Oy Division play eastern European Jewish folk music the way it is ought to be played: rough, fast, happy, ecstatic, with no extra frills. The cracking fiddle, the crying clarinet, the shouts in Yiddish and Russian – you will not be sure if this music is tragically happy, or manically sad. And it doesn’t really matter, as you will dance with everybody else anyway, shouting the double-meaning Yiddish cry of OY!.
The band plays a mixture of instrumental songs, wedding music, Yiddish and Russian folk songs as well as songs from the Yiddish Theater, applying the careful scholarship of ethnomusicology with the zeal and exuberance of punk. The present is grim, Oy Division offers a chance of escaping forward into the past.
Oy Division was formed by some of Israel’s top recording musicians – Eyal Talmudi (clarinet) is the reed player for the Balkan Beat Box, Avichai Tuchman (double bass) is an emerging record producer and alt-rock artist, Gershon Leizersohn (fiddle) is a prominent teacher, conductor and ensemble director and Assaf Talmudi (accordion) is one of Israel’s busiest record producers.
Over the last four years years Oy Division has played successfully around the world, including head- line performances in Paris Quartiers d’été and Jazz&Klez festivales, the Ottawa Folk Festival, Ashkenaz And Kleazkanda festivals in Canada, Sziget Festival in Budapest, Krakow Jewish Festival, Bangkok Folk festival, Ostrave Folk Festival and more: Ukraine, Germany, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Ecuador, Austria, Belorus, Czech Republic, U.S , Denmark.
Oy Division’s debut album was released on June 2008 to rave reviews. Since then, the band has released two more excellent albums that have received extensive airplay and warm critical responses.
From the Press:
“Oy Division brings back to life the forgotten folk music of Eastern European Jews… Dirtier and wilder than you can imagine”
Gabby Noyman, Ynet
“Oy Division focus on a pure roots sound from old Europe…members of Oy Division are all professionals… purists, championing the sound of a bygone age from before the Holocaust and the birth of Israel…”
Gavriel Fiske, Jerusalem Post, March 2007