" /> the KlezmerShack: December 2010 Archives

« November 2010 | Main | January 2011 »

December 31, 2010

new video: Mt. Holyoke College Klezmer Band

From klezmer flautist extraordinaire, Adrianne Greenbaum:

Please enjoy checking out a composite video I just finished of the Mount Holyoke College (really, 5-college community) Klezmer Band. Fall semester's focus was on the standards of the Belf repertoire:

Musique judéo-andalouse: Benjamin Bouzaglo, Haïm Louk, Moshé Louk, Shimon Sibony

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

A great website with two complete concerts of Judeo-Andalousian music:


The source for Jewish sheet music

In response to a query about finding sheet music for zmires (psalms) and nigunim (Chasidic tunes), Province, RI musician Fishel Bresler writes (and it should be spread more widely):

"A Notable Idea has sheet music for everything. Except for his irritating practice of printing the key signatures only on the first line (as I guess some of the cool NY jazz guys do), the sheets are excellent."


Fishel On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 5:26 PM, Itzik Gottesman < gottesman@yiddish.forward.com> wrote: > > I am helping a friend plan his wedding. Does the sheet music for these > > nigunim/zmires (I know there's more than one tune for each)exist on line? > > Can they be heard on line? > > thanks - itzik

How Jewish songwriters secularized Christmas

Judith Cohen spotted this one—time to post it before the season is completely behind us:

"Most people here know most of this, but it isn't a typical article for Toronto's Globe and Mail paper, and it also deatures a commissioned "dreidl-friendly Christmas song" by David Wall.: Schmeck the Halls: How Jewish songwriters created Christmas, Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail, Saturday, Dec. 18

NYC Premiere of new Klezmatics film, 'On Holy Ground' Jan 13 & 17, 2011

film stillAnnouncing the New York premier screenings of The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground. January 13 and 17, Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center. Part of the New York Jewish Film Festival.

The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground
Germany/Hungary/Israel/Poland/USA, 2010; 106m

Director Erik Greenberg Anjou (A Cantor’s Tale, 2006) returns with this high-energy documentary about the Grammy Award-winning, New York-based Yiddish roots band, The Klezmatics. Live performances are mixed with soulful interviews with band members as well as other performers including Joshua Nelson, Chava Alberstein and Theodore Bikel. Anjou and crew followed the Klezmatics for over four years capturing the band’s highs, lows, and relentless march forward.


26th Berkeley Jewish Music Fest lineup announced

2011 BJMF logoThe festival that introduced me to the Klezmatics, Brave Old World, Bukharin music, and so much more is back for it's 26th year. This year they are following the Boston Jewish Music Festival (or vice versa) in presenting Idan Raichel alum Ravid Kahalani, presenting "Yemen Blues." There is also an evening of music from the famed, and too-seldom-heard St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music pieces played by violin virtuoso Noah Bendix-Bagley. That scratches the surface. Read more at the festival website, www.jewishmusicfestival.org.

Now, if the Boston Jewish Music Festival, which will be held over two weeks in 2011 from Mar 6-20 would get its own schedule up so I can start bragging on our local cats…. It's coming soon, and it, too, will be a great schedule.

December 29, 2010

Down with the old shtick. Gimme some new shtick

In the run up to Chanuka, Hanukkah, Khanike, someone sent me this year's parody of a famous rap song, complete with a guy in fake beard and payes (peyot, peyote) singing in one of those grating faux alte zakhe accents in yinglish.

I declined to post it. I felt about the same way I felt about "2 Live Jews" in their day. Old. Tired. Stupid stereotypes that can be allowed to disappear. There are many ways to represent Jewish life. Using caricatures of our fundamentalists doesn't do it for me. (Likewise and even more emphatically to anyone pushing the old "Jewish mother" misogyny, but that's yet another story—I was hoping we left that behind with Shelley Winters' portrayal of same in "Last stop at Greenwich Village," but once again, what on earth do I know?). Likewise, there aren't many Jews who have an accent like my bubbe and zayde used to have. So, when you rely on those tropes, you are already telling me, "passe, old, tired." Unless you're as brilliant as Mickey Katz or Lenny Bruce, it might be worth working with material that resonates with those of us alive today. I'm not sure what that will be (poking fun at the jewy-ness of Hebe magazine comes to mind, but I'm not sure how few people who know of Hebe mind "Jewy-ness").

In any event, I serve notice. Not only am I cranky, overworked, and underpaird. I need new shtick. To paraphrase what I used to say when I sold underground newspapers on the corners of Dallas, TX in my youth, "accept no dated b.s. Insist on fresh b.s."

Agree? Disagree? Until I get the new blog software installed so people can comment at will (you know things are bad when that sounds easier than fixing my incomprehensible mucking about with the current software), at least send me some email and let me know what you think.

December 28, 2010

Music with which to pass time at airport delays

Aeropuerto de Tucumán. Octubre 24, 2010 -17:00 hs|

El domingo 24, un vuelo de LAN que venía a Tucumán tuvo una demora, y un grupo de músicos pertenecientes al grupo KBB (Klezfiesta Buenos Aires Band, orquesta recién creada que debutó en la 3er. edición de EMMKA /Klezfiesta) comenzó a tocar música klezmer. Los artistas regresaban a Buenos Aires luego de haber realizado un concierto klezmer en el teatro San Martín. Sin duda, le dieron vida al hall del aeropuerto como pocas veces se pudo ver.

Jewish music to protest at Tucuman Airport (Argentina) Sunday 24, October 2010 17:00 | A LAN flight coming to Tucuman was delayed, and a group of musicians belonging to the group KBB,(Buenos Aires Klezfiesta Band, orchestra which debuted recently, that was created for the 3rd. EMMKA / Klezfiesta) started playing klezmer music . The artists returned to Buenos Aires after having made a klezmer concert at the Teatro San Martin. Without doubt, that gave life to the hall of the airport that rarely saw something like this. / Aeropuertotucuman.blogspot.com

December 25, 2010

New releases from Sy Kushner

cd coverWith most people who release new CDs or music books, I am only one disk or so behind. In the last couple of years, Sy Kushner has been pouring forth an amazing array of pent-up klezmer. It is all worth paying attention to, so rather than just add yet another disk to what I have taken to calling the "review or die" pile (naming backlogs doesn't seem to change the time constraints, but it makes me feel better), I would like to actively call everyone's attention to the new release, and note that this comes with music for purchase, as well. Accordionist Kushner has been making excellent klezmer since his hits with the Mark 3 Orchestra back in the 1960s. He has only gotten better and deeper.

For more info, starting with the newest release, visit NuLite Music's website.

Fifth Annual Schmooze Jewish Culture Conf, NYC, Jan 11-12; Oyhoo Music Fest Jan 10-12

Okay, it's true that they use the Germanic spelling of "shmooze" rather than a usual Yiddish transliteration, but the conference, itself, seems to be well-attended and well-thought-of, however much a confusion of Yiddish and German transliteration/spelling is considered a cultural statement somewhat antithetical to promoting Jewish culture in my own household:

Schmooze 2011Don’t miss cutting edge conversations about Jewish culture as great performers such as Achinoam Nini (Noa), The Klezmatics, Joshua Nelson, Judy Gold, Rami Kleinstein and Keynote David Broza gather together for the 5th annual Schmooze 11 the International Jewish Presenters Association Jewish culture conference. in New York City on January 11 & 12, 2011 at City Winery.

Schmooze 11:The 5th annual IJPA Schmooze Jewish Culture Conference is a South By Southwest must attend event for the Jewish arts and culture/entertainment community. The Schmooze conference gathers leaders from cultural art centers, theater producers, agents, musicians, filmmakers, academics and others for two days of packed programming, stimulating panels, and dynamic debate on the 21st century Jewish cultural renaissance. This year we offer the first Cultural Luncheon, our IJPA fundraiser, featuring a pairing of 7 tastes of culture, with 7 of NY's top kosher chefs and 7 wines. We hope you can come join us for the festivities and, of course, the schmoozing.

We are especially excited about the musical acts that have joined the bill for the nights of the conference. The first fifty people that sign up to attend the Schmooze conference will get a three-night pass to the Oyhoo Music Festival happening the nights of January 11th, and 12th with a bonus show on the 10th. Keynotes include Debbie Friedman and shows will include Achinoam Nini "Noa" on January 10th, Good for the Jews & The Klezmatics with Joshua Nelson on January 11th, and Isramerica on January 12th.

Sign up by January 5th. For more information email David Frankin or call 917-362-9013

This year we offer the first Cultural Luncheon, our IJPA fundraiser, featuring a pairing of 7 tastes of culture, with 7 of NY's top kosher chefs and 7 wines. We hope you can come join us for the festivities and, of course, the schmoozing.

We are especially excited about the musical acts that have joined the bill for the nights of the conference . The first fifty people that sign up to attend the Schmooze conference will get a three-night pass to the Oyhoo Music Festival happening the nights of January 11th, and 12th with a bonus show on the 10th. Shows will include Achinoam Nini "Noa" on January 10th, Good for the Jews & The Klezmatics with Joshua Nelson on January 11th, and Isramerica on January 12th.

“Schmooze is a very smart conference. The conversation begans at a high level—much higher than anywhere else. Schmooze really wrestles with the philosophical issues, beyond how to construct budgets. Yet it gets into the tachlis of how reach our audiences, how do we address our different constituencies. Pay your way if you have to. It’s that important.” —Marilyn Hassid, Houston JCC

"IJPA provides a critically important centralized mechanism for meeting colleagues, sharing ideas, block booking, and above all, seeing what's new in Jewish culture. It takes me away from my desk, off my ipod and brings me face to face with other culture makers and presenters. I need it!" —Lenore D. Naxon, Director Friend Center for the Arts, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

Sessions include presentations on these and other topics:

  • Organizational Successes
  • Speed Schmoozing
  • Presenting Under Seige
  • Festivals becoming Brands
  • Israel Presenting
  • CROSS-OVER MARKETING: Breaking out of the Ghetto
  • Creating Attractive Programming for 20-30’s
  • Market Place

Save the Dates

Oy!hoo Music Festival, January 10-12, 2011
Schmooze ’11: Jewish Culture Conference, January 11-12, 2011

To register visit www.jewishpresenters.org

Cost is $150 per person for IJPA members, $225 for non-members. Price includes breakfast and buffet lunch on January 12th.

Cultural Pairing Lunch is $65 a la carte or combined with registration for $195 for members and $275 for non-members.

Email for more info
Web: Jewishpresenters.org

At the Schmooze conference we launching the next iteration of www.jewishpresenters.org, world's largest database of Jewish culture. one of the organization's mandates has been to establish an online gathering location which could serve as a tool for communication and expansion of all of the individual presenters work, as well as an easy to utilize website to get the most comprehensive look at the artists and producers creating and performing Jewish culture from around the world. In the past few years, the organization has presenting organizations from a dozen countries and hundreds of artists and projects. The website has the potential to help expand the opportunities for both presenters and creators of Jewish Culture.

"It has been taken a long time and much our limited financial resources building the sophisticated architecture of the website—but I am confident with the release of the site and all the user-generated information, it will become a vital tool used by JCC's, synagogues, performing art centers, artists and producers as the go-to place for information.," said Michael Dorf, Chairman of IJPA and the conference founder. He adds, "We basically took Web 2.0 state-of-the-art code and built a website which combines modern music industry platforms, performing arts association sites, a touring sites and focused it on our little schetle of the entertainment world. "

Check out the IJPA, a new organization for Jewish artists, presenters, presenting venues and supporters of Jewish culture.

Are you an artist? A presenting venue? Looking for amazing Jewish talent to hire? We're here to help. The International Jewish Presenters Association (IJPA) is an extensive arts network that links presenters with artists and distributors by providing cutting-edge tools to share best practices and work economically.

IJPA is membership supported. The good news? Membership rates are reasonable. For example, individual performers can join for as little as $50 and small presenting organizations can join for $100.

Why should you join? Members have access in the annual Schmooze conference and the IJPA website to facilitate bookings, expand your marketing reach, collaborate and innovate. Above all, you become part of a worldwide community.

By all accounts, Jewish culture, in all its wonderful diversity, is thriving. And now, more than ever, we need to keep us all—artists, presenters and funders—connected.

Email for more info
Web: Jewishpresenters.org

Avi Avital becomes 1st Mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy

Avi Avital becomes 1st Mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy® Award
For his performance of Avner Dorman's Mandolin Concerto

Classical mandolin artist Avi Avital has been recognized as one of the world’s most exciting musical entrepreneurs, building a fresh legacy for an instrument with antiquated roots in the folk tradition through virtuosic performance and exciting new repertoire. On December 1, 2010, Mr. Avital was nominated for a Grammy® Award for Best Instrumental Soloist with Ensemble for his performance of Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto, commissioned by Mr. Avital in 2006, and recorded in 2010 with the New York-based Metropolis Ensemble, conducted by Andrew Cyr. This nomination marks the first time a mandolin soloist has been nominated for a Grammy® Award in a classical music category.

Avital’s Grammy® nominated performance is featured on a recording containing three other concertos by Avner Dorman on the Naxos American Classics label, conducted by Andrew Cyr with the Metropolis Ensemble. Videos are available on YouTube:

For more info:
Email: Paula Mlyn
Tel: (646) 498-0103

Praised by the New York Times for his "Exquisitely sensitive playing" and doing "everything you never dreamt a mandolin could do… truly breathtaking in virtuosity and dedication" (Haaretz Daily), Avital’s commitment to expanding the horizon of the mandolin and bringing it to new audiences, and his curiosity and engagement with all aspects and genres of music, has made him one of the most creative and versatile young musicians today.

Avital says, “The exciting part of being a classical mandolin player is that it opens a wide field for creative freedom. When I commission new pieces and engage with different musical styles, I feel that I am bringing to light new faces of this unique instrument, uncovering what is hiding there. It has been my mission to expand the expressive abilities of the mandolin to the fullest. And it keeps surprising.”

Since 2002, Avital has been actively collaborating with composers, commissioning dozens of new works dedicated to him and his mandolin. His commissions have included eight mandolin concertos and numerous solo and chamber works, including a concerto by renowned Georgian composer Josef Bardanashvili, which he premiered with the National Symphony Orchestra of Georgia. Avital approached Avner Dorman to write his mandolin concerto in 2006. For Dorman, the chance to discover the expressive possibilities of a new instrument was an inspirational challenge. Avital says “Avner Dorman ingeniously packs all the places and associations that the mandolin evokes into the work. He uses elements of bluegrass, Middle Eastern sounds, Russian folk music and mixes them up with his own original language to create this enchanted concerto.”

David Hurwitz of Classical Today gave the recording his highest rating, stating “Avner Dorman is a major compositional talent. In the Mandolin Concerto, he finds more timbral variety in this recalcitrant instrument than you would ever believe possible, and it seems to have been conceived with its potential in mind so as to turn any limitations to maximum expressive advantage. Soloist Avi Avital wails away at his mandolin as if his life depended on it.” Allan Kozinn of The New York Times wrote, “In the Mandolin Concerto, the colorful solo line, played with stunning agility by Avi Avital, draws on all the usual mandolin techniques—chordal tremolandos, singing melodies—and adds bent pitches, high-velocity scampering (against sliding violin figures) and dynamic nuance.”

Born in Israel in 1978, Avi Avital has performed widely in Israel, Europe, the US, and Asia. This season, he makes classical appearances in Italy, Germany, and the US, including recent concerts at Zankel Hall with Sir Simon Rattle and the Ensemble ACJW, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall, and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. He has played with leading orchestras including the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano, Rostov State Theatre Orchestra in Russia, The National Symphony of Latvia, Metropolis Ensemble New York, Israel Camerata Jerusalem, and Orchestra Milano Classica, collaborating with prominent musicians including, Mstislav Rostropovich, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and others.

Since 2004, he has also performed regularly with the renowned clarinetist and klezmer specialist Giora Feidman, with whom he appeared at International Youth Day in Köln in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI. He appears on recordings of both classical and klezmer albums for labels such as SONY Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Albany Records, Mode Records NY, and La Discantica. Avi Avital received the German ECHO prize for his recording with David Orlowsky's Klezmorim, released by SONY Classical. He was also awarded the prestigious Doris and Mori Arkin Prize for Mandolin at the 2007 Aviv Competitions. More samples of Mr. Avital’s artistry are available on his website.

Avi Avital is a graduate of the Jerusalem Music Academy and Conservatorio Cesare Pollini of Padova, Italy.

For more info:
Email: Paula Mlyn
Tel: (646) 498-0103

Klutzy Klezmer: Zeek's First Klezmer Liner Note Contest

Klezmer, blogger Bert Stratton strikes again:

"Have you read any klezmer CD liner notes lately? Some are great—they read like fascinating mini-doctoral theses about Eastern Europe and/or the Lower East Side. And some are downright horrible. Too much Slivovitz has gone into the writing. Some of these homemade liner notes are best read only on Purim. (Hey, the music is often terrific, but the notes—the liner notes—are sour.)

Are you ready to write your own bad liner note? Zeek is holding a contest. The best worst klezmer liner note—as judged by Zeek Editor-in-chief Jo Ellen Green Kaiser and Bert Stratton (a.k.a. Klezmer Guy)—wins a One Ring Zero’s new Planets cd. Just submit your line in the comment section below. We’ll email you if you win, and fb it out to all our fans!


Celebrate the end of Sabbath and that other holiday with some klezmer

This rather delightful concert by Rhode Island veteran Fishel Bresler may have slipped through the cracks. On a day when just about nothing is open, and there is nothing to eat but Chinese Food (and many of us fulfilled that mitzvah last night already), check it out. If you are instead, in NYC, don't forget to check out Tzadik's "Radical Jewish Music Fest; in Chicago it's Jewmongous. Enjoy.

Fishel Bresler Klezmer Hassidic EnsembleFishel Bresler's Klezmer Hassidic Ensemble
Sat 7:30 PM, December 25th
Cong Ohawe Shalom
671 East Ave, corner of Glenwood
Pawtucket, RI

$10 for adults, $7 for (quiet) children under b-mitzvah
Refreshments for sale. Plenty free parking.

Lively & Moving Music, world class musicians, a comfortable environment, a little humor thrown in.

Funded in part by a Folk Arts Fellowship grant from the RI State Council on the Arts.

December 15, 2010

Yiddish Song of the Week

If I were to have the Emperor‘s treasures
and his entire land.
It would not be as pleasing to me,
as you are pleasing to me.

As long as I'm mentioning blogs of note: "A gorgeous lullabye by Mikhl Gordon, sung by Ita Taub, Notes by Itzik Gottesman. Now at the Yiddish Song of the Week. www.yiddishsong.wordpress.com"

Klezmer Guy - a blog worth reading

I can't remember when I last mentioned this, but each week Bert Stratton, of the delightful (and, when the occasion demands, delightfully wacky) Yiddishe Cup posts about his experiences as a landlord and bandleader (roles not always as different as one might think) in Cleveland. Some weeks I'm too busy. But, it's a blog, so it's easy to catch up later. It's always worth catching up. I sign up for the email notices so I won't miss them on the weeks when I can't be bothered with news feeds.

This week he explains why Cleveland is not a cupcake town. Read on.

Jeremiah Lockwood, of The Sway Machinery sends this update:

I just recorded a track with Jordan McLean's DROID...extremely lovely experience...listen here:


"This is the last installation in my ten month long NIGUN PROJECT for the Forward...all ten collaborations (including work with Khaira Arby, Sahr Ngaujah, Brian Chase and other wonderful friends) based on old nigunim are now up online and can be heard here:"


You can also hear the first single from The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol 1 on iTunes.

Kesselgarden plays Goldenshteyn

"Kesselgarden continues to thrive in the miserable weather one finds in the early Seattle winter. Here is a clip from a recent rehearsal, just to show that only two old guys can still put on a hell of a show. Hope all is well and peace in 2011."

December 14, 2010

Yes! Judith Cohen ~ Sephardic Song - Newton, MA this Sat night - Dec 18

It has long been a sad saying of mine that I have been useless at finding actual local gigs for friends who make wonderful music. This past fall, however, I helped get The Other Europeans to Somerville. On Saturday night, we serve a different form of excellent Jewish by hosting Toronto ethnomusicologist and frequent KlezmerShack contributor Judith Cohen at our home. Please join us in welcoming her in her first post 9/11 Boston-area appearance:

judith cohenJudith Cohen ~ Sephardic Song

Saturday, December 18 · 7:30pm Newton, MA

Canadian ethnomusicologist Judith Cohen offers a wide-ranging repertoire of Jewish song, mixed with the stories behind the songs from her decades of field research in Spain,Portugal, and around the world.

This is a house concert. Light kosher refreshments will be provided. For address info, email Ari Davidow. Shuttle to/from Chestnut Hill T stop available.

More info: www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135347699857415

December 13, 2010

Kruzenshtern and Parahod live in Tel Aviv

Kruzenshtern v Parahod live at Levontin 7On a recent quick trip to Israel I managed to catch one of the bands I have most wanted to see, Kruzenshtern and Parahod (קרוזנשטרן ופרחוד). I have reviewed a couple of their CDs here on the KlezmerShack, starting with their first, The Craft of Primitive Klezmer. The band was as wonderful as I had already hoped. The set was part of a showcase of Israeli bands, none of which seemed particularly interesting to either my companions or me. But when this quartet took the stage, everything changed. Imagine John Zorn and Fred Frith taking "Naked City" to a pop showcase:

Talking to the bandleader, Igor Krutogolov, on a quiet afternoon in Tel Aviv we reviewed influences (okay, Zorn and Frith are obvious; others include the UK band, the Cardiacs, and ZU from Italy) and talked about the frustration of being a niche band in a tiny country. There is no place local to tour—there aren't enough local people interested in avant garde jazz to sustain anything beyond the occasional concert in Tel Aviv. They have been to several festivals in Europe, and periodically consider moving the band there.

Krutogolov talks mostly of the music as personal expression. It has precision; he often compared what he is doing to classical music, and indeed, as I stood opposite the band's newest member, accordionist Boris Martzinovsky in concert, I noted complex charts spread across a large music stand. The band is also very, very tight.

The music is really what he does. He has a day job to pay the bills, but, if we are fortunate, he will continue to push the music far into the future. A new KvP CD may be in the works this year. If I had my way, I'd see them here in the States. Anyone interested in helping, should contact me

You can get copies of their CDs via amazon.com, or find out more about the band from their website, www.parohod.net

December 1, 2010

Mark Rubin's video of "The Other Europeans"

Mark Rubin has posted a passel of videos from the last three years of "The Other Europeans"

"Here's a collection of videos of the "Other Europeans" project which took up a big chunk of my last 3 summers. Watching these videos, I can hardly believe I was actually there when this all happened."

View the whole series of several concerts on his blog, Chasing the Fat Man.

Readers of earlier posts will also remember that I put up the video from the band's Amherst, MA concert: National Yiddish Book Center on YouTube (clip below)