Known to the rest of the world as a master violinist, teacher, mentor, Yaela Hertz was also a critical faculty member at KlezKanada where I was fortunate to meet her. She had that rare combination of extraordinary ability, insight, and human warmth that will be heard for generations as her students teach their students. Deborah Strauss posted on Facebook yesterday that she had passed away May 30, 2014. You can get a brief sense of who she was professionally from her entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia, or from this 1963 article in the Montreal Gazette.
There was a great piece by Ezra Glinter in last week's Forward about the growing fictional genre for people who have left the ultra-Orthodox community. It inspired me to read a new-to-me Tova Mirvis (which I enjoyed as much as her first book, a best-seller).
It also made me reflect that I rarely encounter fictional characters who resemble myself: a former Orthodox Jew who is generally quite religiously secular. Esther Broner captured a community in Israel (albeit, primarily only from the women's side) 30 or 40 years ago in A Weave of Women that was possibly the only time that I read a book and felt as though I could almost identity each character and its real-life inspiration—many of them friends. Since then, the closest I have come is, perhaps, Peter Mansur's Song of the Butcher's Daughter, which, centered at the Yiddish Book Center, at least centered around an institution that is important in my life.
It may be that I am sufficiently unusual—both knowledgeable about Jewish life, but distant from it—that I shouldn't expect to see people who look familiar. Michael Chabon's recent Telegraph Avenue at least featured some types, some even Jewish, that I knew from my years in the Bay Area, although their lack of connection to "Jewish" beyond some vague childhood culture points was disappointingly tenuous (if also quite common). What have you read that resonates? Who is writing about the American Jewish experience that resonates for you? Email me.
It was in the today's mail. Kvell from the Yiddish Book Center. It contained an interview with donor Monty Hall. Who knew that the long-time "Let's Make a Deal" host was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and had such great memories of the Jewish community there.
You want to be on the Yiddish Center's mailing list (which includes the benefit of kvelling about being a donor to same), go to www.yiddishbookcenter.org/giving. Tell them that the KlezmerShack sent you.
While you're there, take a look at their new translation program. Pretty nifty! Might be worth whispering in someone's ear, "don't forget the women!"
This latest Yoshie Fruchter project needs help on Kickstarter. I'm in. How about you?
Schizophonia is an exploration of cantorial music found on 20th century recordings and re-imagined through a contemporary lens.
Kind of neat that Jewish music makes it to an event of this type. Clearly klezmer is no longer avant garde ;-) (but that's been true for decades). Stephen Baum writes:
"Hankus Netsky is speaking at TheRetreat—a three day experience in Jewish learning, fellowship, davening, and sports at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts. His subject is Klezmer music, and its migration from Europe to America—a migration that each of you has been a part of."
"The lecture itself is on Thursday, June 12th, beginning at 8:00 PM. Afterwards there will be some unstructured hospitality at the camp, but I'd really like to see that evolve into a Klezmer jam session.
"TheRetreat itself opens at 3:00 PM that day, with dinner at 5:45, and Ma'ariv at 7:15. It can be a wonderful weekend, and we expect around a hundred Jewish men from the New England, Hudson Valley, and Connecticut regions to attend. The first timer fee for the full weekend, including 4 Days and 3 Nights of a shared room in Camp Ramah's bunks, kosher meals & snacks, plus all lectures and activities is $250 for first timers, $315 for those who have been before.
"You are also, of course, welcome to just come for the evening itself, and that is free. It is a little over an hour from the Weston tolls at the I-90/128 intersection. If you'd like to, you could join us for dinner, and if you'd rather stay the night and join us for breakfast, that would be great too. The full weekend is a Men's Club regional event, but there are enough available bunk houses that it would be no problem to accommodate women who would prefer to stay over to Friday. Coming just for the lecture and jam session would be free, but if you'd like to come for full evening and following morning, it would be $75. Again, check the web site specified above for further information."
Folk Arts and Social Change Awardees Nana Korantema Ayeboafo and Elaine Hoffman Watts will be honored on June 7th at the Philadelphia Folklore Project annual bash.
The party runs from 6 PM - 9 PM at the Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, in Philadelphia. Expect food, fun, engaging activities, a wonderful crowd of people, and an all-around joyful evening! This year's Birthday Bash marks big changes at PFP, includes great performances (with your participation), and it honors amazing women who are inspiring models in folk arts and change. Support the Philadelphia Folklore Project and honor people in our region whose work in folk arts and social change is inspiring.
Too many events to list, and it's not even Ashkenaz week yet!
From Gerben Zaagsma in the "Yiddish Sources" group on LinkedIn
Poland was once the home of the largest Jewish community in the world and until World War II was one of the great centers of Jewish political, cultural, and religious life.
YIVO's Polish Jewish Archive is the only American collection, and one of very few worldwide, which was saved from the destruction of the Holocaust.
Explore this world here through manuscripts, posters, photographs, music and other artifacts.
So, did I mention that this week Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center, was honored at the White House? The Tablet used it to write a couple of great articles, including a short interview with Peter Manseau, whose Song of the Butcher's Daughter is one of my favorite recent novels, and perhaps the first to feature the Yiddish Book Center as a location:
Michelle Obama Celebrates Yiddish Literature: Awards Yiddish Book Center nation's highest honor for museums and libraries, by Hannah Dreyfus, May 8, 2014
The Irish Catholic Promoting Yiddish Literature Peter Manseau on accepting Yiddish Book Center honor from the First Lady, by Hannah Dreyfus, May 16, 2014
Wondering when to catch your next Boston Red Sox game? Thursday, May 29 is "Jewish Heritage Night" at Fenway Park. di bostoner klezmer is thrilled to have been invited to play before the game on Yawkey Way as fans go into the stadium to see the Red Sox playing. We play from 5:40 P.M. for 50 minutes. Come say hello. It will be fun.
Thursday, May 29at 5:40pm - 6:30pm
1 Yawkey Place,
From Roberta Levine, to the Jewish-Music mailing list:Renowned Polish musician, instrument maker, teacher, and Holocaust survivor Jozef Jankowski passed away on May 7th. He played Polish, Russian, and Jewish repertoire on pre-War Polish radio. He impacted many comtemporary klezmer musicians and once attended KlezKamp in Cherry Hill.
Thanks to Pete Rushefsky, we listed Mr. Jankowski on the KlezmerShack's "vendor" page for many years, with a testimony from Josh Horowitz.
I'm very excited to let you know that we're planning a klezmer course in Derbyshire for the end of August. Following on from the wildly popular KlezNorth spring weekend, a special course with the London Klezmer Quartet will be held 29-31 August in the same picturesque Peak District village. This one is for those who would like to delve deeper into the instrumental side of things. Course numbers will be capped at 30.
Youlgrave Village Hall, Holywell Lane, Youlgrave, Derbyshire DE45 1UT
Outline of activities
Jam: Friday 8.30pm til late at the Farmyard Inn
Course runs Saturday 11am to Sunday 1pm
LKQ in concert Saturday 8pm followed by session with optional dancing
Golem has a hot new release featuring their patented klezmer/yiddish/balkan-ish punk anarchy. The opening song is like a cross between Cyndi Lauper's "Girls want to have fun" and Daniel Kahn. Get the complete scoop in this week's Klezmer Podcast as the Annette discusses "Tanz," and more. What I find most fascinating is her description of the inspiration for her current songwriting based on her husband's family stories—Russian Jewish stories not from our grandparents, but from our time. What better subject for a Jewish punk-rock-traditional band?
Klezmer Podcast 115: Annette Ezekiel Kogan, of Golem
You can also catch Annette, with violinist Jeremy Brown, interviewed by Sarah Ivry on Vox Tablet: www.tabletmag.com/podcasts/172178/golem-tanz
From our friends Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss:
THIS AUGUST 10-13!
AN EXCITING BRAND-NEW PROGRAM.
Join us for JewJamSouth, a four-day celebration of Jewish choral music, Yiddish song and klezmer music this August in Clayton, GA!
JewJamSouth will take place on August 10–13, 2014, at Ramah Darom's campus in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. The event is designed for passionate Jewish choral singers, klezmer instrumentalists, Hebrew and Yiddish singers and their families. Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a newcomer, this four-day festival will offer a feast of musical inspiration, ideas and fun.
JewJamSouth is open to people of all levels and backgrounds, and no previous experience is needed. Beginners are welcome.
Throughout the four days, you'll have a chance to participate in a hands-on ensemble program and study, perform and be mentored by world-renowned faculty:
- Hazzan David Tilman, Program Director
- "Hazzan David Tilman is Adjunct Associate Professor at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the choral director at Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He also serves as Hazzan Emeritus of Beth Sholom Congregation, where he created a nationally recognized five choir program.Hazzan Tilman is an award-winning, life-long conductor who has traveled around the world and received numerous awards, including the first Moshe Nathanson Award in conducting and the the Samual Rosenbaum Award for lifelong achievement from the Cantor's Assembly. His travels have included trips to Germany, Havana and Chile, but he is also well-loved right here at home, as he has been the music director of Camp Ramah in Wingdale and Nyack, as well as at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.
- Jeff Warschauer, Co-Director
- Jeff Warschauer is a Founding Artistic Director and Senior Artistic Advisor of the KlezKanada Institute for Yiddish/Jewish Culture and the Arts, is on the faculty of Columbia University in New York, and is a graduate student in Cantorial Music and Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
- Deborah Strauss, Co-Director
- Deborah Strauss is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist, an award-winning children's educator and a highly-regarded Yiddish dancer and dance leader.
- The Strauss/Warschauer Duo
- For over 25 years, Deborah Strauss (violin, accordion, vocals, dance) and Jeff Warschauer (guitar, mandolin, vocals) have been at the forefront of the international klezmer and Yiddish music scene. They were both long-time members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival, and have performed with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman on film and in concert. They are renowned worldwide for their depth of experience and knowledge, and for their innovative performances, residencies and workshops.
- Come enjoy a breathtaking view and gourmet Kosher cuisine among new friends;
- Experience formal and informal Hebrew, Yiddish and Israeli singing and dancing;
- Participate in choral and klezmer ensembles formed by JewJamSouth participants;
- Enjoy a full klezmer concert and dance party with the world-famous Strauss/Warschauer duo, pioneering performers of the klezmer revival; and
- Learn new musical skills and repertoire to bring back home with you.
The event will culminate in a one-of-a-kind joint choral/klezmer gala performance.
Email Bennie Cohen with any questions, and register now, as spots are filling up quickly!
From the CD release concert for the new Shtreiml recording, "Eastern Hora," featuring Ismail Fencioglu. The band also features famed Philadelphia trombonist Rachel Lemish, composer/keyboardist/harmonica player Jason Rosenblatt, the incomparable Thierry Arsenault on drums, and Joel Kerr on bass. This is the band's second release fusing Turkish and klezmer music into something delicious. Find out more at www.shtreiml.com/shtreiml.php:
It's a free preview, and the Boston Jewish Film Festival is great folks to hang with. This could be a lot of fun.
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
7:00 pm, Thursday, May 29
West Newton Cinema
Free Preview for friends of the BJFF!
In his directorial debut, Mike Myers (Wayne's World) documents the astounding career of Hollywood legend Shep Gordon. Following a chance encounter with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Shep went on to manage an eclectic list of artists. Gordon's unlikely story is told by those who know him best, his pals, including Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Emeril Lagasse and more.
Don't miss your chance for this sneak preview screening of Supermensch, which will open in theaters in June!
Register online to reserve your space.
Deep Skies, 2013
Available from susanlevitonarts.com
This is a special album. It doesn't re-imagine Yiddish (mostly) standards. Rather, Susan Leviton presents them in a form that enables us to re-hear them, and re-imagine them for ourselves. In digging into the poetry of these songs, we regain insight into a particular world, but also into the human condition.... [more]
If you live in NYC, you can hear the artist tonight as part of the New York Klezmer Series, at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 W. 68th St., NYC
KlezKamp--30th ANNIVERSARY--SAVE THE DATE!
Dec. 23–29, 2014
30th Annual Yiddish Folk Arts Program
Shabbos KlezKamp in honor of our 30th Anniversary
Helping Yiddish culture flourish for 30 years!
Klezmer music and Yiddish Yiddish song, dance, theater, language, crafts, folklore and poetry--at all levels--taught by the world's most inspirational teachers. Full children's and teens programs. Held in the Catskills at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, Kerhonkson, NY.
Later in September, please visit www.klezkamp.org
Ahmet Erdogdular and Makam New York are presenting the third annual Turkish Music Institute here in New York City at Columbia University from May 2-6—teachers are Ross Daly (bowed lyra), Ahmet Erdoğdular (vocals), Yurdal Tokcan (oud) and Ömer Erdoğdular (ney)—more info is here: makamnewyork.org
On May 2 the faculty will perfom a concert at Symphony Space (95th and Broadway):
Makam New York captures the vibrant spirit of musical makam traditions of Greece, Asia Minor, Balkans, and the Levant. Internationally acclaimed musicians explore the timeless beauty in the artistic expression of Turkish, Greece, Sephardic Jewish, and Armenian composers, as well as their own pieces. Ross Daly, Ahmet Erdoğdular, Yurdal Tokcan and Ömer Erdoğdular captivate their audiences with interpretations of centuries old pieces, their own contemporary compositions, and improvisations on ney, oud, tarhu, Cretan lyra and voice. More information here: www.symphonyspace.org/event/8350/Music/makam-new-york
Sephardic-Jewish song, Flory Jagoda - Pesah ala mano (Passover is at hand) The amazing Flory Jagoda sings a Pesach classic.
Passover without counting songs? A shande. Here is a familiar one, in Yiddish, with an updated musical setting, just in time for the seder. Video sent out by Joey of the Boston Jewish Music Festival:
Sunday, April 6, 11:00am
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 West 16th Street,
New York, New York 10011
Around 1900, East European Jews became acutely aware of the impact of modernization and urbanization on their culture: on their songs, their tales, and customs. They set in motion a wide range of projects and institutions to gather, archive, and study fading folklore. YIVO was a pioneer in this push, along with a galaxy of Polish and Russian (later Soviet) activists. Today, with the loss of the original population and the huge demographic and cultural shifts of world Jewry, the surviving archives both preserve and channel a rising tide of interest, even a hunger, for what's called "Yiddish" music and folklore.
This symposium brings together archivists, scholars and performers to discuss the history and creation of Yiddish folk music archives, and the future of the study and performance of Yiddish song today. What is the role of Jewish music archives in fostering new scholarship and Yiddish music?
The event is dedicated to the memory of Chana Mlotek, YIVO's Music Archivist from 1978 until her recent passing at age 91 in 2013.
Chair: Mark Slobin, Wesleyan University
From Eva Broman, on the Jewish-Music list:
From Eva Broman, on the Jewish-Music list:
Riches to rags to virtual riches: The journey of Jewish Arab singers, November 23, 2013
Some of the most revered musicians from the Arab world moved to Israel in the 1950s and 60s, where they became manual laborers and their art was lost within a generation. Now, with the advent of YouTube, their masterpieces are getting a new lease on life and new generations of Arab youth have come to appreciate their genius. Part one of a musical journey beginning in Israel's Mizrahi neighborhoods of the 1950s and leading up to the Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf.
The International Jewish Music competition will be held September 13 - 16, 2014 in the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ and the Uilenburger Synagogue in the heart of Amsterdam. This is the world's most significant launching pad for professional Jewish musical ensembles... of the 80 ensembles that have participated since 2008, most have experienced a boost in their careers, and more than half of the participants in the last competition won cash prizes, concert bookings and/or recording contracts.
On our website www.ijmf.org you will find all information on how to enter the competition and the conditions here: www.joodsmuziekfestival.nl/EN2012/Application2014.html. The deadline for applying is May 1, 2014. After this date our selection committee will review the submitted music samples and choose up to 24 ensembles to take part in this year's competition.
YIDDISH IS UNDEAD!
The Mystical and Supernatural in Ashkenazic Jewish Folklore and Practice
Mon, Aug 18 - Sun Aug 24, 2014
Camp Bnai Brith
Lantier, Quebec, Canada
If you have not yet registered, please do so here, as soon as possible. Reserve your place now before we fill up!
Scholarship applications are now open for emerging artists and scholars, ages 16 to 35. This internationally renowned program offers students an opportunity to study with many of the leading teachers of Yiddish/Jewish music and culture, and make friends and form artistic partnerships that will last a lifetime. Apply here.
Celebrate the Centerpiece of the Jewish Choral Movement
Join us at the 25th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival
July 20 - 24, 2014
Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, NY
Click here to register now
LaM'natzeach Award to Matthew Lazar
For Sparking a Renaissance of Jewish Choral Music
11th Hallel V'Zimrah Award to Marsha Bryan Edelman and Dan Freelander
Celebrating 25 Years of Song! This year's Festival includes A Choral Festival Retrospective Commemorative Journal NAJCF "Then and Now" Photos
More Choral Performances
More Community Singing
Special Young Adult Programming
Exciting New Workshops
At the beginning of WWII, Olivier Messiaen was in the French army, and was taken prisoner of war. People less philistine than I consider it one of the premier pieces of 20th century music, and it premiered in Stalag 8-A on Jan 15, 1941 with Messiaen on piano, and three other musicians—one of them a Jewish clarinetist, Henri Akoka. There is a stunning description of the circumstances under which the piece was written and premiered in a new novel, Orfeo by one of my favorite authors, Richard Price. It may be the best section, and one that best illuminates what Powers is trying to say with the novel. (The one Jewish music connection to this piece, perhaps? Partly as a result of being part of that quartet of musicians, with missteps and near-transports along the way, Henri Akoka survived the war.)
I have been listing to an old RCA recording of "The Quartet for the End of Time" for the last couple of months, ever since reading about it in the novel. I had purchased the recording after reading Alex Ross' incredible book on 20th century music, All the rest is noise," a few years ago, and quite frankly, hadn't gotten into it. That has changed.
Now, things have changed again. David Krakauer has released a new recording of the quartet, framed by short pieces composed by himself ("Akoka") and digital re-mix wizard, SoCalled ("Meanwhile...."). It includes Krakauer on clarinet, SoCalled on electronics, Matt Haimovitz on cello, Jonathan Crow on violin, and Geoffrey Burleson on piano. It is stunning. It will officially release on April 1, and if you are at all interested in amazing once-avant garde music, this is a must-purchase. It has replaced (mostly) my older recording. As intended, this is the "Quartet for the end of time" for our time.
The recording is available from Oxingale Music, oxingalerecords.com/2014/02/22/akoka/.
Global Calendar of Jewish Music Events
KlezmerShack Twitter Updates
Music (or often about music)
Jewish Music WebCenter
Bella e Perduta: Music, Italy, & the Jews
Blog in Dm
Chasing the Fat Man
Inna's Musings, Memories, Meanderings
Jeff Klepper's Blog
Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate
Klezmer Podcast Blog
Matisyahu, best of UK Jewish Music & Culture
Shirim Khadashim—New Jewish Songs
Teruah Jewish Music
Yiddish Song of the Week
YK's Jewish Music Forum
Got klezmer photos you'd like me to include on the KlezmerShack? Upload them to flickr with the label "klezmer" and they'll be in rotation here!
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."
(Frequently Asked Questions)
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:|
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!