Detroit-born, Hamburg-based troubadour and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Kahn and New Yorker master fiddler Jake Shulman-Ment have been playing and traveling together for nearly twenty years. Having worked in so many bands and projects (including The Painted Bird and Brothers Nazaroff), they have finally joined up to record an true analog duo record: The Building & Other Songs. It is, as Kahn says, “the most personal and intimate selection of songs I’ve ever recorded. And with Jake, it was like recording it with a brother.” The interpretations range from radical treatments of modern Yiddish songs such as Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman’s title track “Der Binyen / The Building” to new Yiddish translations of some of Kahn’s lyrical heroes: Cohen, Brecht, Springsteen, Guthrie, and Waits. Yiddish serves here as a kind of broken mirror, reflecting both despair and repair, exile and ecstasy, loss of trust and wanderlust. The title track is the key to it all: “Imagine your building… how it suddenly burns and falls…a tower of steel on foundations of straw… Why sit and sigh?… Let us dance a tango till the dawn, warming our souls by the burning of straw.”
Daniel Kahn (vocals, accordion, guitar, piano):
Jake Shulman-Ment (Violin):
Jake Shulman-Ment is at the helm of a new generation of Klezmer and Yiddish music performers. He tours and records internationally in addition to being a widely sought-out teacher of the klezmer fiddle tradition at festivals around the globe. He collected, studied, performed, and documented traditional music in Romania as a Fulbright scholar, and has lived and traveled in Hungary and Greece, learning traditional violin styles. In 2018 he received the prestigious NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Folk/Traditional Arts. He was a featured subject of Csaba Bereczki’s full-length documentary film Soul Exodus, and appears on HBO’s Succession, Martin Scorcese’s The Irishman, and a host of other film and theater productions. Jake’s debut solo album, A Redele (A Wheel) (Oriente Musik, 2012) was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award. His new group, Midwood, released its first album, Out of the Narrows, (Chant Records) in May 2018.