Zakarya / Something Obvious
Tzadik TZ7184, 2003
I would argue that the music of Zakarya is only obvious after the fact. A wonderful combination of klezmer, experimental music, and nicely heavy-metal guitar, this is Jewish music for the inner Black Sabbath. It is also the long-awaited, and immensely appreciated follow-up to the band's first Tzadik album.
I love the interplay between accordion and guitar, as on the John Zorn tribute, "Colere". The bass and drums/percussion contribute a powerful rhythm section that keeps the music contextualized and coherent, even as the leads spin off in different directions. That control is heard again, differently, as the guitar plucks questions to the accordion's melody and rhythm as the percussion moves all very which way as the band considers the case of those European Jews preserved by Nazi occupiers because they were considered "economically profitable and useful to the third reich".
The band moves into completely experimental territory on "Struth," nominally about a village of 200 souls deep in France, "with an abandoned synagogue and a cemetery full of spirit". This seems almost too facile a description of the interesting electronic musings and gently throbbing bass. The pieces is sandwiched between journeys between Pinsk and Minsk, tunes that could be klezmer in derivation, klezmer waltzes, as it were. But be forewarned. The journed to is gentle, the journey fro is far more frenetic and as a result, faster!
Along with my long-time favorites, Naftule's Dream, Zakarya seems to be one of the few bands that is able to mix Jewish and other influences, and to create something organically new: organic in the sense of "clearly derived from", new, in the sense that to listen is to open the mind to sounds that have not yet been heard. In the case of Zakarya, the liner notes indicate a deliberate consideration not just of Jewish music, but of Jewish memory in Europe. This is no small thing, and the result is interesting and always inventive. I love it. To others this may be loud and occasionally disharmonic. To me, it is the lullaby of our times.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 5/1/04
Personnel this recording:
Yves Weyh: accordion
Alexandre Wimmer: guitars, electronics
Vincent Posty: electric bass
Pascal Gully: drums
- Something Obvious 2:03
- Colere 5:10
- Ein Wirtschaftlich Wertwoller Jude 6:26
- De Pinsk a Minsk 4:29
- Struth 6:59
- De Minsk a Pinsk 1:14
- La Pieuvre (Alexandre Wimmer) 2:50
- Sirbazarbi 0:57
- L'Oeil--the eye 4:34
- Miloun 5:19
- The shop 7:22
Direction and compositions by Yves Weyh except where noted.