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June 30, 2007

Marty Schwartz, Budowitz, KlezCalifornia on video

Martin Schwartz; image from KQEDItzik Gottesman posted this to the Jewish-Music list. It's a dynamite ~7 minute clip from the Bay Area's KQED on the Klezmer Revival today, and about the most recent KlezCalifornia featuring Budowitz:

It's a segment from the KQED show, Spark(?) This aired in June, 2007:
KlezCalifornia, www.kqed.org/arts/places/spark/profile.jsp?id=17340

"We don’t quite understand how it’s gone on for decades and continues to be vital." —Martin Schwartz

After I posted this yesterday, Marty Schwartz e-mailed with his own evaluation of the piece:

"Hi , Ari! Hope yr doing welll. You may share/forward this; please do, actually.

"Pity they didn't play (prob. due to considerations of time) the proto-jazz trumpet doina solo prefacing the upbeat tune on the 1st record I present (it's all on my Arhoolie klezmer reissue, cut 6, Orchestre Goldberg on a Greek disk of 1908 Istanbul.

"Dunno who came up with the bit about band not stopping til the dancers 'shvits'.

"Apparently it was meant to supply a little quasi-Yiddish coloration (as though Yiddish shvits is more funky than the more widespread saline exudate called 'sweat').

"I think was excellently done (I had fun, too), like the other shows in the Spark series."

June 24, 2007

Seattle's "Kesselgarden" on YouTube

Carl Shutoff writes from Seattle:

Kesselgarden (Carl Shutoff on clarinet and Laurie Andres on accordion) is on YouTube. See an excerpt from our CD release event and see us perform a Goldenshteyn medley at the 2007 Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle.

Can't fault the band's name. That's where my great grandfather entered these shores (and according to family legend, got his last name).

New CD: Yemenite Diwan from Hebrew University

Simon at Hatikvah Music in LA writes:

cd coverNew** 2 CD/200 Page Book -of Yemenite Diwan from Hebrew University
*** Ya'anu B'kol Shirim - With Songs They Respond****
The Diwan of The Jews from Central Yemen

Hot of the presses, this exciting deluxe 2 CD set including a hard cover booklet of over 200 pages—110 pages in English and over 109 pages in Hebrew—including lyrics to all the selections. The booklet give a detailed history of the Diwan and the origins of each of the selections.

The Songs in this set fall into 2 categories, "Sabbath Songs", and "Songs for All Occasions" (Celebrations) and are based on the works of the great poets: Shelomo Ibn Gabirol, Yehudah Halevi, Shalom Shabazi, Yosef Ben Israel, and others.

The recordings on these CDs were made between 1977 and 1979 sung by The Kiryat Ono Ensemble including such renown Yemenite artist as Aharom Amram, Zado Zubeiri, Zekhariah Yitshak, Yehuda Cohen and many more.

We accept Visa & Mastercard.
Thank Your
Hatikvah Music
323) 656-7083

New Review: Balkan Beat Box / Nu*Med

Balkan Beat Box / Nu Med
JDUB Records, Jdub106, 2007
Available from JDub Records
I credit my growing affection for hip hop to the very different efforts of DJ SoCalled and the Balkan Beat Box. In this latest offering, BBB confirm my expectation of pleasure, but now I am a bit more used to the band, the genre. Still, the wonderful melding of rap with balkan melody in rhythm in "Hermetica," say, is proof positive that this a band with lots to say, and lots of new ways in which to say it. Then, in the middle of piece, when the rap switches languages to Hebrew and I realize that I understand exactly what is being vocalized—a 21st century version of the West Side Story's "In America", but conceptually transformed as well. Rap later takes a trip south of the US border with "Mexico City," but again with rhythms from elsewhere.

The whole album is like that—fun rhythms, samples, melodies coupled with interesting words and the whole making a delightful dance stew that answers that need for dance that pulled me into klezmer fandom years ago. This, of course, has nothing to do with klezmer beyond the usual most tenuous link of this review appearing on a website with "klezmer" in its name. Still, my favorites are probably the Bulgarian harmonies of pieces like "Joro Boro."

"Pachima" explores some lovely call-response Middle Eastern twang. "Habibi min zman" takes that Turkish-style twang, but, instead of taking us into traditional territory (as, say, on the most recent Shtreiml outing), the vocals switch to Arabic and the delivery is once again, straight-forward hip hop (even the ululation is filtered through modern electronic gadgetry), and before I know it I'm in straight ahead balkan sax territory—lookout Yuri Yunakov!—and then back again in the Middle East.

Like all the music that makes me happiest, Nu*Med is a melange, a potpourri, in this case, a Jewish-American-Israeli-Balkan-World fusion that never loses sight of fun and infectious rhythm.

International Association of Yiddish Clubs, Cleveland, OH, Aug 3-6, 2007

The International Association of Yiddish Clubs 11th conference in Cleveland, Ohio August 3-6, 2007. Each morning will start with a plenary session including Gerry Kane (Toronto), Prof. Kathryn Hellerstein (U of Penn), and Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson (Algemeiner Journal, editor). Each evening will be filled with entertainment including; Adrienne Cooper, Joanne Borts, Heather Klein, The Silvers and the Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band and attendance at the Concert in the Park (Cain Park). [I'll be singing at the pre-concert with the Workmen's Circle Klezmer Orchestra.] In addition, 30 different lectures/workshops will be presented ranging from Yiddish in Japan, to Yidish: shpigl tsi a shprakh. There also will be vendors and exhibitors—all at the new Marriott Cleveland East Hotel. For the full program and details see the website at: www.derbay.org/cleveland/

review of Regev and Seroussi's "popular music of Israel"

Eva Broman spotted this one and posted it to the Jewish-Music list:

Moti Regev and Edwin Seroussi, Popular Music and National Culture in Israel (University of California Press, 2004). (For the review, scroll down past the information about an Edwin Seroussi speaking engagement): notes.co.il/mati/28799.asp

June 17, 2007

"Out of Babylon" - new CD of Baghdadi-Jewish music

From JMD in the UK comes announcement of a new and interesting CD

Out of Babylon CD coverOut of Babylon—on Celestial Harmonies, released 2007
The music of Baghdadi-Jewish migrations into Asia and beyond.
Babylon became the spiritual centre of Judaism and was to remain so for over a thousand years. This legacy of Babylonian Jews was so profound that their descendants many of who migrated elsewhere yearned for Jerusalem in their prayers but considered Bagdhdad their home and that is where their culture took shape. There are fewer then 20 Jews left in Babylon ( Iraq) today. The songs in this compilation were chosen from field recordings collected separately by Professor Marageret Kartomi and Dr Sara Manasshe. This CD compilation is one of the outcomes of six years of research investigating a rare case of musical heritage maintained over two chains of migrations over the past 200 years or so, and focused on situations of culture contact in a series of Diasporas across a continent to Asia in the colonial era and eventually across several continents to Asia, Australia and North America The songs were recorded in a variety of acoustic environments, as dictated by field opportunities.

CD £12.95
Website: www.jewishmusic-jmd.co.uk

Millie and the Mentshn on YouTube

Millie and the Mentshn are based in Bellingham, WA. Someone attending a recent concert caught some performance bits on their cellphone and posted to YouTube. Visual quality is as might be expected, but there is some fun here for mainstream klezmer/yiddish show tune fans, including "Yidl mitn fidl":

There are a couple of clips, available at www.youtube.com/millieandthementshn, and of course, you can subscribe to the channel to pick up future uploads.

June 16, 2007

New Reviews: Pharaoh's Daughter, Fred Katz, Shtreiml

album coverFinding time to listen to new music, much less time to review it, has become a major challenge. In today's mail two reasons arrived that help explain why I try to keep it happening, however sparseley. And, lest I despair, thoroughly, about catching up on some of the mind-blowing music that has been accumulating, I determine to be late for dinner and share one more.

Pharaoh's Daughter / Haran CD coverPharaoh's Daughter / Haran
Oy!hoo Records, OY1, 2007
Available from Oy!hoo Records
I have been following Pharaoh's Daughter almost from the very beginning. Basya Schechter goes back and forth between songs modern personal Jewish folksongs (most lyrically on the last Pharaoh's Daughter album, Exile (2002).

The new CD, Haran is a return to exploration of old Jewish prayers and texts, set to modern, Middle-Eastern-influenced music. The opening, "by Way of Haran" is a delightfully compact combination of Middle Eastern and Psychedelia. Schechter's American accented Hebrew, and touches like the delightful electric piano on "Ka Ribon", adapted from 16th century zmirot help remind us that this is music of our time.

There is a heart, and a musical and textual depth to this recording that moves me far more than the explicitly religious recordings from the Jewish renewal movement that I hear more often. The escape from simplistic paragraphs repeated, as though mantras, ad nauseum, is such a relief. The exploration of Ladino, Hebrew, Aramaic, is a welcome complement to the more common Yiddish of other new Jewish musicians. Yet, the music of "Lev Tahor" would not sound alien to Ashkenazic tradition. We are not so different from one another as that (nor have the Brooklyn Hasidic-born Schechter's influences been limited to Sepharad). The clarity and beauty of Schechter's singing of the words makes it possible to follow along and explore the prayer (in the sense of both praise of, or wrestling with G-d) behind them. The open spaces created by the music provide room for the mind to wander and to hear these new sounds.

This LP is on a new label, oy!hoo, the latest project by Michael Dorf, founder of the Knitting Factory (now, alas, sold these past few years and a far less interesting place). If the new label succeeds in creating new music as well as this recording, we are in for interesting, and good, times ahead. In the meantime, this is the sort of recording I mean when I say that I am listening for new Jewish music. Get your own copy.

Fred Katz / Folk songs for far out folk CD coverFred Katz / Folk Songs for Far Out Folk
(originally released, 1959) re-released by Reboot Stereophonic, RSR007, 2007
Available from Amazon.com (which helps support the KlezmerShack) and just about everyone but Reboot Stereophonic, so far!
Visit Reboot Stereophonic
Here's an entirely different take on Jewish American music. The re-release of Fred Katz's "Folk Songs for Far Out Folk" is an exciting, lounge-y jazz exploration of folk songs from three traditions: Jewish, African, and American. This is brilliant, effervescent music. You'd have to be Frank London ... or Fred Katz to come up with something this brilliant and listenable.

The original melodies have been thoroughly deconstructed, as if by Cecil Taylor. But the playback? This is lively, lovely, lounge-y jazz. Polish immigrant beat poet Lawrence Lipton's accompanying poems capture that spirit of questioning peacefulness with timeless accuracy. Even better, reading Jo

Ghettoblaster arrived in US, June 12

SoCalled / Ghettoblaster CD coverGhettoblaster just came out in the US on JDub. This is the amazing set of tracks I first heard at KlezKanada a couple of years ago. From the promo email:


… that's how Socalled's new record Ghettoblaster begins. A call to arms—or really—a call away from arms, to set the tone for this thoughtful, yet ridiculous album. Religious systems are fair game, as are crazy collaborations like 92 year old lounge lizard Irving Fields and underground MC C-Rayz Walz, or James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley and a choir of Hasidic children.

Listen to You Are Never Alone

Glenn Dickson performance online

Clarinetist Glenn Dickson, of Shirim Klezmer Orchestra and the more avantgarde Naftule's Dream writes:

My solo performance at the SOS Festival a couple of weeks ago is up on this very cool web site, Jamendo, which you should check out whether you want to hear me or not. My recording is at www.jamendo.com/en/album/5585/.

Creative Commons License You can download it for free, as well as any of the other music on the web site, it is all on a "Creative Commons" license which means you can download for personal use. Click on the "music" tab at the top and you can see a list of genres to start exploring, or click on the "spiral" tab to explore in a different way.

KlezKanada brochures now available online; Aug 20-26, 2007

KlezKanada logoThe internationally renowned and only annual rural–based summer festival of yiddish / jewish culture and the arts returns for a 12th year in 2007

Monday August 20th, 2007 (5pm) to Sunday August 26th, 2007

KlezKanada takes place at Camp B'Nai Brith—St. Agathe (Lantier), Quebec MAPQUEST

You can now view and download the 2007 Brochure and Hand-On Workshop descriptions at KlezKanada's website www.klezkanada.com. Assuming visa issues are resolved, the renowned singer, Arkady Gendler, most recently star of the Klezmer Cruise on the Dnieper, will be present.

June 11, 2007

Grumble grumble even farther from new reviews

In the bad old days, the KlezmerShack was mostly just reviews. I'd listen to music. I'd share what I heard. End of story.

Now, I am never caught up with the calendar or with the new listings. So when do I have time to write? Today, wanting to check something out I tried sending an email from the KlezmerShack only to get a rude error message. My good compatriot, George Robinson, ran into the same wall.

After bothering my ISP, pair.com, which is very good at many things, but which sucks in this particular area, I discovered that they had decided that my email script was being used by spammers, and had disabled it. They sent me a notice, but the notice went to an address that is all spam, so I never saw it. (They similarly turned off comments on the blog part of the KlezmerShack a year ago, and I haven't had time to re-code.)

So, tonight, instead of doing the new web pages that I promised, or homework for class, I spent part of the night updating the various communications scripts on the KlezmerShack, and then trying to track down and eliminate lots of old cruft calling old scripts. Feh. But I also put in place something that should make it harder for spammers to bug people listed here - I installed a "captcha," a graphical device that forces each sender to type in a unique code. This will throw people using lynx, or using other non-graphical browsing tools. But, for now, it's going to have to do. Sorry. And no new review tonight, either. Double Feh.

June 9, 2007

4th Annual KlezMORE festival, Vienna, Austria, Jun 25-Jul 8, 2007

KlezMORE, Vienna, Austria, 2007The 4th Annual KlezMORE Festival Vienna will start on June, 25 and will last till July 8th!

Please look up www.klezmore-vienna.at for more information.

Weimar Yiddish Summer, Weimar, Germany, Jul 9 - Aug 9

Weimar Yiddish SummerThe Weimar Yiddish Summer, runs this year from July 9 through August 9 in Weimar, Germany.

For further information, www.yiddish-summer-weimar.de