I got a chance to see Golem last night in their first ever performance in Germany. The crowd loved it, and I’ll have a short video on the show and the band soon.
But earlier in the night I talked with Maya Saban, the singer of Jewdyssee, another group that marries Yiddish songs to contemporary sounds. Born in Berlin to an Israeli father and German Jewish mother, Saban achieved some acclaim with her song "Das alles aendert nichts daran" (Google translation: "All this does not alter" — anyone got a better one?), which went to #11 on the German pop charts. Back then, people would ask her why she didn’t sing in Hebrew or Yiddish, a question she found silly.
"Someone who’s from Brazil," she told me, "he has to sing bossa nova?"
Fair enough. But all that changed last year, when she founded Jewdyssee. Essentially Yiddish dance music, but with more electronica than Golem, Jewdysee’s first gig was in Hamburg.
"They stood up on the table," Saban recalled. "It was so good the energy it gave us."
Like virtually every German Jew I’ve talked to here, Saban acknowledges that Germany isn’t always a simple place to live. But it’s home. And maybe with her music, she says, she can open a door to the wider German society, reminding them that her music has its roots in their own culture.