This is more than kletzmer meets heavy metal, in Yiddish. The overlaying of the violin on top of heavy metal rythms, guitar and synthesized sounds makes the music dance. And there is something about laying the gutteral sounds of Yiddish on top of that that makes me think Yiddish was invented for metal and just didn’t know it. At least this is true when Anatholy Bonder sings. It really works.
The Russian-Israeli band , Gevolt, playing in the video below was founded in Israel in 2001 by Antholy Bonder and three others. The violin that is crucial to the band’s current sound was added in 2005. The synthesizers were added in 2007 making for a total of six members. By 2010 all of the original musicians except Bonder, had left and been replaced.
The song below “Tshiribim Tshiribom” without the metal sounds like this. Here is Gevolt’s version from their latest album, AlefBeis.
The band has released two albums so far “Siddur” in 2006 and “AlefBeis”in 2011. They are beginning work on a third. Each album takes four to five years to develop. The long development time is because, like many musicians, all of the band members have day jobs, some in music and some outside of it. Bonder works as a programmer. Two members work as sound engineers. Their violinist, Eva Yefremov, plays in an orchestra when she isn’t playing with the band.
All of the current members are Israelis who were born in the former Soviet Union (FSU), but the musical influences on their work span motown, rock, various kinds of metal, classical, and even asian chants.
Sidur has an orchestral and meditative dreamy feel sometimes shifting into a driving electropop sound. It draws on both Russian tunes and Jewish meditative themes. In an interview with Metal Israel in 2007, Bonder says the words are sometimes hard to understand (even more so for those who don’t speak Russian), but that isn’t the point because the words are meant to be felt not analyzed.
AlefBeis has a strong driving metal feel. It is based entirely on musical motifs drawn from traditional Yiddish tunes. Their upcoming album will contain newly composed Yiddish songs. The Forward, when reviewing preview tracks from AlefBeis published in 2007 qvelled:
Gevolt’s music is not auto-annihilation rock. Rather, it is a resurrection. Their composition of Hirsch Glick’s famed partisan song “Zog Nit Keyn Mol, Az Du Geyst Dem Letsten Veg” (“Never say that you are on the final road”) is stunning in both its lyrical beauty (Glick’s contribution) and its musical defiance (singer Anatholy Bonder’s contribution). When the metal disappears momentarily and band member Marina Klionsky’s klezmer-inflected violin plays softly, one begins to reconsider Singer’s statement. [who called Yiddish a dying language].
Gevolt Website: http://www.gevolt.com/
- Lilt Interview, May, 2011
- Metal Shock Finland Interview, January, 2012
- Metal Israel, November, 2007
- Video Interview (in Hebrew), on or before Sept 2010.
- “Death Metal for a Dying Language”, The Forward, September, 2007 (Yiddish version)
- Oleh! Records bio
- Grandma listening to Gevolt’s version of Bei Mir Bist Du Shein.