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My Yiddishe Madonna?

by: Caroline Westbrook and Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2004-07-22

Madonna aka Esther

Madonna aka Esther

As pop queen Madonna aka Esther is said to be making plans to record songs in Yiddish, SomethingJewish reveals which Jewish musicians could be in the running to work on her project. Find out who they are and what the suggested collaboration is.

1. David Krakauer: This super-clarinettist has featured on countless albums as well as performing with his own band, David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness. He is to modern Jewish music what Dave Tarras was to the klezmer of the 20s and 30s. Krakauer's work is legendary and is admired by everybody from old school musicians to contemporary and alternative Jewish performers.

Suggested contribution: Maybe Madonna could add some lyrics to Rocketekya, featured on the Milken Archive album Klezmer Concertos and Encores. Krakauer's distinctive clarinet appears on this track.

2. Frank London: Frank is renowned for working with just about everybody in the world of music, and we have no doubt that this klezmer godfather would be on Madonna's list of musicians to work with. Whether he's working with The Klezmatics or his own Klezmer Brass Allstars, this supreme trumpeter could guide Madonna in making sure the Yiddish flavour is well and truly there.

Suggested contribution: Trumpet player and advisor on how to correctly talk and sing Yiddish.

3. Simon Spiro: This English-born cantor has made a name for himself performing all over the world, as well as featuring on several albums of Jewish music. His good looks and strong voice has made him a heartthrob amongst Jewish women and his singing talent crosses all
genres.

Suggested contribution: Madonna could team up with Spiro to perform a duet, perhaps an old Yiddish theatre song.

4. Rebbesoul: A highly talented solo musician based in California, Rebbesoul specialises in giving traditional Jewish songs a contemporary flavour. His recent work with the band Common Tongue shows how adept he is in working with different styles of music.

Suggested contribution: Rebbesoul's signature song Avinu would be a likely candidate for a Madonna collaboration.

5. Socalled: This hip Canadian DJ and musician has recently worked with Oi Va Voi's Sophie Solomon as well as David Krakauer and Frank London on the album Hiphopkhasene, which gives a hip-hop and dance spin to Jewish wedding music.

Suggested contribution: He could produce Madonna.

6. Oi Va Voi: A young British Jewish group currently attracting a lot of attention for their debut album Laughter Through Tears, which blends traditional Jewish music with world beats and mixes it up in a dance style. Also featuring Sophie Solomon on violin and vocals.

Suggested contribution: Reworking their song Refugee.

7. Golem: One of New York's finest Jewish bands, Golem, fronted by Annette Ezekiel, play left of centre klezmer. Their debut album Libeshmertzn was inspired by music from all over the world.

Suggested contribution: Instrumental back-up, including violin and accordion playing.

8. Dave Tarras: Known as the original Godfather of klezmer, sadly he is no longer with us – but has left behind a legacy of great music.

Suggested contribution: Either samples of some of his recordings or perhaps a cover of one of his best-known tracks (Unzer Toirele and Polka Strelotchek are both good bets)

9 Bagelman Sisters aka The Barry Sisters: Myma and Claire were popular in the US in the 1930s and 1940s for their Yiddish tunes, in particular the chart-topper Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn.

Suggested contribution: Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn would be a great one for Madonna to cover.

10. DJ Handler: Hip Brooklyn-based DJ and musician, and founder of the Modular Moods record label, home to cutting edge Jewish artists.

Suggested contribution: Producer, maybe working in collaboration with Socalled.