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May 19, 2015
Intensive Dance track at KlezKanada

From Steve Weintraub, posted to the Jewish-Music list. I have long maintained that dance (and people teaching/evolving the dance) is critical to the continued relevance of klezmer. He's been making that possible, one group of students at a time, for many years. Now this:

With all the recent discussion of Yiddish dance history and practice, it seems the right moment to announce a first ever intensive dance leader's track at KlezKanada this summer. The course will take 3 periods a day, while you absorb the musicial and Yiddish culture of camp. I'm very excited to be spearheading this initiative:

klezkanada.org/news/jewish-dance-leaders-program/

Please pass on this information to anyone you think might be interested. And also check out the other offerings this big, 25th year!

Posted by adavidow at 10:43 AM | Permalink
May 15, 2015
Contra-Klezmer

For those of us in my adopted home of Boston, MA, this is not a new subject. Dance leader Jacob Bloom has been fusing klezmer music and contradance for years (he also led the dance at our wedding). But, for those elsewhere, perhaps a fun introduction to the subject:

Klezmephonic and Drake Meadow: Bringing Jewish Music and Dance together the Ann Arbor Way, May 13, 2015 By Clare Kinberg

Can a Contra dance caller lead a Yiddish sher (scissors dance)? Darn right, if it's Drake Meadow! We will all get to experience the fun of it on Friday May 22nd as we gather to honor Rabbi Michal and appreciate her leadership of our community over the past two years. A special Kabbalat Shabbat beginning at 6:30 will be followed by a potluck dinner and entertainment by Klezmephonic, a new Ann Arbor klezmer band. [more]

Posted by adavidow at 03:48 PM | Permalink
Interview w/SoCalled about "five essential albums" cd cover

For the few people who have missed the release of the prolific hiphop artist SoCalled's new "Peoplewatching" album, here is a rather interesting accompaniment to the music, in which Dolgin connects his own work to concepts of community, and illustrates the idea by describing "five essential recordings" that reflect those values. A rather good interview, and lots of nice embedded clips:

ESSENTIAL ALBUMS: Socalled talks five albums that exemplify "community". In this boundary-expanding chat, Montreal-based musician/arranger/scene-uniter talks five albums that exemplify his rich cultural, musical and social circle. by Richard Trapunski, Chart Attack, May 15, 2015.

Posted by adavidow at 03:41 PM | Permalink
May 05, 2015
Roshel and Yakov Rubinov Ensemble, Live 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.
Posted by adavidow at 05:29 PM | Permalink
Music for a Jewish wedding, radio from 2004 Denis Wilen just sent me this link from the Internet Archive: Music of the Klezmer Wedding by Eric Fixler and Craig Harwood Usage Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Topics klezmer, wedding, jewish, yiddish, socalled This is the Oy Mendele! episode from December 2004, when we were still on KALX. It features music historian Craig Harwood and myself walking through the sequence of a traditional Eastern European Jewish wedding, with music of then and now. It's worth listening to just to hear Craig say 'groovin' archive.org/details/EricFixlerandCraigHarwood
Posted by adavidow at 05:22 PM | Permalink
26th North American Jewish Choral Fest, Jul 12-16, 2015

Find Your Joy
at the 26th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival

* Inspiring Conductors
* New Workshops and Presenters
* Musical Memorial Tributes to
Gil Aldema z"l and Yehezkel Braun z"l
* Special Track for Young Singers 18-30
* Fascinating Focus on Ladino Music

and the 12th Annual Hallel V'Zimrah Award to
FLORY JAGODA

Join our Community July 12 - 16, 2015

If you Love Jewish Music, You've Got to Be There!

More info and registration: www.wizevents.com/register/landing.php?id=3192

Posted by adavidow at 03:58 PM | Permalink
Celebrate launch of online Stonehill Jewish Music Collection, NYC, May 13, 2015

Wednesday, May 13: Special Launch Event for the Stonehill Jewish Music Collection. Mark your calendar for an event celebrating the launch of a new website http://www.ctmd.org/stonehill.htm) for the Ben Stonehill Jewish Song Collection!

In 1948, only 3 years after the war, Ben Stonehill recorded over a thousand songs from Holocaust survivors temporarily housed at the Hotel Marseilles after arriving in America. And on May 13, at this very hotel, we will be able to listen to some of the rare and important songs Stonehill captured for posterity. Though Stonehill passed away in 1964, we will hear his voice describing what he saw and heard in that lobby.

The evening will feature a presentation by Yiddish specialist and scholar Miriam Isaacs, Ph.D., herself born in a German DP camp. She has worked with CTMD to create a website which makes available the recordings and lyrics to many of these songs. Isaacs will describe the history and contents of the site and will play a few excerpts of the original songs, sung by men, women and children, mainly in Yiddish, but also Russian and Hebrew. Collectively, this body of song constitutes a haunting testimony to survivors' resilience, courage and humor.

We are thrilled that Masha Leon, one of the singers recorded at the time by Stonehill, will be joining us to share her experience and grace us with a song! A number of the songs will come alive as we will listen to contemporary singers in a zingeray (song-sharing session), featuring several wonderful exponents of traditional Yiddish and Russian song, including Isaacs, Carol Freeman, Esther Gottesman, Craig Packard, and Binyumen Schaechter.

The event will be followed by a reception with light refreshments. Programmed in partnership with the Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center. We are grateful for the assistance of ethnomusicologist Bret Werb of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Lorin Sklamberg of the YIVO Institute, Paula Teitelbaum, Binyumin Schaechter, Craig Packard and Itzik Gottesman for their assistance with this project, as well as the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Marinus and Minna B. Koster Foundation and the Atran Foundation.

At the Hotel Marseilles, 230 West 103 Street in Manhattan (SW corner of West 103rd Street and Broadway). Admission is free! (7:00PM-8:30PM).


Posted by adavidow at 02:03 PM | Permalink
May 02, 2015
New website: Klezmer in Seattle

Klezmer Music in and around Seattle & Klezmer Resources

What a great idea! Everything from lists of local bands, where to find the local klezmer jams, where/how to learn more about klezmer, etc.

Appears to be sponsored by the local Seattle, WA klezmer band, Klezmer Chaos.

Posted by adavidow at 10:15 AM | Permalink
Spring Fiddle workshops w/Alicia Svigals, NYC For the ninth annual Make Music New York, we're teaming up with Alicia Svigals, the world's foremost klezmer fiddler, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust to present a spring workshop series for violinists ages 12 and up, culminating in a performance produced by the National Yiddish Theatre and Joe's Pub for KulturfestNYC. More info: makemusicny.org/blog/claim-your-spot-in-this-years-klezmer-violin-workshop-with-alicia-svigals/
Posted by adavidow at 09:55 AM | Permalink
April 24, 2015
Yiddish Song of the week: One song, three pogroms

A song used in variant forms to memorialize tragedies befalling early 20th century Jewish communities in Kishinev, Bialystock and Volodarka. Commentary by Itzik Gottesman, now on Center for Traditional Music and Dance's Yiddish Song of the Week...

www.yiddishsong.wordpress.com

A project of CTMD's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture

Posted by adavidow at 06:30 PM | Permalink
April 20, 2015
Ot Azoy! 2015 Yiddish language immersion, London, UK


Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 4 levels, led by world renowned Yiddish Lecturer Helen Khayele Beer and her distinguished team of fellow Yiddishists, Sonia Pinkusowitz-Dratwa, Annick Prime-Margules, Lily Kahn and Barry Davis. Shura Lipovsky, Director of The Golden Peacock, will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song.

Sun Aug 9 - Fri Aug 14, 2015
SOAS Vernon Square Campus,
Penton Rise,
London WC1X 9EW, UK

FEES:
Full rate £245
Discount rate £230 (if paid in full by 1 May)
Student / Senior rate £145
Discount Student / Senior rate £130 (if paid in full by 1 May)

More info: www.jmi.org.uk/event/ot-azoy-2015/

Posted by adavidow at 02:27 PM | Permalink
April 19, 2015
KlezFest London, Aug 18-21, 2015

KlezFest 2015

Tuesday, 18 Aug 2015 -- Friday, 21 Aug 2015
SOAS,
Vernon Square, Campus
WC1X 9EW London, UK

We are very happy to announce that our world famous Klezmer summer school is star is back again for 2015.
Join the world famous music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2015. Here is a a peek into what you can expect:
• Traditional klezmer; history, melodies, ornamentation, dance and accompaniment
• Play music in ensembles and delve into improvisational techniques
• Interpret scores, jam and perform to the public.
• Lectures from the cutting edge of academic research
The international faculty will feature some of the very best klezmer musicians from around the world:
Dr Alan Bern (piano/accordion - Germany)
Ilana Cravitz (violin - UK),
Joel Rubin (clarinet - USA)

More info: www.jmi.org.uk/event/klezfest2015/

Posted by adavidow at 05:41 PM | Permalink
Yiddish Summer Weimar 2015, Jul 18 - Aug 9 Registration is now open for Yiddish Summer Weimar 2015! Incredible workshops for beginners through professionals in Yiddish vocal and instrumental music, dance, language, and more, in weeklong sessions starting July 18, 2015 and continuing through August 9. This will be followed by "Festival Week" featuring nightly films and concerts and a daily program of hands-on events for young(er) and old(er). Check it all out at yiddishsummer.eu
Posted by adavidow at 04:12 PM | Permalink
April 15, 2015
"Fun dor tsu dor" starts, Limoges, France

From generation to generation/ Fun dor tsu dor "

19th of april until 25th of April 2015

Reserved for families this week of immersion in Yiddish culture offers parents and children to share common activities: singing, klezmer music, dance, cooking, introduction to Yiddish, evening shows, concerts, tales and lullabies ... and tourism , tasting of local products, rest, read ...

The smallest are welcome in the kindershul for animations adapted to their age.

The team is led by Marthe Desrosières, flutist.

Members include: Lloica Czackis singer; Andreas Schmitges, dancer, mandolin, guitar; Eleonore Biezunski, violinist, singer.
The stay is in residence, in a magnificent nineteenth
located 17 km from Limoges: Château de Ligoure.

For further information do not hesitate to contact Marthe Desrosieres.
yiddishweb.com/fundortsudor

Posted by adavidow at 03:14 PM | Permalink
April 03, 2015
Cantor Yanky Lemmer, Frank London & Michael Winograd - Project Ahava Raba - Studio Session

Posted by Michael Winograd to Facebook

Cantor Yanky Lemmer, Frank London & Michael Winograd - Project Ahava Raba - Studio Session A prayer, a Nusach and most importantly an invocation of the the abundant love between man and his Creator. It is through this project that Cantor Yaakov Lemmer, trumpeter Frank London and clarinetist Michael Winograd elicit these emotions. The project was conceived while touring Europe and performing at various Jewish Culture festivals. It is a marriage of Klezmer, Chazzanut, with an old school feel yet a refreshening energy and vibe.
Posted by adavidow at 05:01 PM | Permalink
A polish "Khad-gadyo" performed by Mordkhe Schaechter

Yiddish song of the week:

yiddishsong.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/a-polish-khad-gadyo-performed-by-mordkhe-schaechter/ A Polish "Khad-gadyo" Performed by Mordkhe Schaechter A Polish Khad-gadyo Sung by Mordkhe Schaechter Recorded by Leybl Kahn in 1954 New York. Commentary by Itzik Gottesman Though not in Yiddish, we present this week's short ditty in the spirit of celebrating the upcoming holiday of Passover and as a contrast to last week's Yiddish Khad-Gadyo. This is either the beginning of a longer Khad-gadyo song or perhaps simply a children's rhyme based on khad-gadyo.
Posted by adavidow at 04:54 PM | Permalink
From Honk!TX Review, 2015

From Itzik Gottesman, shared on Facebook:

0:00 Danza Azteca Guadalupana www.facebook.com/pages/Danza-Azteca-Guadalupana/275037665880477 2:30 Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour and Austin Klezmer Bund Orchestra www.mazeltovkocktailhour.com www.facebook.com/austinklezmer 12:00 Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band ensmb.com/spacefuture/
Posted by adavidow at 11:34 AM | Permalink
March 27, 2015
Link: In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war

Posted to Facebook by Toronto scholar Anna Shternshis about the work of two of her students:

In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war, by Judy Maltz, HaAretz, Mar 25, 2015

"Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, a unique collaboration of composers from two enemy states, will debut at Toronto's Alliance Francaise Theatre." [more]

Posted by adavidow at 11:22 AM | Permalink
March 09, 2015
Yiddish song of the week: A girl and her toy donkey

Forwarded, as usual, by Pete Rushefsky

A song about a girl and her toy donkey, performance by Chaya Fiyzerman Friedman, commentary by Itzik Gottesman... now at CTMD's Yiddish Song of the Week... www.yiddishsong.wordpress.com

A project of Center for Traditional Music and Dance's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture

Posted by adavidow at 03:32 PM | Permalink
February 28, 2015
Boston Jewish Music Festival kicks off—tonight, Yemen Blues! festival logoIf you get excited by the diversity of Jewish music, than the arrival of the Boston Jewish Music Festival at the tail end of a long, cold winter, is the surest harbinger of spring.

This year, the music ranges from ancient piyyut to Klezmer. Tonight, following last night's music Sabbaths, the festival kicks off in earnest with the return of the Israeli ensemble, Yemen Blues

Posted by adavidow at 09:37 AM | Permalink
Berkeley JMF Fest Director, Ellie Shapiro, honored as 30th fest kicks off

This is a case where I can claim to have known the person "back when," since Ellie and I met back in the mid-1970s in Jerusalem. I don't think that either of us back then considered "Jewish music" to be a relevant term. We were both Arik Einstein fans, of course. But, we were young.

Now, Ellie is on the verge of a doctorate and the Jewish Music Festival is celebrating one last time in its current form. It's a big deal. I first heard bands like Brave Old World and The Klezmatics at the festival, along with Bukharian Jewish music, cantorial music, and an ever-growing wide range of new and old traditions. Having taken over the festival full-time from founder and Holocaust survivor Ursula Sherman, in 2004, Berkeley is finally giving her some respect:

Berkeley honors Eleanor Shapiro during final year of Jewish Music Festival

Posted by adavidow at 09:07 AM | Permalink
February 21, 2015
Mark Rubin CD released Pretty damn fine 'Jew of Oklahoma' album artOver the years, we've seen and heard lots of musicians who blend a little of this and a little of that. Mark Rubin doesn't really mix anything. He plays the gamut of American music styles from blues to bluegrass, from Cajun to klezmer, closing out with some joyous rhythm 'n' blues. You can tell which is which. What I didn't notice, even from his Americana band, Bad Livers, is how good he is as a song-writer, singer, and fiddler. This CD should make the point.

It takes a Jew from Oklahoma to give us the folk ballad, "The murder of Leo Frank" ("Next time you're at services / say a kaddish for Leo Frank"), followed by a lovely "Rumainyan Fancy." I also appreciate the topicality, breadth, and poetry of the songwriting, from "Key Chain Blues," ("Well the boss man called me up today / Said I gotta take a key off your key chain....") to "(Why am I trying to) kill myself" to the organizing song, "No more to you."

The recording opens with Rubin leaving Texas in "Blues rides a mule," but this music is the best cure for the blues I've heard in too long. This one will be on the playlist for a long time. Best, you can get your own copy—physical CD or download—from our friends at CDBaby. Download it soon, y'all. Time to enjoy some prodigious good picking and feel good about the world again. Great album art, too.

Posted by adavidow at 10:38 AM | Permalink
January 23, 2015
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:

Posted by adavidow at 05:23 PM | Permalink
the return of J. Edgar Klezmer

From Eve Sicular:

My 2009 Sara Ivry interview just re-posted by Tablet Magazine in time for our 2015 sneak preview of the new run for 'J. EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother's FBI Files' (Feb 6th at The Actors Temple NYC; Feb 12-15 at Centenary Stage Company, Hackettstown NJ). I obtained the declassified documents on Grandma—Dr. Adele Sicular—through a Freedom of Information Act request, and created a piece of musical documentary theater we're now bringing back with Isle of Klezbos & Metropolitan Klezmer bandmates. A few government surveillance revelations have surfaced meanwhile.

tabletmag.com/podcasts/373/prying-eyes

Posted by adavidow at 05:12 PM | Permalink
January 13, 2015
Boston Jewish 2015 schedule up / tix now available

If you're not on their email list, or their snailmail list, or you aren't following them on Facebook, then you probably don't know yet that the Boston Jewish Music Festival has announced this year's schedule. We're talking about a range that goes from "Sacred songs of Hindus and Jews" with Cantor Randall Schloss and Deepti Navaratna, to a movie about Doc Pomus and the return of Israeli world-music ensemble Yemen Blues. Did I mention Sarah Aroeste and Diwan Saz (piyyut music via Israel)?

It's cold outside. What better time to start planning your spring: www.bostonjewishmusicfestival.org

Posted by adavidow at 04:30 PM | Permalink
Jeremiah Lockwood, "Songs of Zebulon," singing and writing about khazones

interesting collage of musicians and disksJeremiah Lockwood is the long-time frontman for one of the most interesting young Jewish bands, The Sway Machinery. He is creating some of the most interesting new Jewish music today. The grandson of a cantor, he has been musing about khazones in several recent forums. This blog post from Jewish Currents is one facet of that engagement:

Legendary voices: The education of the great cantors, by Jeremiah Lockwood, posted Dec 2, 2014.

This is no casual interest. Lockwood has recently released an album of works inspired by the music of Cantor Zebulon Kwartin, Songs of Zebulon, with help from several luminaries of the NY music scene: Frank London, Ron Caswell, Brian Drye, and Shoko Nagai. The album is on the "Blue Thread" label (an imprint of Jewish Currents and is both a Lockwood original, and to a lesser, but still significant degree, Frank London's ongoing exploration of khazones. The voice is the voice of a khazan, but the music pulls in sounds from the blues, from North Africa, from spirituality around the world in an exciting, not always easy, mix. For people like me, this is the sort of music we keep waiting for—something that listens to tradition from other ears, and with an exciting patchwork of twentieth century identities. For one hint of how that all pulls together, listen to the slide on "B'rach Dodi" (I assume it is Lockwood's blues slide.) There are also flashes of familiarity, as with the album's closing "Od Ha-Pa'am" ("Once again"). You can find out more about Cantor Kwartin and his time, and listen to samples, from the project website, or get your own copy directly from Blue Thread.
Posted by adavidow at 02:46 PM | Permalink
January 10, 2015
"World music for war child," just released by ARC, includes Yale Strom song

When I post online about the latest outrages around the world, I most often find myself saying some variant on, "we won't have peace until all sides care about each other's children as their own." Here's an effort to drive that idea home, sent by Yale Strom:

My song "What Time Will It Be" composed by me and lyrics by me and Elizabeth Schwartz is on this recording with many other world renown artists. Please tell others. All money raised goes to the cause of helping children in war torn areas throughout the world.

youtu.be/yeaCI_KNBdE featuring: Yale Strom, Ahmed Mukhtar, Robin Hogarth, Blessings Nqo Nkomo and Slim Ali & The Hodi Boys.

Posted by adavidow at 11:14 AM | Permalink
December 15, 2014
Book of J debuts in San Francisco, Dec 17, 2014

Must highlight this event: Two of the most creative people in Jewish music today have come together for an event that resonates deeply with recent events. I'm almost ready to fly to San Francisco and add my voice—you'll have to do it for me.

Book of J

Wednesday, December 17, 7:30pm
Canessa Gallery
708 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA

$10-$15 sliding scale, buy here

If you are interested in where old-time religion meets radical politics, Book of J is for you. We do songs that started life in Black and White religious communities and were later adopted by organizers for racial, economic and social justice. In the tradition of the Hebrew prophets, the songs ask for devotion and righteousness and offer power beyond what one still small voice can effect. Expect angels and demons, workers and bosses, hard times resolved and destiny fulfilled. Also singing along is good. Book of J is Jewlia Eisenberg and Jeremiah Lockwood (Sway Machinery).

Posted by adavidow at 11:41 AM | Permalink
December 13, 2014
Happy almost Khanike--more new Jewish music

Ack! It is almost Khanike and I still have stacks of CDs that you should know about in case you have made gift-giving part of your seasonal celebration of light. Okay, let's get short bits up about a few of them, at least.

hand drawn lettering reminiscent of old Yiddish sheet musicFrom the clarinet glissando that opens the first song, first echoing Gershwin, then blasting that thought out of the ears, Benjy Fox-Rosens 2011 EP Tick Tock signalled a major shift in the way we think about Yiddish songs and Mordechai Geburtig's legacy. It is totally new all over again. "Yiddish Art Song" is reborn, in a thoroughly imaginative, beautiful manner. Listen, for instance to "Grine Oygen" (Green Eyes), which quotes from several popular klezmer and yiddish cliches, turning them inside out. I can only conclude by mentioning the title of the final song on the EP: "S'iz Git"—It's Good! You can get a copy of the EP in digital or physical form via BandCamp.

lovely old world drawing--by Ben Katchor?But, I really got you here to talk about the more recent 2014 Fox-Rosen release, Two Worlds, a reflective, sad song cycle comprised of reset songs by Mordechai Gebirtig. From the opening, "When father beats me," you know that this is not a shmaltzy picture of life in the old country. What makes this essential, and I think why I can't stop listening, is how real it is. The picture is so vivid, the music so intense, that I find myself at the end and starting over. Backed by his Yiddish Art Trio bandmates Pat Ferrell on accordion and Michael Winograd on clarinet, with his brother Avi on guitar and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, Benjy Fox-Rosen's voice and bass weave the arrangements into compelling, haunting stories. His music is new. But it is new swirled with traditional Yiddish folk, theatre, and klezmer fragments, recreated to make a vanished community real again, and to tug at our hearts, to make us care about that community and their lives, anew. You can get a copy for those amazing purveyors of wonderful new sounds, Golden Horn Records.

lovely old world drawing--by Ben Katchor?Looking for something smooth, jazzy, uplifting for the holiday? David Chevan's Afro-Semitic Experience has just the thing, Souls on Fire. After several recent releases that focused on Jewish cantorial tradition, this year the band turned back to its roots, presenting songs from Pharaoh Sanders, MyCoy Tyner, Duke Ellington, along with traditional Jewish klezmer, and spirituals such as "Go Down, Moses" and "Avadim Hayinu" (We were slaves), from the Passover seder. Selections also include that gospel cantor, Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up above my head I hear music in the air." A perfect accompaniment to quiet evenings around the menorah or even a roaring fire. You can get your copy, digital or otherwise, from cdbaby.com.

kinda fun, and captures the CD's atmosphere perfectlyIt is the rare holiday season when you can celebrate with a new release by the punk Eastern European rhythms of "Golem." This is one of them, and Tanz is the most fun the band has had in years. A frenzied cross between the Brave Combo, Gogol Bordello, and your neighborhood klezmer band, Golem's songs are pleasantly twisted, the rhythms are propulsive, dance-perfect. There is a lounge music component that keeps us from taking anything too seriously. Whether telling a plaintive story of two sad sacks finding each other and falling in love ("Miskayt"), harking back to the old country and the many changing linguistic contexts of modern life in "My Horse" ("but with my faithful horse, I speak mameloshn") or telling the stories of recent immigrants to the USA from the former USSR (most notably, sadly, on "Poletim," story of a hijacking gone a bit awry), this is a wonderful burst of energy and fun. This, and other fine recordings by the band are available from their website: golemrocks.com.

old sepia on lovely graphics and excellent typeA surprising amount of wonderful new Jewish music doesn't come from European Jewish traditions. Likewise, some of the most striking new music is old, as in this recreated Sephardic wedding song cycle arranged by Aron Saltiel, Ensemble Saltiel / Boda. There seems to be no comparable cycle in Ashkenazic tradition. Saltiel has combined decades of field research, with singers and musicians familiar with the repertoire, and takes us from a celebration of the first glances, to arranging the engagement, completing the bridal trousseau to the groom presenting a gift on the wedding night. Gathered from former Ottoman lands in the Balkans and Turkey, the melodies, the singing, and the sense of tradition are fantastic. The singing features for individual solos and a powerful Sephardic chorus. The CD is beautifully packaged with notes (including a brief introduction by Dr. Judith Cohen) and images, as well as translations of all of the tunes. This is just wonderful, good-time music, all the more precious for being a rare recording based on a vanishing/vanished tradition. You can get your copy, digital or otherwise, from Golden Horn Records.

quiet black silhouette on bricks. Well-executed typeI saved my favorite among favorites for last. César Lerner and Marcelo Moguilevsky have been creating a wonderful fusion of Jewish and South American music together for almost as long as there has been a KlezmerShack. On their most recent (first?) trip to Boston two years ago, they brought Alef Bet, their most fully realized recording, yet. The album features their patented interplay between woodwinds and percussion/piano. Listen to Moguilevsky turn a simple "Zhok," first on flute?, and then Lerner's piano response, and then they begin improvising. "Una Luz" opens with quite, sparse chords by Lerner, and continues quietly exploring until the rapid pace of "Popurri" picks up Moguilevsky's clarinet and then the two are off, conversing wildly, excitedly, again. This is a quieter, more sure recording than their earlier efforts. It is less "klezmer-jazz fusion" and more it's own modern music in which one discerns strains of many things, but mostly, two musicians who have been sharing their conversations for decades, and who continue to find new, deeper, always-satisfying things to say to each other. Listening to Marcelo's whistling, as Lerner's piano walks quietly beside on the closing "Part of me," best expresses how far they have come, and how much richer our ears have been for the journey. Better, the days when ordering their CDs meant finding one's way in an Argentinian website and fantastic shipping charges are over. You can get this, and other recordings, directly from iTunes or Amazon.com.

Posted by adavidow at 05:42 PM | Permalink
December 01, 2014
Five excellent mostly new recordings for holiday gift-giving

It is already after Thanksgiving and I haven't had time to make any additional dents in the pile of CDs that you =should= be considering for holiday gifts. Okay, I'll try to give some brief reviews of some of the essential new (mostly new) recordings:

cd coverI used to think of Isle of Klezbos as the lesser cousin of Metroplitan Klezmer, both anchored by drummer Eve Sicular, and both featuring many of the same musicians. But Live from Brooklyn shows that Isle of Klezbos is one of the premiere purveyors of that American form of klezmer: jazzy, brash, full of yiddish theatre songs and great dance music. This one is for the dancer in the house. You can get your copy right on CDbaby.com. Bonus: Order this between now and 12/3/14 midnight, and shipping is free.

cd coverFolklorist, singer, dancer Michael Alpert has been sharing a stage with Julian Kytasty for many years. One sings in Yiddish. The other in Ukrainian. Together they weave together two folk cultures in a beautiful acoustic set, Night songs from a neighboring village. Appropriately timed, given Ukraine's prominence in recent news, this one will leave you feeling all sweet inside—except for "Homebrew," which will encourage you to eschew the store-bought stuff and drink local. I remember the tune as Irish, but what do I know. What a great way to celebrate 20 amazing years of music from Oriente records.

cd coverI first noticed Zisl Slepovitch because of his brilliant "Minsker Kapelye" CD. But, that was back in the old country. Arriving here in the US, he formed a new ensemble, Litvakus, and presented the unique repertoire of Belarusian Jews as a thing of beauty. This is a pre-American jazz form of klezmer, along with nign and folksong. Raysn is a recording of unadorned beauty. I am in awe. Available online from Bandcamp.

cd coverAlthough you are less likely to hear cantorial music, much less good cantorial music in the synagogue today than even when I was young, one compensation is the myriad of ways in which cantorial music is being recontextualized. Some stylings are more tuneful and gentle, as in Frank London's cantorial music albums. Other artists, like Jeremiah Lockwood of The Sway Machinery have been louder and more discordant. Here, Tzadik recording artist, guitarist Yoshie Fruchter (also the grandson of a cantor) has reimagined and recontextualized some cantorial gems. Some are rendered as instrumentals, with his searing guitar replacing the cantorial sobbing of a hundred years ago. I find myself, in particular, drawn to his reimagination of the "Rosh Hashanah"" plea.In a few cases, he mixed original recordings in with his new musical settings, or sings the music, himself. The result is a loud, discordant, and ultimately immensely spiritual CD. Check out Schizophonia / Cantorial recordings reimagined and get copies for the musical explorers on your gift list. Available from Bandcamp.

cd coverThis last mention for tonight is from a recording that has been sitting on the review shelf for too long. I was reminded of it with a pang last night when I listened to Andy Statman play at a local club. Statman is famous for mixing klezmer and hassidic music and bluegrass so seamlessly that it isn't so much a melding of genres, but a fluency so natural, that all genres sound like facets of the same universal harmonies. That's what the Freilachmakers do with their blend of various Jewish music, starting with klezmer, and with Irish music. Intriguingly, this third recording, Klezmer at the confluence by the ensemble is all Jewish in source: klezmer, yiddish, ladino. But, I am happy to say that the Irish is also still present. Another very special recording from a very special band. This one goes to the persons on your list who don't yet know that klezmer is another way of speaking Irish. Get your copy(ies) from cdbaby.com.

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Blog Roll

Music (or often about music)
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About Klezmer Music

The Klezmer revival (article revised 9/97) sparked a renaissance in Jewish music and culture. Nowadays, the revival is over--klezmer is a popular music form that is no longer exclusively Jewish, and other forms of Jewish music are also gaining in popularity. And no one questions the place of klezmer in both Jewish and popular cultures. Well, no one we care about. Meanwhile, the edges of musical and cultural boundaries continue to change, expand, and morph onward, fueled by the imperatives to explore new music on the one hand, and by the shifting sense of Jewish identity on another, not always related, hand. So I find myself, in these pages, moving both directions at once: trying to expand access to all Jewish music materials, and happily exploring musical edges, some of which have nothing to do with Jewish music.

Klezmer is the music that speaks to me. It's balkans and blues, ancient Jewish culture and prayer and history, spirit and jazz all mixed together. Good klezmer, and the music inspired by it, demands that one dance. In the words immortalized by Emma Goldman: "If your revolution doesn't include klezmer, I don't want it." I sometimes envision the Holy One, Blessed Be Whatever He/She/It May Be, who knows all history before its time, sitting on the throne in heaven, watching new music and cultural excitement unfold, turning and declaring to the assembled angels and saints and sinners, "ahhhh, now I can hear it live."

KlezmerShack FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

We have klezmer news and the latest reviews. For new musicians, we've added a FAQ on "Essential klezmer repertoire" culled from the Jewish-music mailing list.

If you want to be listed here, or to get advice on putting together your own web page or CD, read this short "how-to" page.

If you are looking for sources of sheet music, several online vendors carry books and music. If you are looking for album recommendations, browse the reviews and try what sounds like you. Be aware that I don't know which , and will never recommend any band for your simkha--contact your local Jewish community newspaper, book store, or federation--or any of the bands from your area. And, mazel tov! Oh, and don't forget to browse the "klezcontacts" page. The Klezclassified's is the place to check to advertise, find other's ads, jamming partners, whatever. If you'd like to be listed, on any of these pages (or more than one) just send me e-mail, or use the semi-convenient form, telling me a bit about yourself. (Don't send me a web URL and expect me to extract info. Don't even get me started about incoherent web pages--look over my notes on designing a usable web page, and then, still, send me a paragraph of text about yourself, your band, or just to say 'hello'.)

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Note that the latest stuff may not yet be indexed.

As I said, I never make any recommendations beyond what is listed here. For recommendations of any sort, or for gossip, discussion, or even to ask about stuff that I clearly don't know about, the best place to ask is the jewish-music mailing list. I specifically never make recommendations or suggestions about bands for your wedding or bar mitzvah (see above for similar rant). To repeat, you always want to be consulting local Jewish newspapers, federations, and other community organizations and services. They survive only because you use them. Please do.

If you have a klez story to tell, comments, reviews to add, or just want to let people know about your band, or have something else to say that I haven't already mentioned (and especially about bad links or other mistakes)--send me e-mail. I'll get it all online as I have time. It's a pleasure!