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King Django | Roots and Culture

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World: Reggae Reggae: Ska Moods: Spiritual
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Roots and Culture

by King Django

King Django, one of the long-term rulers of the international ska and reggae scene, is the undisputable originator of Jewish Reggae. Deep, authentic Jamaican-style ska and reggae grooves with lyrics in Yiddish, English and Hebrew.
Genre: World: Reggae
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shtiklakh
4:19 $0.99
2. A Single Thread
4:11 $0.99
3. Seventh Day
4:26 $0.99
4. Heveinu Shalom Aleichem
3:28 $0.99
5. Nakht Shifl Ken Kay Kayro
3:27 $0.99
6. Lomir Alle Zingen
3:42 $0.99
7. Tu Gornisht
4:25 $0.99
8. Ya'Aseh Shalom
3:31 $0.99
9. Ska Mitzvah
3:03 $0.99
10. Slaughter
5:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
King Django's Roots & Culture Band
Traditional Jamaican ska and reggae with a twist: mad Yiddish flavor in the mix!?
King Django, known for well over a decade as one of New York's premier reggae and ska artists, now introduces his most unique and vivid assemblage yet. Travelling the halls of both his beloved Jamaican vibration and Jewish heritage, King Django's Roots & Culture Band pairs musical and blood families in a titillating twist of traditional Hebrew folk, klezmer, reggae and ska with a Brooklyn bend.
Klezmer music evolved from Eastern European and Greek music, improvised largely by travelling Yiddish musicians. In the late 1800's, the sound accompanied Jewish immigrants to America, where it incorporatated jazz and Dixieland stylings into its form, ultimately becoming a festive music where ritual and revelry joined hands.
Ska, the "grandfather of reggae" is also a well-traveled music. Birthed in 1960's Jamaica, it moved to England where it mated with punk and finally emigrated to America, where its blues and swing styles originated. Likewise, both ska and Klezmer are filled with tradition. As Django notes, "It always seemed apparent to me that there were a lot of similarities between the musics, particularly in terms of the offbeat feel."
On his 1998 Roots and Culture album, Django continued the upbeat mishmash celebration with his talented true friends and family. Members from his class acts Skinnerbox and The Stubborn All-Stars, as well as community cronies from The Toasters, The Slackers, and The New York Ska Jazz Ensemble lay down the traditional ska through which luminaries like Klezmer mandolin/clarinet player Andy Statman and The Klezmatics own violinist Alicia Svigals resonate the sound of ancient and modern-day Jewish music.
One track even finds the Baker family - mom, dad, aunt, uncle, brother and a friend - singing the chorus. "One of the first things I can remember, of my whole life, is my grandmother singing Yiddish lullabies to me," Django recalls. "I really wrote this record for my family."
Yiddish scholar, songwriter and performer Michael Wex was brought in to help pass kosher poetry to the Yiddish lyrics, textually underscoring Django's symphonic efforts to take the rhythm of Jamaican music and join it with tonalities and harmonics of Klezmer. The result is a lilting and seductive combination of ancestral ditties mixed with a straight-up reggae, traditional and two-tone ska. Covers of "Madness", "Nightboat to Cairo" and the special "Do Nothing" (both sung in Yiddish) carry the shared passion and panache of two rich heritages into an utterly righteous and completely catchy realm that must be heard to be understood.

After the release of Roots & Cuture, the idea of taking this material to the stage started to brew. Ben Herson and Jon Natchez, both formerly of Boston ska-jazz sensation "Skavoovie & The Epitones" had expressed their interest as had Django's long-time musical cohort Noah Shachtman, but things didn't really come together until Django began to frequent Klezkamp, the annual Yiddish Folk Arts program There, he was bedazzled by the talents of Alex Kontorovich, Benjamin Holmes and Adrian Banner, all members of Princeton, New Jersey's Klez Dispensers.
It was also at Klezkamp that Django first met Klezmatics trumpeter and leading Jewish musician Frank London, who really provided the igniting spark; after hearing the 1998 studio album, Frank suggested that Django needed to get a band together to play this material live.
The Roots & Culture band played its first show at the Workmen's Circle Purim Party in New York City in February of 2002, opening for the Klezmatics.



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