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August 29, 2016
Catching up with five "must listen" new releases

I am once again looking for a next gig (if you know someone in the Boston area who needs a cloud computing consultant/Project Manager/Scrum Master, do contact meAshkenaz Festival in a few days:

cd coverThis is one of the most interesting and successful "re-mix" efforts I've heard. A group of musicians in Germany has pulled archival recordings and integrated into their covers. The material is wonderful and nicely extends our repertoire, and encourages more to consult the same sources: Waks / Yiddish Voices, 2015. Highly recommended.

cd coverI always look forward to concerts and recordings by klezmer flautist Adrianne Greenbaum. This new one is especially noteworthy as it brings a klezmer family repertoire back to life: Fleytmuzik / Poyln, 2016

cd coverRecordings like this remind us why we miss the late Franka Lampe (and how wonderful it is that her partner on this recording, Fabian Schnedler, is just hitting his stride—see him next weekend with Semer Ensemble in Ashkenaz!). In this case, the duo mine field recordings amongst Jewish criminals (an obvious place to look for those who know of the reputation of klezmorim back in the day). Check out Schikker Wi Lot / Ganovim-Lider, 2016 and enjoy.

cd coverLocal (to me, here in Boston) avant-garde-istas return to the recording world after an absence of several years to remind us all why we miss them and how great it is to hear new material: Naftule's Dream / Blood, 2016. Sure to bring a smile to your ears.

cd coverIf there is a better Jewish band actively creating new traditional klezmer, I don't know of them. In this new recording, they include Joel Rubin, an equally acclaimed klezmer revival pioneer and professor. Just marvellous. Polish rural folk traditions klezmerified. Veretski Pass w/Joel Rubin / Poyln, 2015. Buy a few copies—you'll be handing them out to friends and family.

Posted by adavidow at 11:32 AM | Permalink
August 25, 2016
Yiddish song of the week: "Surele iz in vald avek"

Jeremiah Lockwood sings the Yiddish folksong "Surele iz in vald avek"

Little Sarah is off in the woods picking flowers for a bouquet.
In the forest a little bird comes to her and says: Tweet.
-Tell me little bird, how long will my life be?
-Forty, eighty, one hundred years.
-Thank you, little bird, very much.

Posted by adavidow at 08:49 AM | Permalink
"The Tsimbalist" - murder and klezmer, too!

Thank you, Pete Rushefsky for turning me onto this one. It's a murder mystery set in mid-19th century Russia and the hero is a tsimbl player—just like Pete! (although, other than musicianship and being people you'd like to hang out with, there are no other resemblances). Written by Big Galut(e) fiddler Sasha Margolis, the mystery provides a good, if occasionally idealized look at Jewish life in that place and time (not so idealized that there aren't anti-Jewish mob confrontations, mind you). The mystery is reasonably good, the characters are sympathetic, and the novel ends with a wonderful description of an old-style wedding. Best of all, the seeds are sown for a sequel. I would look forward to reading another one. If you don't want to order via Amazon, I am sure your local bookstore could be convinced to order it, and perhaps even to stock it for the convenience of your friends.

Posted by adavidow at 08:32 AM | Permalink
August 22, 2016
The Tablet: Israeli singer Shai Tsabari Storms the Heavens

For a few minutes, as the opening bit on the first video embedded in this article opens, I am reminded of Ehud Banai, in his punk phase. On other tracks, I am reminded of Yehuda Poliker--both Israeli musicians who have grounded their music in their roots. What I really love here is that mixing of piyyut and modern music forms (just as the original piyyut melodies mixed devotional poetry with the music of times 1500 years ago (give or take a few hundred years?) in the Islamic world. Conceptually, it's like listening to Abraham Inc., but starting from a Mizrahi world instead of an Ashkenazic one.

Shai Tsabari Storms the Heavens, From Bat Yam to New York, by Tal Kra-Oz, The Tablet

Shai Tsabari is an Israeli singer whose music has been called Mizrahi-indie. His debut album and live performances, fusing traditional oriental music with rock, pop, electronic and world music, have attracted some of the most enthusiastic audiences to be found both in Israel and abroad. Tsabari and his band, the aptly named Middle East Groove All Stars, are now embarking on their first mini-tour of the United States. They will perform at Joe's Pub in New York on Aug. 23, and give a free concert at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles two days later. [more]

Posted by adavidow at 10:15 AM | Permalink
August 16, 2016
Video: Pressberger Klezmer Band

OPA!
PREßBURGER KLEZMER BAND feat. DJ CLICK & DJ GALLETAS CALIENTES - Maramuresi Khsidim
ENJOY THE SUMMER!!!

Posted by adavidow at 03:27 PM | Permalink
August 14, 2016
Fyvush Finkel, z"l

Copied from a post on Facebook by Corey Breier, shared by Sarah Gordon

The Yiddish Artists & Friends-Actors Club and the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance mourn the loss of our beloved board member, the Emmy award winning star of television, radio, film, Broadway and most of all Yiddish theater, our beloved Fyvush Finkel Z'L. Fyvush passed away early this morning at his apartment in Manhattan. Fyvush served as the number one resource for questions about the Yiddish theater in America and the actors, producers, directors, and theater owners who were part of its history. He knew them all. His passing is a tremendous loss for our "teater velt" (theater world). To know him was to love him.

The funeral service will take place this Wednesday, August 17 at 12 noon at the Sutton Place Synagogue,225 East 51 Street NYC. (Between 2 & 3 Ave).

Koved zayn ondenk.
Corey (Gedalye) Breier
President

Lori Lippitz, of Maxwell St. Klezmer, adds a link to this video:

Posted by adavidow at 05:48 PM | Permalink
August 12, 2016
Video: Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, July 2016

Our old friends from Shirim Klezmer Orchestra at a recent wedding:

Bandleader Glenn Dickson posts: "This set went on for at least 45 minutes of intense dancing (as you can see), and was a heck of a lot of fun. In addition to myself on clarinet, Michael McLaughlin; accordion; Eric Rosenthal, drums; we had guest members Jim Guttmann, bass; and Tev Stevig, guitar.

Posted by adavidow at 09:56 AM | Permalink
Video: Talat Live from Savassi Festival! - Brazil

Alon Nechushtan - Dew Dance - live at Savassi Festival Brazil from alon nechushtan on Vimeo.

Posted by adavidow at 09:48 AM | Permalink
July 26, 2016
Glenn Dickson on radio re:new Naftule's Dream "Blood"

A Neon Jazz Interview with Boston Jazz Clarinetist Glenn Dickson of Naftule's Dream

You can read my own take about the new recording here on the KlezmerShack

Posted by adavidow at 07:20 AM | Permalink
July 24, 2016
Alan Ginsberg and the Klezmatics (Berlin, 1993)

Thank you Alicia Svigals for linking to this:

Posted by adavidow at 10:48 AM | Permalink
Jewlia Eisenberg: Mahmoud Darwish's "Psalm 6"

Wouldn't it be nice if this were less timely?

Published on Jul 19, 2016
Voice: Jewlia Eisenberg
Accordion: Dan Cantrell

"The trees of my country are apprentices of greenness
and I an apprentice of memory."

Posted by adavidow at 10:36 AM | Permalink
Review: Joel Grey's "Master of Ceremonies"

Rokhl Kafrissen with a short capsule review of Joel Grey's memoir, Master of Ceremonies:

Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir, by Rokhl Kafrissen

Joel Grey is much more than a consummate song-and-dance man with a career spanning an astonishing eight decades: he is also the intermediate link in a Jewish-American entertainment dynasty. [more]

Posted by adavidow at 10:32 AM | Permalink
Video: Schvitsy Simcha Band - Fiddle Tunes 2016

From Alicia Svigals:

Klezmer Band coached by Alicia Svigals & Patrick Farrell play the Band Lab concert on Saturday JULY 9 2016 - Fiddle Tunes Festival - Port Townsend WA. Tunes: Broyges Tants, Patch Tants, Lebedik Freylakh, Kishinever Bulgar

Posted by adavidow at 10:14 AM | Permalink
July 13, 2016
Alan Bern, organizer of "Yiddish Weimar" receives this year's Weimar prize!

I'm a month behind (and more, even behinder news to come), but this is too much fun to just ignore, despite the aging. From Alan Bern on Facebook, last month:

Weimar-Preis 2016 geht an Dr. Alan Bern, June 16, 2016

"Out of the blue today I got a call from the Lord Mayor of Weimar, Stefan Wolf, informing me that I've been awarded this year's Weimar Prize in recognition of my contribution to the culture and reputation of Weimar. I'm deeply honored by this recognition, which extends to the whole community of passionate, committed, brilliant people who have given so much of their lives to make the artistic, educational and ethical vision of Yiddish Summer, the Other Music Academy and other music e.V. a reality. I'm very proud to represent all of you in accepting this award!"

Posted by adavidow at 04:58 PM | Permalink
Dropkin releases "Lutzifer"

Jewlia Eisenberg has been talking up the poetry and stories of Yiddish writer Celia Dropkin since I've known her. I cannot tell you all how excited to hear this finally get recorded, and in such a superlative, avant-garde fashion. Check it out on Soundcloud. I can't tell, though—this might not be new, but rather, the 5-year anniversary since this was released. Dynamite, either way:

Dropkin—Lutzifer

Dropkin is an avant-rock band with music by Roy Yarkoni. The lyrics are Hebrew translations of poems by the Yiddish modernist Celia Dropkin (1887-1956). Her work is intensely personal, rich with violent sexuality, intense longing, and strange explorations of family dynamics. The music, like her poetry, is ambitious, sensual, and a bit scary.

Posted by adavidow at 04:12 PM | Permalink
Jewish Culture Festival showcases revival in Krakow

From my favorite San Francisco Jewish weekly:

Jewish Culture Festival showcases revival in Krakow, by liz harris, Thursday, July 7, 2016, j weekly

"Kazimierz, once the center of Jewish life in Krakow, Poland, has reclaimed its mantle. And nothing better tells the story -- or helped catalyze the revival of this historic district -- than the popular Jewish Culture Festival.

"Held this year from June 25 to July 3, the 26th annual festival brought an estimated 12,000 people to the streets of Krakow for nine days of workshops, concerts, panel discussions, dances, tours and more."[more]

Posted by adavidow at 04:02 PM | Permalink
How Alicia Svigals Helped Me Go Public With My Klezmer Obsession

Catching up with ages of posts from hither and yon. This is a great place to start:

How Alicia Svigals Helped Me Go Public With My Klezmer Obsession, Laura E. Adkins, The Forward, July 13, 2016

"… Perhaps it was the advertisement's additional promise that "whiskey and rugelach will be served" that hooked me. But more likely, it was the hope of overcoming my lingering fear of fully embracing the less easily justified aspects of Jewish life.…" [more]

Posted by adavidow at 03:08 PM | Permalink
June 20, 2016
Cavs win championship

Although the KlezmerShack has some serious catching up to do, what with Frank London's Hungarian knighthood and Alan Bern being honored by the city of Weimar for his decades of wonderful cultural work, priorities are priorities. I would like to remind readers that the City of Cleveland is home to some amazing and wonderful musicians like the Klezmer Guy, Walt Mahovlich, Steven Greenman, Lori Cahan-Simon. But now, even more extraordinarily, Cleveland is home to the NBA champions.

Congrats Cleveland Cavaliers!

May this be the first of many new honors as people recognize what a cool place Cleveland is (despite, or even with the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame).

Posted by adavidow at 01:05 PM | Permalink
June 05, 2016
Review: David Krakauer's Ancestral Groove / Checkpoint (2016) krakauer passport photo-ish.'To the extent that I have been tweeting the last couple of months, it has been to reflect how blown away I am by the new (to the US--released in Europe 2014) David Krakauer CD. This is the sort of CD that makes me celebrate the klezmer revival: entirely new music built on not just Eastern European roots, but also infused with jazz, funk, hip hop, and even modern classical traditions. This is what originality sounds like, but only when originality is accessible, approachable, and danceable. Let me invite you to check out David Krakauer's Ancestral Groove / Checkpoint. Available wherever good music is purchased or downloaded, or via David Krakauer's website.

Posted by adavidow at 06:37 PM | Permalink
June 03, 2016
naftule's dream / blood - review on NPR

Yes, there is a new Naftule's Dream CD, and NPR's Milo Miles is on it:

Naftule's Dream Returns, With A Fleshy, Folkie New Album, by Milo Miles, June 1, 2016

Posted by adavidow at 02:30 PM | Permalink
May 21, 2016
new Alpen CD - needs kickstarter help

Like me, did you find 2012's debut Alpen Klezmer CD the most fun you'd heard in European klezmer in ages? A sort of marriage between Bavarian dance music and klezmer featuring vocalist Andrea Pancur and accordionist Ilya Shneyveys, it rocked (and still does). A host of klezmer veterans joined that effort (and are lined up for the new one) ranging from Lorin Sklamberg to Alan Bern, Joel Rubin, etc., etc., etc. If so, you're going to want to join me in helping the band record their new CD:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/recording-alpen-klezmer-zum-meer--2#/

You have nothing to lose but ennui, boredom, and anomie. This is klezmer that rocks!

Here's what Andrea sent me:

Liebe Freunde und Freundinnen der handgemachten Musik,

es ist wieder so weit: ich bringe eine neue CD heraus. Und weil das alles immer so unsagbar viel kostet, nutze ich die Möglichkeit des Crowdfunding, was auf deutsch auch sehr hübsch klingt, nämlich „Schwarmfinanzierung".

Was passiert da genau? Ihr könnt diesem Link folgen, und dann vorab eine CD und viele andere ganz tolle Dinge bestellen, u.a. ein von Grammy-Gewinner und begnadetem Koch Lorin Sklamberg zusammengestelltes und gekochtes Abendessen oder eine Unterrichtsstunde bei musikalischem Mastermind Alan Bern höchstpersönlich. Schaut einfach auf die Seite, sucht euch das Passende aus und sehr gerne könnt ihr auch vielen, vielen anderen Menschen von ALPEN KLEZMER: ZUM MEER! erzählen.

Ich kann euch versprechen, ihr werdet es nicht bereuen, denn auf der CD versammeln sich wieder die musikalischen Meister der Klezmerwelt mit den Meistern der bayrischen Musikwelt und spielen Musik, die unter die Haut geht und die Füße zucken läßt: Alpen Klezmer vom Feinsten!

Hier nochmal der Link: igg.me/at/ZumMeer

Herzlichen Dank für eure Unterstützung! Andrea

Posted by adavidow at 05:16 PM | Permalink
May 09, 2016
Experimental theater between ultraorthodox and secular worlds is looking for OTD artists in NYC The Les Haïm Company, from Paris, in association with Footsteps, the New Yiddish Rep and the Workmen's Circle announces his summer theater workshop/performance experience Artistic Laboratory of Research and Creation towards an experimental theater between ultraorthodox and secular worlds is Looking for OTD (off the derech) artists ! From June 15 to July 10 in NYC

No prior experience or artistic background necessary, but a deep desire for learning, creating and immersing yourself into an artistic adventure.

More on Facebook

Posted by adavidow at 08:33 PM | Permalink
May 08, 2016
Yidstock, at the NYBC, Amherst, MA, July 14-17, is nigh!

The Yiddish Book Center's annual program has gradually become a sort of "Eastern European Jewish Music AllStars" program, with lectures, workshops on dance and playing music and singing, as well as a host of great concerts. You won't actually hear much "new Yiddish music," but you will hear an awful lot of the best, performed by the best veterans around. This year, the UK's Polina and Merlin Shepherd are brought into the mix, which means even more great music. Paul Shapiro will bring back his delightful "Brisket 'n' Ribs Revue," one of my favorite excursions into the delightful world of Jewish/Black lyrics and music from the earlier part of the last century. Essen! It will all end in a mammoth AllStars concert honoring Shalom Aleichem's 100th yahrzeit.

Yidstock Logo 2013Yidstock 2016: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, Thu July 14, 2016 - Sun July 17, 2016

YIDSTOCK 2016 will bring the best in klezmer and new Yiddish music to the stage at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. Don't miss out on what promises to be a great festival of music and related events.

Festival info from the Yiddish Book Center website

Posted by adavidow at 04:55 PM | Permalink
May 07, 2016
"Echad mi Yodea"

Send by the Boston Jewish Arts Collaborative during Passover, I am just catching up. This features the BatSheva Dance Troupe and Tractor's Revenge, and is a very neat visual take on the familiar Passover melody

Echad Mi Yodea from Batsheva DC on Vimeo.

Posted by adavidow at 06:24 PM | Permalink
27th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival, Jul 10-14, 2016 27th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival July 10 - 14, 2016 Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, 400 Granite Road Kerhonkson NY 12446 NACJF Staircase Sing Your One-Stop Jewish Music Networking Opportunity of the Year *Exciting Instant Ensembles* *Thrilling Evening Performances* *Fascinating Workshops* Special Programming for Young Participants 18 - 30 Celebrate Our Hallel V'Zimrah Award Recipient ZALMEN MLOTEK Click Here to Register Now
Posted by adavidow at 05:38 PM | Permalink
May 02, 2016
new Iraqi Jewish music

Posted by Eva Broman to the Jewish Music mailing list:

t's been a long time since I posted the last time, but I really enjoyed these clips with Iraqi-Jewish singer Koko from Eilat, performing Iraqi classics at an Israeli haflah:

These "ethnic" Israeli singers remind me of Pontic singers in Greece, who often adapt original Turkish and Balkan songs in the Pontiac dialect, just like Israeli singers of Iraqi etc. descent adapt Arabic tunes in Hebrew:

Posted by adavidow at 07:07 AM | Permalink
First cut from new Sandaara recording

From Michael Winograd, best known for the Yiddish Art Trio and other klezmer/yiddish masterworks. His other band is also receiving recognition. After watching Southeast Asians and others dancing in the aisles at the Vilna Shul, I can heartily recommend them. Some bits will sound more familiar than you expect:

Sandaraa is pleased to release the first single from our upcoming album, "Jegi Jegi Lailajan". US CD launch tour dates: /bit.ly/sandaraatour

Posted by adavidow at 06:59 AM | Permalink
Yiddish songs for May Day

Wish I'd spotted this yesterday—thanks to Sarah Gordon for sharing from the Yiddishkayt folks in LA:

It's the First of May! Come celebrate International Workers Day with our top 10 musical hits of the Jewish working masses from Morris Rosenfeld's Resting Place to classic Anarchist anthems. Share with all of your comrades for the arbeter-yontef! Zol lebn der ershter may! Long Live the First of May!

‪#‎WorkersDay‬ ‪#‎MayDay‬ ‪#‎ArbeterFunAleLender‬

yiddishkayt.org/songs-work-struggle/

Posted by adavidow at 06:55 AM | Permalink
May 01, 2016
Kurland: Vezokharto - now on YouTube

Yosl Kurland writes:

A few of weeks ago I wrote to tell you about the Mak'hela concert at Keene, NH where my choral work, "Vezokharto&emdash;Remember that You Were Slaves in Egypt" was performed. The piece is now on youtube at this link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4umBqpPZFM

Vezokharto is based on a prophetic call in the Torah for social justice. It carries a message that needs to be heard and I would appreciate your help in spreading it. Please share this link with people you know by email and by social media. If you know of any chorus that would like to perform it, please have them contact me and I will arrange for them to get the score.

Posted by adavidow at 06:59 PM | Permalink
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About Klezmer Music

The Klezmer revival (article revised 9/97) sparked a renaissance in Jewish music and culture. Nowadays, the revival is over--klezmer is a popular music form that is no longer exclusively Jewish, and other forms of Jewish music are also gaining in popularity. And no one questions the place of klezmer in both Jewish and popular cultures. Well, no one we care about. Meanwhile, the edges of musical and cultural boundaries continue to change, expand, and morph onward, fueled by the imperatives to explore new music on the one hand, and by the shifting sense of Jewish identity on another, not always related, hand. So I find myself, in these pages, moving both directions at once: trying to expand access to all Jewish music materials, and happily exploring musical edges, some of which have nothing to do with Jewish music.

Klezmer is the music that speaks to me. It's balkans and blues, ancient Jewish culture and prayer and history, spirit and jazz all mixed together. Good klezmer, and the music inspired by it, demands that one dance. In the words immortalized by Emma Goldman: "If your revolution doesn't include klezmer, I don't want it." I sometimes envision the Holy One, Blessed Be Whatever He/She/It May Be, who knows all history before its time, sitting on the throne in heaven, watching new music and cultural excitement unfold, turning and declaring to the assembled angels and saints and sinners, "ahhhh, now I can hear it live."

KlezmerShack FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

We have klezmer news and the latest reviews. For new musicians, we've added a FAQ on "Essential klezmer repertoire" culled from the Jewish-music mailing list.

If you want to be listed here, or to get advice on putting together your own web page or CD, read this short "how-to" page.

If you are looking for sources of sheet music, several online vendors carry books and music. If you are looking for album recommendations, browse the reviews and try what sounds like you. Be aware that I don't know which , and will never recommend any band for your simkha--contact your local Jewish community newspaper, book store, or federation--or any of the bands from your area. And, mazel tov! Oh, and don't forget to browse the "klezcontacts" page. The Klezclassified's is the place to check to advertise, find other's ads, jamming partners, whatever. If you'd like to be listed, on any of these pages (or more than one) just send me e-mail, or use the semi-convenient form, telling me a bit about yourself. (Don't send me a web URL and expect me to extract info. Don't even get me started about incoherent web pages--look over my notes on designing a usable web page, and then, still, send me a paragraph of text about yourself, your band, or just to say 'hello'.)

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Note that the latest stuff may not yet be indexed.

As I said, I never make any recommendations beyond what is listed here. For recommendations of any sort, or for gossip, discussion, or even to ask about stuff that I clearly don't know about, the best place to ask is the jewish-music mailing list. I specifically never make recommendations or suggestions about bands for your wedding or bar mitzvah (see above for similar rant). To repeat, you always want to be consulting local Jewish newspapers, federations, and other community organizations and services. They survive only because you use them. Please do.

If you have a klez story to tell, comments, reviews to add, or just want to let people know about your band, or have something else to say that I haven't already mentioned (and especially about bad links or other mistakes)--send me e-mail. I'll get it all online as I have time. It's a pleasure!