.» – Billy Bragg
El Lokal, playing since 1.8.2000. Thank you for your patronage.