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Moods: Instrumental World: Middle East Contemporary World: Klezmer

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Davka

Davka has been striving since its inception to create a new instrumental Jewish music based on the major musical influences of the modern Jewish world; klezmer/Yiddish music, Middle-Eastern/Sephardic music, Western classical music, and elements of American jazz and pop music.

Taking its name from the Hebrew slang for "contrary to expectation," Davka has kept its audiences expecting the unexpected for nearly a decade. Davka has refined its music into a forward-looking expression of universality; Old-world Jewish melodies meld with striking Middle-Eastern rhythms. Contemporary harmonies and daring improvisations combine with inventive and beautiful textures.

When pressed for a description of their compositions, they use a lot of hyphens: neo-Jewish-roots-fusion; Middle-Eastern Ashkenazi jazz; avant-retro-hybrid-postmodern-art-musik; fiddler-on-too-much-Turkish -coffee. Listeners have called DAVKA world music in a meltdown pot; klezmer run amok; the acoustic equivalent of a Chagall painting. Whatever the label, DAVKA's music is filled with passion, lyricism, and virtuosic interplay.

Davka has performed at numerous major international festivals and has appeared in concert throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Israel. They have recorded five CDs with Interworld Music and John Zorn's Tzadik label.

Ori Nir in Israel's respected daily Ha'aretz, put it this way:
"Davka does with Jewish motives what composer Bela Bartok does with traditional Hungarian motives. The result is impressive - the group creates rich, colorful, and polished harmonies infused with inspiration."

The following is a review of the fifth Davka CD, "Davka Live" released on Tzadik:
"Davka – a longtime quartet on the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish arts scene – has no equal. The foursome's fifth release, compiled from two crystalline live recordings, is a masterpiece of technical perfection, musical dynamism and group synergy.
Combining the sounds of cello, violin, bassoon and Mideastern percussion, Davka declares its Jewish roots while nimbly dancing with other genres: European orchestral music, Arabic motifs, Coltrane-inspired jazz, '70s funk, and Russian string jams á la "Fiddler on the Roof."
The arrangements are endlessly fresh. Without a vocalist centerpiece, the songs whirl, swirl and shake with beautiful instrumental cohesion. No single instrument plays the prima donna. Every sound is savory."

Daniel and Billi Gray -From DSM review of Davka Live

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