From Sam Glaser to the Jewish-Music list:
Shalom Jewish Music Community. I am excited to release the first video from my last album, The Promise. Enjoy!
From Geraldine Auerbach:
Booking is now officially open for the ECA Budapest Cantors Convention
July 2014: Thursday 10 - Monday 14th.
Guest teachers: Asher Hainovitz and Yaakov Motzen
Subject the High Holydays
Convention includes Shabbat Services in the Hungarian tradition, a concert by world class cantors and an evening for young talent to perform. It also includes a Tour of Jewish Budapest and a personal tour of the Dohány Street Synagogue on Sunday afternoon.
Fees: full fee is £245 and for students it is £145. Some scholarships are available particularly for Eastern European delegates. There is a £15 discount on all bookings before 30 April.
This year the prices include (as well as breakfast and light lunches) Shabbat lunch and dinners on Thursday, Friday and Sunday for delegates. Accommodation is not included, but for early bookers there is a special discount price at the Convention Hotel: The Golden Park, which is near the synagogue. (See below for details)
Accompanying guests may to join us for evening meals and entertainment as well as Shabbes lunch and the Tours for reasonable prices. Please book these on the Registration Form.
Details and registration form from the ECA website www.cantors.eu
From Pete Rushefsky, writing to the Jewish-Music mailing list:
"We've just put up a new archival video on Bessarabian klezmer clarinetist German Goldenshteyn on the CTMD Archives website: www.ctmd.org/archives.htm in anticipation of Tuesday night's Tantshoyz Yiddish Dance Party featuring Michael Alpert, Alex Kontorovich and Naum Goldenshteyn:
Having given you the means to hear her music (and musicianship), I now pass on this note from Ellie Shapiro, Director of Berkeley, CA's Jewish Music Festival. Shapiro is currently on a Fulbright Fellowship in Poland.
Did you know that like Tin Pan Alley, Jewish musicians, lyricists, composers, presenters, radio and record producers were predominant in the Polish popular music industry between the wars? Jazz, cabaret, tango, film and theater in Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish … modern culture exploded in Polish large cities in the two decades of independence from 1919–1939. We're all familiar with the scene in Berlin from Cabaret … but Warsaw had its own rich, vibrant world. Most of the brilliant talents who created it did not survive the Holocaust.
The Polish-Israeli singer Olga Mieleszczuk has created a program with some of the most famous songs from this era. Titled Li-La-Lo, she has researched how some of the stars of the Polish stage also then created the cabaret scene in Tel-Aviv.
Bay Area JMF audiences will remember Olga from the opening concert of the 28th Jewish Music Festival with Polesye. She has now launched a funding campaign to support turning the Li-La-Lo project into a CD. This is music that deserves a wide hearing. I hope you will consider helping to bring it to a global audience. Please click on this link below to learn how you can!
There have been a spate of recent CDs uncovering new (or in this case, sometimes new) repertoire. In this case, Folk singer/researcher Olga Mielszczuk has followed up on field recordings by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett made in the Polesye region of what is now Belarus, back in 1968–1975, from the repertoire of Mariam Nirenberg. Polesye was the ancient cradle of the Slavic peoples and a center of Hasidism. Nirenberg, a pre-War Jewish folksinger, was born in this multicultural region. What I find most compelling is the mix of older songs with 20th century repertoire—many were learned from the gramophone or other media in the early part of the century and reflected then-popular music. What is exciting is to hear them in the context of old and new from a specific region, and to hear them in modern settings, sung by a lovely voice backed by stellar musicians from Poland, Israel, and the US. I received this 2012 recording months ago and continue to enjoy listening to it. It has also become a great CD for long car trips. You can get your copy of Olga Mieleszczuk / Jewish folksongs from the Shtetl from the artist's website. Enjoy!
While I am lauding Mieleszczuk's work, I should also note ask you to read the next post (which, blog-style, you probably read first), sent today by Ellie Shapiro, head of Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival.
It's about time. There hasn't been new Klezmatics in far too long. You can help make that happen:
From Sid Mintz on the Jewish Music mailing list:
HAVE YOU HEARD FIGARO (SHVIGARO) IN YIDDISH? NO?
HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!
Rossini's Figaro oyf yidish : Shvigaro. Mit a orkeste
An article about Carolina Slim, who played blues in the NY subway for decades, and mentored Jeremiah Lockwood during the '90s.
He Played Blues Concerts Where the Admission Price Was Subway Fare by James Barron, NY Times, Feb 20, 2014. The article also includes "'Elijah and Jeremiah' A short documentary on Elijah "Carolina Slim" Staley and Jeremiah Lockwood, musicians who played the blues on the subway together for years."
I picked this up at a recent concert by the Yiddish Art Trio here in Boston. Both musicians, Ben on trumpet; Patrick on accordion, are vital members of the post-revival younger generation. Patrick released a wonderful, wildly diverse full-length CD a few years ago, Stagger Back, and I see him most often with various bands that include Michael Winograd and Benjy Fox-Rosen. I first noticed Ben as part of the legendary Princeton band, the Klez Dispensers. He is making a growing name for himself as a jazz trumpeter.
This is just a sort recording, but I have been listening to it over and over. It starts with some traditional klezmer, to which the musicians have added some incisive improvisation, moves through Scriabin and Chopin, and finally ends with a Brian Wilson tune. What I like best is that the two play seamlessly, and beautifully together. I also appreciate that the music is often thought-provoking, and that I hear not just pop or classical or klezmer, but parts of something new that pulls these, and other influences, tunefully, together.
in short, just the short of recording, short though it might be, that my ears are always on the lookout for. You can get your own copy on Farrell's website. It will make for excellent Shabbes listening, good throughout the week.
In truth, the dance part of the show was not as polished as the music. The belly dance was good, but hard to see—and is perhaps not the best dance medium for a hall with an audience (as opposed to a cafe or restaurant—Karoun's, in Newton, for instance, which features excellent belly-dancing, albeit not to klezmer, every weekend). The other dance components seemed to be more energetic and well-meant than expressive.
Still, as I said, a good time was had by all, and towards the end, when the dancers jumped off stage and pulled members of the audience into dancing to the band, all was very good. The dance story will improve over time. This is definitely something to keep an eye out for and to bring friends to.
The show ended with a lovely piece featuring accordionist extraordinaire Michael McLaughlin, and soon-to-be Cantor, Becky Wexler on clarinet. Written by (or originally captured by) Reb Sruli Dresder, "January 7th, early in the morning" captures Meron tunes, klezmer, hope, and peace. It was a perfect way to end a high energy, wonderful evening.
Hard to know where to begin to address the void left by the departure of Pete Seeger. He not only helped remind America to keep singing, but had a wonderful feel for songs that mattered. One place is this lovely article from the Forward:
Tablet Magazine has two more pieces:
When Pete Seeger brought bluegrass and his banjo to 1964 Czechoslovakia by Ruth Ellen Gruber
and a short obituary, Folk music icon Pete Seeger dies at 94
Violinist Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh returned to Club Passim with her quintet last night and blew away a very crowded room. Her repertoire is relatively traditional: mostly klezmer, with outliers from elsewhere in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. In its more traditional moments, one felt the immense conflict of playing great dance music in a room far too crowded for dancing. But this is a quintet for whom tradition is a starting point, not a goal. Given that her fellow musicians included some of my favorite players from the Boston avantgarde (also seen in traditional bands Klezmer Conservatory Band, Shirim: mandolinist/guitarist Brandon Seabrook, accordionist Michael MicLaughlin, percussionist Grant Smith, and the exceptional, new-to-me bassist, but internationally renowed Israeli jazz bassist Ehud Ettun), it isn't surprising that the music often went in powerful and different directions. The result was hard to categorize. The couple sitting opposite me at my table, who had come hoping to hear traditional klezmer, were mezmerized. We were likewise captivated, despite having walked in with an attitude that an evening of traditional-ish music threatened. I was wrong, and look forward to seeing the band again during one of their Boston Jewish Music Festival appearances in March. But, you don't even need to wait that long. The ensemble will be performing in a free concert, February 23rd, as part of Tufts' Community Concert Series.
From the Boston Globe last week: Klezmer without borders for violinist Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh, by By Jeremy D. Goodwin, Jan 18.
Carl Dimow, flutist, guitarist, arranger and composer for the Casco Bay Tummlers, will be continuing his Klezmer Ensemble class at Portland Conservatory of Music, and it's open to new members. The fall class was a blast and the ensemble sat in with the Tummlers at the annual Chanukah party at Temple Etz Chaim in Biddeford.
The next four sessions will be once a month, on Friday mornings. The dates and times are Fridays 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, 1/24, 2/28, 3/28, and 5/2. The tuition is $80 for members, (currently enrolled private lesson students at the Conservatory), and $100 for non-members.
The only requirement for the class is a basic facility on your instrument. In the class we'll be learning and arranging a number of classic klezmer tunes. In the process we'll learn some of the scales and rhythms that define this music. We'll also discuss the history of the music and listen to recordings by influential musicians.
To register for the class, contact Portland Conservatory, (which is located at Woodfords Church, 202 Woodford St., Portland). Tel: 775-3356. portlandconservatoryofmusic.org/registration. Or contact Carl for more information – 207-615-1550 – www.carldimow.com
Filmed in Mexico City, roughly inspired by Jeremiah's grandmother's Transylvanian village, takes the inner life of a young girl as the jumping off point for a meditation on history, mythology and mortality.
A work-in-progress presentation of an excerpt from this new work will be presented at 4pm on January 25 at Congregation B'nei Jeshurun (257 W 88th St), on the upper west side. Please mark your calendars for this exciting event.
Here is a short video about a performance by the Montreal klezmer band, Kleztory, with the "Nouvelle Génération" Chamber Orchestra. The performance was held at Salle Claude Champagne, Montréal, Canada, November 23 2013.
It's coming this spring, it's diverse, and it's hot. Whatever your Jewish music inclinations, make sure you check out the schedule for the upcoming Boston Jewish Music Festival.
Here's the trailer for a movie about one of the great Sixties Jewish Chicago blues guys, who, along with Danny Kalb, Barry Goldberg, and others, reshaped popular music. To me, his first solo album, "It's not killing me" was one of the ultimate fusion albums—the most Jewish blues album I have ever heard:
This has been a wonderful week for music. I was too tired to attend the KlezWoods Christmas Klezmer Special (hint: holding me to attend events that begin at my bedtime is iffy), much as I would love to see them back where it all began, at the Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge. But they have neat shows planned for January (see the KlezmerShack world Jewish music calendar) so I am sure to see them soon.
But, this past Saturday night, motzei shabbes, I was treated to a rare local performance—the week's first house party by Alicia Jo Rabins. With her husband, Aaron, she presented a wonderful, midrashic evening full of "Girls in Trouble," including some very new stories that will be featured on a third album in the series. For those unfamilar with "Girls in Trouble," it is a program that grew out of a Masters Thesis at JTA in which Rabins tells the story of women in the Bible. Her use of both literal text and midrash to explicate the lives of women, both well-known (e.g., the prophetess Miriam) and obscure (Tamar), coupled with very American music make for a delicious concert To listen to midrash about Biblical women during this season of lights is also very special. Nah, the truth is, Girls in Trouble give good concert. The rest is just, um, midrash. You can find out more about the project at the Girls in Trouble website.
Wednesday night, we hosted Canadian ethnomusicologist Judith Cohen at our own home. As usually happens, people from all walks of life attended, and the event was just as lively for the conversations that took place after the lecture/performance as people discovered new connections amongst themselves, as for the event itself, which extended long past the scheduled stop time. Cohen reflected on her work in North Africa, Israel, Europe, and back home in Canada, gathering songs and stories. We followed the same song through several languages. We spent a lot of time on variants of the "guy goes off to war, comes back seven years later, and what happens when he tests his wife's faithfulness and feelings." Alas, in all of the variants, there appear to be none in which the woman says, "fuck you for abandoning me for seven years and then having the gall to test my fidelity get lost." There are, however, some in which she says, "well, too bad. I'm married with four kids now. Shoulda stayed home." It's a start.
As tends to happen when the speaker has done field research around the globe, she was also able to dig up songs from town and regions whence came several members of the audience. There were also some singalongs, and, happily, no performance of "Cuando el rey nimrod" (or other chestnuts). Cohen did point out that a song about the birth of the founder of the Hebrew people that refers to the "Jewish Quarter" does lack a certain amount of credibility, overall--but does reflect the song's own origins outside of Jewish tradition.
This morning, Henry Goldberg sent a list of links to follow up on some of the discussion. I post them here for those who were (or weren't) there, for following up further.
- "Judith mentioned the National Authority for Ladino and postings on youtube—if you search for: Autoridad Nasionala del Ladino i su Kultura you will find many postings
– some are interviews with Sephardim (in Judeo-Espanyol); – some are songs, including the singalong songs
- if you search for: שרים בלאדינו you will get those most directly, but they have a number of other videos that are songs with lyrics that one can sing with. This one: www.youtube.com/watch?v=szYhwb8mq0g is a long posting with 8 different songs.
- Judith also mentioned the songs collected by Susana Weich-Shahak—and there are a number of examples posted on youtube. You can search for: Susana Weich-Shahak or שושנה וייך-שחק those come up.
Judith did recover from her travels, and adds to the above:
Here's a link to one of my general articles on Sephardic music—most of my articles aren't online (or maybe they are and I just don't know—it happens.) This one is from the SIbE online journal TRANS (SIbE is Sociedad Iberica de Etnomusicología): www.redalyc.org/pdf/822/82220947013.pdf
No other klezmer book seems to get as much praise over the years. Here's another enthusiastic customer:
I think the Joy of Klez are tops and want to support Lori and the Maxwell St gang. I have a quartet at Tree of Life in Columbia Congregation, SC and Rabbi Sherman has been great in hosting us. We play mostly contemporary Klezmer from Daniel Galay but add traditional tunes and use the Joy of Klez books.
From my own experience in playing Klezmer, the Joy of Klez books are the best. The score provided allows adding instrumentation, but the supplied parts for violin/flute/mandolin, clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, bass and piano are very well written, easy to read and not difficult. Best is the fact that CDs are available to hear this music played in style. I am waiting for a second album.
To order the books from Tara Music, see: www.jewishmusic.com/search?q=joy+of+klez
Nostalgia is alive and well and remixed!
Joey and Jim have taken an idea I had (as, apparently, had they and many others) and turned it into a really fine reality. I am so grateful. I hope you'll join me in supporting them meet this challenge and move the BJMF to the next level.
I meant to make a bigger deal of this. Now it's old news and the KlezmerShack hasn't even mentioned this. But it is a big deal. Hankus has mentored hundreds (thousands?) of amazing musicians over the years. If there is a cool project around town, he is probably part of it—often, unheralded. He continues to bring new musicians, to uncover scintillating old, forgotten music and put it back in our repertoire, and most of all, he remains a mensh making great music and getting us to dance. He has been a key figure in the klezmer/yiddish revival. Hard to beat that, and it's about time someone noticed:
When superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman and celebrity cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot appeared at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in February, their musical director was hardly at the top of the bill. That is par for the course for Hankus Netsky, who helped mastermind Perlman and Helfgot's "Eternal Echoes" project. For more than 30 years, Netsky, 58, has been a quiet but powerful force affecting nearly every corner of contemporary Jewish music…. [more]
Despite the fact that Zeek magazine almost never posts something explicitly about Jewish music, they do post a lot of thoughtful, interesting stuff on that intersection between Judaism and change. Back when they were doing print, they even put together the only anthology of new Jewish music by a Jewish magazine worth listening to. (We can all name several not worth listening to.) I love them. I'm putting on my "to do" list that I should help them cure their lack of coverage of Jewish Music. In the meantime, though, it would be great if we helped get them moving again. I'd like to recommend joining me in this "Recatalyze Zeek" campaign:
This happened back on November 21, but it's still cool:
Klezmatics given lifetime achievement award at YIVO, by Jon Kalish
In the mid 1980s several key figures in the klezmer revival movement had day jobs at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. So, perhaps it was only fitting that The Klezmatics were given a lifetime achievement award at YIVO's Manhattan headquarters November 19. After cocktails and dinner at the Center for Jewish History's atrium on West 16th Street, the band performed a lively set in an auditorium after being introduced by Jeffrey Shandler, chair of the Jewish Studies department at Rutgers University…. [more]
Thanksgiving is gone, and we don't have Chanukah to hide behind any more. The best cure I know of is to bring out this video, surely posted here often, of Jewlia Eisenberg, left coast vocal genius, and Kugelplex:
Should that not be enough, you can always try "Oy to the World," but don't say I didn't warn you!
Celebrating Chana Mlotek, z"l
Please join the Mlotek family with The National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene in honoring the memory of Chana Mlotek z"l as people from all walks of life from the YIVO Institute to multiple personalities of the Entertainment Industry share their stories in celebrating the life & accomplishments of the beloved author, archivist, lifelong activist for the preservation Yiddish music and culture.
December 8, 6:30PM (doors open at 6PM)
15 West 16th St
NY, NY 10011
Seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please contact Jackie Kostalos with your reservations.
If you cannot attend the memorial, but would've liked to be present, a livestream webcast will air here, and can be adjusted to view full screen.
From Shane Baker. We have lost our most prolific Yiddish songwriter and a warm, wonderful, person. Details to come:
"Beyle Gottesman passed away today. Funeral this Sunday, Dec 1st, 2013 at Plaza, 91st & Amsterdam, noon"
Rokhl Kafrissen has posted a remembrance of Beyle on her blog.
Daughter-in-law Emily Socolov published a tribute in the Forward, "A Poet's Life Spanning Shtetl and Subway" on Dec 3, 2013.
"Few of us will lead a life as full as my "shviger" (mother-in-law), Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman: a life that spanned an ocean with an unremitting creative urge and a sense of personal purpose that encompassed a universe. While it may appear that her tragedies outweighed her joys, she dazzled the world with her accomplishments and was always anticipating her next one. Fiercely independent, Beyle was not to be trifled with. Up until the end, she demanded to be heard, to be addressed personally, and to communicate in the Yiddish language she so fiercely advocated. She was loyal to the Bronx, to her home, and to her family, and never stopped working with a pen in hand, a pen that could either write a Yiddish poem or sketch a scene on the street….