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May 21, 2016
new Alpen CD - needs kickstarter help

Like me, did you find 2012's debut Alpen Klezmer CD the most fun you'd heard in European klezmer in ages? A sort of marriage between Bavarian dance music and klezmer featuring vocalist Andrea Pancur and accordionist Ilya Shneyveys, it rocked (and still does). A host of klezmer veterans joined that effort (and are lined up for the new one) ranging from Lorin Sklamberg to Alan Bern, Joel Rubin, etc., etc., etc. If so, you're going to want to join me in helping the band record their new CD:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/recording-alpen-klezmer-zum-meer--2#/

You have nothing to lose but ennui, boredom, and anomie. This is klezmer that rocks!

Here's what Andrea sent me:

Liebe Freunde und Freundinnen der handgemachten Musik,

es ist wieder so weit: ich bringe eine neue CD heraus. Und weil das alles immer so unsagbar viel kostet, nutze ich die Möglichkeit des Crowdfunding, was auf deutsch auch sehr hübsch klingt, nämlich „Schwarmfinanzierung".

Was passiert da genau? Ihr könnt diesem Link folgen, und dann vorab eine CD und viele andere ganz tolle Dinge bestellen, u.a. ein von Grammy-Gewinner und begnadetem Koch Lorin Sklamberg zusammengestelltes und gekochtes Abendessen oder eine Unterrichtsstunde bei musikalischem Mastermind Alan Bern höchstpersönlich. Schaut einfach auf die Seite, sucht euch das Passende aus und sehr gerne könnt ihr auch vielen, vielen anderen Menschen von ALPEN KLEZMER: ZUM MEER! erzählen.

Ich kann euch versprechen, ihr werdet es nicht bereuen, denn auf der CD versammeln sich wieder die musikalischen Meister der Klezmerwelt mit den Meistern der bayrischen Musikwelt und spielen Musik, die unter die Haut geht und die Füße zucken läßt: Alpen Klezmer vom Feinsten!

Hier nochmal der Link: igg.me/at/ZumMeer

Herzlichen Dank für eure Unterstützung! Andrea

Posted by adavidow at 05:16 PM | Permalink
May 09, 2016
Experimental theater between ultraorthodox and secular worlds is looking for OTD artists in NYC The Les Haïm Company, from Paris, in association with Footsteps, the New Yiddish Rep and the Workmen's Circle announces his summer theater workshop/performance experience Artistic Laboratory of Research and Creation towards an experimental theater between ultraorthodox and secular worlds is Looking for OTD (off the derech) artists ! From June 15 to July 10 in NYC

No prior experience or artistic background necessary, but a deep desire for learning, creating and immersing yourself into an artistic adventure.

More on Facebook

Posted by adavidow at 08:33 PM | Permalink
May 08, 2016
Yidstock, at the NYBC, Amherst, MA, July 14-17, is nigh!

The Yiddish Book Center's annual program has gradually become a sort of "Eastern European Jewish Music AllStars" program, with lectures, workshops on dance and playing music and singing, as well as a host of great concerts. You won't actually hear much "new Yiddish music," but you will hear an awful lot of the best, performed by the best veterans around. This year, the UK's Polina and Merlin Shepherd are brought into the mix, which means even more great music. Paul Shapiro will bring back his delightful "Brisket 'n' Ribs Revue," one of my favorite excursions into the delightful world of Jewish/Black lyrics and music from the earlier part of the last century. Essen! It will all end in a mammoth AllStars concert honoring Shalom Aleichem's 100th yahrzeit.

Yidstock Logo 2013Yidstock 2016: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, Thu July 14, 2016 - Sun July 17, 2016

YIDSTOCK 2016 will bring the best in klezmer and new Yiddish music to the stage at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts. Don't miss out on what promises to be a great festival of music and related events.

Festival info from the Yiddish Book Center website

Posted by adavidow at 04:55 PM | Permalink
May 07, 2016
"Echad mi Yodea"

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

Echad Mi Yodea from Batsheva DC on Vimeo.

Posted by adavidow at 06:24 PM | Permalink
27th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival, Jul 10-14, 2016 27th Annual North American Jewish Choral Festival July 10 - 14, 2016 Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, 400 Granite Road Kerhonkson NY 12446 NACJF Staircase Sing Your One-Stop Jewish Music Networking Opportunity of the Year *Exciting Instant Ensembles* *Thrilling Evening Performances* *Fascinating Workshops* Special Programming for Young Participants 18 - 30 Celebrate Our Hallel V'Zimrah Award Recipient ZALMEN MLOTEK Click Here to Register Now
Posted by adavidow at 05:38 PM | Permalink
May 02, 2016
new Iraqi Jewish music

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:

Posted by adavidow at 07:07 AM | Permalink
First cut from new Sandaara recording

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

Posted by adavidow at 06:59 AM | Permalink
Yiddish songs for May Day

Wish I'd spotted this yesterday—thanks to Sarah Gordon for sharing from the Yiddishkayt folks in LA:

It's the First of May! Come celebrate International Workers Day with our top 10 musical hits of the Jewish working masses from Morris Rosenfeld's Resting Place to classic Anarchist anthems. Share with all of your comrades for the arbeter-yontef! Zol lebn der ershter may! Long Live the First of May!

‪#‎WorkersDay‬ ‪#‎MayDay‬ ‪#‎ArbeterFunAleLender‬

yiddishkayt.org/songs-work-struggle/

Posted by adavidow at 06:55 AM | Permalink
May 01, 2016
Kurland: Vezokharto - now on YouTube

Yosl Kurland writes:

A few of weeks ago I wrote to tell you about the Mak'hela concert at Keene, NH where my choral work, "Vezokharto&emdash;Remember that You Were Slaves in Egypt" was performed. The piece is now on youtube at this link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4umBqpPZFM

Vezokharto is based on a prophetic call in the Torah for social justice. It carries a message that needs to be heard and I would appreciate your help in spreading it. Please share this link with people you know by email and by social media. If you know of any chorus that would like to perform it, please have them contact me and I will arrange for them to get the score.

Posted by adavidow at 06:59 PM | Permalink
March 22, 2016
"The Essentials of Klezmer Banjo," by Pete Rushefsky

The most frequently requested out of print music book has to be Pete Rushefsky's "Essentials of Klezmer Banjo." It's still essential, and Pete has graciously scanned it and made it available for free download as a PDF. Now available.

The Essentials of Klezmer 5-String Banjo

Posted by adavidow at 07:28 AM | Permalink
"The Big Megillah," a classic from the Austin Klezmorim

One of my favorite all-time recordings comes from the classic Austin Klezmorim album, East of Odessa. With the permission of the band's leader, Bill Averbach, I reprise an mp3 of their classic retelling of the story of Purim in jazz argot, "The Big Megillah." Enjoy.

Posted by adavidow at 07:19 AM | Permalink
December 27, 2015
The blues and North African polyrhythms meet Khazones: The Sway Machinery/Purity and Danger cd cover

Few bands have pushed the boundary of Jewish music as hard as Jeremy Lockwood and The Sway Machinery. 2011's The House of Friendly Ghosts was a collaboration between the band and North African Rai singer Khaira Arby. The opening horns in this new release, Purity and Danger reflect that collaboration, still. The album also reflects Lockwood's background as a street blues musician ("My dead lover's wedding," with its echoes of "St. James Infirmary" or the Hound Dog Taylor-inspired distorted guitar meeting North African music and jazz in "Longa"), and the cantorial legacy of his grandfather (including very new settings to Cantorial gems ranging from Ben Zion Kapov-Kagan's "Rachamana D'Onay" and Leib Glantz's "Al Tashlicheini." This is fertile territory, and at its best, this is a fusion as astonishing as the discovery of how well Arabic music fits piyyut 1500 years ago. Available as CD or digital download from 3rd generation recordings.

Want another view? Check out Adam Kivel's review on the "Consequences of Sound" website: The Sway Machinery - Purity and Danger

I should also mention that The Sway Machinery has a new cassette EP coming out. Those interested, should check out on 3rd Generation Recordings website.

Posted by adavidow at 06:03 PM | Permalink
December 26, 2015
Miryem-Khaye Seigel's "Toyznt Tamen" captures Yiddish Second Ave spirit for a new generation cd cover

It's the end of the year. It's smack in the middle of Yiddish New York. Time to catch up on some vital recordings that speak to that "new Yiddish culture."

For years, a select few of us have enjoyed the voice that reminds us most of a reincarnated Molly Picon. Now, Miryem-Khaye, whose voice has matured and taken on a strength all its own, has released a debut CD, Toyznt Tamen (a thousand flavors), celebrating Yiddish, theatre, and great Yiddish song. Joined by a stellar backup crew including Alicia Svigals, Carmen Staff, and the Yiddish Art Trio (Michael Winograd, Patrick Farrell, and Benjy Fox-Rosen), this recording is a delight—listening to Seigal let loose on the opening "New York, New York," a paean to NY yiddishkeit, quietly meditative on "Shteyner," or her and Fox-Rosen playing off each others voices in "Gikher, shvester" marks what a special recording this is. I also treasure the large number of songs written by Seigel, or gathered by her (although, in fairness, some songs also remind me of blues songs attributions: familiar as well as original verses pulled together in a new cohesive whole and credited to an author well-steeped in a deep folk tradition), as well as a fair sampler of traditional tunes. Get a copy of this one for the Yiddish (or yiddishkeit) lover in your household who loves tradition. Get your CD or download from bandcamp.

Posted by adavidow at 02:41 PM | Permalink
Working to construct a "new Yiddish culture"

Have me mentioned that Yiddish New York event is taking place right now!? You can find out more at yiddishnewyork.org

Working To 'Construct' A 'New Yiddish Culture': Josh Waletzky is creating a new festival to celebrate a culture in the making., by Sandee Brawarsky, 15-Dec-2015

Q.: What the genesis of the idea for Yiddish New York?

A: It grew out of some discussions taking place informally among some artists who are veterans of the klezmer revival camp scene, the granddaddy being KlezKamp. There's a year-round rotation of festivals that include workshops, lectures, special events, concerts dedicated to Yiddish culture. KlezKamp, which ended its run after 30 very productive years, was on a number of people's minds. Last winter was its last session, and a number people were saying there would be a hole in the calendar. New York, which was the home base of KlezKamp (even though it was held an hour north of the city in the Catskills) is for all intents and purposes the world capital of Yiddish culture, both historically and in the concentration of individuals and institutions active in that scene. We couldn't just leave this hole in the schedule and not have New York represented, with all the world-class people actively engaged in creating Yiddish culture here. So we proceeded in tasking certain individuals in areas of their expertise and experience, like trumpeter, bandleader and composer Frank London, who has been the artistic director of KlezKanada for some time. We're had an embarrassment of riches putting together the faculty. [more]

Posted by adavidow at 12:45 PM | Permalink
Best Klezmer recordings of 2015

Yeah, you would expect the KlezmerShack to have already done this, but, as usual, Bert Stratton has scooped us:

THE TOP 10 KLEZMER RECORDS OF 2015

My desk is piled high with free CDs: Ezekiel's Wheels, Golem, Vulfpeck, Winograd, all kinds of Dutch and Polish bands, and the old standbys like Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Klezmatics.... [more]

Posted by adavidow at 12:41 PM | Permalink
December 12, 2015
New Sephardic music video from Jaffa Road

Just a few days behind on this one:

I am writing to let you know that we have a new video for our song "Avre Los Ojos". It was shot live off the floor in studio, and I am really proud of how this video captures the dynamic range and electrifying improvisations that Jaffa Road brings to concert stages.

The song sings the pain felt by parents as they watch their children go to "Asker" - conscription into the army of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Posted by adavidow at 06:24 PM | Permalink
December 11, 2015
(א׳גיטען חנוכה שלום למר ומקהלת שירה (יידיש Shulem Lemmer, Freilach & Shira - Chanukah Medley

Posted by Benjamin Laden on Facebook. As he says, big hats ... and a big sound

Posted by adavidow at 05:21 PM | Permalink
Some Hanukka music from Charming Hostess

Jewlia Eisenberg shared these on Facebook. These were recorded in 2011 with Charming Hostess, then in 2015 with Book of J (Jewlia, Cynthia Taylor, and Jeremiah Lockwood)

Posted by adavidow at 05:06 PM | Permalink
December 01, 2015
Yiddish New York is coming! Dec 24-29

This is the best reason to spend the end of December in NYC, EVER

festival logoYiddish New York
Thursday, December 24 - Tuesday, December 29, 2015
www.yiddishnewyork.com

Yiddish New York (YNY) is a new festival/cultural immersion gathering for Yiddish music, language and culture combining workshops, lectures and performances from Thursday, December 24 - Tuesday, December 29, 2015. With its hub at the 14th St. Y and adjacent Town and Village Synagogue, Yiddish New York will take place at a variety of venues in Manhattan's vibrant and historic Lower East Side/East Village. Faculty/speakers represent many of the leading figures in Yiddish culture today. Open to individuals of all ages, backgrounds and families with children!

Daily Programs in.... Klezmer Music - Yiddish Song - Yiddish Dance - Theater - Yiddish Language - Yiddish Culture and History - Visual Arts - Foodways - Master Classes - Ensembles - Dance Parties - Jam Sessions - Concerts - Lectures - Films - Spirituality and Religion - Neighborhood Walking Tours - Youth and Teen Programs - and More!

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT REGISTERING!

Posted by adavidow at 09:38 PM | Permalink
Alicia Svigals on cover of "Fiddler" magazine

"In the world of klezmer music, Alicia Svigals is a household name. Ever since her band The Klezmatics came on the scene in 1986 with its unique take on traditional klezmer music (she remained a member until 2002), Alicia has been the go-to person for klezmer fiddle."

Alicia Svigals: A New Role, by Matt Merta, Fiddler Magazine, 2015-11-20

Posted by adavidow at 12:11 PM | Permalink
"Yerushe" crowd-funding project nears deadline

Here is a neat project from Eléonore Biezunski in Paris:

"Yerushe" is Yiddish for "heritage" or "inheritance". The musical project originates from our discovery of repertoire of little known Yiddish songs and Klezmer music in the folklore archives (Ruth Rubin, Moshe Beregovski, Zusman Kisselgof). Each of these songs is a short story in a great history of lived experiences, of battles fought, of hopes for the future. The album will be published under the prestigious label of the Institut Européen des Musiques Juives (European Institute for Jewish Music), but we still need to produce the audio master.

Check Yerushe: Watch, listen, read about the project by following this THIS LINK.

How can you help? Contribute to our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo until December 11, 2015. Tell you friends: share the link, forward this project.

Posted by adavidow at 08:20 AM | Permalink
Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus: "Rumania, Rumania"

A bit overblown and symphonic? Putting a suit on the blues? From Binyumen Schaechter

Performed by The Jewish People's Philharmonic Chorus, Binyumen Schaechter, Conductor and Temma Schaechter, Soloist

Posted by adavidow at 07:44 AM | Permalink
November 30, 2015
Yiddish song of the week: Sonyetshka

How shameless you are Sonye.
Are you afraid of people?
Come out Sonyetchke
We will see each other from a distance.

This week … a humorous Russian/Yiddish song performed by Feigl Yudin, with commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at Center for Traditional Music and Dance's Yiddish Song of the Week:

www.yiddishsong.wordpress.com

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

Posted by adavidow at 09:42 PM | Permalink
November 29, 2015
Mike Regenstreif: The Brothers Nazaroff / The Happy Prince

Here's a new one from Mike Regenstreif

photo of 'cd cover'

The Happy Prince is my favourite album of Jewish music for 2015

Nov 28, 2015 by Mike Regenstreif

About six decades after the release of Jewish Freilach Songs, some of today's most accomplished klezmer musicians - including Michael Alpert, Daniel Kahn, Bob Cohen (not to be confused with Bob Cohen, the Canadian guitarist), Psoy Korolenko, Jake Shulman-Ment and Hampus Melin—gathered as The Brothers Nazaroff to record The Happy Prince, a joyous tribute album to Nazaroff. [review continues on Mike's blog]

Get your copy/download of the CD from Smithsonian Folkways, or wherever fine music is purveyed.

This hReview brought to you by the hReview Creator.

Posted by adavidow at 06:14 PM | Permalink
Quick review: Girls in Trouble / Open the Ground

It's almost Khannike. I'm trying to get reviews of several new recordings online. Time. Girls in Trouble were here just a couple of weeks ago, so with that pleasure fresh in my mind, let me at least get some information about this recording online.

photo of 'Girls in Trouble / Open the Ground'

Stories about women from the Bible, from Vashti and Sarah to the Daughters of Tzelofchad, set to excellent Americana

Nov 29, 2015 by Ari Davidow

"Girls in Trouble" began life as a thesis project at JTA. Poet/musician Alicia Jo Rabins was stuck, and her advisor suggested that a song cycle would be an appropriate substitute for a paper. The first collection was stunning. It was released two kids (?) and six years ago, and introduced songs about several known and less-known women from the TaNaKh. Musically, the songs are wide-ranging "Americana." Three collections in, I find myself listening and relistening. The stories and music resonate. Some, such as a new song about Sarah, focusing on Isaac's near sacrifice, make the incident personal in a way that Bible class never did. Vashti's story, "I'm Done Dressing Up" is perfect bluegrass, and highlights what we all think every Purim. Others are more obscure, as in "New Arithmetic," about the Daughters of Tzelofchad—a story from the Talmud in which women demanded the right to portions in the Land of Israel. For those, I visit the Jewish Women's Encyclopedia at the Jewish Women's Archive to get the whole story. Rabins is a treasure, musically and poetically, and for giving us reason to dig into the TaNaKh. To get your own copy, check out Bandcamp.

This hReview brought to you by the hReview Creator.

Posted by adavidow at 05:35 PM | Permalink
November 27, 2015
Support Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish

I am so proud to have helped this project, and hope to be there in December

Dear Friends,

We are very excited to announce the fourth annual Adrienne Cooper Dreaming in Yiddish Legacy Concert taking place on December 26, 2015. Save the date! Be there!

The event will take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, hosted by Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater in partnership with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, keepers of the Adrienne Cooper Archives, GOH Productions, and presented in association with Yiddish New York's inaugural year.

We invite you to join us as we celebrate the life, work and influence of Adrienne, Yiddish singer, scholar, teacher, educator/activist, Executive Director of Programming at the Workmen's Circle, and former Assistant Director at YIVO. Beloved stars of the klezmer and Yiddish world will present an evening of music from In Love and In Struggle: The Musical Legacy of the Jewish Labor Bund (YIVO, 1999), an album that features Adrienne and was reflective of her passion for social justice and Yiddish. This inspired musical choice came out of the Cooper Archives and is a direct result of your support for the Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish. We thank you.

The recipient of this year's Adrienne Cooper Dreaming in Yiddish Award goes to the wild, wonderful Canadian artist, Josh Dolgin aka Socalled, for his work as a klezmer/hip-hop artist, composer, record producer, puppeteer and multi-facetted, kind, inclusive, creative genius always pushing the edges of possibility.

The Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish is appealing to YOU anew to help us raise the resources needed to produce this award and concert event. Please donate generously. And quickly! Please help!

We must raise $6,000 by December 13 (last candle of Chanukah). Spread the light!

All proceeds go to the Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish, which supports artists as they embark on the timeless, boundless, utterly unexpected adventure of working in Yiddish.

To donate, use this link HERE or copy this url npo.justgive.org/gohproductions

For tickets, use this link TICKETS or copy this url dreaminginyiddish2015.bpt.me

Please send your contribution today.  Donations can also be made by check payable to GOH Productions, earmarked AC DIY/Artist Award and mailed to: GOH Productions /Seven Loaves Inc., 239 E. 5th St. Suite 1D,  New York, NY 10003-8544.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Sholem, sholem, sholem. A hartsikn dank.
Marsha Gildin, ACDIY Development Committee & Bonnie Stein, GOH Productions

Posted by adavidow at 05:40 PM | Permalink
Seminal "Brave Old World" now on iTunes

Catching up on last week's news from Alan Bern:

After five years of email correspondence with our publisher and slowdown tactics that would astonish a turtle, I'm happy and relieved to say that the three Brave Old World albums on the Pinorrekk label - Beyond the Pale, Blood Oranges and Bless the Fire—are finally available on iTunes to download. To all Brave Old World fans who don't know this music, or who acquired it through somewhat dubious means (ahem...), this is your chance to download groundbreaking, beautiful music. Please share this post, thanks!

Posted by adavidow at 05:26 PM | Permalink
November 09, 2015
"On the Banks of the Tigris," BJFF, Sat, Boston, Nov 14, 2015

publicity still from movieThe Boston Jewish Film Festival is one of the places where I get to explore an always mind-blowing array of Jewish experience and history. I look forward to it each year. This year is light on the music films, but breadth is traded for depth—a very special music about Iraqi Jewish music plays this coming Saturday night in Boston, at the MFA.

Tix and more info at: www.mfa.org/programs/film/on-the-banks-of-the-tigris. While you're there, check out other films playing between now and the 16th. What I've seen so far has been inspiring and wonderful. You are sure to find even more to tickle your fancy and help keep an important local Jewish institution thriving.

Posted by adavidow at 08:30 PM | Permalink
October 15, 2015
David Tasgal, z"l

From Brian Bender:

photo of David Tasgal from Wholesale Klezmer website, http://www.ganeydn.com/wkb.html

It is with a heavy heart that I want to announce the passing of one of my closest friends and favorite musical collaborators, David Tasgal. David was killed in a bicycle accident this past Monday near his home in Greenfield, MA.

David was a brilliant musician (clarinet, violin, cello, piano) and composer. He was a kind, generous and creative teacher of many, many students over a long teaching career. He led and composed for numerous youth orchestras, and published a very innovative series of string method books.

David was just beginning one of the happiest periods of his life. He was married to Faith Ann Kaufman a little over a year ago. Faith's son Jake was starting to really bond with David. I can't help feeling that all three of them were robbed of many beautiful years together as a family.

I had the pleasure of playing with David for the past 15 years in the Wholesale Klezmer Band, as well as for the past 4-5 years in the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble with my wife Anna Sobel.

David and I had an incredible rapport with each other both as friends and as bandmates. We knew each other's repertoire (and original compositions) inside and out, and we could play for many hours together without reading a note of music. I view playing music as entering a sacred space, and I shared that space with David more than any other musician, especially during the last 5-6 years.

My last memory of David is the weekend we spent together (with my family) just over a week ago traveling to Bristol, VT, where our klezmer trio performed a concert/dance at a Sukkot festival. It was one of our best shows ever, and we had a great time simply enjoying each other's company.

I sat down to play the piano last night and I could swear that David was there with me! Then the tears flowed.

Posted by adavidow at 07:58 AM | Permalink
September 07, 2015
Michael Regenstreif reviews: Alpert/Kytasty, Litvakus, Henley

Just in time for Rosh Hashana, Michael Regenstreif reviews three significant and refreshing new Jewish music recordings for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

Music: CDs highlight cultural and musical commonalities

Posted by adavidow at 05:09 PM | Permalink
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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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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!