Born in Romania, Andrei Codrescu understands the spirit of his adopted New Orleans, a city that steadfastly “refuses to conform to anything that is known about it.” When Hurricane Katrina blew through, the New Orleans landscape changed yet again and Codrescu, like his hero, “tolstoy exhausted having just written russia,” recorded it all.
His “Maelstrom: Songs of Storm and Exile,” performed by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars on the accompanying CD, form the heart of this collection honoring the dispossessed and the artists, lovers, and cultural icons who have influenced his life. As John Freeman wrote in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Codrescu’s poetry sounds like what would happen if “Tom Waits and Muddy Waters collaborated on a book of verse” and shows why this celebrated National Public Radio commentator is such a memorable and fearless cultural critic.
Formed in 1991, the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars have fired up people of all ages with their funky, raucous interpretation of traditional Eastern European Jewish folk music. Featuring a lineup whose members all lead their own groups, the band’s tremendous crossover appeal has kept audiences dancing in the aisles at jazz venues, punk rock clubs, retirement homes, and university performance halls.