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Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a pianist, accordionist, producer, based in Montreal, Quebec. He has lectured and has led master classes in music festivals around the world, from Moscow to Paris, from London to LA, and from Krakow to San Francisco, and has performed on every continent. With 6 solo albums to his name, he has performed all over the world for more than 10 years, and his list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural nor religious boundaries. Aside from countless festivals and venues around the world, Socalled has performed at Carnegie Hall (twice!), the Olympia in Paris, the Apollo theatre in Harlem and the Arsht centre in Miami. He has played with, featured, recorded and arranged for Gonzales, Itzhak Perlman, Lhasa, Fred Wesley, Andy Statman, Adam Cohen, Boban Markovic, the Mighty Sparrow, Roxanne Shante, Irving Fields, Killah Priest, Matisyahu, Theodore Bikel, Enrico Macias and Derrick Carter… Dolgin was the subject of The Socalled Movie, a 2010 feature documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

In 2003, his collaborative album Hiphopkhasene with British violinist Sophie Solomon won a German Record Critics Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik). Then, in 2005, he released an EP based on the Passover service, The Socalled Seder, which he produced in his apartment and sold through the mail in a world before the internet, with almost 1000 mail-orders! It was eventually officially released by Jewish hipster label JDub and hailed as one of the greatest new Jewish Music records.

He started to work with renowned clarinetist David Krakauer, producing his genre-twisting “Bubbemeises” record, which led to an offer from French Jazz label Label Bleu to record his first proper solo album. Featuring about 40 guests from all walks of musical life, Ghettoblaster featured the breakout hits “The Good Old Days” and “You Are Never Alone”, the video of which garnered some 3 million views on Youtube. Ghettoblaster was on the longlist for the Polaris prize. The collaboration with Krakauer led to a project with James Brown’s arranger Fred Wesley “Abraham Inc” and the album of funk meeting Klezmer, “Tweet Tweet”.

In 2011, Socalled came back with the 30+ guest-heavy Sleepover, which was nominated for a Juno award, and in 2013 he released the collection of songs he composed for The Season, a puppet indie musical fable for the 21st century he also wrote and directed, which was remounted at the prestigious Kampnagel festival in Hamburg, Germany. His original Yiddish gangster puppet musical, “Isaac Babel’s Odessa Stories”, was presented at the Segal Center in Montreal in 2013: the cast recording will be released shortly. His work with cellist Matt Haimowitz, a re-working of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, garnered another Juno award nomination. In December 2015, Socalled was presented with the “Adrienne Cooper Memorial Dreaming in Yiddish” award for his work disseminating and exploring Yiddish culture.

2015 saw the release of Peoplewatching, an offering of infectiously fun, passionate and timeless mini-odes for the booty pleasure of all, which featured a panoply of varied styles, languages and talents.

Sometimes Socalled is a producer for hire: he co-produced Enrico Macias’ “Voyage D’une Melodie”, and the first albums of Canailles and Geoff Berner. HIs remix of the theme for CBC’s flagship news digest “As It Happens” plays 3 times a day across Canada. In 2016 Socalled produced Ben Caplan’s “Birds With Broken Wings”, Yves Lambert’s “Dans Ces Bottines”, Geoff Berner’s “We Are On the Way to Bremen” and Sarah Toussaint-Leveille’s “La mort est un jardin sauvage”.  In 2017 Socalled released Tales from Odessa his Yiddish Gangster musical originally composed for the Segal Centre Yiddish Theatre and in 2018 he released Di Frosh in which Dolgin removes the mpc and sings traditional and original Yiddish song backed only by the acclaimed Kaisser Quartett from Cologne.  

In 2019 Socalled Socalled is set to premiere SPACE - The 3rd Season in his musical series at the prestigious Kampnagel Festival in Hamburg Germany. He will also release the recorded version of The 2nd Season featuring Fred Wesley in August 2019 on Dare To Care Records.   When he’s not in the studio or on the road, Socalled makes cookbooks, draws cartoons, edits video and practices Kurt Weill on the piano.




Presse: Justine A.-Lebrun​
Radio: Myriam Lefebvre
Booking: Alexandre Giguere


No concert announced yet

Previous Concerts


Socalled - The 2nd Season

Socalled - Tales from Odessa

Tales from Odessa doubles as the soundtrack for the Yiddish musical comedy of the same name, also written by Socalled. The artist and Dare to Care wish to thank the Segal Centre and the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre for contributing to the unique musical experience at the core of this album.

Inspired by the stories of famous writer Isaak Babel, this visionary work of art from Socalled takes us back to the obscure but lively world of Odessa during the last days of the Russian Empire. At that time, the mob boss Benya “The King” Krik rules the very animated Jewish neighborhood of Moldavanka. By recounting this anti-hero’s dirty tricks and his rise to power, this musical story transports the audience to a forgotten world filled with smugglers and gangsters, and where the dreams of one man reflect the emancipation of an entire population.

Socalled - Peoplewatching

Socalled is back! The singer-songwriter-producer-rapper-magician returns with a fifth collection of songs: Peoplewatching! People Watching will be available on April 28th on CD and digital, and a vinyl version will also be available soon. ‘Til then, you can listen to the first single "Boyfriend Material" right now, courtesy of Dare To Care Records!

Peoplewatching crossbreeds soul, rigodon, cabaret, jazz-fusion, klezmer and electro with a universal pop core. Continuing a musical mission that began over 10 years ago, People Watching is the work of an older, wiser, more experienced and tonic, at-the-top-of-his-game Socalled. Kicking beats to power stories about booty calls, breakups, the fire next door, a magic forest (a condensed rapped version of his musical The Season!) and Genghis Khan 2.0, which he tells through a keen and spirited filter.

On Peoplewatching, Josh “Socalled” is joined by his "regular" Montreal-based crew of Katie Moore, Patrice Agbokou, JS Williams and Michael Felber. True to his habits, he also invited a cavalcade of superstar musical voices including dancehall legend Josey Wales, James Brown sideman and Parliament-Funkadelic musician Fred Wesley, Quebecois folk-god Yves Lambert, legend-in-the-making Punjabi singer Kamal Chamkila, jazz great Oliver Jones, DJ's Rob Swift and Mista Sinista, and many others. And, for the first time in his 10+ year long career, he goes intimate and solo on a song, in the contemplative and touching piano/voice Hutchison St.

Mining the rich musical past of the Eastern European cultures, Socalled combines voices, rhythms, melodies, cultures, languages, technologies and grooves that translate the euphoria of being part of the mix, part of the gang. Hands in the air, hips against hips, the more smiles the better, all of which you’ll assess at the following release parties, where you’ll be part of the gang too, watching People Watching people: 

05/14/2015, Fairmount Theater, Montreal. Buy here. 
05/08/2015, Le Cercle, Quebec. Buy here.

Socalled - The Season

Socalled's new album The Season is the original cast recording of the musical "The Season" composed by Josh "Socalled" Dolgin. The performance which happened one time at POP Montreal in the fall of 2011 was a puppet-heavy indie musical fable for the 21st century, featuring some of Montreal's finest dancers, musicians, singers, actors and artists including Katie Moore, Yves Lambert, the Narcysist, Joe Cobden & Richy Ly, in an original, genre-bustin', one-night-only production. The story is about a close-knit crew of forest animals as they prepare for winter and the oncoming hunting season and are faced with a new threat: an infestation of aliens from another planet. A forbidden love develops between Bear, a bear, and Tina, a feisty, fiery, helpful little red furry thing from beyond the stars. Will their love survive? Listen to the album which features all the original voices along with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra's harpist Jennifer Swartz, the string quartet The Warhol Dervish, drummer Jamie Thompson and bassist Patrice Agbokou. The overture was orchestrated by original JB Fred Wesley and the album was recorded by Grammy award winner Mark Lawson at Arcade Fire's Petite Église studio in Farnham, Quebec. The album artwork was hand painted by Socalled himself, so prepare yourself for a Socalledmusical experience like no other! 

Socalled - U.N.L.V.D.

U.N.L.V.D. - Socalled Featuring Katie Moore, Enrico Macias and C-Rayz Walz (Dolgin, Moore, Macias, Shabazz)

Sleepover - Socalled Featuring Dj Assault and Konsonans Retro. (Dolgin, Diamonds)

From the album "Sleepover" 

Socalled - Sleepover

Few artists can add musician, producer, composer, arranger, filmmaker, photographer, visual artist, and magician to their resume, but Socalled clearly doesn’t subscribe to limits; take his international supporting cast of no less than THIRTY-FOUR contributing musicians on this latest release. Ranging from rap pioneer Roxanne Shante, the beautiful voice of Katie Moore, dynamo musician and producer Chilly Gonzales, king of calypso The Mighty Sparrow, 95 year-old pianist Irving Fields, funk trombone god Fred Wesley, just to name a few.