Jumpin' Jerusafunk: The Valley's Only Klezmer Funk Band Gears Up to Tour

Jerusafunk playing the 4/20 Flameoff at Bud's Glass Joint.EXPAND
Jerusafunk playing the 4/20 Flameoff at Bud's Glass Joint.
Jeff Moses

Phoenix’s (and quite possibly the world’s) only klezmer funk band, Jerusafunk, is all about firsts in the summer of 2015. Not only will J-Funk put on the first great local show of the summer — along with the Stakes, the Hill in Mind, and Pro Teens on Thursday, July 2, at Crescent Ballroom — but the band also will be leaving for its first tour days later. Today, less than a week before hitting the road, the crazy Gypsy rockers are debuting their first music video, for “El Gitano Borracho.”

In hopes that the band's wild and woolly reputation will precede it at all 15 tour stops, Chris Del Favero and Jessie Demaree, captains of the Jerusafunk Express, reached out to Justin Humbert and Alex Benson of production company Plastic Monsters to direct and produce the band’s first multi-media effort. What they came up with is a fun and colorfully corny homage to South American cumbia videos. 

“For our first music video, we wanted to capture Jerusafunk's nature and try to portray Jfunk on stage," Demaree says. "We share the same taste in films, comedy, color, and most importantly, levels of ridiculousness. We started showing [Alex and Justin] some inspiration videos, and we were ready to roll!

"When Chris and I were traveling, we grew quite fond of the old low-budget music videos of cumbia and balada musicians. They all typically involve random graphics, tacky suits and dresses, and way too many cuts," she says. "Since 'El Gitano Borracho' is a cumbia and has many cuts within the music — the horns sometimes trading back and forth every bar — we knew it had to be this short and sweet little number."

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The video captures the essence of the Jerusafunk stage show, with its crazy-colored costumes, irreverent dance moves, and the cooler-than-cool omnipresent Parker brothers in the background. The video even gets sexy — like most Jerusafunk shows — at 1 minutes and 12 seconds, when frontman Del Favero is seen naked in the background as the horn section gets down in the foreground.

As far as music videos go, Demaree and Del Favero say this will not be the last one by Jerusafunk. The duo says the group has high hopes of making a video for every song on its album. Del Favero even shared some of his visions for the next video project.

“I’ve been hoping for something like a Yojimbo showdown mixed with some Lawrence of Arabia desert scenes, Space Is the Place mythology, and Apu Trilogy poverty drama all mixed into one,” Del Favero says. “Of course, if any local director has any divine inspiration from our music, I'd love to collaborate with that.”

“it was high time we did it,” Demaree says, “We have a goal to make videos for pretty much every song we record, and this is the first one to be completed.”


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