German-based klezmer punk act Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird recently released the video for their new single “Freedom Is A Verb“, directed by Patrícia Bateira. Powered by a menacing speakeasy vibe and the titular frontman’s snarling vocals, the track delivers biting criticism of America’s current political situation and reminds listeners that freedom is “something never finished, never done“. The video adds to this commentary with shots of politically-motivated graffiti and artwork (including some aimed at a certain American president…)
“Freedom Is A Verb” comes from the group’s upcoming album The Butcher’s Share, which comes out November 17 on Oriente Musik.
LA-based spoken word poet Rachel Kann has released a video for her composition “Dancing Lesson (Or How To Let The Words Leave You)“. The clip, which was a Finalist and Curator’s Choice at the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival earlier this year, is directed by Bradford L. Cooper, who also crafted the backing music with producer Atom Smith. Kann and Jhon Gonzalez handled the choreography.
Over a simmering beat of tribal drums, synth chirps and buzzes, and a groovy bassline, Kann’s signature earthy voice passionately encourages listeners to shed feelings of shame and frustration to better pursue an “ineffable” internal source of inspiration. The clip illustrates this theme by showing Kann and various women as they express their pain through interpretive dance while screaming cathartically.
Kann, an established figure in the performance poetry world, has had her work featured on TEDx Talks, NPR, and the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. She has released two poetry collections and three spoken word albums, and is a regular contributor to Hevria.
YM (Yitzchok Meir Malek), an under-the-radar American-Israeli folksinger, has been making his mark this past week with several new releases and announcements.
First is his recently-released cover of the late Leonard Cohen‘s classic “Who By Fire“, timed for both the High Holidays and the recent string of natural disasters. The cover distinguishes itself by YM’s overlaid vocals, blending a Cohenesque low end with a Dylanesque high end, and by a featured performance from oudist Elyasaf Bashari.
He has also released a music video for his bouncy love ballad “Love Is Like A Bird“, produced by Daniel Goldstein and directed by Shlomo Weprin.
Both songs, as it happens, are heralds of the singer-songwriter’s upcoming debut album, Dear God, which is currently being crowdfunded on the Israeli site Headstart. The album’s planned title track is another cover, this one of “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)” by the supergroup Monsters of Folk. You can sample the album below and contribute here.
Originally from New York before moving to Jerusalem, YM was mentored by Grammy-winning guitarist C Lanzbom and cites among his influences Cohen, Dylan, Marley, Sinatra, and Carlebach. He has described his sound as “alternative rock meets R&B with a touch of pop” and “a classy and suave flirtation of jazzy flows and bluesy bass, peppered with the occasional ballad and campus quad acoustic.“
Ahead of the upcoming A Colorful World, Hasidic folk trio Zusha have released the album’s lead single and only their second video with “King” (aka “Melech”).
The artistically done video, directed by Jacob Blumberg and Bianca Giaever and starring Ma’ayan Chaya Sidof (daughter of filmmaker and Hevria columnist Yocheved Sidof), is said by the band to reflect “a young girl’s determination to discover her unique light”, as they note that “now [the month of Elul] more than ever is our most auspicious time to return to who we are.” The song’s sole lyric, a Hebrew verse meaning “We have no king but You“, comes from Avinu Malkeinu and is a recurring phrase in the High Holiday services.
As a song, “King” shows Zusha further evolving their sound from its acoustic jazz roots, incorporating subtle electronic elements and a darker, more introspective vibe, calling to mind indie-pop darlings like Lorde, Aurora, and even a softer Twenty One Pilots. Bonus points for the impossibly lush and beautiful outro.
A Colorful World drops September 4th. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.
Legendary Israeli folk rocker Ehud Banai has released a new music video for his song “Angel“, which also features British jazz/folk veteran Michael Chapman. The track is the lead single from Banai and Chapman’s new joint album EB=MC², which just released yesterday. You can find streaming links for the album here.
“Angel” makes a compelling case for the two artists uniting. Chapman is the obvious standout, delivering the song’s beautifully spiritual lyrics in a world-weary rasp that sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and the late great Leonard Cohen. (Really, the whole song sounds like it could be a lost track from Cohen’s final album.) Banai, meanwhile, provides a Hebrew verse and Mizrahi-style vocalizing that make a hauntingly perfect counterpoint to the song’s dark country feel, like Jo Amar guesting on a Johnny Cash song.