Lunch from December 11th to December 15th 2017.
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drunken, dirty, political and passionate.
Monday, 12.11.2012, 20:20
oh what a night...
Geoff Berner (CAN)
Geoff's career is remarkable for the fact that he's been tirelessly on tour with Kaizer's Orchestra, Billy Bragg and Balkan Beat Box since 2003 and that he's getting close to moving ahead of the equally indefatigable Bob Dylan of time spent on the road.
He's a former candidate for the Green Party in B.C. but mainly, he's a controversial and unorthodox innovator and rejuvenator of Klezmer music and a gifted songwriter and accordion virtuoso. While with one foot in the Leonard Cohen camp, he's also coming from his own roots and created his own niche in Eastern Folk, between Beirut and A Hawk And A Hacksaw, demonstrating his ur-own cultural heritage. He calls his Jewishcanadian songs 'drinking songs' and proclaims himself to be the «Whiskey Rabbi from Vancouver, Canada.» But listen closely and you'll notice that his words carry a decidedly subversive and dark undercurrent. They're uncompromising songs, performed in a soft or at times angry voice, supported by strange and irresistible squeezebox doodles. «I want to make true Klezmer music - drunken, dirty, political and passionate. As a Jew from Eastern Europe it's my duty to keep it alive and out of the deadly glass vitrine of whatever institution.» Vunderbar!
His seductive «Klezmer Mongrels» brought the «Whiskey Rabbi» trilogy that began in 2005 to culmination. Polarizing as expected and promised, but also deeply touching, he followed up with «Victory Party» (Rabbi Berner Finally Reveals His True Religious Agenda!) which is an overboard joyful and wild celebration and makes it unmistakably clear: Klezmer Lives! And so does Rabbi Berner! (especially when loaded and ready when you are). It compelled the Toronto «Globe and Mail» to call him the «Avenging Angel of Klezmer», oyweh... To others, he's the «Messiah of Klezmer', overblown as this may be, meshugge it's not. What he is for sure is a scratcher of the placable surface, a dirty poet of the truth without shame and fig leaf who kicked himself out of a superficial paradise to expose himself and live the hellish truth. Great melodies performed with great spirit. Or spirit(s)? Come to think of that , don't we sometimes secretly but sincerely wish - and perhaps for just  this one night - that the venerable Mississihl be filled to the shore with just that kind of flow? Alehvai!
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el Lokal