J.U.F., (Jüdisch-Ukrainische Freundschaft), is a collaboration between members of Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box released in 2004 by Stinky Records. The name is inspired by GDR state organization Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft (German-Soviet Friendship).
Balkan Beat Box:
Balkan Beat Box is a group founded by ex-Gogol Bordello member Tamir Muskat, Ori Kaplan of Firewater and Big Lazy, and Tomer Yosef (MC, vocals, perc, sampler unit). As a musical project they often cooperate with a host of other musicians both in the studio as well as on stage. Their current live crew consist of Tomer Yosef, Ben Hendler, Itamar Ziegler, Eyal Talmudi, Uri Kinrot, Jeremiah Lockwood, and Peter Hess. Amongst their other collaborators are Victoria Hannah, the Bulgarian Chicks, and gnawa player Hassan Ben Jaffar.
Co-founders Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat both met in Brooklyn, New York as teenagers. Both had grown up with music and Kaplan had been a klezmer clarinetist, while Muskat was a drummer in a punk band. They began playing together and had trouble finding a style that they felt represented themselves, so they decided to create one. They established their own unique sound by fusing the musical styles of Mediterranean and Balkan traditions with hip-hop and dancehall beats . The group was extremely influenced by Jamaican dub, another influence visible in their hybrid musical form. Balkan Beat Box’s goal was to take ancient and traditional musical traditions and fuse those with hip-hop in order to create a new mix of musical styles out of the traditional world music context that would appeal to listeners in a club or a dancehall. As children, they had felt that traditional music was outdated and felt as though it did not adequately reflect their experiences of the growing world culture, so hoped to bring new relevance to these old traditional musical forms. They also hoped to encourage and foster peace between citizens around the world by combining traditional music from various areas in the world, hoping that by doing this they can create peace, and believe in the elimination of political borders.