A very anticipated concert by Frank London and crew. Sharabi, which is the name of the project, means intoxicated and the term is open for both very heavenly and earthly interpretations which reflects the a nature of life. The idea of the project relates closely to the idea of the entire festival - and is that of the meeting (between cultures, generations, traditions ecc). Two leaders and two vocalists represented two cultural circles - that of klezmer music (Frank London and Sarah Gordon) and punjabi bhangra (Deep Singh and Manu Naryan). Both would be garnished with a bit funk.
I believe there is little doubt about what klezmer stands for. Punjabi bhangra is the music and the dance of Indian immigrants, a meeting, again, of the tradition of land of the fathers and inevitably that of the land of sons. (Just so you could get a more clear picture of the style, below one of the songs that appeared during the concert that I believe you're familiar with).
I admit at the beginning the two styles seem to clash a bit too much, but after a couple of songs, the band really got it going and the groovy songs, whether in hindi or yiddish got the whole synagogue rocking and the music was a lot of fun. Compliments go equally to the tight rhythm section, the slick horns (with London's cutting solos being the usual funky fun while Michael Winograd on clarinet added bit of a crazy klezmerness), the charismatic vocalists Sarah and Manu and most of all to Deep Singh who would play with the right hand in a cast, with just the fingers running over the percussion pad.
Being retro is always modern and you can't get more retro than with the Yemenite songs that constitute one of the most ancient documented musical traditions of the world. Now add to that repertoire three pure voices singing in harmony like the Andrews Sisters (but with more edge). And funky 70's sound of a bass guitar. And a spaced-out fuzzy disco sounds of the 80's keyboard-guitar synthesizer (yeah, the same one Herbie Hancock used to scare all fans of jazz with). And on top of that (or bottom, depending on the perspective) a saucy, juicy and fat modern beats and loops. And that is, more or less, how you get A-WA band.
I admit I loved the most the more acoustic and true to the folk roots songs. But the disco stuff was a lot of fun. Admittedly the audience at Tempel Synagogue seemed a bit confued, if very appreciative. That's apart from the small crowd of youngsters dancing beside the stage.
This band will only show their true quality later in the week - at Mizrach Party on friday night in Alchemia and on Szeroka street during the saturday big finale. And I'm positive the crowds at those nights won't need to be told twice to start dancing and will start to boogie straight away.
PS. The various video clips on the web show a different sides of the band, with guitars or horns instead of the synth. Less electro, more psychodelia.
PS.2 The true hero of the evening is an elder, looking to be the classmate of Gandal The Grey (but without the beard), who would be the first to step it up and dance on both concerts. The man.
Frank London - trumpet, keyboard; Deep Singh - percussion; Manu Naryan - vocal; Sarah Gordon - vocal; Jeremiah Lockwood - guitar; Michael Winograd - clarinet; Dan Blacksberg - trombone; Booker King - bass guitar; Norbert Goldberg - drums
Tair Charim; Liron Chaim and Tagel Chaim - vocals; Hod Mushonov - keytar; Yogev Glosman - bass guitar, violin; Amir Bressler - drums, loops
Tempel Synagogue. 02.07. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival