Coffee House Press, 2008
Andrei Codrescu and the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars in a must-have multimedia release! 2009 Balcones Poetry Prize Finalist
Born in Romania, Andrei Codrescu understands the spirit of his adopted New Orleans, a city that consistently “refuses to conform to anything that is known about it.” When Hurricane Katrina blew through, the New Orleans landscape changed 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 a collection honoring the dispossessed and the artists, lovers, and cultural icons who have influenced Codrescu’s life.
The New Orleans Klezmer AllStars (a “genre-crossing, heroically nutty Crescent City ensemble”—Billboard) have fired up people of all ages with their funky, raucous interpretation of traditional Jewish folk music. For this special release, they’ve teamed up with a number of guest singers, including Harry Shearer, of Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, the legendary New Orleans vocalist John Boutte, and the incomparable Ivan Neville.
Klezmer music, which is both Old World and otherworldly, fits Codrescu’s poetry like a blue tarp fits your roof. (It may be argued that he’s been writing klezmer lyrics all his life.) . . . But the most effective numbers are by Codrescu himself — adding “lead singer” to a resume that includes poet, novelist, memoirist, NPR commentator and LSU prof.” —-The Advocate, Baton Rogue
“One of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers.” - New York Times Book Review
“Codrescu lives and writes at the edge of his imagination. He is a poet of hope and political defiance, or exaltation and exuberance.” - New Letters