Ninety to eighty years from now the mostly discriminated and persecuted Jews from Eastern Europe emigrated in masses to the Promised Land, the United States of America. As it happens, a few of them became criminals and gangsters, and some of those gangsters became mighty and rich. One of them, Bugsy Sigel, even founded Las Vegas. Rather than talking about the Italian “Cosa Nostra” it was a common joke in referring to this Jewish Mafia as the “Kosher Nostra”. A few years ago Israeli artist-painter Oz Almog used “Kosher Nostra” as the name of his exhibition in the Jewish Museum of Vienna, where one could see colorful iconic portraits of the criminal heroes from the past. It inspired the German music-producer Shantel from Frankfurt`s music-hub EssayRecordings, and together, Oz Almog and Shantel released this May 2011 the compilation-CD “Kosher Nostra”, with the selection of a number of hits, Jewish-American Gangsters in the first half of the 20th century might have listened to.
Back then, especially at the turn of the century, the more or less religious immigrants from the old world had to adapt to the progressive and modern culture of the new world; a situation, described in one of the Yiddish songs on this CD, “What can you mach, sis is Amerike” by the composer Sholem Seconda, masterfully sung by Aaron Lebedeff in his legendary cantor style. The old-fashioned humor of a long-gone century complains about the young ladies, who dare to have babies, before even getting engaged, instead - as it was the custom before first getting married and giving birth within a year. Here “in Amerike”, as a matter of fact a Jew gets rid of his beard and side-locks. In the end he looks like a Goi (as a Non-Jew is called in Yiddish), but - as the refrain explains it - “What can you mach, sis is Amerike”
Composer-producer-saxophononist Ori Kaplan from BalkanBeatBox and singer-performer Joe Fleisch, together as ElektroYid, turn this ballad into an ecstatic, electric dancefloor-remake. A trashy, low-budget, fast done video-clip shows them in a studio-recording-room in Tel-Aviv. Joe Fleisch, camouflaged as an orthodox-religious Jew with black hat and side-locks combines Chassidic and dirty-dance with the sexy, young upcoming actress Lital Tayar. Ori Kaplan, with sun-glasses and a proletarian peaked cap on his head accompanies the whole act at the keyboard and Eyal Talmudi as Clarinetist, one of the shakers and initiators of OyDivision, Israel´s unchallenged best Klezmer-band, does actually not look with his sun-glasses, Hawai-shirt, long hair and shaved temples like a Klezmer-musician but obviously moves and behaves like one. Interrupted by flash-seconds of the statue of liberty, the silhouette of Manhattan, the American eagle, rows of dancing orthodox Jews, the stars in the American flag, who also could be Jewish stars, the whole video altogether should be considered as an electronic-rhythmo Klezmer-punk-kind of history lesson, celebrating and smiling back to a long gone past. “What can you mach, sis is Amejrike” revisited 80 years later by the generation of the grandchildren is a single-release announcing more covers to come with the EP-release towards autumn of “Oi Amerika! Joe Fleisch presents Yiddish and Non-Yiddish songs from the past, revisited by ElektroYid and the Jewish Monkeys”.