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September 22, 2016
Yiddish New York returns, Dec 24–29, 2016

We are excited to open registration for Yiddish New York (YNY) and to announce this year's programs and faculty. YNY is a 6-day workshop/festival that will run from Thursday, December 24 - Tuesday, December 29, 2016.

YNY's daytime programs at the 14th Street Y and adjacent Town and Village Synagogue include workshops in klezmer music, Yiddish song, language and theater, as well as lectures, panel discussions, films, walking tours and more, all led by a faculty of the Yiddish world's leading contemporary artists and scholars. YNY evenings will be filled with concerts, dance parties, a visual arts exhibition and jam sessions at venues around Manhattan's Lower East Side & East Village, neighborhoods steeped in Yiddish cultural history. We have great programs for kids and teens, and family members of all ages!

More info: www.yiddishnewyork.com

Posted by adavidow at 09:17 AM | Permalink
September 19, 2016
5th International Jewish Music Festival competition, May 4-8, 2017, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The 5th International Jewish Music Festival competition 2017 will be held from May 4-8th, 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is a double celebration year as this will mark the 20th International Jewish Music Festival is held in Amsterdam. Preliminary rounds and semi-finals of the Music Competition will be held in the redesigned Uilenburger Synagoge with the Grand Finale taking place on May 8th at the spectacular DeLaMar theater holding a 1000 audience.

More info, registration, at ijmf.wordpress.com

Posted by adavidow at 03:47 PM | Permalink
September 09, 2016
Dave Tarras on video from CTMD

This announcement is over a year old, but I have no record of having shared it. About time! From Pete Rushefsky, Executive Director of the CTMD.

Center for Traditional Music and Dance is pleased to make available footage from a landmark November 1978 concert by the Dave Tarras Trio which also featured a youthful Andy Statman & Zev Feldman in their public debut, plus Yiddish singers Feigl Yudin and Ethel Raim. We're grateful for the work of Clara Byom (U. New Mexico) making this material available...

www.ctmd.org/davetarrastribute.htm

Posted by adavidow at 10:29 AM | Permalink
11th European Cantors Convention, Prague, 17-20 Nov, 2016

I am late to post this

The European Cantors association is happy to announce that booking is open for the 11th European Cantors Convention taking place in Prague from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 November 2016.

Guest lecturers will be Cantor Naftali Herstik and maestro Raymond Goldstein as well as a choir from the Tel Aviv Academy of Cantorial studies

All those interested in Jewish prayer music based on the orthodox tradition are welcome to attend. As well as lectures and masterclasses there will be a gala concert on one of the most beautiful synagogues in Prague and a tour of Jewish Prague. And best of all cantos and choir will illuminate two beautiful Prague synagogues with memorable music and prayer over Shabbat.

More details, a flyer that you can download and print off and the registration form can be found on the website www.cantors.eu.

Posted by adavidow at 09:59 AM | Permalink
new Klezmer resource: Sherry Mayrent's "Klezmer Academy"

I'm not sure if this is new, or simply new to me—the KlezmerShack has been mightily distracted for a while. In all events, it's a great site:

Klezmer Academy, curated by clarinetist Sherry Mayrent, has klezmer tunes, discussions of klezmer theory, practical lessons on style, musings on current and past trends in the music and its performance, and other topics on all aspects of klezmer and its history.

Posted by adavidow at 08:36 AM | Permalink
September 03, 2016
Two essential Yiddish Trios

Two last reviews before I hit the road to Toronto and the Ashkenaz Festival. It's been 20 years of New Jewish Music, and I'm excited—but not so excited that I want to forget to tell you about these:

cd coverI have no idea why I haven't reviewed this release yet. It is exactly the kind of music I look forward to, created by three of my favorite young-ish musicians--KlezKanada and KlezKamp alumni, hurrah!, making music for their generation, and celebrating hundreds of years of Yiddish culture: Yiddish Art Trio, 2014.

cd coverAnd, in the same vein, drawing on veterans from the former USSR, from the UK and USA, we have the holy musical trinity of: Sklamberg & the Shepherds / Aheym, 2015. Just beautiful

It's a Yiddish-lover's world. Enjoy. As for me, I'm off to my own aheym at Ashkenaz!

Posted by adavidow at 08:54 AM | Permalink
August 31, 2016
"Ver es vil kayn tate-mame folgn" Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

This week's "Yiddish Song of the Week" features the original (two originals, in fact) of a song that was remixed as part of the WAKS recording that I reviewed this week.

"Ver es vil kayn tate-mame folgn" Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, recorded in 1954

Posted by adavidow at 01:06 PM | Permalink
Barry Sisters on YouTube

From Simon of Hatikva Music

The Barry Sisters performing live...Amazing!!! "Nu, Zug Mir Schoin Ven" (Live! With lyrics)

Does anyone have the translation to this song????

Posted by adavidow at 10:48 AM | Permalink
Mickey Katz singles released in UK cd cover

Just heard about this new release in the UK:

Mickey Katz and his Orchestra / Strictly Kosher Singles

My respondent notes that there is a lot of variation in levels between the cuts--it sounds more like a paste-together compilation than something someone tried to make work together. But, minor cavils—the material is now available outside of collectors' shops.

The compilation appears to be released by Jasmine Records

Posted by adavidow at 10:37 AM | Permalink
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!
PRE├čBURGER 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:

The has excerpts from Fyvush Finkel, in English and Yiddish as part of their Wexner Oral History project.

Rokhl Kafrissen shares her memories (and blog posts) about Fyvush on rokhl.blogspot.com

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
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Music (or often about music)
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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'.)

Search the KlezmerShack:
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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!