He: “Yiddish, a language which is not spoken anymore.”
She: “By nobody?”
He: “Well – still by a few, mostly religious Jews, but not so much by modern Jews.”
She: “Why not?”
He: “Those modern Jews who did speak Yiddish, were exterminated.”
She: “Exterminated? Oyoyoy!! By whom?”
He: “I’ve forgotten. It’s not so important anymore.”
She: “Let’s not talk about history, Joe, let’s talk about love.”
He: “Oy, yes. Have you ever made love in Yiddish, Emily?”
She: “No, Joe, never before.”
He: “Let’s make love in Yiddish, Emily.”
She: “Oy, Joe, oy!”
“He: “Oy, Emily, oy!”
This spoken dialogue with its slightly satirical, even cynical, touch marks the finale of “DaiDaiDai” by “The Gittele Shpitz & Joe Fleisch Project”, whose premiere production impresses with a Yiddish electro-pop version of the famous German, 80’s New-Wave hit: “Da Da Da”. The first Yiddish pop-album in the history of the German-Jewish Tel-Aviv-based artist, Joe Fleisch (which means flesh or meat in German and is pronounced “flaysh”), is an eclectic pandemonium of different styles, hence a collaboration with various artists. Another German New-Wave hit “Eisbär”, and the German folkloristic hit “Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei”, are thus converted – believe it or not – into Yiddish Italo-disco tracks. Yes, the “Jewrhythmics” specialize in presenting antique Yiddish folk songs in this unexpected context, and recently released their debut album at Essay Recordings. You may admire Joe Fleisch’s wiry and agile Jim Carrey-like dancing in their marvelous video-clip of their “Misirlou” cover, a Yiddish version of the old Greek love-song about the magic of the desert princess. And there is a second cover of “Misirlou” by the Jewish Monkeys”: a burlesque singing trio, consisting of Joe Fleisch; his childhood friend – and master-mind of the band – Doctor Boiko; the blond, Aryan-looking, and, as you will realize on some of their video-clips, the very comical, blond and Gael Zajdner; and their producer, the theater- and film-composer Ran Bagno, who accompanies them on the accordion. Some Yiddish stuff emerges here and there, but they mostly try to impress with a wannabe Jewish-American Brooklyn or New Jersey dialect, though not always able to hide their Israeli or German accents.
A similar facet to this BoomPam-BalkanKlezmerRock of the Jewish Monkeys is the party-drunken electric-gipsy-craze of producer Ori Kaplan, one of the “Balkan Beat Box” guys. Together with Joe Fleisch as “ElektroYid”, they refurbish old immigrant and wedding songs, like “Grine Kusine” and “Di Mesinke oysgegebn”. In “What can you mach, sis is Amerike”, Joe Fleisch gives a hysterical performance portraying the confusion of the puzzled Jew at the beginning of the 20th century, after having moved from the Eastern European Old World into the American Western New World. He complains about young Jewish ladies who dare to become pregnant before they even marry, finds himself in a situation in which he has to get rid of his beard and side-locks, and, to his outspoken despair, looks in the end like a “goy” – like a gentile, like the others. Again you will be amazed by Joe Fleisch’s video-performance, this time together with the enchanting Lital Tayar, in a kind of Chassidic “dirty dance”, visually supported by Ori Kaplan and Punk-Klezmer-Jazz-clarinetist and saxophonist Eyal Talmudi, who, by the way, is the producer of the last track of this album, the melancholic lullaby “Lulinke mayn Feygale”, in which the narrator starts with: Once there was a story, telling us about the king who died and the queen who withered; the Feygale (the little bird), that left forever its nest; and asking us in the very end, if there is any wise man in the world, who is able to count all the stars and if there is any doctor, who is able to heal his heart. “The Yiddish” is Joe Fleischs singing excursion into the language of his parents, who are not there anymore and into their culture, that was wiped out.