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Jewish Chronicles- Reviewer David Kary



Daniel Cainer at the piano in 'Jewish Chronicles'


It has been a long time since I've been to see a singer songwriter in concert. London's  Daniel Cainer's show, 'Jewish Chronicles', reminds me how inspiring an experience it can be!

The defining feature of 'Jewish Chronicles' is its intimate, sharing quality. A middle aged songwriter, Cainer wears his heart on his sleeve, sharing a range of stories from his life, especially in regards to his family, his feelings about his Jewish identity, and his reflections on a host of subjects.

In  'Here with me tonight' Cainer sings about how he hopes his family  are in some way in the audience tonight. In 'Surbiton Washerama' the subject is the traumatic  break-up of his parents marriage, with its genesis taking place at the local washerama aka laundromat.  

In 'A Tale Of Two Tailors' he sings about his grandfather's business partnership that went terribly wrong- 'for every moment of joy, there's a corresponding tear', and caused 'broiges'/major rifts within the family.  In 'Best I Can' he sings about his own personal heartbreak, his marriage break-up, and he does so in such an honest, humble way- 'I don't know my arse from my elbow/but I'm doing the best that I can'.

The songs, 'Jewish Man', 'Yiddishe Waltz', 'The Wrong Side Of The Wall', and 'Road to  Jerasulem' focus on his Jewish identity, and on the current political situation in Israel.- 'I am a Jewish Man/my angst/my guilt/that's the way I am built'.

In songs such as 'God Knows Where' and 'How We're Blessed' he shares some of his personal philosophy about life,- 'Consider the light that guides you/without which you would flounder in the dark...In this short time on the planet/We are honoured guests'.

In 'Bad Rabbi', Cainer sings incisively about a hypocritical corrupt London Rabbi, a Rabbi Baruch Chalomish, who was convicted in a London court of being found in possession of a large quantity of cocaine. He sings also of how the Rabbi had a penchant for escort girls!-'He baked a mean hash bagel/he was a wild guy/ for a Rabbi'.

My verdict. 'Jewish Chronicles' is a winner and full of 'naches'. I loved Cainer's unpretentious, warm approach. He mainly played electric piano with a bit of guitar, and his great lyrics were carried by his melancholic, plaintive voice.  

There's plenty of blood on the tracks in this show but the heart still sings strong!

Daniel Cainer's 'Jewish Chronicles' plays Theatreworks , 14 Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne until the 10th April and then moves to Sydney. 'Jewish Chronicles' will then play the Bondi Pavilion Theatre from the 13th till Sunday 18th April, 2010.


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  David Kary
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Email: DKStageWise@gmail.com