February 2, 2006

Moni Ovadia

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Moni Ovadia is an Italian musician who happens to be particularly moved by klezmer music, and because the near-extinct Eastern European genre contains only a handful of groups and bandleaders, he is one of the bigger names for klezmer enthusiasts. Nevertheless, he does an excellent job maintaining all the soul and witticism that the music is most known for. Yet play this for your grandparents and you might just stop them from demanding why you don’t have a job yet.

With a full ensemble of professional musicians behind him, including strings, clarinet, light percussion and accordion the music is so realistic, you might just feel as if you were back in the shtetl, humming a Yiddish melody while milking the cows. Most of the songs are a hilarious series of insults which we can all learn since English lyrics are included but sound all the better in Yiddish. The song “Dem Ganefs Yiches” shows us that the language invented the “yo mama” joke, as well as the lesser known “yo brother” and “yo papa.” And who said it was dead?

Archived article by Elliot Singer