'The roadmap to world music from a Jewish slant'. We cover Klezmer and more, focusing on the edges and the sounds that express who we are now. We also provide the place for klezmorim, reputable musicians, fans, and scholars to network online.
Adriane Greenbaum is the most amazing flute player I know. Pete Rushefsky posted this video on facebook: "Some of the amazing Edward Alpern's hi-def footage of Fleytmuzik's show at Museum at Eldridge Street this past Sunday. Ed's making a documentary film about our Poyln project called www.miracleofthemusic.com and contributions are welcome. Congrats to Adrianne Greenbaum on putting the musical parts of this wide-ranging project together."
Yiddish Summer Weimar: The Bobe Mayses Project video
Posted by Alan Bern on Facebook: "A short, beautiful documentary video about the Bobe Mayses project created during Yiddish Summer Weimar 2016, directed by Jenny Romaine with a wonderful team of artists (see the credits for a complete list). Thanks again to all who helped make this possible, from concept through grant application through administration through realization and presentation! It was an amazing and enriching experience!"
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.
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.
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
Send by the Boston Jewish Arts Collaborative during Passover, I am just catching up. This features the BatSheva Dance Troupe and Tractor's Revenge, and is a very neat visual take on the familiar Passover melody
Posted by Eva Broman to the Jewish Music mailing list:
t's been a long time since I posted the last time, but I really enjoyed these clips with Iraqi-Jewish singer Koko from Eilat, performing Iraqi classics at an Israeli haflah:
These "ethnic" Israeli singers remind me of Pontic singers in Greece, who often adapt original Turkish and Balkan songs in the Pontiac dialect, just like Israeli singers of Iraqi etc. descent adapt Arabic tunes in Hebrew:
From Michael Winograd, best known for the Yiddish Art Trio and other klezmer/yiddish masterworks. His other band is also receiving recognition. After watching Southeast Asians and others dancing in the aisles at the Vilna Shul, I can heartily recommend them. Some bits will sound more familiar than you expect:
Sandaraa is pleased to release the first single from our upcoming album, "Jegi Jegi Lailajan". US CD launch tour dates: /bit.ly/sandaraatour
Theodore Bikel (1924 - 2015) sings "Di zun vet aruntergeyn" at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research 13th Annual Heritage Luncheon in his honor
on June 18, 2015. Accompanied by Daniel Kahn and Lorin Sklamberg. Video shared by YIVO. I believe that this was his last public performance.
From Pete Rushefsky, on Facebook (for details see the KlezmerShack calendar):
Central Asian maqom masters Roshel and Yakov Rubinov will be performing tomorrow (Wednesday, May 6) at a free show open to the public at the New School Event Space - Lower level of 65 5th Ave. at 13th St. in Manhattan. 6PM start.
Marilyn Lerner & Friends (David Wall, Aviva Chernick & Mitch Smolken) - Volt ikh Gehat Koyekh
One of my favorites among the many tunes popularized by Adrienne Cooper, here played by Marilyn Lerner, with three of Toronto's most exciting vocalists. A good listen on a Shabbes eve on my way to a shul dinner where we'll hear a speaker from Israeli on the upcoming elections. May all have this song in their hearts as they vote:
Joel Rubin Ensemble concert Geneva, "Midnight Prayer"
Joel writes: A nice video of part of my Midnight Prayer program with the Joel Rubin Ensemble in Geneva this past June 15 at Théâtre Cité Bleue, sponsored by Les amis de la musique juive. With Kálmán Balogh, cimbalom, Csaba Novák, bass, Claudio Jacomucci, accordion, Mark Kovnatskiy, violin:
He adds: (p.s. the CD of the whole program is on Traditional Crossroads and just went into a second printing :-) )
Litvakus: The Lost Jewish Music of Belarus CD
Help release our first full-length album
Litvakus is recording its first full-length album, Raysn (a Yiddish name for Belarus) that includes incredibly beautiful and endangered Belarusian Jewish music discovered and revived after 70 years of oblivion, as well original songs to the poetry of Moyshe Kulbak and Zisl Slepovitch.
We are asking our friends for support that would make this project happen.
Please check out the Litvakus' Raysn Indiegogo page for the full story of this record and consider supporting us through that page.
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:
From Pete Rushefsky, writing to the Jewish-Music mailing list:
"We've just put up a new archival video on Bessarabian klezmer clarinetist German Goldenshteyn on the CTMD Archives website: www.ctmd.org/archives.htm in anticipation of Tuesday night's Tantshoyz Yiddish Dance Party featuring Michael Alpert, Alex Kontorovich and Naum Goldenshteyn:
Filmed in Mexico City, roughly inspired by Jeremiah's grandmother's Transylvanian village, takes the inner life of a young girl as the jumping off point for a meditation on history, mythology and mortality.
A work-in-progress presentation of an excerpt from this new work will be presented at 4pm on January 25 at Congregation B'nei Jeshurun (257 W 88th St), on the upper west side. Please mark your calendars for this exciting event.
Here is a short video about a performance by the Montreal klezmer band, Kleztory, with the "Nouvelle Génération" Chamber Orchestra. The performance was held at Salle Claude Champagne, Montréal, Canada, November 23 2013.
Here's the trailer for a movie about one of the great Sixties Jewish Chicago blues guys, who, along with Danny Kalb, Barry Goldberg, and others, reshaped popular music. To me, his first solo album, "It's not killing me" was one of the ultimate fusion albums—the most Jewish blues album I have ever heard:
I can't believe that I had to be prodded by Keith Wolzinger, of the Klezmer Podcast, to actually sit still and listen to this. Actually, I can't sit still while listening. Have you ever wondered what Bollywood films might sound like if the soundtracks were played by really amazing klezmorim? Yes, it might be this good. You can find out more about the band at www.sandaraa.com. Be sure to "like" them on Facebook:
A cure for too much of that other December holiday
Thanksgiving is gone, and we don't have Chanukah to hide behind any more. The best cure I know of is to bring out this video, surely posted here often, of Jewlia Eisenberg, left coast vocal genius, and Kugelplex:
Should that not be enough, you can always try "Oy to the World," but don't say I didn't warn you!
I just found this recording of some classic
selichot that I'd like to pass on. They are sung by "Ha-project shel
Revivo", a trio of young Yemenite singers that is very popular in
Israel (and 230.000 hits for traditional religious songs is pretty
"... there is a large collection of Yiddish song videos taken recently: www.youtube.com/user/aheymproject/videos. The videos are part of the Aheym project, www.indiana.edu/~libarchm/index.php/projects/aheym-project.html described as:
"The Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories (AHEYM--the acronym means "homeward" in Yiddish) includes approximately 800 hours of Yiddish-language interviews with 350 individuals, most of whom were born between 1900 and 1930. The interviews were conducted in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova." There aren't 350 up there yet, but there are quite a few to view.
While I'm catching up on amazing finds from Eric Krasner, here's one more, posted to the Jewish music list last August:
"Here's a fascinating clip of a performance of Gershon Kingsley's 'Sabbath for Today' (1971) performed with an early Moog synthesizer. Gershon Kingsley is the man behind the kitschy Moog classic, "Popcorn".
"Gershon Kingsley's 'Sabbath for today,' conducted by the composer, broadcast on Channel 13 in 1971 from Temple Rodeph Shalom.
Ephraim Biran cantor/soloist, Rabbi Gunter Hirschberg, speaker, Alfred Drake, narrator, Kenneth Bichel, Moog Modular"
Need some "Yinglish" translation? "Duvid Crockett" was actuall banned in Mickey's hometown! Eric found this gem to help us understand the fuss:
"Big Chief" Norman Wain, a disc jockey in Mickey's hometown of Cleveland banned Mickey's hit, "Duvid Crockett" from his radio show on WDOK back in 1955. Radio host, Phil Fink translates the Yiddish and Yinglish lyrics for us in a search to find out why.
You can find out more about Eric's Mickey Katz movie project at:
The Judaica Sound Archives at FAU Libraries honors the work and life of Molly Picon. Compiling 58 of her earliest songs produced on 78 rpm records and four of her LP albums produced later in her career, the JSA invites you to revisit the talents of a truly great Jewish female icon.
Who was Molly Picon?
She was an actress, singer, and comedian whose career spanned over 70 years. Debuting in the Yiddish Theater at the age of six she emerged as a respected American actress, performing with Frank Sinatra in Come Blow Your Horn (1963) and starring on Broadway in Milk & Honey (1961) and the film, Fiddler on the Roof (1971).
Molly Picon's career followed Yiddish culture from the shtetl into mainstream America. Small and very youthful looking, she often had to fight to be taken seriously. She wore male clothing as a disguise through most of her breakout performance in Yidl Mit'n Fidl (1936) and several of her other early roles as well, including the well-known "Yankele."
You can read more about Molly Picon at the Jewish Women's Archive.
ClickClick here for Molly's LP albums.
ClickClick here for Molly's 78 rpm recordings.
Film clip of a very young Molly Picon singing the title song from Yid'l Mit'n Fidl.
Klezmer Idol winners, Ezekiel's Wheel, captured live
It was a drizzly, rainy evening as I rode my bicycle to the library for a delightful concert by Ezekiel's Wheel. The band is young, skillful, and inventive. It is a pleasure to listen to people in love with the music explore it live. I also realized how much klezmer has changed, even in the hands of relatively traditionalist players (without speaking of yeshivish or djs and the rock/jazz bands with the one "hava nagila" set—I have never, in fact, heard Ezekiel's Wheel play "Hava Nagila"). Nobody is trying to imitate old '78s any more. The tunes are longer, more danceish, more improvised. And even here, Sephardic music and other influences find their way, both explicitly and otherwise, into the playing. As I said, a delight
Adapting a wonderfully expansive view of the concept "punk Jew" the film featured some wonderful montages, including Gay Pride events in Israel, and also included six more focused clips ranging from "Moshiach Oi," a one band that fits the more traditional hardcore definition of "punk," (but also making the connection to outliers as we realize that bandmembers are also enthusiastic follows of Reb Nahman of Breslov), to many of our friends playing at a fringe Jewish NYC gathering called "cholent," to a segment on child abuse in the Shver UltraOrthodox community in upstate New York. Other segments included Amy the Yoga Yenta, a segment featuring Y-Love and African-American Jews, and my favorite, a closing segment featuring Jenny Romaine's "Sukkos Mob," a wonderful troupe that takes to NYC's streets during Sukkos each year. If the Boston Jewish Music Festival folks are really on their toes (something I think we can take for a given), they'll find a way to bring the Sukkos Mob to Boston next year. Imagine Yiddish street theatre in Coolidge Corner or Harvard Square! (Of course, how this would happen given the mob's post-Sukkos commitments and the fact that they are pretty committed to being in NYC for the holiday, I dunno.)
The Q&A session revealed that much of the audience identified strongly with the film's themes—a surprising number of people are really Punk Jews, or have websites connecting Punks to mainstream Jews. We are all outliers. We are all, apparently, punks.
It's a very good film. Eventually it will be released and readers of this site should make a point of seeing it. You can find out more at punkjews.com.
At last I've managed to upload a short demo of our silent film programme - you may have seen Merlin and myself accompanying these fantastic earliest cinematic representations of east European Jewish communities. Thought I could share...
Sara is a beautiful Jewish woman, granddaughter of the local rabbi who
is loved by two brothers, Itzik and Borukh. They are sons of a wealthy
Jew, Rabinovitch. They both love her deeply but she loves Itzik. Her
parents consent that she marries him. Borukh loves both Sara and his
brother and wishes them happiness in their family life, but he leaves
the shtetl. It would have been too hard for him to keep seeing Sara and
realising that she doesn’t belong to him.
Itzak and Sara are happy in their mutual love but God didn’t bless
them with children, which they desperately wanted. Ten years past since
their marriage but there are no children.
So Itzak’s parents and other Jewish shtetl authorities decide that
they have to divorce. For her grandfather the rabbi it is a shame that
his granddaughter is childless, it means that she doesn’t have God’s
blessing. The authorities insist on it but Itzak fights against their
opinion. Eventually he is too weak to struggle with everybody and agrees to sign the get (divorce certificate). The get has been ready for a
long time, so Itzak has simply to sign it and take it to Sara.
From that moment, they would be considered to be officially divorced, but the question is how to get this paper to the wife that he loves to
death. She wouldn’t agree to the divorce, but the Jews have a special
trick in this case; one can bring this paper to the wife using deceitful means. The most important thing is to have witnesses. As soon as she
takes hold of this fateful paper and the others witness it, she is
The authorities decide to use his trick. One of them dresses as a
pauper and whilst taking mitzveh geld (alms) from her, drops the
document. Sara picks it up and already whilst opening the document
realises that trick, too late!
She is in despair. She shares her grief with her husband but at the
same moment, the Jewish authorities announce that she has to leave her
husband’s house, and he is a stranger to her fro now on. This terrible
outcome affects the weak Itzak so much that he takes a rope and ties it
to a hook on the wall and ends his bitter existence.
Itzak was buried according to strict Jewish traditions. And Sara is
inconsolable. She moans and longs and yearns and after gets seriously
ill. Her father and mother invite a doctor to see their dear daughter.
The doctor having examined the patient announces categorically that she
is absolutely fine and is going to become a mother soon. So if Itzak had waited to define his destiny, they would both be happy.
My favorite Brooklyn rock band, the folks who put "transgression" into "shonde," have become much too good for niche labels. It's probably time to stop championing them as GLBT and to accept that they help fill a hole left by the breakup of Sleater-Kinney. Fine by me.
"Give Me What You've Got," is the second single off their September release, Searchlights (Exotic Fever Records, 2011). Directed by Emily Millay Haddad, the video premiered last month on Out.com!
I have put up most of the video from Sunday's Memorial on YouTube . It includes Michael Wex's eulogy, and all of the singing and poetry. I will be linking to better, and possibly more complete video when it becomes available. I just felt that something should be up as soon as possible for those who were unable to attend and who miss her as painfully as do those of us who were able to gather and take comfort from each other in person.
Since getting an iPad for my birthday, I have been trying it out as a recording device with varying success. It is more cumbersome and creates video/sound of slightly less quality than I get with the Flip camera from work. But, alas, Flips have been discontinued and the iPad is often with me, where the Flip is not. And, the iPad lets me take notes while wandering.
A couple of nights ago, I took some video of the Sukkoth gathering at Occupy Boston, then promptly lost the recording during an ill-timed maneuver on the iPad—I am still learning how to care for and feed the darn thing. Given the quality of the video at night with little illumination, this is not the loss it could have been, although I would not have minded putting the brief gathering and ceremony online.
In any event, last month I recorded most of the Klezmatics concert in Boston. Great fun. I'll start with the concert finale, a deconstructed "Ale Brider:"
At the beginning of October I tried again, this time in full daylight, and using the "Luma" iPad app, which hopefully takes some of the jitters out the recordings. (Thanks to a car that ran through a stop sign while I was bicycling to work in August, I had an encounter with the street that left me with a broken collarbone. The car did not stop after causing the accident, but the collarbone is healing. Unfortunately, it will still be a few months before it is comfortable to hold up a recording device for more than a few minutes.) So, here is Somerville's delightful "Honkfest," a celebration of street marching bands held each fall. In addition to my injury, the delight of just wandering and shmoozing got in the way of serious recording, so here is a brief taste of the afternoon (and more tastes on YouTube in my Honkfest2011 playlist)
One of the neatest projects to come out of Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival is the Ger Mandolin Orchestra, which has performed at the festival, and this past winter (? spring?), back in Poland. The project was initiated by a descendent of a member of the original Ger Mandolin Orchestra (a century ago, every town&mdashand many US "Workmen's Circle" groups, had mandolin orchestras), Bay Area resident Avner Yonai.
git a kuk - fayne frumer muzikers fun Medines Yisroyel
Fishel Bresler remarks on the Jewish-Music mailing list:
A sheynem dank, Dobe!
The dance they were doing is (as I understand it) the last remnant of the
old "Broiges Tanz," once done by the mothers-in-law at a wedding, now done
by two guys instead, fighting (*nebech*) over a bottle...death resulting.
Followed, of course, by "t'chies hameisim" *(b'ashkenazit)* - the
resurrection-of-the-dead dance. It's not specifically a hassidic custom;
I've been asked to play it for litvaks, too.
My old friend, Riki Friedman and her band, Freylach Time! show off some of the "Jewgrass" they've been playing the last couple of years. Riki writes:
"We are playing a fusion of the 2 styles we like to call "Jewgrass". There were a lot of problems with the sound system, so it's hard to hear the violin and accordian, but this still gives a good idea of what we have been doing. (Other than the corsets, which were special for this event.)"
One of my favorite parts of the Passover seder is the prologue, "Ha Lakhma," the verse we sing in Aramaic—the common language, the lingua franca, the language that gave us our modern Hebrew alphabet, the language that was the "English" of that world. The verse basically says, "before we get going, and in language we want to make sure that everyone understands, the first part of this "order," this seder, is to make sure that everyone who is hungry has food; everyone who is needy is having those needs met. When we've taken care of that, we'll take the rest of this show on the road.
Today I woke up to a twitter discussion between National Public radio strategist and digital technology community organizer Andy Carvin and Maria Al-Masani, a Canadian public relations agent, model, and former Miss Universe Canada. Al-Masani was telling Carvin, and others, about how Ofra Haza's song Kaddish was becoming the anthem of the current Yemeni revolution. Haza was a popular Israeli singer of a Yemeni-Jewish family who sang pop-Israeli, Yemeni-Jewish, and Yemeni-Arabic music.... [whole story includes video of Ofra Haza singing "Kadish"]
I haven't had time to catch up on anything, but back in January, Teruah blogger, Jack Zaeintz put up a fabulous list of Jewish music documentaries. He includes old favorites, of course—Michal Goldman's groundbreaking A Jumpin night at the garden of Eden that caught the klezmer revival happening, or A Tickle in the Heart about the Epstein Brothers. There are new films listed, such as the brand-new documentaries on SoCalled and the Klezmatics, and a couple of oldies that I have been avoiding for years. Never mind. They are all listed, and the filmmakers should only go on to produce even better films to come.
Not klezmer. Not even Jewish. Just a very fun video of a lovely song from Frank London's Klezmer Brass AllStars collaborator and Balkan superstar Boban Markovic:
As a friend says, "Yes, the simple love story of a boy and his trumpet, definitely worth a chuckle. Pay no attention to the fact that the first flourish-y bit near the beginning is played on sax, not trumpet. Details, details...."
of all the incredible CDs on my "review or die" list, the top CD is absolutely the new collaboration between SoCall, David Krakauer, and Fred Wesley, Abraham, Inc. News to you? Check out the first video off the recording, as described by David Krakauer, himself:
I'm extremely proud of this video which is a cutting edge animated piece with artists from around the world contributing their considerable skills to it's production. I hope you take a moment to check it out and comment and hopefully give it a thumbs up.
If you have a YouTube account please subscribe as we're touring Europe in the Spring and should have lots of great videos to share. I'm looking forward to reading your posts in this New Year.
Jews and Sufis: A Sacred Bride - Online video link
From Noam Sender, from the bowels of the black hole that has been the KlezmerShack mail folder:
I am delighted to announce that the "Jews and Sufis: A Sacred Bridge" panel discussion and recital held at Temple Beth Zion on October 29, 2009 is now available for viewing online.
Since at least the 16th century, the Maftirim repertoire - Hebrew liturgical poetry set to Turkish makam music for use in the synagogue—demonstrates the deep relationships Ottoman Jews established with members of Muslim mystical brotherhoods.
There are two separate links, the first for the panel discussion and the second for the recital.
A panel of scholars moderated by Reb Moshe Waldoks speaks on cultural, historical, religious, and musical aspects of the Jewish-Sufi collaborations in Turkey from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
Following a panel discussion, an ensemble of Jewish, Muslim and Christian vocalists and instrumentalists, including yours truly, play examples of relevant musical repertoire. Attached you will also find the program notes for the recital.
A couple standards, non-standards, and that adds up to four - but there are three … for your listening pleasure - I hope:
The sound of the 19th century wooden klezmer flute
Firn di Mekhuttonim
From, Adrianne, who wishes everyone a freylekhn Khanike and warm weather and thoughts if you're out on the east coast in the US or any
other cold climate. Can't wait for Spring and we haven't even started….
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
"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."
On 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
"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."
Jewish hip-hop artist Yitz "Y-Love" Jordan recently returned to Israel for a series of concerts over the Sukkot holiday. He spoke with Israel National News about his new projects, his journey to Judaism and why hip-hop can invigorate Jewish youth.
Really nice article (and accompanying video) that captures one of the current projects, the Ayn Sof Arkestra, of the amazing Greg Wall, rabbi and one of the most "really gets it" people creating Jewish music out there, from one of the NY Times "Local" blogs. His partner in founding Ayn Sof? One of the few other people who deserve that "really gets it" accolades, Frank London:
Blown away from "The Other Europeans" in Somerville, MA last night
An amazing show by "The Other Europeans" in Somerville, MA last night. The place was packed on a Tuesday night, much to everyone's astonishment and delight. (Well, the dancer's might have wanted more room)
The band plays a mix of lautari and klezmer music with an intense energy level, and with an ability to improvise together that continually blows me away. So many members of the band are famous in their own right, from Kalman Balogh, king of the Hungarian tsimbl, to Matt Darriau, best known as the reed player for the Klezmatics.
The killer moment in a killer evening, for me, came on a duet featuring Matt and bassist Mark Rubin (perhaps best known for his alt.country band, the Bad Livers). I have simply never seen anyone attack a standup bass with such ferocity such that Darriau pushed his own clarinet faster and farther than he may have known he could do (Rubin's playing, and his effect on his bandmates are well-known--a performance a couple of years ago with Andy Statman at the Ashkenaz Festival was my personal highlight of that festival). But the whole damn band was like that--14 people at times, crowded on a bandstand that seems crowded with half that number.
It was the sort of concert so transforming that people took a very long time to leave. We all had to stand around talking about what we'd just heard, and sharing the joy of being at a concert so intense and wonderful. And, of course, this was also the sort of event that turns into a social occasion—everyone who loves this kind of music was there, it seemed, so a lot of fun catching up happened in the afterglow of the fiercely great music.
This past Thursday night this year's Paper Bridge festival was closed out by Veretski Pass performing the East Coast premiere of their new improvisational piece, "The KlezmerShul."
It wasn't klezmer. There was lots of classical, cantorial, jazz music. It was intense and wonderful. Here is the closing movement (I posted the two movements under 10 minutes, plus all of the QA sessions, on YouTube):
As I wrote last week, this performance of Ezekiel's Wheels last weekend at the LilyPad was the culmination of a week of great music. I taped the whole thing on a Flip camera, and the bandmembers edited it down and put segments up on YouTube. The band, playing to a full house, was joined by several friends onstage, and great fun was had by all:
The “Socalled” Movie is a documentary film about klezmer hip-hop artist Josh Dolgin—aka Socalled. Featuring Katie Moore, Fred Wesley, C-Rayz Walz, David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Arkady Gendler, Benjamin Steiger Levine, D-Shade, Gonzales and Irving Fields. The movie is a kaleidoscopic portrait, offering 18 entertaining short films about Socalled’s creative process.
Mardi Gras Day, French Quarter, New Orleans, German Goldenshteyn tune
How far behind is the KlezmerShack in reading correspondence? By us, it's still Mardi Gras in New Orleans, as you can see from this video supplied by the always-amazing Mark Rubin standing in with Panorama Jazz Band. We may let ourselves remain stuck in Mardi Gras for a while.
During this past MLK weekend the Afro-Semitic Experience celebrated our 12th anniversary of music making with a Friday night service in New York City, a benefit concert for New Haven’s Columbus House Homeless Shelter, and a concert at the Museum of Jewish Heritage also in New York City. We had a wonderful time in New York City sharing our music and having a real Afro-Semitic Experience at the Museum of Jewish Heritage where we gave our New York City premiere of our new work (and new CD): The Road That Heals the Splintered Soul
Our performance at the benefit concert for the Columbus House Homeless Shelter in New Haven was video recorded by our friend, pianist and visual artist, Richard Gans. Three of the tunes we performed have now been posted to YouTube and they have a lot of good energy. Richard was not limited by his use of a single camera and he did a great job as he captured the performance. You can really feel the wonderful vibe in the room last Saturday night as we transformed the place with our healing feeling. There are two little girls and a little boy who sat in the front row for most of the concert and they are sure feeling the music!!! You can see their heads bobbing in most of the camera shots. What fun.
Most years we Jews guiltily acknowledge that it's true, Jews wrote most of the most insipid popular songs of this once sacred season. This year, to return the favor, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wrote an insipid Hanukkah song which has been getting a lot of play. I've been ignoring it, but I just noticed a great catch by Teruah's Jack Zaientz:
Anyway, upon reflection, she decided that the issue was not "Christianity" vs.
"Judaism" and she came up with a very different video:
"The Great Goddess is still rocking out with her bad self … taking new
forms but still connected to that neolithic old-school vibe. Go boobs of
Mary! Listen, enjoy, post, celebrate dark nights and solstice"
Jo Amar passed away on June 26. The news was first announced to the world in the Jerusalem Post on June 28. Haaretz captured more of the essence of the singer and his significance, with some wonderful quotes from scholar Edwin Seroussi.
"Mr. Amar’s music was a hybrid, fusing Sephardic and North African-Arab songs, Jewish liturgical vocal styles and even Western-style harmonies into a kind of Middle Eastern pop. He sang in a bright, engaging tenor, recording about 20 albums, and with his crowd-pleasing manner, he performed not only in large performance halls with full orchestras but also in cabarets and at weddings and other private functions. He was often asked to be the guest cantor on Jewish High Holy Days, invitations he accepted selectively, in cities including Paris and Casablanca." [more]
Lori Lippitz, from Maxwell Street Klezmer, wrote: "I loved his singing and learned many tunes
from his recordings. Very special to me is his Hamavdil with an Arabic-style
chorus (French Morrocan)."
Can Non-Jews Play Klezmer? Tim Sparks does on his new CD
Can a Gentile play Jewish music? Which is more Jewish? Barbra Steisand's Christmas album or Tim Sparks' klezmer album? Find out in this in depth interview with non-Jewish jazz guitar virtuoso Tim Sparks on his new CD 'Little Princess', which gives Naftule Brandwein, the 1920s king of the klezmer clarinet, a smooth instrumental jazz treatment.
Extrait du concert Jacques Franck en juin 2008. Zahava Seewald et Zohara interprètent : la chanson "Abulafiah, I would Lay down my life" compositeur J. Zorn sur un thème de Samuel Hanagid
Extrait du concert Jacques Franck en juin 2008. Zahava Seewald et Zohara interprètent : la chanson "Abulafiah, I would Lay down my life" compositeur J. Zorn sur un thème de Samuel Hanagid
new video - Hip Hop Hoodíos’ “Times Square (1989)”
Raising the eternal question, is real seediness preferable to Disney veneer? I'm with them—give me seedy instead of Disney. Might feel differently if I lived in the area—until gentrification made the issue moot ;-).
As long as I'm stealing a few minutes at lunch, let me get up this video posted by the amazing Mark Rubin, last seen live by me just a week and a half ago, with Frank London and the Klezmer Brass AllStars at the Lowell Folk Festival. Man, two years ago it was Stephen Greenman. This year, Frank London. That festival is doing well at scoring Jewish performers worth seeing. So, where was I … Itzik Gottesman sent Mark this VHS tape about 15 years ago. It's from a conference in 1986. It's just a fragment, but a long enough fragment that you get a sense of why Michael Alpert and so many others credit her with being a primary influence on learning Yiddish song. It matters a lot, now that she's gone, to have something online that helps memorialize her and helps convey at least this couple of songs.
Klezmer Classes in Minneapolis this summer begin June 17, 2009
It took the "insult" of seeing a class listed in another city, as though I had been intentionally ignoring this person's own city, to prompt someone from Minneapolis to send me this information. Don't let yourself be that person--if you have information that is of interest to people interested in Jewish music in your community--either send it in, or don't complain about my not listing it! I still might not have time to put something online in a timely fashion--but that process doesn't even begin until I get the "who what when where" in a form that I can actually figure out what is going on, cut and paste, and present it to ya'll, thus:
Want to find your roots or plant new ones in the rich soil of Eastern European Ashkenazic Jewish music? You’ll learn the modes which make Klezmer music so compelling.We’ll play some of the most popular freylachs, horas, and bulgars in the repertoire. Fiddles, clarinets, trumpets, accordions, keyboards and percussion are the principal instruments in Klezmer bands but anyone is welcome.
6 week class begins June 17, 2009
Classes are 60 minutes long
Wednesdays 5:30 p.m.
MacPhail Center for Music, 501 S 2nd ST , Minneapolis, MN 55401, 612.321.0100
A couple of clips from 2008 Radu Gabrea documentary film, "Romania, Romania: Searching For Schwartz" about which I know nothing, other than Elizabeth Schwartz (whose voice is featured on both of these particular clips) having alerted me about the YouTube videos. There is a whole series. Enjoy.
So what goes on late at night at those KlezKamp roadshows? Mark Rubin provides some documentation from last month's KlezKamp Roadshow in Madison, WI. YouTube's "byray" writes:
Part 1 of the Sunday night dance at Temple Beth Israel Center, Sunday April 19th, 2009, Madison Wisconsin. The Kamp was led by UW Artist In Residence Henry Sapoznik, who was still at the movie "His People" when the band started. Aaron Alexander on drums, Dan Blacksberg on trombone, Josh Horowitz on button accordion, Mark Rubin on bass and tuba, Cookie Segelstein on fiddle and Michael Winograd on clarinet. The dances were led by Steve Weintraub. I filmed until my arm grew sore and my feet refused to stay still. So I put down my camera and joined the dance!
For those who missed seeing Margot Leverett solo last month with some special compositions, including a new piece by Matt McGarrell of klezmer tunes for clarinet and wind symphony, there is a second chance:
Matt McGarrell's wonderful arrangement of klezmer tunes for clarinet and wind symphony.
which I performed last month with the Brown University wind symphony.
I love the arrangement. It was such a pleasure to work with them.
The video does look like it was recorded on cellphone, but the sound quality is decent:
We have just posted on YouTube part of the only existing film of the original Freedom Seder held on April 4, 1969, the first anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, the third night of Passover.
Doing the electronic wizardry necessary to put excerpts from the film on YouTube made it a little darker than the original. But you can clearly see and hear the readings, the comments, the questions, and the joyful responses of hundreds of people of varied racial and religious communities who gathered in a Black church in the heart of Washington DC to celebrate the Seder.
Our favorite heirs of Mickey Katz, Yiddishe Cup, send out two videos from shows back in February. This one claims to be "klezmer hip hop" featuring throat singing. Beat boxing. Hip Hop. "Tsiganeshti." Jack Stratton, soloist.
And then we have "Halelujah," with Hawaiian lap steel guitar. Gerald Ross, soloist.
From the usual suspect—Mark Rubin, this was recorded in his living room by folklorist Itzik Gottesman. "The audio drops out a few times, but hang in there, this is the real deal straight from the master himself&hellipse;.
This trio are from the Zemer group, from Rio de Janeiro.
You can see also a reharsal joining samba and klezmer music. We, from Zemer, met percussionists from the School of Samba Beija Flor, one of the greatest groups of samba in Rio de Janeiro. This meeting was recorded for a documentary about a neighborhood were the first jews settled when arrived in Rio, in the 40s.
A Yiddish rap song by German/Israeli singer Zionlight. The aim is to keep Yiddish alive amongst the younger generation. "Gey nisht avek" (don't go away) is a song dedicated to the Yiddish language, saying don't go away. Read more: Zionlight on MySpace
Yiddish Film Project
Worlds within a World: Conversations with Yiddish Writers Beyle Schaechter Gottesman: Song of Autumn A VELT MIT VELTELEKH: SHMUESN MIT YIDISHE SHRAYBERS
BEYLE SHEKHTER-GOTESMAN: HARBSTLID
The League for Yiddish is pleased to announce that the film Beyle
Schaechter-Gottesman: Song of Autumn (BEYLE SHEKHTER-GOTESMAN: Harbstlid), the
second film in our series Worlds within a World: Conversations with Yiddish Writers
(A velt mit veltelekh: shmuesn mit yidishe shraybers) is ready and available
for viewing and purchase.
This Land is Your Land, at the pre-Inauguration concert this afternoon
I heard part of this, and I saw a bit more on the news, but here is one of the most exciting parts of this afternoon's concert. Doesn't have anything to do with Jewish music directly (although there may be few who grew up in this country who haven't sung it—heck, I first learned it in Canada, when I lived in Calgary as a child, with just a few identifying landmarks change). But this is a more complex version than is usually sung, and Pete Seeger looks like he waited a lifetime for this moment. I thought he was ready to retire back in the '80s, and here he still is.
May some of our hopes and dreams for this new administration, with our ongoing efforts, turn out true.
This from Eva Broman on the Jewish-Music list. Commentary Eva's, from last month:
I came across a few clips that give a picture of the
relations between Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis which differs quite a
lot from the ones we're used to seeing. The clips show Arab singers performing for Israeli Jewish audiences, as well as Israeli Jewish singers appearing in front of enthusiastic Arab audiences.
The first one is from a live show with Druze singer Sharif, in a Jewish club:
On 16-Jan-2009, I got an email from "Michael" giving further details: "The village where Avi Biter is singing is Jisr Az-Zarqa, between Caesaria and Zikhron Yaacov on the Mediterranean coast." Thank you!
There is an ear-splitting promo video of this past September's Klezmer Festival in Argentina , 15 to 21 September 2008 at the festival website, www.klezfiesta.com.ar. It's not the same as viewing live clips, but both the video, and the festival, are exciting, nonetheless.
Pete Sokolow tears up Tarras' Rumeinishe Freilakhs
Michael Winograd posts this great video from a recent gig by the Tarras Band: "The Tarras Band plays the music of Dave Tarras (no way!!!) featuring Peter Sokolow on piano, Ben Holmes on Trumpet, Michael Winograd on Clarinet, Jim Guttman on Bass, Richie Barshay and David Licht on Drums. Here Mr. Sokolow tears it up on an old klezmer standard "
Keith Wolzinger posted this last week—I believe it is the first video cast by his wife, Renah Wolzinger. From the content, it looks as though this was recorded at KlezKanada last summer. For more on mothers who play drums, see a video from earlier this fall.
Watch the new short documentary film by Renah Wolzinger about legendary Klezmer drummer Elaine Hoffman-Watts:
There's even more video of Elaine from the Philadelphia Folklore Project: Women Play Klezmer
Sufganiot - Rabbi Joe Black and Maxwell St. Klezmer
If you look through YouTube you will find that our old friends at Maxwell Street Klezmer have recorded their own version of "Ocho Kandelikas." Fortunately, this song from their new CD with Rabbi Joe Black shows some different Hanukkah consciousness. Remember, not for nothing is this the holiday of oil
Check out Medea's Video Pick of the Day for Dec 22. Yup, it's our Toronto friends, KlezFactor, whose most recent CD, Klezmachine is attracting a lot of attention. That album is now the #1 charted album on CHUO radio's "International" chart, for the week ending December 16th -- and that's up from #6 from the previous week. The band also charted at #19 for the CIUT chart (all included) for the same week (ending December 16).
You can get your copy of KlezMachine on cdbaby.com.
Or, you can get started by watching this jazz-klezmer cut from KlezMachine, "Naftule Brandwein is a badass mathematician."
I really enjoy this, but I am beginning to feel the same way about "Ocho Kandelikas" the same way I feel about מאוז צור and "I have a little dreidl." Get with the program, folks. Let's have some really neat new Hanukkah songs (see previous entry about the new Erran Baron Cohen CD for one example that might still seem worth repeating next your. Or may not).
What could be more fitting on this fourth day of Chanukkah but to present this non-embeddable video of a cut from Erran Baron Cohen's new CD. Look closely, and while Chassidim carefully put up Jesus' name in Hebrew graffiti, there's also a bit of Y-Love:
Jewlia Eisenberg and Kugelplex wish you a Happy Hanukkah
From Jewlia Eisenberg, who has spent the last couple of months unreasonably ill and could use some good healing:
Happy solstice. To celebrate, here's a video clip you may dig: everyone's favorite bosnian-jewish khanukah hit, sung by me with kugelplex (like last year's "yiddish rudolph"). que viva flory jagoda! i just entered into correspondence with her this year, she's pretty inspiring for me.
We're all familiar with Elaine Hoffman Watts, mother of trumpeter/vocalist Susan, and drummer extraordinaire. Now, Christian Dawid returns from a trip to the Ukraine with this video of Maria Parfenivna Baranovska, mother of part of the family which makes up the extraordinary Konsonans Retro:
She is, as he puts it, "Ukraine's Coolest Drummer"
Whoa! This one spotted on the Blog in Dm, which caught it elsewhere. Looks like the attempts by some haredirabbis to make being a rebbe look pretty stupid are bearing fruit. If poking fun at the rebbes isn't your cup of tea, there are some excellent recent CD reviews this past week. Need I mention that the holiday that has no historic gift-giving tradition overlaps this year with the majority culture holiday that, likewise, had no such tradition until coming to Amerike:
This just posted to Facebook (and YouTube) by Margot Leverett from the CD release for her fabulous "Second Avenue Squaredance" CD. You get a sense of why I can't stop listening--and now you know what to get the bluegrass and/or klezmer music fans in your life for Chanuka! (Did I mentioned David Licht on drums, Tony Trishka, or the others?)
I can't resist. Here is the German klezmer band, Di Grine Kuzine doing a brassy sounding, visually thoroughly cheesy version of "Popcorn" from way, way back in 2003 (gee, that's generations in Internet years):
I am so jealous. Eisenberg is one of the most creative people working with Jewish music (and just about everything) today. A query about a Ladino version of "Miserlu" (fielded by the always-knowledgeable Sephardic music maven Judith Cohen netted this wrapup of how she's spent her summer, none of it I might add with a bit if truculence, in Boston. (I did catch Basya Shaechter at Ashkenaz, so it was't a summer without creative highlights on this coast.) At least it's documented!:
… in other news, everything well here. played in the krakow jewfest this summer, that blew my mind. lots of amazing musicians, no sleep. here's a clip:
below on that page is this side project i'm doing on the intersection of rebetika and salonikan jewish folk music. kinda cool. doing it with the guys from kugelplex as you can see. it's pretty fun, sexy.
frank london was in town and we did a bunch of khassidish and roma tunes with him, it was fun, here's a little bit of one:
This was sent by David Chevan in time for the Sept 11 remembrance, but has sat, like too many other entries, awaiting time. As we approach the High Holidays (and the election season), it still seems very relevant. Don't forget to check out his new CD of this recording. [ari]
“There are three ways to mourn. The first is to cry. The second is to grow silent. The third is to transform sorrow into song.” —Abraham Joshua Heschel
"Our friend, videographer Jay Miles, recently completed a film he made of The Afro-Semitic Experience and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi recording the Yizkor prayer for Martyrs. He posted it on YouTube. I mention this only because today, September 11, you might want to take a moment to reflect and listen to a memorial prayer instead of listening to politicians mouth empty phrases and even emptier promises.
"If you are so moved, please share this music with your friends and family."
Here's a nice Rosh Hashana treat, as it were—interview with Paul Brody, with clips from a performance by his band "Sadawi," in Vilnius, Lithuania. Treat it as a counter to this summer's antisemitic incidents in that once-very-Jewish town.
The "Other Europeans" project—an intercultural dialogue on Yiddish and Roma music, culture and identity—had its concert debut July 2 at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. The two-year project entails creation of two bands, one Yiddish and one Roma, which this year will play separately, developing repertoires with common Romanian roots and next year will join forces, performing together. At the concert in Krakow, each band played a set and then joined together for the encore—here's a link to a video I shot of that joint performance. Sorry about the fuzzy video, but the sound is more or less OK….
The project is a collaborative effort of the Yiddish Summer Weimar, the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival and the KlezMORE festival in Vienna. Driving force behind it is Alan Bern. For details of the project, see www.the-other-europeans.eu/project.htm
Krakow Jewish Culture Festival concerts to be streamed online
It's Krakow Jewish Culture Festival Time! Several of the concerts are being broadcast, starting with today's cantorial concert. Krakow time is GMT+1, or 6 hours later than here on the US East Coast. To catch the7pm local time concert, tune in at 1pm EST, or the equivalent for wherever you are. There will be concerts all week, most at 7pm and 10pm Krakow time.
From Channe Nussbaum, Queen of Danish Klezmer, ever pushing the edges of Yiddish music, this time, in Mexico! (Is that the largest bass balalaika you've ever seen, or what?
Klezmofobia has recently returned—all high from playing stadium concert in Mexico City for at least 15.000 wild young mexicans. We were also invited to perform in the mexican TV show "Animal
Nocturno"; a channel wich is broadcasted in all Mexico, Latin America and the USA.
We met other bands from many countries who also participated the
Ollinkan Festival, and we had a marvellous time partying and jamming
with people from Africa, Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany,
South America etc.
Here's a couple of samples from the TV show "Animal Nocturno":
It's neat! But when I suggested that it was time to move beyond the nostalgia stuff and do some hard-hitting video news in Yiddish, she responded, "Sandler's already got me cranking on the video magazine. We're on it—it's in the works. And someone in the land of Klez calling us nostalgia freaks? Ahem. Unless you're Wolfe Krakowsky--you're swimming in the stuff."
Touché. And for those of us who need a bit of help, here's the english-subtitled version:
KQED's SPARK video crew chronicled the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival's first ever artist residency: "The Ark presents Cyclical Rituals (part 1): Spring". The 10-minute clip is now available online (also includes a separate segment on David Grisman):
Gustavo Bulgach here frOm Klezmer Juice…. Here's a new video of us performing @ the DOROTHY CHANDLER THEATRE in LOS ANGELES last December. I hope everything is fine and we'll see you guys soon with UNA NOCHE YIDDISHE. ZAI GEZUNDT
Drapkin's "Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies" performed by Austin Symphonic, on YouTube
Michael Drapkin writes:
Dear Friends and Family:
I had the great honor of having our wonderful Austin Symphonic Band perform my concert band piece "Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies" this past Father's Day here in Austin in Zilker Park.
The Texas sun had just gone down, but the air temperature was still in the '90s, so it was sweltering, but the band still played great. Shayna videotaped the concert live all the way from the back of the hillside, which accounts for a lot of crowd noise, but it was done on a tripod, so the results were pretty good. Naturally, her bias was to zoom in on her father!
It was appropriate for this to be performed on Father's Day, as on the score I dedicated it to my grandfather Philip Segalove, who used to play a lot of these tunes when I was a child.
This piece has been performed by several bands previously, but this is the first time I got to actually perform it myself playing the big solo clarinet part. It is being published this year by Northeastern Music Publications, so it may be coming to a high school or college band near you!
It is broken into two pieces in order fit onto YouTube:
Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies, Part 1:
Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies, Part 2:
It was just a few years ago that Mark Rubin sent me word of an exciting project. He and his Austin-based band had screened the 1920 silent film by Paul Wegener, The Golem to a (mostly klezmer, with some davening assists by Cantor Neil Blumofe) soundtrack he composed. The results were captured on DVD.
The result is fascinating. In the 16th century Prague, of course, wild Jewish wedding music would surely have been popular as 20th century German Jews would have distanced themselves as far as possible from such unmannered music. Anachronisms abound upon anachronisms (including some of the very romantic plot twists), all moved along at an enlivening pace by Rubinchik's Yiddish Ensemble. Occasionally, one can hear the reactions of the audience viewing the movie.
This classic was almost immediately sold out. I am pleased to announce that "The Golem: How He Came Into The World" is once again available to the discerning public, with the klezmer accompaniment from www.filmbaby.com as DVD or digital download.
Play along with the Austin Klezmorim and learn some klezmer
From the people who gave us an amazing latke recipe (don't worry; I'll repeat it come Hanuka again), the world's best version of the Purim story, and the Flounder Blues, comes a new video series on YouTube: Play along with the Austin Klezmorim (complete with music on your computer screen). Here's the world-famous Zeltser Vasser:
The original concept was to introduce to the world a man we believed was lost to history. From childhood on, we all sang and danced to the song “Eretz Zavat Chalav u’Dvash”, but like most, we believed the song was one passed down from generation to generation, a traditional song written eons ago, another song of the collective Jewish experience. But through a chance encounter a few years back, we learned that the composer, Eliahu Gamliel (now in his 80’s), was indeed alive and still teaching dance and music in Israel.
It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and that means that our favorite tuba-playing bluesman, Mark Rubin is hanging out with Ben Schenk and the Panorama Jazz Band. Mark provides a bunch of fine photos on his blog, and I've borrowed the YouTube video from the same source:
The Harlem Experiment's "Reefer Man" gets political animation on YouTube
It's Black History month. On a site that talks mostly about Jewish music, there isn't a lot of intersection once I get through with the bittersweet way in which Rabbi Heschel's yahrzeit and the Reverend King, Jr's birthday come at the same time, just before the month begins. (Bittersweet because both are missed.) But there was a fascinating place where "black" and "Jewish" intersected in a fascinating way, and that was Harlem. A couple of months ago Grammy-winning producer Aaron Levinson got folks ranging from Taj Mahal to Don Byron to celebrate that shared history in a remarkably wonderful CD, "The Harlem Experiment. You first heard about it here back in October, and then I found a great review and other info. Now, I offer a wonderfully tasteless political cartoon animating "The Reefer Man" from that self-same CD.
If you read this site regularly, you will remember me kvelling about a wonderful documentary a couple of years ago about Cantor Jack Mendelson. Now the movie's Director/Producer Erik Anjou writes that it is available on DVD from Ergo Media.
For those wondering what Anjou will do to follow up the movie, I have had the opportunity to view some clips from a new documentary about The Klezmatics. Should be very exciting.
Ates Temeltas, who run's the band's label, sent this Veretski Pass interview to me month's ago, but it's still good video. It also includes footage of the band playing:
Prior to their concert at California State University, Sacramento [in October 2007], members of Veretski Pass were interviewed by the producers from
MusiqBase website. Here is the link to the first part of that interview in
which Cookie, Josh and Stu talk about the background of music performed by
An lovely person who was trying to "friend" me on YouTube sent me this video of Jason Rosenblatt and his niece Neshama Rosenblatt enjoying some quality harmonica time together. Another klezmer generation gets its licks in on "Bei mir bistu shein". Indeed!:
On the Jewish-Music list, that subset of participants, the guardians of all that is proper Yiddish kulchah (not necessarily the people promulgating such culture) have been having a field day emphasizing how much they despise an especially shmaltzy version of the song by a Russian singer. It is sufficiently gruesome to my ears that I will not repeat the link on this page. But Radio host Rochelle Zucker has dug up a tango version of the song, beautifully sung by Argentinian singer Zully Goldfarb (whose "Makh tsu di eygelakh" came in for criticism, itself, a few months ago):
Here is another Youtube version of the same song by Argentinean
Tango/Yiddish singer Zully Goldfarb. She performs in the Tango Clubs
in Buenos Aires and always includes several Yiddish songs in her show -
and always explains what they are and where they come from and also
about her own life as a daughter of Polish Immigrants to Argentina
Something is going on in Argentina. There is some fascinating Jewish culture happening there, ranging from this singer, to the klezmer/Yeshivish band, Orkestra Kef, to the brilliant improvisationists, the Lerner Moguilevsky Dúo.
Posted by Ari Davidow at 4:32 PM|Permalink
February 2, 2008
Konsonans Retro and others in Helsinki Jam
For those (myself included) who can't get enough of Konsonans Retro, here's a jam session from the Helsinki Klezmer Fest with members of that band, Kharkov Klezmer (another set of amazing folks) and more, forward to the Jewish-Music list by usual provocateur, Christian David:
Christian continued, "Here's another groovy Moldavian tune from the same session:"
Just wanted to let you know that there is now a video on YouTube of The
Afro-Semitic Experience jamming this past Sunday night with Y-Love rapping!!
It is pretty cool (though you can't see Baba and Alvin drumming) and the
audio is decent enough that you can even hear when Y-Love switches to
Aramaic. Hope you enjoy!
I just found some really nice clips on youtube.
The first one is "Divahn" performing Avihu Medina's "Shabechi Yerushalayim":
And some of my favourite Israeli artists, the comedy/singing combo "Ma Kashur?" together with Sharif in a real "hafla" tune:
And something totally different, from another era in Israeli music and television (Yigal Bashan, singing "Yesh li Tsipur K'tana b'lev" (I've a small bird in my heart)):
I fell for this song when I first heard it in the movie "Bikur Ha-Tizmoret" with a group of Israeli friends. It must be something of a classic, because all the Israelis instantly recognized it and hummed along.
"Bikur Ha-Tizmoret" is highly recommended, BTW. There is some excellent acting, and a warm, understated humour.
The greatest klezmer Christmas song ever! The biggest Jewish contribution to solstice celebrations since Irving Berlin penned "White Christmas"! A Yiddish "Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer," performed by San Francisco's Kugelplex. Vocals by Jewlia Eisenberg of
It's hard for me to call a medley that starts off with a lovely "Shalom Aleichem," and has some clear Hawaiian influences a "klezmer medley," but the music is beautiful and Stacy remains one of my favorite guitarists:
Correction? Am informed that this band, whose videos are on YouTube as the "Shondes" are, in fact, called "Something Fierce." Interesting band, but the real shondes can be found at www.myspace.com/theshondes. So what's up with these YouTube videos?
Found this great punk band with a wonderful Jewish name, albeit, no particularly Jewish content or sound. It's a shonde that I haven't heard of them before. If you know more about them, send me e-mail.
You can read Richard's intro to the song on his blog, Tikun Olam-תקון עולם. I admire the sentiment in this new song, and hope that it presages other good things to come, but I would feel more hopeful if in the introduction to the song, he didn't feel necessary to attack a rather nice Israeli folk song of the same name, one often sung in rounds, with great feeling and camraderie. I happen not to believe that "Haveinu Shalom Aleichem" is a "tired old folk song that has outlived its usefulness"—tired, I guess because it merely makes people feel good, emphasizes bringing peace in only one language, and doesn't have a Middle Eastern melody?
Surely making peace does not need to be a subtractive process such that we must reach back to some earlier form of exclusive political correctness (current exclusive political correctness, of course, would ask "which way the prayer meeting" and sneer at anyone who isn't a fundamentalist neo-con and gung ho about tossing the liberties and constitutional protections that make this country unique, er, in the name of putting those liberties and that constitution someplace secure and locked away from everyday human protection?). I would contend quite the opposite. But that's a whole 'nother issue. So, let's start all over again, enjoy this song and its performance for the joy that it is, and if that helps us build other good things, all the better. And if people in my sukkah break out with the better known traditional form of the song, perhaps in a round, during our sukkah gathering and jam session tomorrow, why we might even go on to "Mah tovu ohalekha" or "Aleh Everyone" (once known as "aleh brider," after the first, traditional verse). To paraphrase Pete Seeger, there is a lot of good in those tired old folk songs. New ones are welcome, too!
Klezmer Brass Allstars from 2002, PLUS Gangbe Brass
Mark Rubin discovered this—the wonderful Old Town school in Chicago, breeding ground of so much damn good music—dug through their box of tapes and has begun digitizing:
Their description reads: "Another from The Vault (which I guess is what we’re calling the boxes in the basement now), this one from October 28th, 2002. An all-brass Klezmer band is a concept easy enough to get your head around (and this one is great, don’t get me wrong), but an African brass band is a mind-blower. It’s Earth, Wind & Fire meets King Sunny Ade. I kid you not. Video direction by Bob Medich."
Video/Audio: Twisting Tradition: Music History and Cultural Change, LA, Spring 2007
Imagine two of the most creative people in Jewish music: Frank London and Jewlia Eisenberg on a panel moderated by their equal in cultural commentary, Josh Kun. They talk, they, sing, they play recordings. It happened at the Nextbook “Acting Jewish” festival held at UCLA in April. In a recent visit, Jewlia talked about the panel as one of the most fun event of its type in which she had participated. Listen or watch:
TWISTING TRADITION: MUSIC, HISTORY AND CULTURAL CHANGE
Musicians Jewlia Eisenberg and Frank London chat with writer Josh Kun about Jewish music, and perform live.
"We don’t quite understand how it’s gone on for decades and continues to be vital."
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."
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":
About two weeks ago, on Monday, April 16, I had the opportunity to premiere
Yizkor: Music of Memory and Mourning, a memorial concert I composed for
cantor and jazz ensemble. The lyrics for the pieces all come from the
Yizkor service (the Jewish memorial service) and the music that I composed
is a mixture of jazz-inflected melodies and rhythms and chazzanut-the often
highly melismatic and distinctive traditional singing style used by
cantors-a style that dominated their singing more in the late 19th and first
half of the 20th century. One of my compositional goals was to reinvigorate
this now less commonly used singing style by putting it into a new context.
The other was to create a modern Jewish memorial work.
This is Aisling Chin-Yee from the National Film Board, I am writing happily to you, to let you know about a film that Montreal director Garry Beitel from Beitel/Lazar Productions is making about the Josh Dolgin, and the Klezmer Cruise. I will be blogging about the experience on the cruise, posting pictures, video clips, and news, that you can check out at:
Speaking of staged movie choreography, Steve Weintraub reminded me of this
scene from Thoroughly Modern Millie in which Julie Andrews sings a medley of
Yiddish hits to deft Jewish wedding choreography. Someone was kind enough to
post it online:
(That link leads one, inevitably, to the bottle dance from Fiddler:
It's 2007...have you shown these to your children/grandchildren?
Pete Rushefsky writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:
Bob Cohen has graciously put up a YouTube video of footage from a recent Tantshoyz put on by CTMD. Here's Zev's (Zev Feldman) demonstrating "shining"—i.e., things to do when you've been thrown in the center of a freylekh circle:
Next CTMD Tantshoyzes at the JCC in Manhattan (Amsterdam & 76th) are on
Hope to see you at some of the upcoming events!
A zisn Peysakh, Pete Rushefsky
Center for Traditional Music and Dance
Support for the Yiddish Dance Project was provided to the Center for Traditional Music & Dance by the Forward Association and the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Arts Program, a State agency. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Doug Cole sends in the following. I am hoping for updated listings on the klezmershack's band pages, soon:
My partner Judith Eisner, fidl has a very nice website that has video of her new band: Classic Klezmer. You may remember her from the remarkable photo of the Tsatskelehs All grrrl klezmer band posted on your band list a few years ago. And of course you will recognize her from Klez Kanada, she has attended last five years or so. The band was recorded at a cable tv station here in Minneapolis and the cable people have a website where they display local talent(baby blue arts). So check it out and tell everyone! I'm the biggest fan of course being her partner.
It's not as easy to play as YouTube, but if you have Windows Media Player, you should be okay.
As near as I can tell, it was Helen Winkler, originally posting to the Jewish-Music list about this video, that sparked Roger Reid's long post about the Hutsul music craze (and the subsequent discussion) a couple of weeks ago.
Ah yes! I remember that night—this is in Budapest, at Fono in the Fall
2006. Tecso played after a wonderful set by Nikitov (Niki Jakobs et al) -
that explains why you see Adam Good on bass jamming with the Ukranian
musicians. The really frustrating thing about this recording is that I'm
standing right behind the video guy the whole time, so no proof remains that
I was there (except my own blurry pictures :)
The person posting the video is none-other than the omnipresent and
sagacious Bob Cohen of Di Naye Kapelye. He turned us on to Tecso, and he's
got a wonderful post on Tecso on his ever-enlightening blog. Sadly,
Mihailo Csernavec, the tsimbalom player in the band (who was already ill at
the time of this show) passed away very recently, and Bob tells his story
and the story of the band here:
Mihailo Csernavec, Hutsul Tsymbaly player, 1947-2007.
We just saw a rather amazing, transgressive movie called "Mendy." Released in 2003, it is about a young man who leaves the Satmar community and must figure out who he is. He must also figure out how to survive in a world where he has no skills—no knowledge of the world outside of studying in the yeshiva—no geography, no math, nothing. The movie touches on the usual religious transgressions (including a sexual scene involving t'fillin), but it is in the thoughtfulness with which the main character makes the transition from his familiar, beloved former life of prayer and devotion to G-d that the movie's impact is greatest.
Metropolitan Klezmer has put up several clips of songs performed at a recent concert. That would be reason enough to mosey over to YouTube, but film expert and bandleader Eve Sicular has also tied this particular video back to it's original soundtrack. And, for those unfamiliar with American Shadkhn with the late comedian Leo Fuchs, there's more to this story than just the pshat.
The Music of Ancient Israel to "Jimmi Hendrix"-style klezmer!
I am writing,should you be interested in some of the musical material I have recently broadcast on youtube.com, which amongst other things,features my attempts at bringing back to life the ancient sounds of the Jewish Temple Lyre,the "Kinnor",last played by my very own Levite ancestors in the Temple of Jerusalem,almost 2000 years ago...now only played,in my spare room,Salford,Lancashire,England!
Check out the the following link to all my somewhat unique musical videos which I have so far uploaded(which,amongst other things,also include an even more unique fusion of "Jimmi Hendrix" style electric violin and traditional Klezmer!!!)...
But, if the truth be told, I agree with my old friend Michal Ayalon—"Salam Salami" is much more fun! Who needs reunion concerts by Poogy reruns when Tipex is writing new satire. (Okay, neither of these is the band at its most profound. There must be a place for peaceful frivolity. And remember, Katz's Deli in NYC still has a sign in its window (still current, unfortunately, but for the fact that your child in the armed forces might be either gender today): "Send a salami to your boy in the army".
Marilla Wex uploads yet another significant addition to the Michael Wex online video collection. In this episode, the Wexter discourses with drollity on … well, I let Marilla explain…
For those of you who weren't there and for those of you that were—I just
worked out how to upload this short but very funny clip of Wex MCing at a
concert in summer 2006. He'd just read an article about a Belgian lending
library that was planning to lend out people from various ethnic groups....
The 7th of Adar is the traditional Hillula (Moshe Rabeinu's day
of birth and death) at the tomb of Rabi Shimeon Bar Yokhai …
A lot of klezmer music, chassidic dancing, and of course "Khalakes" (first haircut to 3 years old kids).
Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys on YouTube
It's one of the few entries on YouTube of klezmer music actually tagged "klezmer." Wish it were longer. Margot introduces the band at the end, including one of the folks currently touring with returnee to the Jewish fold Jorma Kaukonen (who can be any religion he so chooses, so long as he doesn't stop playing blues ;-).)
Tzadik recordings artists Davka have been working on an interesting fusion of new Jewish music for a decade, fusing classical training and traditions with klezmer, yiddish, sephardic, and middle eastern sounds. A few years ago they appeared at the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival with an amazing women's Balkan chorus, Kitka. I have been a fan of the latter almost since their inception in 1979 and treasure my cassette copy of their first release. In a PBS special that aired in December 2006, the two groups appeared together, again. There are also some interviews with members of the two ensembles about Jewish music and what it is to them. Kitka performs a wide variety of Jewish, primarily Sephardic music, while Davka also delivers a very nice live performance. They close with a few numbers together and are joined by Cantor Stephen Saxon (KlexX). It's a lovely program. If your PBS station hasn't yet aired it, encourage them to do so. Or, purchase a DVD (more interviews, songs) yourself.
archived on their website () and on the popular Dutch all-music program
Vrije Geluiden which can be viewed at www.vpro.nl/programma/vrijegeluiden/. (Once on the website click
on "bevat video" in the Nikitov Ensemble section and then click on
"kijk hier naar Vrije Geluiden 11 Feb. 2007" on the left to view
the show. The music performances are at 4:00 and 22:40 in the
video). The group concludes the tour at De Waag in Haarlem where
centuries of troubadors performed to prove their skill and talent
and, in more recent history, folk singers like Joan Baez and Simon
and Garfunkel have come to pay homage to the great singers of the
past. The band begins their fall European tour in November.
The video clip of the broiges tants requires the most recent version of
Quick Time to view it. This dance happened quite by accident as I had not
planned to do it but Judith started playing and singing it earlier in the
evening and we decided to include it at the last minute. My dance partner,
Judy Silver had never seen a broiges tants before so it was very improvised
and spontaneous. I welcome all information that people might have about
this dance from past years, as I am accumulating a collection of people's
recollections elsewhere on my web site.
Hanukkah is coming: Hip Hop Hoodios release "Ocho Kandelikos" video
Usually we avoid mentioning Hanukkah until the great secular Jewish holiday, Thanksgiving, has passed. But this year, that's when Hanukkah starts. Fortunately, Hip Hop Hoodios, our favorite Spanish-English bilingual Jewish rappers have released the best Ladino Hanukkah hip hop video to date. Forget that. This is the best Hanukkah video to date. It pinche rocks!
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org "Two Yiddish Dances" -- Settings by Nathan Vizonsky, as taught by Miriam Rochlin. What dances go with Klezmer Music? After all, "Klezmer" IS dance music! This 48 minute video teaches a Freylekh and two variations of the Sher. It also looks at the life and circumstances that helped give Yiddish dance it's unique flavor and style. Narrated and produced Karen Goodman, the dances are taught by Miriam Rochlin who studied with Polish-born dancer/choreographer Nathan Vizonsky in the 1950s. Documentary/Instructional video:48 min $24.98. Available at: Hatikvah Music, (323) 655-7083.