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Der Dybbuk (1937) with live score by In-Sone

June 14, 2015
In-Sone performing Der Dybbuk at Midrash

In-Sone performing Der Dybbuk at Midrash, June 15th 2015. Photo: Roberto Marques

Chesney Hearst, The Rio Times: Why do you like InSone, what strikes you personally there as nice and different?

Alex Minkin,  Ticún Brasil: Few months ago when I was in Rio for Umbanda studies Bernardo Oliveira from Quintavant suggested attending instrumental rock trio In-Sone live performance at Audio rebel. They are abstract and radical, he told me. Indeed, In-Sone improvisational music was a trance like experience for both the audience and the artists, at times having vibes of Umbanda spirit possession ceremonies. As Philip Glass observed, ‘in the state of trance, as in the musical creation, the witness is withdrawn’.

Back in New York I shared In-Sone CD with Avant Music News critic Dan Coffey who praised ‘experimentation and an apparent skill at listening to each other that seems telepathic’ and placed the record on the top of 2014. He wrote, “At their best, it took King Crimson several minutes to achieve the kind of delicate tension which In-Sone arrive at in seconds.” In-Sone is now working on their next CD to be released later this year on Quintavant label and the rumors are that it will be a killing conceptual record.

In-Sone perfoming Der Dybbuk at Midrash. Photo by Roberto Marques

In-Sone perfoming Der Dybbuk at Midrash. Photo by Roberto Marques

Brazil is music superpower and sometimes its best artists lost in the multitude of sounds. It often takes a gringo to notice new talents before they are recognized by Cariocas (we all remember David Byrne discovering Tom Zé, for example). Since 2013 SILENT|LOUD series is promoting Brazilian Avant-garde musicians like In-Sone, Chinese Cookie Poets, Rabotnik, Marcos Campello and Sobre a Máquina via cinematic concerts in various venues from Midrash in Leblon to communities where access to culture, especially classical films, is limited or nonexistent. Luckily, I can see these musicians getting more deserved recognition today.

Why did you choose Der Dybbuk and how In-Sone compliments the film.

The band has very cinematic sound and is up to the challenge to improvise with the film’s existing soundtrack. 1997 Roy Nathanson/Anthony Coleman duo’s version of “Sadegurer Khosid’l,” which samples a 1917 recording, with live clarinetist improvisation could give one some idea of what to expect:

Der Dybbuk, directed by Michal Waszynsky in 1937 is an early black and white sound film with strong silent film aesthetics. It combines mystical folklore of the Yiddish theater with some of the German Expressionist imagery that we explored with Der Golem last year.

Michal Waszynsky’s masterpiece tells the story of the spirit (dybbuk) that possesses a young bride on the eve of her wedding. In his Classics of the Foreign Film Parker Tyler called it” one of the most solemn attestations to the mystic powers of the spirit the imagination has ever purveyed to the film reel.” The film is praised for both rich ethnographic tapestry and exquisite musical and dance scenes. Finest Jewish artists of the time contributed to the film that played for Yiddish speaking audiences of 3 million in Poland. Only 3 thousand survived the Holocaust. Der Dybbuk is a beautiful time capsule of Yiddish civilization, coded message into the future from the (almost) disappeared world of Eastern European Jewry that often referred to as Atlantis today.

We could have chosen a more conventional live soundtrack for Dybbuk by inviting Klezmer musicians,
Brazilian rock musicians could however amplify universal messages of the film. In-Sone vocabulary of harmonious melodies and various colors of noise will be radical and contemporary dialogue with the classic work.  Improvisation with the original sounds and images from Der Dybbuk will be a spiritist session of sorts, an exercise in remembering. In the words of Daniel Furrer, who produces the event in Rio, you should expect a contemporary ritual of ancient mysticism.

We dedicate this screening to the revival of Yiddish culture. The film is a perfect example of why it needs to be preserved. We are very happy to host it at Rio’s Midrash – one of the few places in the world where a group of Yiddish speakers (80 people strong on a good month) still regularly meets to learn and practice the language.

Quoting from Nobel Lecture by Isaac Bashevis Singer, “Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not been revealed to the eyes of the world. It was the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and Cabalists — rich in humor and in memories that mankind may never forget. In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful Humanity.”

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more on the event, including short interview with Leo Monteiro:

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