credit: Joachim Magdalena
"Ganovim-loshn" ("thieves' language") was the Yiddish sung in the inter-war underworld of Warsaw, Odessa and Istanbul. These are no ordinary folk songs. There is much violence, and lament to them... the extremes of the jewish wise-guy. Along with their Yiddish gangster repertoire, Orkestar Kriminal has absorbed the Rebetika Mortika hash den anthems of the 1930s Greek underground. They can also be found performing in Khmer, Spanish, Danish, Pashto, or whatever other tongue might attract the multilingual stylings of front-woman Giselle Claudia Webber. So long as the tune is catchy and a little shady, they'll give it their best shot. The band formed in 2012, three days before the POP Montreal Music Festival, so that Giselle Webber's former orchestra could scam free passes to the festival.
Tummel", the Yiddish word for "chaos", summarizes the racket the band can create. Orkestar Kriminal's debut album "Tummel" was released in 2015, attracting a plethora of media attention, and winning a GAMIQ for "Roots Album of the Year". Tummel is a collection of songs from Moldova, Morocco, Greece, Ukraine, Poland, Argentina, Russia and Mexico, released on Montréal's Sainte-Cécile (Dare to Care) label. After continuous touring and a multitude of festival performances, the biggest criminal punks in world music are now hunkering down in pre-production of their upcoming full length, new material they are just dying to perform. The bittersweet melodies they are steeped-in are delightfully infectious, so for Orkestar Kriminal, there is no turning back. Drenched in expression, celebrated and improvised, this is "cabaret noir" at it's finest!