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Transmigrations Home

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Tranformation, metamorphosis; version; according to Jewish lore, the being (human or animal) into which the soul of a dead person may pass to continue life and atone for sins committed in the previous incarnation.

 

Transmigration of the soul.

 

 

"On paper it seems preposterous. Take old Yiddish folk, theater and pop tunes and set them down in roots-rock arrangements while remaining true to their melodies and Old World spirit. With the aid of some incredibly talented and sympathetic musicians and through the sheer power of his timeless vocals, Krakowski pulls it off, making for a startling fusion that flies in the face of logic and history."

Seth Rogovoy,
BERKSHIRE EAGLE
(Pittsfield, MA)

 
"Heartfelt mameloshn"
THE FORWARD, NYC

"There is real power here"
NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK, NYC

"Troubador, blues-singer, revolutionary"
Dr. Itzik Gottesman, Forward Hour - WEVD-FM, 
New York

"Goes where no one dared go before"
DIRTY LINEN Folk & World Music

"You have found the Jewish heart"
Sam Zibit, University City, MO

"This is the real thing, bubbies"
DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY, 
NYC

"Douloureuse douceur."
EVELYNJ

"I love it!"
Richie Havens 

"Stunning"
Rachael Kafrissen, NYC

"Prekhtik" ("Beautiful") 
Dr. Chane Mlotek, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York) 

"A great learning and teaching tool"
Phil 'Fishl' Kutner, DER BAY, CA 

"Like a lion painting watercolors"
Jeffrey Dorchen of SHLOINKE

"The genuine article"
WASHTENAW JEWISH NEWS 
(Ann Arbor, MI)

 

"... Krakowski has in a sense rewritten history, filling in a dark vacancy"
SING OUT! The Folk Song Magazine  (Winter 2002)

"It doesn't get any more alternative  than Wolf Krakowski"
Thom Jurek (Barnes and Noble)


"Itsik Manger meets The Band"
Hankus Netsky, Founder and Director KLEZMER CONSERVATORY BAND

"We listen to your music continuously; my kids love it"
Zalmen Mlotek, Musical Director, Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre

"It's all there; strong, strong"
Prof. Michael Steinlauf, Author of 'Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust'

"Like a rolling shteyn; a unique and crucial piece of the puzzle of what it means to be Jewish in America"
Alex Lubet, Ph.D., Professor of Music, U of Minnesota

"The interplay between Jim Armenti and Krakowski brings Lester Young and Billie Holiday to mind"
Ingemar Johansson DJEMBE World Music (Denmark)

"Pulses and wails in an ecstatic frenzy that seems to be seeking a direct link to heaven"
G. Aronoff, WASHINGTON JEWISH WEEK

"A classic in modern Yiddish music"
Michael Sherman, KEOS-FM (Bryan, TX)

"A wonderful collection of beautiful Yiddish songs."
AFTERWORD Canada's National Jewish Student Newspaper


Here are full length reviews of "Transmigrations."


With a mournful, Diaspora style created out of the ruins of his culture and family, Wolf Krakowski has created an Ashkenazi original; an enigma where musical streams are shuffled and woven together to give birth to a unique, contemporary vision. Just as Mark Warschawsky, composer of "Oyfn Pripetshok" and "Tayere Malke," borrowed from the polkas, mazurkas, and quadrilles of his day, Krakowski sings a dozen heartfelt Yiddish songs to the beat of his beloved country-rock, reggae, and rhythm'n'blues. Make no mistake--this is neither novelty nor nostalgia; this is not klezmer. This disc is larger than the sum of its parts. Its varied sounds and rhythms reveal a man who has travelled down countless musical highways and backroads.

By mixing Yiddish folksong, show tunes and ghetto lider with the sensuous and gritty rhythms of world-beat soul, Krakowski makes his mark with a landmark end-of-the-century CD that is a rich, emotion-packed, provocative and intriguing musical odyssey.

 

The haunted blues and honky-tonk laments of the post-Holocaust global soundscape join with native Yiddish to give color and texture, mood and feeling to Krakowski's music. It swoops down from the mysterious Carpathian Mountains to pick up the Hasidic Vilna fiddle and the sorrowful kellerlider of the Baluty slums to create a mercurial, Wild East sound that incorporates the cabaret and music hall styles of Warsaw and Paris before booking passage for the musical medinas of New Orleans, Memphis, and funky Kingston. In braiding the language of the Jewish school and house of study with the rhythms of the barroom and the dancehall, Krakowski has recreated himself into an Ashkenazi bluesman. With a terse, nasal tenor that is both vulnerable and world-weary, Krakowski has fashioned his musical inheritance into a tender and personal work that is at once both a passionate memorial and a tender lovesong to his decimated family, victims of genocidal evil. The somber timbre of his Book of Lamentations voice conjures up a musical crossroads, where the kretchme, cantina and roadhouse all rock and moan to songs of love, death, and redemption.


 This is Leo Sabulsky from Leo and Friends - I have played your CD "Transmigrations" on 3 occasions over the past month and last night, I received a man and woman staying at a trailer park. The man called while I was on the air, and
said: "Congratulations for a wonderful show - I cried when I heard the Yidishe Maykholim."

I was pleased when I heard his comment and I had to put him on hold since i had to play the next tune. When I came back, his wife talked on and on: "we are from Los Angeles and we have never heard Yiddish music on the air ever before."
She demanded to know, "What kind of station are you, anyway?"
I explained that we are a community radio station. With a shriek and a yip, she broke into Yiddish.
"Listen, lady, I don't speak Yiddish."
"Why not - you play the %^$&* (sic) music. Your mama would not be happy with you," she drawled on.

I had to put her on hold to announce the next song. When I came back, the man was on and he announced to me that he wanted the man who sang the song, and he wanted him now. Without hesitation I told him your name and the Kame'a Media label. As I was to do the next song,he said that he wanted the CD and that he wanted to know how I got it.

"I travel all the way from LA and I find Yiddish music in the bush in Canada? Why is that?"

I had to go and all I know was that he was from LA and his wife's name was **** and she was very talkative.
Her last words were: " I do love those songs."

Leo Sabulsky
CHET Radio
Chetwynd, BC

Personal Correspondence
Posted to World Music from a Jewish Slant: 31/7/98

 


Yiddish rock?  Nu,why not? Born in an Austrian displaced person's camp, Wolf Krakowski absorbed the musical styles of a dozen countries on his way to adulthood.
From country-rock to reggae, they all show up on 'Transmigrations,' his first release.  Somehow, his crack band keeps up with him and even if you can't, you'll have fun trying.  Recommended  summer use:  The big family picnic.

Chicago Jewish Community Online:  'Blasts from the Shofar' by Paul Wieder


TRANSMIGRATIONS

 

This disc includes a booklet containing English translations, songwriter bios, a glossary -- and more.

 PROGRAM

Tsen Brider (Ten Brothers)

Traditional

Varshe (Warsaw)

Benzion Witler

Regndl (Little Rain)

Abraham Eliyohu Kaplan

Friling (Springtime)

Shmerke Kaczerginski - Abraham Brudno

Shabes, Shabes

Traditional

Alts Geyt Avek Mitn Roykh
(Everything Goes Up in Smoke)

Benzion Witler

Yeder Ruft Mikh Zhamele
(Everyone Calls Me Zhamele)

Words: Unknown - Music: Bernardo Feuer

Her Nor, Du Sheyn Meydele
(Listen, Pretty Girl)

Traditional

Yidishe Maykholim (Jewish Foods)

Samson Kemelmakher

Blayb Gezunt Mir, Kroke
(Farewell, My Krakow)

Mordkhe Gebirtig-Manfred Lemm

Ven du Lakhst (When You Laugh)

Max Perlman

Zol Shoyn Kumen Di Geule
(Let the Redemption Come)

Kaczerginski - R. Kook

PERSONNEL

Wolf Krakowski

Vocals, rhythm guitar

Jim Armenti

Guitars, mandolin, violin, bouzouki, saxophone

Ray Mason

Bass guitar

Bob Grant

Drums

Daniel Lombardo

Percussion

Jaye Simms

Backup vocals

Pamela Smith

Backup vocals

Fraidy Katz

Vocal on Her Nor, backup vocals


Some places where you can get "Transmigrations"


"Transmigrations" Lyrics

Download
Lyrics:  Yiddish text, Transliterations and English Translations, and Bios:  Wolf Krakowski and the composers, from the original Kame'a Media edition booklet, in PDF format.  Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to download booklet.

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, download it here.


Some sample sound clips from "Transmigrations"

 

Tsen Brider
(Ten Brothers)

Regndl
(Little Rain)

Shabes, Shabes

Her Nor, Du Sheyn Meydele
(Listen, Pretty Girl)

RM (70k - 0:25)

RM (60k - 0:24)

RM (82k - 0:32)

RM (80k - 0:31)

RAM (316k - 1:17)

RAM (336k - 1:22)

RAM (378k - 1:32)

RAM (314k - 1:16)

MP3 (254k - 0:25)

MP3 (329k - 0:24)

MP3 (447k - 0:32)

MP3 (434k - 0:31)

Watch Shabes, Shabes on Youtube

 

Click on RM, RAM or MP3 to download the corresponding sound clip.
RMs and RAMs clips take less time to download, but MP3s have a better sound quality.

Original Kame'a Media Edition (1996, 1998)


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for "Transmigrations"/"Gilgul"

 


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