Much of Possessed is a collaboration with Tony Kushner (the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright of Angels in America). He contributes lyrics to two songs, and the second half of the album was designed as a musical score for his play A Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds (an adaptation of Jewish folk tales by S. An-ski). The marriage of artistic sensibilities is perfect. The Klezmatics' ethos is at once deeply traditional and deeply progressive. Their music is a lively engagement with Jewishness itself, inflecting Eastern European klezmer music with other genres so seamlessly that it seems misleading even to name the other influences (classical, Dixieland, bebop, Middle Eastern folk, modern rock…). Their song catalog includes religious traditionals, but it also includes original Hebraic odes to marijuana and homosexuality. All of which is very much in line with Kushner's endless quest to sort out his own disparate influences as a gay, Jewish, democratic-socialist, Louisiana-born, New York-adopted artiste.
Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings embraces every aspect of Perlman's art. It contains concertos (the ‘essential' concertos, of course, but also more rarely-heard works, including Perlman's own commissions from living composers); other pieces for violin and orchestra; chamber music; recital and crossover repertoire (including jazz, ragtime and klezmer), and even a disc that focuses on Perlman as narrator and (briefly) opera singer. The recordings document his collaborations with the world's greatest orchestras and an array of superlative fellow-soloists and conductors, including Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Lynn Harrell, Yo Yo Ma, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn and Pinchas Zukerman.
The Network Media Cooperative (Network Medien-Cooperative) was founded in October 1979 – by April 1990 we had already issued 19 titles, at the time as audio-cassettes with a comprehensive booklet in a small package that looked like a chocolate box. The covers and layouts were produced using Letraset on a light-table installed over a bath tub. Among those first records were the musical themes that were to preoccupy us for 30 years: an extensive document of the “Gypsies Music Festival”; meanwhile the music of the Roma has been documented on numerous Network CDs, including the anthology “Road of the Gypsies” (often copied but never achieving the same level). A double musíccasette packet was devoted to cult music from Haiti and the sounds and life philosophy of the Rastafarians in Jamaica. Recording trips were undertaken, among others, to Cuba, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Curacao, but also to Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Belize. We also approached the music worlds of Africa in our portrait of the South African pianist and vocalist Dollar Brand (today Abdullah Ibrahim) and in the first studio recordings of Soukous music. These were followed by trips to Liberia, Senegal, Mali, Tanzania, Zanzibar.
This collection of contemporary Jewish music ranges from klezmer and traditional songs to a more adult contemporary pop sound, but the thread of soulful, passionate performances runs throughout. The hilarious "Chicken," courtesy of Kapelye, contrasts with Savina Yannatou's stark, almost classical take on "El Sueño de la Hija del Rey," but both burn with the fiery urgency that music from the Jewish culture seems to exude so naturally.