Boxes, Bagels & Elephants
The port of Marseille has always been a magnet for many nations, and like New York nowadays, it's also become a high-speed cultural blender. The French Mediterranean city is home to Kabbalah, whose new CD often sounds like an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in the heat of summer, with strange but intriguing fusions of hip-hop and klezmer blasting from the open windows of passing cars. The lyrics slide easily between Yiddish and English and the music veers south and east toward Africa, the Fertile Crescent and the shtetl. Kabbalah's lively synthesis works well and opens a window to where world culture might be heading.