Maybe it was only a matter of time before Socalled, the frizzy-haired, klezmer hip-hop hipster, tried to sidestep his ever-expanding identity as a “Jewish artist.” The arbiters of Jewish cultural identity go to great lengths to rope in the eclectic and the original, and a klezmer hip-hopper is a no-brainer. But no one wants to be pigeonholed.
Mark Rubin is a musician based out of Austin, Texas, who has played at the International Accordion Festival since 2001. His latest project is the Atomic Duo.
Thirty years ago, Montreal-based documentary maker Garry Beitel produced his first film, the exquisitely titled “You Might Think You’re Superior, But I Think We’re Equal,” a profile of racism in Montreal high schools. Since then, the Gemini Award-winner has directed a number of acclaimed films, from a real-life love story set in World War II-era Montreal and Warsaw to a harrowing exploration of Canada’s refugee determination process. His projects, though varied in tone, subject and form, are always marked with equal measures of sensitivity and scrutiny.
It’s hard to articulate what makes Canadian artist SoCalled special. To say, as I did in a recent article, that he blends klezmer with hip hop, hardly does him justice. To add that he plays the accordion and performs magic tricks makes him sound like something of a sideshow. None of this conveys the way in which he is able to take the contributions of virtuoso musicians in a dozen different genres and meld them into something uniquely his own. Fortunately, thanks to Montreal director Garry Beitel, there is a now a film that better conveys what SoCalled is all about.