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November 30, 2004

"Yiddish Art Songs" rerelease on Omega

Catching up on much earlier posts, Dr. Eliott Kahn of JTS wrote the Jewish-music mailing list several months ago:

I've been listening to a wonderful compilation of Yiddish art songs that were recorded ca. 1976 and 1978 by the operatic bass Leon Lishner and pianist/composer Lazar Weiner. The CD was reissued by Omega in 1992 (Omega Classics, #3010, 1993). It strikes me as an excellent overview of the Yiddish art song performed by trained musicians with a deep understanding of the style and language.

Here's the bib record with contents:

Lishner, Leon,1913-<> Yiddish art song[sound recording]Leon Lishner, bass ; Lazar Weiner, piano.New York :Omega Record Group,p1992.1 sound disc :digital, stereo. ;4 3/4 in.Program notes on cover."The Yiddish Art Song, vol. 1, originally issued in 1976 by the Univ. of Wash., Seattle; vol. 2, released in 1978 by Pandora Records as PAN 114."--Note from cover.Recorded at Meany Hall, Univ. of Washington, Seattle.Words in Yiddish; text in English translation noted on program cover.Compact disc.Kaddish fun Reb Levi-Itzchov Barditschever (2:46) -- Oyf'n veg shteyt a boym (4:21) -- May ko mash'me lon? (3:39) -- A nign (2:28) -- Tanchum (3:19) -- Geyn darf men geyn (3:01) -- In a kleyner shtibele (1:19) -- Tateniu (3:32) -- S -- In cheyder (5:50) -- Shabbes baym shalosh s'udos (3:36) -- Di mayse mit der velt (3:33) -- Gramen geshribn in zamd (3:12) -- Der yid mitn fidl (3:37) -- Di vant (3:34) -- Dos lid fun roitn Motele (2:12) -- Ich bin a balagole (1: boker (4:06) -- Baym taych (3:28) -- Yidn zingen: Ani mamin (3:34) -- Vollt mayn tate raych geven (1:47) -- Yosl der klezmer (1:53).

A Carlebach encounter in Tel Aviv

Klezmer Ted Kuster writes about encountering an amazing klezmer in Tel Aviv:

... By the way, I was in Tel Aviv for work last summer and was able to squeeze in one concert, by a guy named Rabbi Judah Fasselman. Have you heard of him? I really enjoyed it but can't find any recordings. I came back with some kick-ass Hasidic party music compilations, though. I wrote about it on my site. (Sorry if it's a slow load; I'm playing with Bloxsom and have yet to work out the kinds of CGI.)

Link to an actual wedding site?

Here's a new one for me. I've added this to the "klezlinks" page. After all, shouldn't a site originally dedicated to Jewish music have a link to a Jewish wedding site? Klezmer is Jewish wedding music—that was the original point. So, now there's a site to accompany "The Creative Jewish Wedding Book (Jewish Lights, 2004). I haven't reviewed either the book or the site: www.creativejewishwedding.com. Let me know if this is useful! Are there other/better Jewish wedding sites that would be of interest to those who use this site to find a wedding band?

(Usual disclaimer: I cannot recommend a wedding band. I can point you to the international list of bands by location. Beyond that, the usual good ways to choose a band include talking with friends, consulting your local Jewish newspaper and Jewish Federation (one of which usually has a Jewish resource guide), and, of course, do speak with folks at your local synagogue. It isn't just the music: do support local Jewish institutions—and don't hesitate to start new ones if what you want isn't there!)

New fusion of Indian and Jewish meditation/ecstatic music released

Susan Deikman writes the Jewish-Music mailing list:

I'm pleased and excited to announce the release of my new CD!

Kiss the Beloved: Kabbalistic Kirtan

Talented musicians on the recording include:
Yofiyah (vocals)
Lenny Seidman (tabla, frame drum)
Roger Mgrdichian (oud)
Joe Tayoun (doumbek, riq)
Amira Dvorah (bansuri flute)
Andrew Bleckner (harmonium)

KABBALISTIC KIRTAN is a new Jewish musical experience, a fusion of East and West inspired by chant from India (kirtan) and music of the Middle East. Blending inspiring melodies, driving drum beats, and call and response chanting of short Hebrew prayers and names of God, Kabbalistic kirtan inspires a sense of Oneness and unity with all, marked by deep joy and even ecstasy.

for information, contact:
Yofiyah at: 215-242-6677
E-mail Susan Deikman

November 29, 2004

Youngers of Zion hit the recording studio; Mark Rubin checks in

From my favorite faux Texan (he was born in Oklahoma, on the other hand, I guess he moved there voluntarily), and everybody's favorite Austinite, Mark Rubin:

Hope you had a sucessful turkey feast. We fried ours Cajun style this year, tasty!

Just got back from making a CD with Cookie Segelstein and Hank Sapoznik under our "Youngers of Zion" moniker. We did like 23 tracks, all live with no overdubs, in about 8 hours. Mixed it down in as about as much time as the CD is! I'm really quite pleased with the results. Entitled "The Protocols" It'll be released on our own International Jewish Conspiracy label. Might actually have it put together in time for Klez Kamp. (You coming?) I was on it and everything, but I REALLY like what came out. Everybody in the band is kinda cranky, beautifully yet completely nuts and it really shines through on the recording. I liken it to a Jewish version of the Bing Bangs CD.

I'm off to New Orleans this week to make a Jazz-Khazones CD with my cantor and drummer Jason Marsalis. I'll be playing tenor banjo and Oud(!!!)

See ya around campus

New Elliott Simon reviews in "All About Jazz" including Chanukah selections

Elliott Simon writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Hi all and best of the holidays..the December issue of AAJ-NY is out and if you can't pick up a paper in NYC...it is available for download as a pdf

This month plenty of content of interest to the list...double cd reviews of Midrash Mish Mosh and the re-release of drummer Shelly Manne's classic...as part of our holiday coverage the Klezmatics Woody Guthrie Hanuka and Lori Simon's Vessel of Song,,,,in addition there is a concert/cd review of klezmer madness guitarist Sherl Bauley's latest and material by zorn, ned rothenberg and others....below are some links to the article previews as they will appear on the website.....best regards to all...Elliott

That Pre-Chanukah Review Crunch

I've been working a bit harder to get as many reviews out as possible before Chanukah. Of course, in our house, we celebrate Chanukah by lighting candles, playing dreidel, and making lots and lots of latkes. We're not into the commercial gift thing that has overtaken the solstice holidays. But I suspect that we are unusual in this regard:

album coverSteven Greenman has grown as a violinist with astonishing speed. It is less than a decade since I met him at a live recording of the Flying Bulgars. In the intervening years, he has played in several international folk ensembles, including Budowitz, Harmonia, and most importantly, Khevrisa. Now, he has composed a two-CD set of old-world-style klezmer that firmly revives that style and shows how varied and exciting it can be. Stempenyu's Dream is very special.

album coverFrench clarinetist Claudine Movsessian has been involved in Jewish music (and in world folk music) for at least a decade. In her latest CD, she creates a fusion of Jewish and world folk traditions that is unique and intriguing. Check out Claudine Movsessian / Ames Sonores Multiples: Musìque Klezmer and see what I mean.

album coverI think that I had Kleztraphobix confused with Klezmerfest, a different New York Klezmer band. Now that I've heard their new CD, I think I've got it straight. This is a wonderfully tight, really exciting edgy New York klezmer band, sticking to tradition and ranging from nign to klezmer to yeshivish. Damn, they're tight. Exciting, too. You may need Another bottle of vodka just to keep up :-).

album coverI got dissed last week for not reviewing enough "new" klezmer bands. I have gotten some exciting new bands in this week's listing, but I should feel guilty about spending so much time listening to Shirim's second new release this fall, Pincus and the Pig. But it has been years since Shirim released a new album. Besides, it's almost Chanukah and your kids will love this. What's Chanukah without a wonderful new kids album?

album coverSpeaking of new music, here is the first Klezmershack review of one of Craig Taubman's "Celebrate" series of Jewish compilations. Granted, this is neither typical of the Klezmershack nor the "Celebrate" series, but it is a very interesting compilation of new music called Celebrate Hip Hop. The bands come from around the world, if principally the US, Israel, the UK, and one Russian band. Some of the music is interesting as hip hop. Some is interesting as Jewish music. Some, both. All of it is interesting. This is the place to check out a genre that is new to most people of my generation.

album coverFinally, I end my Thanksgiving break doing what I feel I do best, Celebrate Klezmer. This CD was curated by Lorin Sklamberg and Frank London, both of the Klezmatics and dozens of other projects. If I say that this is the most diverse collection of excellent, mostly new traditional klezmer, need I say more? Also, speakig of new musicians, this is the first recording by Dobe Ressler, whose "di bostoner klezmer" CD should be out for KlezKamp. There is also an old Dave Tarras cut from the YIVO archives (that may be the Sklamberg touch, since Lorin's day job is in the YIVO sound archives, I think). Enjoy.

As usual, if you think this batch was special, wait until you see what's coming next.

November 28, 2004

Bubby's Song

Dennis Wilen found this and posted it to the Jewish conference on the WELL, my online home

"I grew up in a home with a strong sense of Jewish identity. Although we weren’t observant, my mother lit Shabbos candles, and my father made kiddush over the Welch’s grape juice. And then there was Grandma Rose. She came to America from Romania when she was eight years old and, though she spoke English fluently, I never heard her use a sentence that didn’t contain some Yiddish. There was the Yiddish song she used to sing to me and my siblings, a tragic folksong, really, composed by a woman whose husband had died of tuberculosis. Grandma Rose learned it while rocking the cradle of the woman’s fatherless daughter.


Bubby Maaseh, by Peter Himmelman. Lots there to think about, including the idea of being comfortable being out as ourselves and what that means.

peter himmelman

Pincus and the Pig - the Seth Rogovoy review

In this week's Forward, Shirim's new "Pincus and the Pig" CD is reviewed in Peter and the Wolf Gets Klezmerized, by Seth Rogovoy. You'll need to log on, as the Forwards follows the lemmings over the cliff in an effort to make sure that no one but diehards reads their material, and that it doesn't get indexed by Google or anyone. So it goes.

November 22, 2004

A rap for the 'Shack

Abraham Velez sent me this. He says it's for my efforts on behalf of the Hip Hop Hoodíos, clearly the best Latino-Jewish hip hop band around:

Feelin' sad in yuh sack
from the rightwingattack?
need ta getcha groove back
like an accabee-Mac?
Wanna go to a place
that's never wack?
Jew the pedal
to the metal
at the

Okay, posting rap in praise of myself is pure self-aggrandizement, but I dig this one. Thanks, Abe.

"A Chanukah Feast" for the ears and a great program

the menorah on the cover is a bit stern for my tasteGreetings, folks!

Wendy Morrison, from Klezcentricity here, with the answer to ALL of your holiday gift-giving quandaries!

"A Chanukah Feast" (see the Klezmershack review)

This brand-new benefit CD features 20 different traditional and original Chanukah songs performed by a variety of musical acts from the Washington/Baltimore area and around the nation. And I'm proud to say that I played an important role in this album - I play accordion and whistle on two brand-new tracks, with Klezcentricity and Marc Glickman And The Gelt-tones.

To order "A Chanukah Feast" go to www.hungryformusic.com or call their toll-free order line at 1-888-843-0933. You won't regret it! And please spread the word!

In addition, this CD features contributions from George Winston, Chuck Brodsky, The Robyn Helzner Trio, Flory Jagoda, Mark Novak, Jinny Marsh, Honky-Tonk Confidential, The Hip-Hop Hoodios, Makela,The Alexandria Kleztet, Lox and Vodka, and more!

But you know what the best thing is about this CD??? It's all for a good cause! All proceeds from this album benefit Hungry for Music, a wonderful DC-based charity that promotes music and music education for disadvantaged youth. Can you think of a better gift this holiday season than that, for only $15.99?

Plans are underway for the upcoming CD release benefit concert, scheduled at Tikvat Israel in Rockville, MD, Sunday evening, December 5, at 7 pm. More details as we get them -- mark your calendars. We are so excited we were able to schedule this at the last minute -- we only just yesterday received notice that the CD was ready.

To order "A Chanukah Feast" go to www.hungryformusic.com or call their toll-free order line at 1-888-843-0933. You won't regret it! And please spread the word!

Happy Holidays!

Yes, I have new reviews, too

I always hope to get more CDs reviewed in a week than actually happens. Then I put off the announcement so that I don't have to put up several announcements all at once. Time to stop this nonesense and let people know about three excellent new releases and one that I missed from a few years ago, and have now reviewed:

album coverSince I roomed with Jonno Lightstone, bandleader of Hu Tsa Tsa, back in 1996 at KlezCamp, I am especially thrilled to review his band's first release. We've both changed since that time. In Hu Tsa Tsa's case, the changes have resulted in an even better band, and a lovely "chamber-music"-like recording in Well-Tempered Klezmorim.

album coverThis is something that I don't usually review, but I was quite stuck by the simple clarity of these pieces as performed by an ensemble new to me from Jerusalem in memorial to the composer. There is quite a lovely back story, as well. I think that you will be charmed, too, by this Woman of Valor.

album coverI have been on a roll with Tzadik albums lately. How I missed this one from 1999 I don't know, but it has actually been sitting out there on the changer awaiting review for quite some time. And I still find it remarkable. I hope it is still in print, but in all cases, I think Oren Ambarchi and Robbie Avenaim / The Alter Rebbe's Nigun is worth finding and listening to.

album coverThis second outing by Beyond the Pale is even more interesting than the first. It's a sort of post-klezmer world music—envision with your ears, perhaps, what Dawg music would sound like if David Grisman had started off as a klezmer! Then check out the new album, Consensus, and agree with me.

As usual, more coming soon, as I find time to finish the reviews and get them online. Bear with me and pay good attention—Chanukah is coming, and if gift-giving is part of your celebration of the season (if rather irrelevant to traditional Chanukah) these, and more to come will be most welcome by all.

Latest reviews by George Robinson

album coverGeorge Robinson serves up a fresh batch of Jewish music reviews in the current Jewish Week: Righteous Music, including reviews of the latest releases from Tzaddik.

Enjoy! And thanks, George

"Kosher Woody" - article on the new Klezmatics work with Woody Guthrie songs

Seth Rogovoy reports to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

"Kosher Woody," by Michael Eck of the Albany Times Union, is a wonderful article about the Klezmatics' current "Holy Ground" project of Woody Guthrie songs. (and I'm not just saying that because I'm quoted in the piece)

Really terrific work considering a) this is in the general, non-Jewish press; b) the writer is not a specialist in the subject.

Note: I found that the link timed out on me, so be prepared to try at different times of the day. ari

November 21, 2004

Jack Gottlieb at the Library of Congress, via the web

Marvin Margoshes writes to the Jewish-Music list about the availability of Jack Gottlieb's lecture this past September on the web:

At www.loc.gov/locvideo/gottlieb, you can see and hear a talk at the Library of Congress by Jack Gottlieb, on September 20. He plays and sings examples of American music, Hebrew prayer melodies, and music from the Jewish theater, to illustrate his thesis that they are not coincidentally similar. It is easier to believe in the case of Irving Berlin's music than in the case of Gershwin's. but it is an interesting lecture. He wrote the book, "Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Jewish: How Yiddish Songs and Synagogue Melodies Influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood".

The link works well with a high-speed Internet connection. It may not work with a dial-up connection.

Special Hip Hop Hoodios Chanukah offer

this is a CD cover?I have been enjoying the Hip Hop Hoodoíos for a couple of years now. Repeated issues of "Ocho Kandelikos" on compilation albums isn't quite enough. Now, the new, full-length CD is imminent on Jazzhead records. The guest list includes Frank London, Paul Shapiro/Midnight Minyan, members of Santana, Jaguares, and more. The CD even comes with a MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE? For those, like me, who would rather not wait until March for the official release, the band is offering a Chanukah special


New Hop Hop Hoodíos album "Agua Pa' La Gente" comes with money-back guarantee

What happens when commerce and art come together…and deliver the Grand Behemoth of Latino-Jewish urban music to the people?

Hip Hop Hoodios is pleased to announce that it has signed to Jazzheads Records, and will be releasing its new album "Agua Pa' La Gente" nationally in March.

But the holidays can be such difficult gift-giving times, and with that in mind, we are making the new CD available in limited quantities right now so that you can please even the most diehard Hoodio homie or honey this Hanukkah/X-mas/Kwanzaa.

Our new album "Agua Pa' La Gente" is available for internet pre-order NOW, and the first 1000 copies should be shipping on Dec. 10th. The disc is priced nice for the occasion—only $11.98 if you order from the Jazzheads website and use the special "HHH" promotional code (hey, that's three bucks less than if you buy it in stores next year). The band is backing up the disc with a MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE—if you don't like the album, return it for a refund. How many other groups have the cojones to do that?

But what will you get for your money, you ask?

Check it: Produced by Happy Sanchez (Los Mocosos), the new disc features appearances from members of some of our favorite bands, including Frank London (The Klezmatics), Paul Shapiro (Midnight Minyan), Karl Perazzo (Santana), Federico Fong (Jaguares), Tweety Gonzalez (Soda Stereo, Acida), Don Verde (Los Abandoned) and Juan Manuel Caipo (Orixa). We’re talking 12 spankin' new tracks of Latino-Jewish mayhem, as well as remixes, seahorses, and who knows what else.

The Jewish answer to El Gran Silencio? The Latino respuesta to the Beastie Boys? From Latin funk to klezmer to cumbia to straight-up hip-hop, "Agua Pa' La Gente" is your ultimate holiday gift answer (at least until the Victoria's Secret catalog arrives).

Yossele Rosenblatt re-issues

Cantor Sam Weiss posts to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

The Cantors Assembly has recently released a 6-CD set of digitally remastered recordings of Yossele Rosenblatt (including his Yiddish recordings). The set comes with Hebrew and English texts, and indications of original recording dates. In addition, the out-of-print Rosenblatt biography by his son Samuel Rosenblatt has been reprinted.

Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt re-issues

This announcement prompted an immediate reply:

...Which reminds me of the one about the cantor who bragged that he was "the third Yossele Rosenblatt."

"And who is the SECOND Yossele Rosenblatt?" asked one member of the congregation.

"There could BE no second Yossele Rosenblatt!" scowled the cantor.

November 10, 2004

New for the KlezmerShack: We co-sponsor a special reading for a special book person: Aaron Lansky

aaron lanskyCo-Sponsored by the KlezmerShack and Boston Workmen's Circle

Aaron Lansky: Outwitting History

This website is very pleased to consponsor a reading by Aaron Lansky, founder and president of the National Yiddish Book Center, one of our favorite places (Aaron being one of our favorite people as well). The reading is part of the Boston Jewish Book Fair (Nov 7 - Dec 10) and is presented by the Miriam Goldman Author's Fund.

Thursday, Nov 18
$5 JCC Members / $8 General Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center
333 Nahanton St.
Newton, MA

For ticket reservations and info: 617 965-5226

For more info, see the Klezmershack calendar

Yossi Piamenta mailing list

In response to a group emailing about a forthcoming Koby Israelite album, Steven Weiss posted a blurb about Yossi Piamenta and a mailing list for his fans. It seems worth passing on the info:

Come join the mailing list for Yosi Piamenta, the Israeli born rocker. Concert info and band happenings!

"Yossi Piamenta and the Piamenta band jam with frenetic abandon, creating a psychedelic haze of classic rock, jazz, and Oriental Hebrew music. Critics have compared Piamenta's fret magic to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana, though Piamenta's style is truly his own."

"Spiritual music never sounded so good!"

Link to keep track of band happenings: launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/PIAMENTABAND

Klezmatics/Woody Guthrie Chanukkah CD in limited edition

From Lorin Sklamberg, posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

album coverAnnouncing the new Klezmatics cd - just in time for your holiday pleasure!

The Klezmatics: Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanuka (Klezmatics Records, 2004)

In 1942, Woody Guthrie moved to Brooklyn and soon, through his mother-in-law, the renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblat, he became involved with the Coney Island Jewish community. He wrote songs about Hanuka, about Jewish history and spiritual life and about World War II and the antifascist cause. After his death in 1967, these songs sat forgotten in archives. Lost for almost thirty years, Guthrie's Jewish lyrics were discovered in 1998 by Woody's daughter, Nora Guthrie. She was so inspired by what she found, she asked the Klezmatics to write new music for the lyrics. "Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanuka" is the first recorded release of this amazing material. Deftly intermingling klezmer with American folk and bluegrass, "Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hunaka" is destined to become a holiday classic for generations to come. This delightful collection of songs, "Hanuka's Flame", "Hanuka Gelt", "The Many and the Few" and others, is among the best of Guthrie's work, and the Klezmatics' playful renditions cast a new light on the Hanuka tradition.

This limited edition collectors release comes in a jacket, hand printed at the Chicago Print Museum, that folds into a dreidel!

Available only via the internet

November 8, 2004

Out as Jews and Out as Gays; playing Klezmer and proud of it!

Here's an interesting article. It echoes ideas that Alicia Svigals first presented at a conference paper, first published in a special edition of Judaism magazine in Winter 1998. It is also touched upon in Christina L. Baade's "Jewzak and Heavy Shtetl: Constructing Ethnic Identity and Asserting Authenticity in the New-Klezmer Movement" from the same year. Now we're in 2004 and Dana Astmann has written "Freylekhe Felker: Queer Subculture in the Klezmer Revival" in this current issue of Discourses [Discourses in Music: Volume 4 Number 3 (Summer 2003)], which moves from first person narrative to research on the cumulative gay first person narratives in the Klezmer scene.

Needless to say, the article is reasonably well-written and quite fascinating.