The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for a November 13, 2018 concert appearance by American singer-songwriter Daniel Kahn, backed by the German band The Painted Bird.
Scheduled for 8 p.m. inside the Pollak Theatre, the co-presentation of the Jewish Cultural Studies program at Monmouth represents the exclusive New Jersey tour appearance for an international act that has been variously characterized as “Yiddish Punk Cabaret,” “Alienation Klezmer,” and even “The Yiddish Pogues.” Regardless of any attempts to categorize their art, the cheerfully pigeonhole-resistant performers are guaranteed to offer an evening of music the likes of which you’ll experience nowhere else.
Indeed, to limit Kahn to the descriptor “singer-songwriter” is to overlook much of what fuels this unique multi-platform artist. Over the course of some twenty years, the Detroit native has gained notice as a “polyglot poet,” a translator of poetry and song lyrics, a writer and director of plays, an explorer of numerous musical instruments, and a social activist who’s never shied away from infusing performance with politics. That said, the relentlessly creative spirit has also displayed a natural aptitude as an interpreter of other artists’ work, whether bringing a vintage example of “radical Yiddish song” to the attention of a new audience, resurrecting the legacy of legendary entertainer Nathan “Prince” Nazaroff through his tribute project The Brothers Nazaroff, or taking on Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered “Hallelujah” in a Yiddish translation that coincidentally was released a few days before the passing of the great musician and went viral, with over
In the early years of the new century, following stints in New Orleans and New York City, the man from Michigan joined forces with the Berlin-based musicians who would become his constant collaborators through five albums and numerous international tours. As The Painted Bird, the rhythm section of Hampus Melin and Michael Tuttle (augmented by a rotating cast of guest players and vocalists) has furnished a solid foundation for a series of acclaimed releases that have blended Kahn’s pull-no-punches originals (“Rats,” “Parasites,” “March of the Jobless Corps,”) with resettings of traditional themes (“The Destruction of New Orleans,” “A Rothschild in Your House”), and forays into the catalogs of Cohen, Bertolt Brecht, and others. All conveyed with accordion, violin, clarinet, flugelhorn, and an attitude that allows for simultaneous filing under “punk,” “world music” and “new age.”
On their most recent album “The Butcher’s Share,” Kahn and company maintain their musical mission of connecting the spirit and struggle of Jewish revolutionaries of a century past, with the hyper-current themes that impact our lives in an uncertain new millennium. Framed as “anthems for the apocalypse,” the set ranges from a sorrowful sense of history to a pointed sense of humor, as it “smuggles songs over the borders between languages, histories, cultures, and genres.” A fitting companion piece to such cult-classic works as “Partisans and Parasites” and “Lost Causes” — and an ideal fit for the Pollak Theatre, as the flagship performance venue on the Monmouth campus continues to bring a whole wide world of sights, sounds, and stagecraft to the doorstep of the coastal New Jersey audience.
Tickets for the November 13 performance by Daniel Kahn with The Painted Bird are priced at $25 and $35, and are available through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/MCA. Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including a special free screening of the documentary film “On the Map” with Israeli-American sports legend Tal Brody (December 13, 2018), and “Lonesome Traveler: The Concert” featuring folk legend Peter Yarrow (February 9, 2019) — are also on sale now. To schedule interviews, please contact Kelly Barratt at 732-263-5114.