Album Review

Disorientalists, The – “Who Was Essad Bey?” – [Oriente Musik]

aarbor   3/23/2022   CD, International

The only release by “The Disorientalists” who are Daniel Kahn, Yuriy Gurzhy and Marina Frenk. Kahn is from Detroit (and a U of Michigan alum) musician, actor and theatre director who lives in Germany these days. Kahn is also the founder of The Painted Bird an outfit whose music is described as “a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret, and folk punk”. It has been compared to the music of Tom Waits and Woody Guthrie. This release is in the same musical vein. It focuses on the story of Essad Bey, the pseudonym of Lev Nussimbaum a colorful Russian Jew who claimed to have converted to Islam and to have written quite a few books, then died at the age of 36. I suspect that this is the recording of a theatre piece which was produced at Maxim Gorski Theater’s STUDIO R. Klezmer meets folk and punk. AArbor

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