Mostly Kosher, a Los Angeles based indie-global-collective, radically reconstructs Judaic and American cultural musical roots. Through ravenous post-klezmer beats and arresting Yiddish refrains, Mostly Kosher is a musical feast that explodes into a global food-fight of Jazz, Latin, Rock, Hip Hop, World and Folk. These fearless soundsmiths highlight the architecture of heritage music and yet raze it to the ground.
Mostly Kosher has rallied an international legion of fans and is on a trajectory to bring their rhythmic hullabaloo to all of thestreamingsoundwavesacrosstheplanet. MostlyKosherisafixtureatrenownedLosAngelesstagessuchastheJohn Anson Ford Theater and Skirball Center, while most recently gracing the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a live television broadcast to over half a million viewers. Their self-titled debut album has won international acclaim through recognition by World Music Network, Songlines Magazine, and BBC radio. Mostly Kosher’s first track, Ikh Hob Dikh Tsufil Lib (I Love You Much Too Much), was recognized as one of World Music Network’s Top 6 Songs of 2014.
Mostly Kosher emerged as bandleader Leeav Sofer’s bold attempt to assemble a klezmer band after impulsively committingtoperformagenreofmusichehadnevertouchedbefore. CallinguponhisfriendsoutofCSULongBeach,all accomplished musicians individually, Sofer brought together an octet (quartet) that reinvented the folk sounds and swings of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Sofer recruited Janice Mautner Markham, a punk-rock jewess shredding violin out of the folk/rock scene to bring intensity to both the soundscape and stage. With surgical precision, yet pent up scream-at- the-top-of-your-lungs rock and roll energy, Eric Hagstrom lays the beat over Adam Levy’s soulful and magnetic sensibility on the bass, drawing the audience in. The Dick Van Dyke of the new millennium, Mike Bolger plays both accordion and trumpet, joined by Mike King’s boisterous trombone, Will Brahm’s virtuosic guitar, and Casey Solow’s sultry vocals.
“The richness of Jewish music is seamlessly fused with Latin tango, samba and cool jazz producing a world beat cabaret which swings high and low from ecstasy to longing, from community and celebration to the maudlin as in the tale of Papirosen.” - Mark T, fRoots Magazine
A collection of Judaic folk songs pulled from around the globe, Mostly Kosher’s self-titled album is a driving force in the next generation of Jewish cultural revival music with music ranging from upbeat Klezmer to plaintive Yiddish theater melodies to Ladino, French tango and Afro- Cuban inspired grooves. After having performed Old World Jewish music in Los Angeles for years, one performance had bandleader Leeav Sofer and violinist Janice Mautner Markham imprinted with a lasting impression as their music brought weeping tears to an old man. When the man explained that he hadn’t heard that style of music performed live in over 60 years, Mostly Kosher conceived of a mission to begin recording their sound so that they, too, can leave an imprint on the broad canvas of world music.
As in the piece Dodi Li, a Israeli love song rearranged as a fugue/jazz waltz, the beckoning howl of a lorn clarinet provokes a sultry violin into an intricate interlacing of intrigue and rapture. Your guide through this labyrinth of sounds is the voice of the harbinger, a brash melody of reckless abandon. The fibers of the accordion, the stitch of the hi-hat and the quake of the bass are vintage-toned threads woven into a battered fabric. And this old-familiar cloak enwraps you in a roaring pulse that you haven’t felt before.
The first track on the album, Ikh Hob Dikh Tsufil Lib (I Love You Much Too Much), is an energized fusion of Latin tango and Portito Alto samba combined with a classic Yiddish song about an overflowing love. The passion in this piece is untamable as the Mostly Kosher bandmates deliver fiery solos, one after another.
Donna Donna begins with an enchanting conversation between Leeav Sofer's compelling piano and Janice Markham's violin. The band joins in, strengthening the emotional hold on the listener as the music increases in intensity. It is then transformed with a swinging bass line and solos from Mike King on trombone and Michael Bolger on accordion. The piece ends with the violin joined by the celebratory sounds of the band making it reminiscent of a New Orleans porch jazz band.
Mostly Kosher is preparing to release a series of EP’s in 2016, including their song Crawdad Bulgar. Pulled from the rich tradition of American Southern folk-song, the first melody of the track, "Crawdad Hole", merges with the tune of Reb Dovidl, a tavern-song-like 19th century Yiddish folksong which tells the story of a famous Rabbi scholar and his bits of wisdom. This wine-spilling stupor of a melody brings the whole room to a ruckus of song, finishing off with an upbeat middle eastern hoedown to end the wild night.
Mostly Kosher will be touring up the west coast as well as across the nation over the 2016-17 season.