The Brothers Nazaroff is a supergroup of 21st-century Yiddish simcha madness, founded on a mutual love of a legendary outsider troubadour: “Prince” Nazaroff. Recorder of the mysterious 1954 Folkways EP “Jewish Freilach Songs”, Nathan “Prince” Nazaroff is largely an obscure and unknown figure. But for a certain cadre of contemporary Jewish musicians he is like a lost uncle: the missing link between today’s post-modern Babylonian exile and the lost Atlantis of Yiddish “Middle-Europe”. In his mad howl, guttural whoops, piercing twang and funky whistle one hears the alleys of Odessa, the cacophony of Coney Island, and the mountain air of the Catskills. In rescuing the repertoire of this lost master tumler, this group aims to bring the subversive joy of Yiddish music to new audiences, tearing down borders with a musical balagan. They have become a family of Nazaroffs:
Daniel Kahn (Danik Nazaroff- vocals, accordion, bird whistle), born Detroiter, part-time Berliner, leader of The Painted Bird;
Psoy Korolenko (Pasha Nazaroff- vocals, tumler), traveling avant-bard from Moscow;
Michael Alpert (Meyshke Nazaroff- vocals, guitar), central figure of the Klezmer revival, founder of legendary bands Kapelye and Brave Old World;
Bob Cohen (Zaelic Nazaroff- vocals, mandolin, fiddle) Budapest-based ex-pat, archeologist of Carpathian klezmer and Roma music, leader of the Naye Kapelye;
Jake Shulman-Ment (Yankl Nazaroff- vocals, violin), NYC virtuoso violinist, composer, Fulbright scholar, member of The Painted Bird;
Hampus Melin (Hampl Nazaroff- poyk), Swedish klez/jazz drummer and Painted Bird.
Their album, “The Happy Prince”, was recorded in Michigan, in North America’s largest astrological library, and Berlin, high above the frozen canal. The approach was simple: re-record the entire Nazaroff album song for song, with the new addition of translations into English to make the lyrics’ playful absurdity universally understood. “The Happy Prince” is to be released in 2015, just over 60 years after the original album,100 years after Nazaroff’s immigration to America. The venerable label and archival institution Smithsonian Folkways plans to release the recording. Hungarian filmmaker Csaba Bereczky is working on a film featuring the Brothers Nazaroff sailing to Odessa. The Brothers Nazaroff have performed their old songs all over Europe and North America for audiences of every cultural background, celebrating the discordant, jubilant, ecstatic legacy of their Happy Prince.