Geoff Berner (British Columbia)
Singer-songwriter-accordionist-novelist Geoff Berner, who tours prodigiously, describes his typical audience members as “odd, bookish people who like to drink. There’s a surprising number of physicists.”
And he expresses his goal as follows: “I want to drag klezmer music kicking and screaming back into the bars. I want to make original klezmer music that’s drunk, dirty, political and passionate. As a Jew of eastern European descent, I feel I have a calling to make this music live, not just preserve it under glass like something in a museum.”
The last thing we’d want is for this insightful, cynical, hilarious and brilliantly talented klezmer punk rocker to be anywhere but on a live stage, stirring stuff up. He’s out there forging new musical pathways with an outspoken, visionary glee. And, lucky us, we get to watch and to be part of the experience!
His music is a combination of klezmer (the folk music of Eastern European Jews), punk, political satire, and Balkan dance rhythms. He writes sharp, literate songs that make you want to weep, laugh, grind your teeth, or kick out a window – often all at the same time. A lot of famous people have covered his compositions. Look it up.
And when he performs at the festival, he’s in his element. Come see him at the VFMF this summer. You don’t have to be bookish, or have a physics degree to, as they say, “feel the Bern!”