Alicia Jo Rabins Debuts Performative Song Cycle A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF at Joe's Pub Tonight, 11/8
Tonight, November 8 renowned singer-songwriter, composer, musician and poet Alicia Jo Rabins will debut her brand new, full-length performative song cycle A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff at Joe's Pub in New York City. The controversial piece explores the spiritual implications of the financial collapse through the story of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, attempting to uncover hidden meanings in this contemporary tragedy. A second performance follows on November 15.
Singing and playing violin through a range of effects pedals and backed by a trio of acclaimed Brooklyn musicians-cellist/music director Colette Alexander (Jens Lekman, Josh Groban, Angelique Kidjo), percussionist David Freeman and guitarist Bjørn Vidar Solli-Rabins draws inspiration from Laurie Anderson to create a lyrical investigation of her unlikely subject, a musical meditation on the intersection of mysticism and finance. A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff interweaves religious texts about money with interviews Rabins conducted over the course of two years, the subjects of which include an FBI agent on the case, Madoff victims and a Buddhist monk (among others).
Inspired by personal finance blogs, kabbalistic numerology and the Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead, which can also be recited for those who have been excommunicated), Rabins explores connections between Madoff's individual crimes and their larger communal and cultural impacts. Ordinary-seeming actions come to reveal truths about the deeper significance of Madoff's deception and the surprising interconnectedness of humans to one another. "Everyone likes to think of Madoff as a monster, an aberration-but are we really so different?" Rabins asks. "Markets go up, markets go down. But Madoff's returns went up, more or less. In a straight line. For forty years. Who wouldn't want that kind of security-no downturns, just growth? No failure, no loss, no death. It's beautiful. But it's impossible."
A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff
November 8 & 15 at 7pm
425 Lafayette Street
Alicia Jo Rabins is a Brooklyn-based composer, performer and poet. She is the creator of Girls in Trouble, an art-pop song cycle in the voices of obscure women from the Torah, which has been performed at the New York Public Library, the Great Synagogue of Stockholm and rock clubs across the U.S. and Europe. Rabins tours internationally with Girls in Trouble and has released two critically acclaimed albums on JDub Records. For eight years she was the fiddler in pioneering klezmer-punk band Golem, and she has toured Central America and Kuwait as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Boston Review, 6x6, and anthologies from NYU Press and Knopf.