Skip to main content

Shred the Accordion: Koby Israelite Balkanizes the Blues (and Vice Versa) on Blues from Elsewhere

From a media release:

CD Release:
Shred the Accordion: Koby Israelite Balkanizes the Blues (and Vice Versa) on Blues from Elsewhere

Buy the CD here


If Jimmy Page played accordion, and if Taraf de Haidouks sang the blues, they’d be partying along side Israeli-born, London-based multi-instrumentalist Koby Israelite. With devil-may-care daring, the Balkan and blues-loving maverick brings together the coolest sounds of gritty roots, hard-hitting rock, and the joyous mayhem of a good East European wedding band on Blues from Elsewhere (Asphalt Tango; U.S. release: March 15, 2013).

This is no novelty record, though, no gimmicky mash up. To Koby, it’s a natural, if unexpected sonic crossroads. “When I decided I was going to do the album, I tried not to introduce the two genres in a contrived way, because sometimes it just didn’twork,” he explains. “I had to work on the track or simply abandon it. It’s not easy tomake this mix sound organic, unforced. But I think I blended well.”

The proof is in the groove, in the balance of virtuosity and humor that guides the album. From “East of Nashville,” where Bulgarian rhythms get a boost from twanging country guitar, to “Johnny Has Cash No More,” inspired by Cash’s signature feel but with Arabic melodic flair, Koby works the connection, making music that’s crafty but not contrived. Using an Italian mandolin to stand in for a cimbalom (“Crayfish Hora”) and a melancholy Armenian duduk (thanks to top player Tigran Aleksanyan) to reveal a whole new side to Led Zeppelin’s epic “Kashmir,” Koby goes to great lengths to show that the blues can be from everywhere and anywhere.

Koby Israelite didn’t set out to be a Balkan bluesman. After four strong releases on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, the rock drummer and classically trained pianist, the restless listener and composer, wanted to try his hand at something else, a curious idea that been percolating for some time: the union of blues and Balkan sounds.

It started with a huge epiphany, in the shape of a concert by the legendary Romanian Gypsy band, Taraf de Haidouks. On the tails of major international buzz about the group, Koby’s wife at the time bought him a ticket. He was less than enthused. “I remember telling her, I don’t want to go hear a bunch of old guys who don’t even have a drum kit!” he recalls with a laugh. “But she insisted, because I have Romanian roots. So I went, and even though I’m not a religious guy, I swear I heard God in the music. I bought an accordion that next day. As a drummer, I didn’t mind getting into an instrument many people think is dorky.”

Koby turns the dorky into the defiantly cool, ripping merrily though complex, undulating accordion lines that echo the best, hottest rock guitar solo in their shape and energy (“The Accordion is the New Guitar”). But he also knows when enough is enough, turning to the rest of instrumentarium—guitar, drums, mandolin, banjo—when it feels right.

“It’s not that I try to be unique. I’m not trying to be interesting or new for its own sake. I’m just trying to reach out to people with my music. To touch people,” Koby reflects. “I don’t want to bore people to death. My music has always got some edge, and it needs to have a groove.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

imagineNATIVE’s EMBARGO COLLECTIVE
to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …