Jealous Witness

Poetry by Andrei Codrescu, with music by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars

September 1, 2008 • 6 x 9 • 128 pages • 978-1-56689-217-9

Andrei Codrecu and the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars electrify fans in an unparalleled multimedia release.

Born in Romania, Andrei Codrescu understands the spirit of his adopted New Orleans, a city that consistently “refuses to conform to anything that is known about it.” When Hurricane Katrina blew through, the New Orleans landscape changed again and Codrescu, like his hero, “tolstoy exhausted having just written russia,” recorded it all.

His “Maelstrom: Songs of Storm and Exile,” performed by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars on the accompanying CD, form the heart of a collection honoring the dispossessed and the artists, lovers, and cultural icons who have influenced Codrescu’s life.

The New Orleans Klezmer AllStars (a “genre-crossing, heroically nutty Crescent City ensemble”—Billboard) have fired up people of all ages with their funky, raucous interpretation of traditional Jewish folk music. For this special release, they’ve teamed up with a number of guest singers, including Harry Shearer, of Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, the legendary New Orleans vocalist John Boutte, and the incomparable Ivan Neville.

About the Author

Writer and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu was working on a film exploring life along the Mississippi, when Katrina slammed into his hometown. After hosting scores of refugees in his Baton Rouge home, Codrescu released his essay collection New Orleans Mon Amour, becoming one of the many important voices celebrating New Orleans culture, recording its devastation, and awakening America's conscience.

Formed in 1991, The New Orleans Klezmer AllStars have fired up people of all ages with their electrifying interpretation of traditional Eastern European Jewish folk music. Featuring a lineup whose members all lead their own groups, the band's tremendous crossover appeal keeps audiences dancing in the aisles at jazz venues, punk rock clubs, retirement homes, and university performance halls.


“Klezmer music, which is both Old World and otherworldly, fits Codrescu’s poetry like a blue tarp fits your roof. (It may be argued that he’s been writing klezmer lyrics all his life.) . . . But the most effective numbers are by Codrescu himself—adding ‘lead singer’ to a resume that includes poet, novelist, memoirist, NPR commentator and LSU prof.” The Advocate

“One of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers.” New York Times Book Review

“Codrescu lives and writes at the edge of his imagination. He is a poet of hope and political defiance, or exaltation and exuberance.” New Letters