Golem (klezmer band)
|Origin||New York City|
|Genres||Klezmer, Punk, Folk Rock|
|Members||Annette Ezekiel Kogan|
|Past members||Alicia Jo Rabins, Sarah Ferholt, Barry Negrin|
Golem is a rock-klezmer band from New York City. They mix traditional Eastern European Jewish music with original material sung in Yiddish, English, Russian, as well as Ukrainian, French, Serbian-Croatian, Romany.
Golem was created in November, 2000 by Annette Ezekiel Kogan, bandleader, vocalist and accordionist. The group describes itself as "Eastern European Jewish folk-rock". The group performs internationally: throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, as well as France, Germany, Ukraine, the U.K, Poland and Sweden.
Annette Ezekiel Kogan formed Golem in 2000. Before even putting the band together she contacted David Krakauer, who was then curating the weekly "Klezmer Brunch" at the downtown venue Tonic, and asked him for a gig. Krakauer agreed, and Ezekiel Kogan put together the first lineup for Golem’s debut.
Golem recorded its first EP Golem in 2001, followed by the self-produced full-length albums Libeshmertzn (Love Hurts) (2002) and Homesick Songs (2004).
In June, 2005, Golem recreated a "mock wedding", based on an old Catskills’ tradition, at the Knitting Factory in New York. An entire Jewish wedding ceremony took place before 200 "guests", complete with rabbi, chuppah, wedding party, and bride and groom in drag. The event was featured on the front page of the NY Times Arts section.
Golem’s music continued to evolve, moving from reinterpretations of traditional songs to more and more original material.
In 2005, Golem signed with the NY indie label, Jdub Records (which launched the career of Matisyahu) and remained with Jdub until the label closed in 2011. Golem released two albums on Jdub : Fresh Off Boat (2006) and Citizen Boris (2009), both produced by Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony and the Johnsons).
Golem performs in rock clubs, festivals, theaters, as well as at private events.
Influences and genres
Golem combines elements of rock, punk, and klezmer. Lyrics are mainly in English, Yiddish and Russian. Golem’s music is an undefinable hybrid characterized by a relentless beat and intense, theatrical energy.
Meaning of the name "Golem"
The band's name refers to the golem, a legendary Jewish monster figure from the Talmud and Jewish folklore, a being created out of clay by mystical rabbis in order to protect the endangered Jewish community, but who, when out of control, was turned back into clay. The band Golem describes itself as a collective monster that treats traditional Jewish Eastern European music with the utmost respect but without timidity or resistance to change.
- Golem (debut EP) (2001)
- Libeshmertzn (Love Hurts) (2002)
- Homesick Songs (2004)
- Fresh Off Boat (2006)
- Citizen Boris (2009)
- Tanz (2014)
- "Warsaw is Khelm" (2006)
- "Charlatan-Ka" (2008)
- "Freydele" (2014)
- "Chervona Ruta" (2015)
- "Vodka Is Poison" (2016)
Compilations and soundtracks
- Ukraine do Amerika (2008)
- Generation P (2011)
- Russendisko (2012)
- Putumayo’s A Jewish Celebration (2013)
- Wittenberg, Ed. "'Not your father's klezmer band' to play at Yiddish concert". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Golem website
- Shattuck, Kathryn. "Here Strides the Bride: Catskills Kitsch in Manhattan". New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Official site.
- NPR's Fresh Air: Review of Tanz
- Robert Christgau's review of Tanz
- Jazz Weekly: Review, Golem Tanz
- Tablet: Klezmer Band Golem to Appear on ‘Louie’
- "Warsaw is Khelm" artist commentary
- Klezmershack: Review of Homesick Songs
- Blender: Review of Citizen Boris
- News story on Voice of America, Ukrainian Service
- Report in "Window On America" (Voice of America, Ukrainian Service)