Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cukunft – Wilde Blumen (2013)


Raphael Roginski - guitar
Pawel Szamburski - clarinet
Michal Gorczynski - clarinet
Pawel Szpura - drums

Wilde Blumen


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Polish ensemble Cukunft, led by guitarist Raphael Roginski with clarinetists Pawel Szamburski and Michal Gorczynski and drummer Pawel Szpura. The album presents eight compositions, six of which are originals by Roginski, one is an ensemble composition and one is by the great Polish/Jewish poet/songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig. The usage of the Yiddish language to name the ensemble and its songs does not leave any doubts as to the cultural affinity of this music.

Cukunft is one of several Polish ensembles, which create the so called "new Jewish music" in Poland during the last decade or so, contributing to the overall renaissance of the Jewish culture in Poland, a phenomenon which is completely unique and difficult to explain in any logical way due to the fact that there are almost no more Jews living currently in Poland and the tiny Jewish community certainly does not have a critical mass to produce any significant cultural output. And yet against all odds the Jewish culture is thriving in Poland, both in a reconstructed version, i.e. performing cultural output created during the period between the two World Wars as well as in a completely innovative version, which creates new, vibrant and ambitious works of Jewish culture, like Cukunft does.

The musicians who form the ensemble belong to the new generation of Polish Jazz/avant-garde players, who are the most active and creative force in contemporary Polish Jazz. The music of Cukunft is an amalgam of Jewishness and contemporary music genres, based on Improvisation and cross genre explorations. The music is mostly composed, with distinctive melody lines, which clearly adopt the melancholic feel of traditional Jewish music, but differ in the way the music is expressed and performed. The dialog between the electric guitar, which can hardly be associated with Jewish tradition, and the clarinets, which are the epitome of Jewishness, builds up a completely new musical form.

The entire album is a wonderful experience to every music lover, regardless of their proximity to the Jewish culture. These wonderful melodies and the superb way the music is performed should be able to melt any cultural/religious barriers. This music goes directly to the listener's heart and transcends the intellectual need to analyze and classify. All one need in order to enjoy this music is "a bisele glik" to put one's hand on a copy of this album, and the rest is simply a no brainer. This is definitely one of the best examples of the new Jewish music made in Poland. Enjoy!

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