What do you get when you mix a Jewish Russian with a Jewish-Greek Ukrainian, immigrant life in Berlin, ska, reggae, folk, and klezmer and season it with a healthy dose of Jewish humour and Russian  laissez-faire?

The most successful author in post-WW2 Germany; Wladimir Kaminer migrated to Germany in 1990. His down-to-earth dry-humour observations of life in the Soviet Union as well as in Germany, his eye for the absurdity of everyday life in his multicultural Berlin neighbourhood of  Prenzlauer Berg, and his unpretentious charm have long since earned him a lot of  respect and love among his fanbase over here. He’s made appearances on TV, on the radio, and in magazines; he’s written several books (one of which has been translated into English; grab a copy of Russian Disco as long as you can) and recorded several audio books. Kaminer possesses the ability to make Germans laugh at themselves and their odd habits. Once you’ve read any of his books or attended any of his lectures, you’ll easily understand the need for some Kaminer in every society.

Together with Yuriy Gurzhy, Kaminer started Russendisko in Berlin in 1999.

“What started as a party became an international hit and created a lively interest in Eastern European music. Russendisko combines Russian songs with a powerful bass beat that draws all to the dance floor. It is akin to a mix of ska played on the accordion, or grunge with a reggae riff thrown in. And most of the singers sound like Frank Sinatra with a three-day hangover and a 60-cigarettes-a-day habit. “Weird, unpolished and sometimes awful-sounding music which is, in the end, really good to dance to,” boast the sleeve notes of their CD. None of it is subtle. All of it is loud. Most of it is catchy. And everyone dances pretty much all the time.” (The Guardian)

Gurzhy also is the creator of RotFront and has also earned fame with Shtetl Superstars.

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