“It is always the seam on your trousers that attracts the most dirt,” said Alf Wax, the great Whitechapel tailor, and back in 1950s London the same was undoubtedly true for music.
It was the seam of the big band and rock’n’roll eras that attracted musicians who produced what sounds now like the dirtiest, most deliriously danceable music of all – that delirious mix of classic Yiddish songs, West Indian calypso and English beat rhythms that they called ‘der shvitz’. When years later it crossed the Atlantic in diluted form as ‘the twist’ its roots were forgotten, and remained so, with the exception of a select few in the know who recognise Willy Bergman, its founder and greatest bandleader.
The Yiddish Twist Orchestra, an all star band under the guidance of trumpeter Lemez Lovas (Oi Va Voi) and twang guitarist Erno Nimusz (The Name Feathers), pays homage to the genius and paranoia of Bergman, the anonymous beatnik funkateer who got the slums – and salons – on both sides of the water dancing to that pounding Yiddish beat. The Orchestra now also features Natty Bo (Ska Cubano) on vocals!