Take the sounds of the shtetl, add a generous helping of free-flowing jazz, mix
with a snarling poet with a heavy Russian accent, and season with a rock-based
bass playercum- vocalist and you get some inkling of what to expect at this
evening’s Politically Correct – Hebrew as a Language of Money and Power concert
at Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem (8:30 p.m.) and Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv tomorrow (9
The proponents of the said musical-poetic fare are the Shofar trio
from Poland – underground Russian-born Israeli poet Roman Baembaev, accordionist
Boris Martzinovsky and bass player-vocalist Yehu Yaron. It is an intriguing mix
patently designed to convey a strong message.
Much of that, it appears,
has a strong linguistic premise.
“We use this sacred language on a daily
basis, but we use it for all sorts of purposes,” Yaron declares.
it to talk about war, and crime and corruption.”
But it’s not just the
subject matter that fuels the musicians’ and poet’s own take on the state of the
language, but also the squeaky clean contexts we make for
“There’s all this politically correct stuff, which has warped
our use of language,” continues Yaron.
“Sometimes it is difficult to know
what the words really mean.”
Baembaev addresses that issue in uncertain
“You could call Roman a hard-kicking Hebrew poet who takes no
prisoners,” says Yaron.
“He is one of the most innovative poets we have.
He is very theatrical and highly expressive.”
There will also be a strong
Jewish thread running through the whole show.
“Roman is very strongly
connected to Jewish heritage and culture, and also addresses modern day culture
and the emphasis on money and power.”
Part of the program also targets
what Yaron terms “disrespect for the language.”
“You have all these basic
mistakes made in day to day speech, like the incorrect use of feminine forms for
masculine forms of numbers and so on. And this is a language that has an
intrinsic sacred splendor to it.
Hebrew is heading for a new place, which
is not necessarily a better one.”
YARON ALSO says that this week’s
concerts are aimed at a general worldwide social malaise.
political correctness, in fact, obscures the fact that we are less loving and
less pleasant than we once were. The outer expression of this is the use of
Yaron says he does his best to present the more aesthetic side
of our language to the public.
“Hebrew is a very rich and beautiful
language with all sorts of influences of other languages, like Yiddish, Arabic
There are also contemporary cultural influences which have
changed the use of Hebrew, from [Nobel Prize recipient Israeli writer Shai]
Agnon, to at the other extreme [satirical TV show] Eretz Nehedert
seminal rock-pop band [Kaveret] and iconic comic trio Hagashash
You take all this blend and use it on a day to day
On the more musical side, the Shofar trio – of guitarist Raphael
Roginski, saxophonist and bass clarinet player Mikolaj Trzaska and drummer Macio
Moretti – offers a mix of influences from avant garde jazz to hassidic music,
with some rock elements in there too.
The trio was founded in 2006 by
Roginski with the expressed aim of finding a common denominator between
traditional Jewish music and contemporary creative jazz. The band’s debut
offering was released in 2007, through Gdansk-based independent label Kilogram
Most of the material on the album was based on a collection of
old Hassidic tunes from Ukraine and Russia, compiled by early 20th century
Soviet musicologist Moshe Beregovsky who was responsible for taking the study of
Jewish folk music out of its original parochial confines and moving it into the
mainstream of modern ethnomusicology.
In the last five years Shofar has
played concerts all over Europe, sometimes in an extended ensemble format with
the likes of Polish jazz double bass player Olo Walicki, Swiss classical-avant
garde crossover cellist Clementine Gasser, American percussionist- improviser
Michael Zerang or Australian-born Berlin-based double bass player Clayton
Thomas. Shofar's sophomore album is due out later this year.The
Politically Correct – Hebrew as a Language of Money and Power
incorporate all the influences and artistic inclinations of all the parties
involved, with Shofar playing an instrumental part, followed by Baembaev,
Martzinovsky and Yaron’s slot, before they all join forces for a
“There will also be a lot of
improvisation and creativity on the stage,” says Yaron.
“The way Roman
declaims his poetry incorporates a built-in compositional element.It
will all flow together naturally” For tickets and more info about ‘Politically
Correct – Hebrew as a Language of Money and Power’ show: (02) 621-5300 or
www.bac.org.il and (03) 560-5084