A few months ago I got the then current (Fall/Winter 2007) issue of a new, relatively edgy Jewish cultural magazine called "Zeek." Featuring photography, poetry, and both a CD and several articles on "Music, Art, and the World," the magazine provided a window onto new Jewish music, most of which I had, at best, vaguely heard of. There was an article by Basya Schaechter, of Pharaoh's Daughter, and the words to the Tipex Eurovision entry, "Push the button" (along with an article about Israel, Eurovision, and this particularly controversial entry). Another article claimed, "Piyyut is Jewish Soul Music." The CD (what an anachronism for an online magazine!?!), curated by Jew*School founder Mobius and others, contained cuts by rappers Y-Love and Sagol 59, along with cuts by Pharaoh's Daughter, Juez, Roberto Rodriguez, the aforementioned Tipex (oops, after legal threats, that is now "Teapacks" in transliteration), as well as Silver Jews, Chana Rothman, and others about whom I know next to nothing.
It's sort of humbling to have spent a decade or so claiming to be writing about cutting edge Jewish music and then see someone else not just have a different take on bands that are significant, but present so many bands about whom I know nothing. (The reverse is also true. I would have valued this CD more if there were some Deep Minor, or Later Prophets, or Rashanim, or Hazanos, or Strauss-Warschauer or any of a host of bands/musicians that are neither Israeli nor NewYorkish, but are blowing away old ideas of what "Jewish Music" means.). But then, if you went over to the hasidish Jewish-Music list (not the older list of the same name that I host) you'd find yet another repertoire and list of cutting-edge musicians. If we can't even bring the musics together, what are we to do about the rest of our lives?
In the meantime, hie to the Zeek website, www.zeek.net and sample the articles, catch the latest from the magazine, and help keep them going by ordering your own copy of this rather marvellous collection—it may be as new and wonderous to you as it largely was to me.