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Geoff Berner’s Police Brutality Klezmer Song: “Daloy Polizei”

August 21, 2014

Not terribly constructive to jump on the bandwagon from a distance, but when Geoff Berner talks about his song Daloy Polizei, he leaves it open for people to add verses for local or recent events.  Sadly, people keep producing new words inspired by real lives being lost, with few real solutions being listened to. Comes a point (a hundred years after the song was first sung?) when it becomes obvious that the power-structure doesn’t care if people keep dying. So, what must we do ourselves to change the situation? Certainly more than just listen to this song.

It translates as, “Fuck the Police” in mixed Yiddish, “polizei,” and Russian, “dally.” (Useful language lesson for today.) Written as an anti-tsarist ditty before the Russian Revolution, the original carries some weight when you think about what happened after. Not like Jews did well under the Bolsheviks, but there were other radical futures people were working for in those pre-revolution days.

Tip of the bellows to Birds of the Storm who brought these two versions together for me.


And lest we forget, Geoff and Toronto’s SoCalled are grand-slamming the Accordion Noir Festival in September. I bet they’ll do this song. Today I stumbled on this 2011 McCleans article about them and their mix of klezmer and punk rock, hip-hop and politics.

Care for each other and play accordions at protests, it inspires joy and singing, and confuses your opponants.

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