A coupla months back I shared the magic of Fool’s Gold, a band out of L.A. that mixes up Hebrew lyrics and complex tribal syncopation. For years I thought I was all alone out here in my love for African high-life music and the ba-dunka-thunk of the dundun, but according to Mordecai Shinefield in today’s Forward, American-Jewish-African-pop music is practically its own freakin’ GENRE now. SWEET.
The article mentions Fool’s Gold as well as a jazz reed blower Jacques Schwarz-Bart and the crazy cool Afro-Semitic Experience (how can you not love a song about a torah afloat in a leaky boat?), but I was completely surprised to see hep-to-the-moment band Vampire Weekend in there. Turns out lead singer Ezra Koenig is an Upper West Side brutha, and sees the Jewish-African connection as perfectly obvious:
“Growing up Jewish, you are presented with three images of your people. Desert nomads building pyramids. Eastern-European shtetl-dwellers with big beards. American liberals who eat Chinese food all the time. Now do you see where I’m coming from?”
I think so: Hipster Jews are having a collective identity crisis, and that’s a good thing for people who like to dance.
Rock your Shabbos with Vampire Weekend’s new album, which debuted at #1 in the UK last month.