genre-bending multi instrumentalist from canada
Socalled is a pianist, producer, composer, arranger, rapper, singer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker, magician, cartoonist and puppet maker based in Montreal, Quebec. The subject of “The Socalled Movie”, a feature documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada, he has been making records and touring the world with his own band and as a “sideman” for over a decade. Socalled was forced to take piano lessons as a young child and won classical piano competitions, but eventually convinced his mother to let him study jazz. As a teen, he played salsa, funk, gospel and rock, until he started working with rappers and making beats. He moved to Montreal and then started collecting vinyl records in earnest. At Salvation Armies and in the garbage bins of the city he started to find “Jewish” records, Hassidic, Israeli, Klezmer, Synagogue cantorial music and music from the Yiddish theatre… he started to mix these new old sounds from his own history into the sample-based beats he was creating, and started to find his own voice. He began to play more live, learning more about Klezmer and Eastern European Jewish music, and starting to sing and rock the accordion.
Socalled completed an EP based on the Passover service, “The Socalled Seder”, which he produced in his apartment and sold through the mail in a world before internet… an article about the work in a prominent newspaper led to almost 1000 mail-orders. It was hailed as one of the greatest records of new Jewish Music. His “Hiphopkhasene”, produced for Piranha records with a young British violinist and featuring some of the most prominent members of the “Klezmer Revival”, won a German grammy for world music album of the year. He started to work with David Krakauer who commissioned him to compose a suite for Klezmer clarinet and sampler which debuted at Symphony Space in New York city. Touring as a special guest with Krakauer’s “Klezmer Madness” band led to an offer from French Jazz label Label Bleu to make his first proper solo record. “Ghettoblaster”, which featured about 40 guests from all walks of musical life, had a couple breakout hits, “The Good Old Days” and “You Are Never Alone”, which had a video that has been viewed by almost 3 million people on Youtube.
He has lectured and led master classes in music festivals around the world, from Moscow to Paris, London to LA, Krakow to San Francisco, and has performed on every continent in the world except India. As a producer, Socalled lately worked with Enrico Macias' latest album "Le voyage d'une mélodie". He has performed all over the world and in prestigious halls such as the Olympia in Paris (with Gonzales), the Apollo Theatre in Harlem and even Carnegie Hall – 3 times. His list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural or religious boundaries: he has played with, featured, recorded and arranged for Gonzales, Fred Wesley, Boban Markovic, the Mighty Sparrow, Lhasa, Roxanne Shante, Irving Fields, Killah Priest, Matisyahu, Theodore Bikel, Enrico Macias, Derrick Carter...
Socalled’s new album “Sleepover”, featuring over 30 incredible guests, is the further articulation of a mission to cross boundaries, to mix old and new sounds, acoustic and electric instruments, digital and analog recording techniques, while exploring different cultures and styles, all in the service of creating something catchy, smart, hilarious, emotional and timeless.
2003 CD "HiphopKhasene", mit Sophie Solomon
2005 CD "The So Called Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah"
2005 CD "The Bubbemeises – Lies My Grandma Told Me", mit David Krakauers Klezmer Madness!
2007 CD "Ghettoblaster"
2011 CD "SleepOver"
Connect with Socalled: