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March 29, 2005

Klezfest in Ukraine, Aug 21-25, 2005

festival logo
Come Celebrate the Rebirth of Klezmer Music in the Former Soviet Union at the 6th Annual KlezFest, Ukraine!

August 21-25, 2005
Kiev, Ukraine

Musicians and non-musicians alike are invited to join several dozen extremely talented musicians from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Estonia as they explore the folk music of their ancestors.


The program includes:

  • Music classes in Yiddish song, klezmer instrumental style, and new Jewish composition.
  • Yiddish classes at levels from Beginner through Advanced.
  • Nightly klezmer jam sessions with singing and dancing, as well as mini concerts during the day.
  • The Gala Concert featuring exclusively KlezFest participants.
  • Mini-forum discussions with KlezFest participants about music and life, particularly Jewish life, in the former Soviet Union.
  • An excursion to explore the Jewish sites of Kiev.
  • Optional excursions to other sites of Jewish interest in Ukraine.
  • Translators for non-Russian speakers.

Teachers include:

  • Founder and director of the ensemble Budowitz Joshua Horowitz (USA)
  • Klezmatics founding singer Lorin Sklamberg (USA)
  • Pianist and new Jewish music composer Marilyn Lerner (Canada)
  • Klezmer clarinetist Merlin Shepherd (UK)
  • Klezfest "alumni" Yiddish singer, composer and choral leader Polina Achkinazi-Shepherd (UK-Russia)

Klezfest in Ukraine is devoted to the study of traditional Ashkenazi music and its modern interpretation in both composition and performance. It is a production of the Center of Jewish Education in Ukraine, with the support of the Jewish Community Development Fund in Russia and Ukraine (US) and UJA-Federation of New York (US).

The number of participants Klezfest can accommodate is limited. Westerners interested in attending KlezFest should email Festival Director E-mail Yana Yanover. as soon as possible for more information on applying. The deadline for applications is June 15, 2004.

Musicians may be asked to send an audio or video tape as well as photographs and information about themselves. Non-musicians should send an email letter of intent stating their interest in attending the festival as well as which aspects most appeal to them.

The fee of $500 for accepted applicants will cover housing, meals and training expenses. For Russian- and/or Yiddish-speakers, this fee is reduced to $400. Please contact the organizing committee for student rates or any additional information at:

The Center of Jewish Education in Ukraine
Kurska St., 6, room 37,
03049, Kiev, Ukraine
Tel: (380-44) 248-3670, 248-3634, 248-5377;
fax: (380-44) 248-3670, 248-5377
E-mail: The Center for Jewish Education in Ukraine

Travel and visas information:
Jewish Community Development Fund in Russia and Ukraine
c/o AJWS
45 W.36th Street, 10th floor NY, NY 10018
tel. 212-273-1642
E-mail: Jewish Community Development Fund in Russian and Ukraine


KlezFest, St. Petersburg, Jun 18-22, 2005

The Center for Jewish Music of the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg is proud to announce "KlezFest St. Petersburg 2005," an international seminar on the traditional music of Eastern European Jewry, to be held June 18-22, 2005 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

For more information, please contact the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg via fax at (+7-812) 314-5117, or e-mail Alexander Frenkel.

"KlezFest St. Petersburg," now in its ninth year, is the oldest klezmer seminar in Russia. The 2005 festival will include master-classes on Yiddish folk songs and klezmer music, workshops on Yiddish folklore and Yiddish dance, lectures, concerts, and two excursions: "Jewish St. Petersburg" and "Rivers and Canals of St. Petersburg." Our staff will include world-famous musicians -- from New York, the violinist, accordion player, vocalist, ethnomusicologist and the world's leading expert on Yiddish dance, Michael Alpert; also from New York, the vocalist from the famous Klezmatics group, Lorin Sklamberg; from Berlin, the outstanding klezmer clarinetist, Christian Dawid, and others.

"KlezFest St. Petersburg," dedicated to bringing klezmer music and Yiddish culture back to the land of their birth, includes Jewish musicians from the vibrant centers of the Jewish renaissance throughout the former Soviet Union.

This year again we are pleased to announce a special program for lovers of Yiddish music and culture from other parts of the globe. We are asking for a contribution of $550. This sum will include food and lodging in St. Petersburg for 5 days and the entire seminar program, including interpreters when needed, concerts and two excursions. Participants will pay for their own transportation to St. Petersburg.

For more information, please contact the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg via fax at (+7-812) 314-5117, or e-mail Alexander Frenkel.

For advice on travel and visa arrangements, contact our American sponsor, the Jewish Community Development Fund in Russia and Ukraine, a project of the American Jewish World Service (New York), via telephone: (+1-212) 273-1642, or e-mail AJWS.

Join us at "KlezFest St. Petersburg" this summer! If you haven't been on the Neva River during White Nights with Russian klezmorim, you haven't lived!

Nan Metashvili on the road to Timbuktu

'Allo, mes amis;

In the harsh, metalic heat-sheen of a long afternoon along the Niger River, the graceful mating dance of some cranes provided a moment of beauty. They rose in the air, flapping their wings like Japanese geishas, dancing, chasing, flirting.

My pinasse trip up the river to Tombouktou could have been considered monotonous by some, but I LOVED it. Hour after hour of motoring along with nothing special to see, just the cliff like river banks (low water, remember?) beyond which, I knew, stretched arid desert. Little events like the dancing cranes were a welcome embellishment on the simplicity of such perfect tranquility.

We went through a lot of empty river bank, with occasional fishing villages strung out in a series of huts each facing the river. Extreme poverty. Children playing in the river, in the dust, women washing clothes in the river... The much rarer actual villages were quite a different matter. I found them extremely beautiful, with their organic vernacular architecture of intertwining mud houses and zany little bespired mosques—a sort of pre-Raphaelite Arabian Nights stage set, with special effects by Gaudi. Shaded under invaluable stands of trees, both villages and settlements seemed pretty free of plastic litter—the joys of off road life!

Our pinasse was a little floating world of its own; I was the only foreigner, but it was a tourist boat, en route to Timbuktou to pick up the last group of the season. Therefore, very comfortable; uncrowded; 3 crew, a couple of other passengers.

Quiet and calm     up at dawn     rice and fish and cabbage twice a day no one else but little fishing boats beign poled along by men, children or more rarely, women. A few boats going the other way, funky sails cobbled together from old grain bags

'Monotony' occasionally relieved by a herd of goats   or a couple of camels   cows grazing on an island one dusk it was a pod of hippos, quite exciting for me, alas the only ones we saw

The assistant was constantly bailing the passengers only infrequently stirring themselves to pray—one guy knelt in the boat by his seat, the other climbed onto the roof. Both facing different directions

where the heck IS Mecca?

But your directional options are rather limited in such a narrow craft, eh?

As night came on I too would climb onto the roof of the boat (nicely weathered reed mats) and lie there in the cool absolute bliss wathcing the stars come out     or at dawn I'd watch the sun rise. The soft susserations of the passengers conversation was broken by their periodic falsetto exclamations- a Malian thing?   VERY amusing, normal deep male voices wombolo goro blablabloa eeeeeeeeeeh inichewomboloblabla aaaaaaaaaaah in high pitched girly glissandos!!

Like any good river trip, I definately didn't want it to end! but eventually we came to Tombouktou.

I liked it.

A nice quiet town in the middle of nowhere. No tourists, salt caravans finished for the season (but plenty of slabs of salt for sale in the markets) wide streets of sand, a total architectural integrity- no McDonalds and no buildings of anything but mud or the Tuareg reed mat tents.

From my roof the maze of the old village ( and it was ALL old village) was beautiful beyond words. I could see the encircling desert beyond the last houses, endless with its deadly heat; 2 or 3 Gaudi mud pie mosques stood above the humble homes.... The streets are filled with graceful romantic looking Tuaregs floating around in their blue robes, but they do get to be a pain, endlessly importuning one to look at their jewelry.

eventually I screwed up my courage and hopped in a death trap oven of a vehicle and headed south again

3 days to Ouaga

Sweltering heat, and brutal bumping in the back of a pickup truck. I thought the worst danger was to my kidneys and my poor boney bum, but as we started to decend the last bit of escarpment out of the Dogon country to the Burkinabe border we all sort of noticed the brakes were locked and doing nothing! Down we careened, the driver barely keeping control on the switchbacks, women and infants thrown about, the urchins on the back hanging on tightly til the driver spotted an 'emergency escape route' opportunity, and shot up it! the urchins hopped nimbly off and quickly wedged rocks behind the tires, the passengers nonchalontly climbed out and started walking downhill... at the bottom, as we rested in the shade and waited for the truck, I noticed a road sign warning 'route dangereuse' and a cheerful little drawing of a truck plunging over the edge.


ça roule ma poule

Love, Ferenji Naan

PS Then I finally made it to Ouagadougou and got mugged my first night there....

I'm definately ready to head back North!

March 28, 2005

Purim's over, but give a listen to "The Big Megillah

Okay, Purim is over, but I have finally figured out how to use my new QuickTime streaming service to make this wonderful track from the Austin Klezmorim available. It's called "The Big Megillah. Rather than say more, I suggest that you listen. Band leader Bill Averbach gave permission last month to post this, but I hadn't had time to get everything up and running. If this is worth doing, I'll consider doing some podcasting. Let me know. In the meantime, this is still my favorite retelling of the story of Purim. Thanks, Bill.

March 27, 2005

Two wonderful new CDs reviewed

Here are two new reviews, separately or apart they represent just a part of the span of new Jewish music for which the KlezmerShack exists. Both are exciting CDs.

album coverIt's the Klezmatics first live album, and their first album with Joshua Nelson. It is also an incredibly intense CD for the forthcoming Passover holiday, focusing on black and Jewish song. Not your grandparents' klezmer? But, if you are of my generation, this is still music that you grew up with, just never performed with this intensity and joy: Klezmatics / Brother Moses Smote the Water.

Celebrate Yiddish album coverI was a bit dubious when Susan Deikman sent me information about her new album in which she performs traditional Jewish spiritual texts to Hindu chant. I loved what I heard, but turned to friend Hanna Tiferet for the review, feeling that the music deserved more than my own "I've never heard anything like this, but it sounds good." Yofiyah / Kabbalistic Kirtan.

Hebrew Calligrapher's work on display in April

Ari and Judy's Ketubah by Peggy DavisPeggy Davis, flutist with Wholesale Klezmer and Hebrew Calligrapher, will show her decorated wedding vows, marriage certificates and ketubot, the traditional Jewish marriage contract, at

Wings of Light Gallery,
20 Bridge St.,
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

during the month of April. The public is invited to the opening of the show from 1-5 p.m. on April 3rd through 29th. You can see her work on the Wholesale Klezmer website: www.WholesaleKlezmer.com

For more information, call 413-625-0144

[Yes, this is the same Peggy Davis who did Judy and my ketubah. Her work is wonderful. I say, make the trip to Shelburne Falls, MA. You'll be glad you did. ari]

European Assoc. for Jewish Culture Review, 2005

an interesting e-mail from across the pond:

photo montage
[I wish to let you know] about the European Association for Jewish Culture Review 2005, which has just been published on our website. It includes 16 pages of illustrated reports about new music compositions and their performances as well as new drama and other arts projects.

A rich harvest of new drama, art, music, and film: For the overview and highlights of 100 projects in 20 European countries, visit www.jewishcultureineurope.org/newsletter.htm.

March 22, 2005

Two sold out concerts

So, the 2nd KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary concert last Sunday was another packed house in which amazing music was played to everyone's delight. I could happily get used to thanking musicians for producing wonderful shows.

Rebecca Kaplan and Pete Rushefsky were outstanding. I have seen both of them perform apart, and I've heard the CD, but hearing them, watching them live together was extraordinary. Who would have thought that voice and tsimbl—or at least this voice and this tsimbl would fit so well together?

As for di bostoner klezmer, this is the first time I've seen them with new addition Christina Crowder. They were inspired. The music and musicianship were wonderful. Even better, almost all of the repertoire was unfamiliar—this was stuff learned from recent emigrants such as German Goldenshteyn, or picked up by Christina during her research in Romania, or newly written by Brian. Very traditional-sounding klezmer, but not a traditional show at all.

The next two 10th Anniversary co-sponsored concerts (neither sold out, quite yet, are:

  • Fri, Apr 1: Charming Hostess, at Center for New Words, Cambridge, 8:30pm
  • Sat, Sun, Apr 2-3: On My Grandmother's Knee, Featuring The National Spiritual Ensemble and A Besere Velt: Yiddish Community Chorus of the Workmen's Circle, with special guests Hankus Netsky and Adrienne Cooper at the Leventhal-Sidman JCC, Newton, 8pm/2pm

It is likely that at neither of these concerts, different from the first two, will "Ale Brider" be played as an encore.

Stay tuned for DJ SoCalled in June, and more events throughout the year. This year's goal to to make a new audience aware of the diversity of new and traditional Jewish music. We're off to a very gratifying start.

March 17, 2005

Divahn unable to make tonight's Khevre/Divahn double-bill in Cambridge, MA

Michael Winograd writes:

in a last minute decision, Divahn had to back out for tonight. Galeet is ill. This is quite unfortunate... Khevre will play both sets in this case. They've lowered the door price from $15 to $12.

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news-- this decision was just finalized last night. Nonetheless, it will still be a great show—see you tonight

March 16, 2005

Recuperating in Mopti

Alaskan Klezmer, Nancy Metashvili, continues her travels in Africa, heading south into Mali:

Mopti, Mali

Sastipen, mes amis;

Am back in Mopti regaining my stomach after a visit to the pays Dogon. Animist villages, clinging to the steep escarpment rocks, tiny thatched grannery huts on little stone Baba Yaga legs, unreachable cave dwellings high up the cliff, Anasazi style, and modern fetish-selling Dogons who have refocused their former witchcraft skills onto the newfound lucrative niche of encouraging tourists and then very competently stripping them of their money. This didn't take long in my case! and then I had to climb back up the cliff, vomiting and fighting heat prostration. Ah, don't we love travel?

Now in the delta town of Mopti, contemplating tomorrow's proposed journey up river to Tombouktou, by pinasse (motorized dugout). Low water   no towns or settlements the 3 days (with luck!) between here and there, sleeping in the desert by the river, eating god knows what... even by African standards, where flexability, stoicism and an Insh'Allah mentality are needed

this one seems a bit iffy.

Mali has been really difficult travel—the heat, the hassle, the filth... but much of interest.

I really love the ingenious wheelchairs they make for the many crippled and legless. They are like three wheeled bicycles with a verticle, hand pedaled chain, so their occupant can cycle along with dignity and good cheer, instead of the usual 3rd world dragging along the ground on stumps protected by rags or an old pair of flip flops...

Recycling I'm all in favour of, howsomever, drinking from a filthy container which turns out to be a brake fluid container gave me pause!

There are the posters urging an anti-AIDS lifestyle (SIDA here), which don't seem very effective given the number of homeless begging children- AIDS orphans? I also saw one 'Stop Excision' anti Female Genital Mutilation poster.

Children? hoards and swarms and seething conglomerations of them. Overpopulation grabbing you constantly with dirty little hands, chanting 'Bonjour, ça va donnez moi cadeaux donnez cent franc CENT FRANC ( give me a gift, give me 100 francs) cadeaux cadeux caduex.... '

Madame, ça va I just want to be your friend I have a pirogue, just 10,000 F on the river, just look Tuareg bijoux, just look, Madame...

Classic African vignettes

herds of long horned cattle fording a river in in the heat hazed slanting rays of a blazing sun finally descending....

vultures tearing at the body of a dead goat ( and rich tourists in their 4x4 stopped to take photos)

women and girls pounding grain, women and girls pulling water out of the well and carrying it home atop their heads ( in the Dogon country this also means carrying it up the cliff), women and girls carrying babies, selling food in markets, gutting fish, carefully portioning things out into little plastic bags ( peanuts, water, soft drinks, little cakes etc) things that used to be sold in cones of goat disposable newspaper are now in plastic which is then thrown out and mounts up into ankle/knee deep drifts and covers the earth like a hideous plague of 'progress'

men work as tailors, woodworkers, mechanics, salesmen, hustlers or just hang out til they spot $$$ coming down the street. 'Madame!!!! ça va where you go I show you....' or the ever so sly ' You remember me!!!!'

But where else would you see a sandlot football game with some boys in shoes, some barefoot and one couple of grubby little guys sharing a pair—one got the left shoe, the other the right... and everyone reveres (David) Beckham.

the markets with piles of golden mangoes

Carts creaking home at night under a clear somewhat cooler starry sky

A country whose vernacular architecture is surreally beautiful mud—from tiny thatched roof square houses, sinuous walls, compounds and villages designed to create shade for man and beast, to the stupendous Grand Mosque at Djenne, with its towering smoothly mudded walls and protruding rafters; well deserving its World Heritage status.

And the little old Dogon man squished next to me in the taxi brousse, who spotted Paddington (Niko's teddy bear) and was agog! Fingering Paddy's ears, buttoning and unbuttoning his jacket and putting the hood off and on, flapping about his little legs his deep set old tortoise eyes twinkled with an ' o my god now I've seen everything' glee, and maybe a mystical belief that the little bear was perhaps a kind of white man's fetish, magic talisman, a link between this world and another

And maybe he's right?

Ciao, Ferenji Naan

new CD of Yiddish Folksongs by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman!

Itzik Gottesman reports on a new CD by his mother (I hope to start work on typesetting a new CD by Hy Wolfe for Itzik's Yiddishland label very soon):

album coverHi. I am happy to report that a new CD of Yiddish folksongs sung by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman has just come out.

"Bay mayn mames shtibele" (At my mother's house) is a great recording and includes a studio session from 1994 with Lorin Sklamberg on accordion and Alicia Svigals on violin; and a live concert from the Cactus Cafe in Austin, TX from 1993. The website on Yiddishland Records (www.yiddishlandrecords.com) has not caught up to the latest news yet which will include all the words to the songs, but in a few weeks it will all be there. In the meantime, the CD is availaable for purchase at:


"The Language of the Heart"/"Los Muestros"

Eva Broman posts to the Jewish-Music list:

I'm forwarding an interesting article by Amnon Shiloah:

The Language of the Heart Encounters between Jewish and Moslem Musicians in Morocco and Spain, from The Israel Review of Arts and Letters - 1997/105

And another link to the magazine "Los Muestros" which is available online (many articles on Greek Jewry, which interests me!):


March 15, 2005

Do you live in the Boston area?

As I've been mentioning every couple of days, the first KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary concerts are coming up starting this Thursday, Mar 17, with Khevre and Divahn, and then Sunday, Mar 20 with di bostoner klezmer and Rebecca Kaplan & Pete Rushefsky.

A bit late, I have finally put together a PDF of a poster advertising the concerts. If you live in the Boston area and there is a place where you work or go to school or in a neighborhood shop where a poster would be appropriate, you can download the poster, print it out, and post it up. Spread the word!

See ya'll later this week.

new Purim CD from Binyomin Ginzberg

album coverI have had a wonderful CD by Binyomin Ginzberg on the "to be reviewed soon" pile for months, and now he has released a new CD of Purim songs. I am therefore jumping ahead to let people know about the CD in time to get a copy for the holiday (coming up on Mar 25th). It is available from CDBaby.com (and if you use this link in purchasing the CD, the KlezmerShack even gets a cut). The CD Baby site has audio clips with the first two minutes of each track. Ginzberg has also posted the liner notes there.

March 12, 2005

Nan Metashvili in the Sahel

Djenne, Mali

Bonjour, mes amis;

Djenne, fabled city of mud sculptures, compounds of banko with walls and pinacles and odd little spires sticking up from gates and mosques and even grain storage huts. So beautiful

Market day, crowds in from all over—mangos and plastic shoes and grass mats and used western clothing and the frying of rice cakes and meat and plantains and potatoes... eating at the street stalls is cheap and good but there is the sea of begging children to either ignore or relinquish one's meal to... I do the latter, spooning out dollops of haricots to the outstretched hands of those who don't even possess the ubiquitous begging bucket.

40+ in the shade, I am not sure how long I can manage...

Segou, sleepy town on the Niger River, crossing by pirogue, coold breeze a total JOY.

Am travelling for a few days with a Japanese only speaking Japanese, and his multi lingual guide; lots of fun with the acting. And I rather enjoy the airconditioned quatre/quatre, it makes a luxurious change from being squashed and roasted in the normal busses!

Djenne is so magical, so old, and at night I sleep on the roof under the stars with the quiet of the wind (well, after the drummers have packed up and left) and the funny shapes of adobe spires and mud crennelations providing a roofscape unlike any other ANYWHERE.

But it is too hot;
Nyokoboko, (peace & love in Wolof)
Ferenji Nan

March 10, 2005

Newbury Comics boycotting Jewish Music?

I misplaced a CD that I intend to review, so I popped over to my local Newbury Comics, on Needham St., here in Newton, MA. I had been told that the chain had just purchased 20 copies of the forthcoming Hip Hop Hoodios CD (due out Mar 26), so I wanted to see if those had appeared yet, too.

I headed straight for the International Music section. There didn't appear to be a Jewish music section any more. I scouted the rest of the store. Nope. Not their, either. I coralled a staffperson who headed straight for the International music area and was similarly stumped. We looked up some common titles in the local store inventory. Nope. All out of stock.

If someone has an explanation, I'd love to hear it, or if someone has a contact with the folks at Newbury Comics central, I'd love to find out more. The online store for Newbury Comics (www.newburycomics.com does seem to carry the expected titles. But for now, if you are looking for Jewish music, it appears that at least one of the Newbury Comics stores is no longer interested.

March 6, 2005

First KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary Concerts lined up

Klezmershack 10th Anniversary small logo

Wherever you see this logo (above) on the KlezmerShack, you can click it to get the listing of 10th Anniversary events.

It is only two weeks away from the first wave of KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary concerts here in the Boston Area.

Here's the immediate summary:

In other news, we have begun planning a concert for next spring (Apr 1 and Apr 2, 2006) which, if all goes well, with involve Boston's Klezmer Conservatory Band and some nifty workshops. More on that in a separate item when I've had some sleep.

Finally, Craig Taubman has agreed to help with a "Celebrate KlezmerShack" CD, which will involve a pitifully small selection of the bands/cuts that have made doing all of this so much fun over the last 10 years. If the first does well, we'll do more. I'm going to be shooting for a mix of stuff from essential bands, some from international bands that are unfamiliar to American audiences, and there will probably be a heavy smattering of newer bands and recordings. But more on that, too, as things get put together.

2nd Annual Safed Master Clarinet classes, followed by Klezmer Fest

masters concertOnce again, the Old City of Safed will host an international group of musicians, for the Second Annual Clarinet and Klezmer in the Galilee program of Clarinet Master Classes and Performances, Aug 15-22, 2005. This year's program will be under the Artistic Directorship of Giora Feidman, Master Klezmer and Classical Clarinetist. The ever-popular Safed Klezmer Festival will follow, from Aug 23-25.

For informationn: www.safedfound.org.il
(caution: it seems mildly easier to navigate this very buggy website with IE)

March 5, 2005

Oh, lovely parrot - Jewish Women's Songs from Kerala

Judith Cohen reports to the Jewish-Music list a while back:

hi, I've just received "Oh, lovely parrot" - "Jewish Women's Songs from Kerala (Cochin)." I've been waiting for ages, since Barbara Johnson told me it was in the works at the JMRC (Jewish Music Research Institute at Hebrew U, Anthology of Traditional Music or whatever they call that series, #18). These are an interesting combination of her old field work recordings, and some re-recorded by younger women living in Israel who learned these old versions and perform them in the cases where the quality of the original tape defied repair technology.

It's in a book-cd form, with lots of good notes—and translations, but no original texts in Malayalam: these apparently will be forthcoming in the Yuval Music Series volumes, and are also in a volume published by the Ben Zvi Institute. Enjoy! Judith

For further information about the CD, or for purchase, check out the institute's website, www.jewish-music.huji.ac.il

Simon, from Hatikvah Music, adds this:

Once again, our friends at the Jewish Music Research Center at Hebrew University of Jerusalem have come up with another brilliant musical example of the rich and often overlooked traditions of Jewish music throughout the world.

Consisting of 43 songs from various holidays and ceremonies this deluxe set includes a 126 page HARDCOVER book in Hebrew and English with brief history of the Kerala Jews as well as translations of all the songs. A more detailed description of this set is located at the bottom of this message following ordering information

To view this CD got to this page on our we site: www.hatikvahmusic.com

We are offering this deluxe package at the special price of $18.98 -- INCLUDES First Class Shipping in the US -- through the month of March with all Visa & Mastercard orders.

Thank You
Hatikvah Music
323) 655-7083

"Oh What A Lovey Parrot!"
Edited from the accompanying book: For centuries, Cochin Jewish women have been singing Jewish songs in the Malayalam language of Kerala, their ancient homeland on the tropical southwest coast of India. A few are typical Kerala “parrot songs” addressed to lovely colorful birds like those portrayed in the Ketubba, pictured on the cover of this CD. Many of the songs are biblical narratives spiced with midrash. some songs are devotional hymns, and some are blessings for particular occasions, and a small group are 20th century Zionist songs in Malayalam, preparing the Cochin Jews for aliyah, immigration to Israel. While Kerala Jewish women and men shared and sang together a unique repertoire of Hebrew piyyutim, it was the women alone who performed Malayalam-language Jewish songs, performed without instrumental accompaniment. While in many traditional Jewish communities women have not been allowed to sing where a man might hear their voices, this was not so in Kerala Jewish life. Women sang at parties in the presence of men, and though Malayalam songs were not ordinarily sung in the synagogue, women did join men there with full voice in singing Hebrew prayers and songs. Half the songs are from field recordings made between 1972 and 1981, when there were still older Kochini women in Israel and India who actively remembered the songs. The rest are recent recordings (2001 - 2002) recorded at the National Sound Archives in Jerusalem by members of a new Kochini women's group in Israel. This 43 song CD is contained in a beautiful deluxe hardcover 126 page booklet -- 90 in English and 30 in Hebrew explaining the songs. All songs are translated in English.

Yankl Falk on a good Israeli record store

Back in January, our favorite resident American member of Di Naye Kapelye, Yankl Falk, sent this out in response to an early post by Eva Broman on new Sephardic Israeli music:

Thanks to Eva Broman for introducing us to www.israel-music.com—and also for your comments about traditional vs popular music in Israel. Reva and I just got back from two weeks in Israel, where we bought buckets of CDs at HaTav HaShmini (a great shop in Jerusalem near Nahalat Shiva) and at Renanot (in the Heichal Shlomo synagogue - mostly liturgical). We were fortunate enough to pick up a hitchhiker with good taste, who gave us great recommendations. Plus, we found some knowledgeable and helpful folks at the record shop. HaTav HaShmini has a really diverse selection of traditional and contemporary Israeli music of all flavors, with much of their stock selling for only 29 or 39 shekels - less than $10 - so we didn't mind taking some chances: new music in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdi, Russian, and more. We also wound up with some Palestinian and Lebanese pop music that we found at a tiny Druze village in the Galilee. (Debka meets drums 'n' bass.) Should keep us busy l! istening for a while....

As Eva writes, Itzik Kala is marvelous—as are many other musicians whose CDs came home with us: Bustan Abraham (they've been around a while, but their music is new to us), Ehud Banai, Shlomi Shabat, Ronen Amram (Kurdish music - in Kurdi), Gavriel Khosen (Gabriel), Arkadi Duchin (both Hebrew and Russian), Alayev Family (Bukharan music, mostly in Bokhari/Uzbeki/Farsi), Moshe Chabusha (trad. Iraqi liturgical, available at the Meron kiosks for less than $5), Sfatayim (Moroccan party music, sung in Arabic), HaDag Nachash (hiphop/acid jazz), and a traditional Meron-style clarinetist in Tsfat named Dov Silberman.

I'm currently reading "Popular Music and National Culture in Israel" (Motti Regev and Edwin Seroussi, University of California Press). It's a good overview of Israeli popular music over the past 50+ years and its role in shaping Israeli national culture. For someone like me - who, after a few very unpleasant listening experiences in the 1970s, spent decades avoiding Israeli popular music - it's wonderful to discover so much good music and to see how it all fits together. It was amazing to listen to the radio there for two weeks - a richness that I haven't heard on American radio in a long, long time.

To hear some of what we brought back, join us at www.kboo.fm (Portland) on Sunday mornings 10-11 am (Pacific).

Yankl Falk

New CD of Indian Jewish music

Dr. Marsha Edelman posted this to the Jewish-Music list:

"Hodu: Jewish Rhythms from Baghdad to India"
"One of the ten best CDs of 2004" -NY Jewish Week

The cost of the CD is $15 plus $4 shipping, available through Ms. Musleah's website, www.rahelsjewishindia.com, or by calling (516) 829-4866.

Rahel Musleah, a singer, writer, speaker, cultural ethnographer and seventh generation of a Calcutta family with roots in Baghdad, is pleased to announce her new recording: "Hodu: Jewish Rhythms from Baghdad to India."

"Hodu," in Hebrew, means both "India" and "Praise God!"—an appropriate double entendre for a community that thrived in the most benevolent of diasporas. This compilation of songs for Shabbat and holidays features a blend of ancient texts, authentic melodies and contemporary rhythms. "As the daughter of a Baghdadi-Indian family, these are the songs I grew up singing," says Ms. Musleah, who was born in Calcutta and now lives in Great Neck, NY. "Their beauty is meant to be shared with others."

India was host to one of the oldest living Jewish communities in the world, with roots stretching back to biblical times. For its three main communities—Bombay, Cochin and Calcutta—music offered a way to express their spirit, their faith, and their hope that God would return them to the land of Israel. Today, only about 4,000 Jews remain in all of India. Most have resettled in Israel; others have made homes in the U.S., England, Australia and Canada.

"The recording represents a path to preserving and disseminating a tradition that might otherwise be lost," says Ms. Musleah. Selections include: Tzur Mishelo; Yigdal; Eshet Hayyil; L'khah Dodi; D'ror Yikra; a Havdalah medley; Hon Tahon (Rosh Hashanah); Yisrael Am El (Sukkot); Yah Shema/Mi Va-mi (Simhat Torah); Halleluyah (Simhat Torah); a Pesah medley featuring family members, and El Eliyahu (Havdalah). The other artists who accompany Ms. Musleah include Alan Iny, vocals; Maurice Chedid, oud; Amir Chehade, percussion; Michael Hess, violin and kanoun. Arrangements by Marsha Bryan Edelman.

Ms. Musleah is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Jewish Woman, Family Circle, Publishers Weekly, Naamat Woman, and numerous Jewish journals. Through her multi-media song, story and slide programs, she shares her rare and intimate knowledge of her community's history, customs and melodies with audiences at synagogues, schools, libraries, women's groups and cultural events. She is available as an artist-in-residence or for single programs. She is also the author of several children's books. Her newest, Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah (Lerner/Kar-Ben), introduces the Sephardic custom of blessing the Jewish new year with symbolic foods, and was named a notable book of 2004 by the Sydney Taylor Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries.

The cost of the CD is $15 plus $4 shipping, available through Ms. Musleah's website, www.rahelsjewishindia.com, or by calling (516) 829-4866.

New Israeli Peace Music Group

www.guns2guitars.org is finally launching! wider in vision than Ofer (Jerusaleman) the musician and design by Earthmandala - with a 40 minute music loop (popup enable) and lots of links including Kultur ohne Grenzen (see the links page - from Networking page) so........................ if you have a link to www.ofergolany.com please please change it to www.guns2guitars.org we have 3 focuses for March in healing Israel/Palestine of nationalism

  • the All Nations Caravan with Jewish and Arab musicians after a series of events in Jerusalem (east and west) is coming to Germany / Holland / Switzerland in May -connect through Travel page at www.guns2guitars.org
  • the IDF has jailed a conscientious objector who refuses to wear a uniform - if there is enough protest the army will know it can not jail pacifists for their refusal - go thru the link on Education page (we can educate the military to recognize pacifism) at www.guns2guitars.org
  • PURIM - the holiday of carnaval, salvation (of course through a woman)

Jewish Holiday Music from the Jerusalem National University Library Sound Archive

Just in time for Purim, Passover through Sukkoth, Pete Rushefsky posted this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

I just came across this—lots of good holiday-specific sound files from different Jewish communities.


March 4, 2005

New CD for Passover, or for any day inspiration: Let my people go!

album coverEvery so often a CD rolls in and I am so taken with it that I listen to it over and over and immediately know how much I want to get the word out. This is one of them. At first I thought, "oh, sheesh, blast from the past ... when are these folks going to grow past the Sixties". Then I realized that this was a CD put out by people whose roots in social change went back much farther than the Sixties, and haven't stopped growing, not socially, not musically. This is just a wonderful, wonderful inspiration, and great listening music, too. >Let My People Go! A Jewish & African American Celebration of Freedom.

Nan Metashvili on the road to Sharawi Arab Republic

Alaskan Klezmer, Nancy Metashvili, continues her travels in Morocco

Sidi Ifni

Sastipen, mes amis;

Now perched on a red and blue tiled bench halfway down the cliffs to the Atlantic combers, your purple toed nomadic friend has been moving slowly down the coast. By tomorrow I may reach the Saharawi Arab Republic ( formerly Spanish Sahara, currently claimed and occupied by Morocco). But now I'm enjoying a little sun and the ever hypnotic crash of the surf as I contemplate the last couple of weeks...

Essaouira, lotus land of cafés and beaches, tèlèboutiques, sunsets and souks, where we ensconsed ourselves in the medina overlooking the sea and the old French/Portuguese/Berber ramparts. The sea, crashing onto the rocks, shining silver as we quickly established a ritual of a bottle of wine to celebrate the sunset...

the neighbours:

'Moustache', a Swedish/South African ex-pat down on his luck and living a life Paul Bowles couldn't have invented- always happy to spin a tale and join us in a tipple

the 'kids', British students with a grant and sophisticated recording devices who were happy to encounter some 'local colour' (ie yours truly) and recorded me on the terrace sneaking in some yid in the medina music

Omar the shrink, back from practicing in the UK, last seen taking my commadres Kathy and Sherie off to the dunes, as they head back to Alaska

Nights in Essaouira, flute playing and Gnaoua drumming... wedding procession through the streets, 2 carts of bride goods (one bemused sheep, 2 huge sacks of flour, assorted piles of schlocky clothing) and the drum and ghaita band—followed by a voracious hoard of papparazzi like tourists snapping wildly with cameras...

the Sunday Beach Football madness
Gnaoua buskers by the fish stalls
the camel for hire dudes down the beach
ex-pats galore! greedily buying up property as fast as possible

Past Agadir, huge and soulless, modern; home to holidaying French hoards parked in their hundreds on the cliffs, infesting the sands with their mobile homes like swollen white ticks clustered overlooking the sea...

Southwards to Tiznit, a pleasant bus ride with a garrulous Frenchman who was heading somewhere 'away from touristique places', through increasingly sere countryside, small red ochre villages, fences of prickly pear (with huge red buds), clouds building to a thunder and lightening storm which left me sodden (the bus leaked) and then dumped off after dark outside the city walls (massive rammed earth crenelated jobbers)

in the rain

seeking shelter...

Starting to worry, is there no chambre in Tiznit?

Enter, yes, Life immitates Literature

the Dissolute Ancient Frenchman, and a loitering Arab youth.

Must have been a slow night in Tiznit, they took it upon themselves to find me a room. The snaggle toothed Youth knew a cheap place, only 20 dirham. Complet! Full! Off we go, through dark empty tunnels, twisting this way and that, I'm totally lost. Definately a situation one's mother would have warned one about! yet my inner alarm bells failed to ring. The Dissolute Frenchman sozzled on, Old Africa Hand style, warning me about the dangers 'down there', watch out for the 'Blacks' etc. The darkness deepened, the passageways seemed to make no sense and a tendril of panic - a wee tendril, a mere smear thoughtlet - started to arise in my mind ... then black fearful alleys cede to bright lights, a busy street, a tiled hotel room with a warm dry bed. Tiznit.


Tiny Berber village, ruins above, le plage below. I wander, hang out with Berber ladies who want to know if I have any children. I tell them, 'Yes, one son' and nothing more. Their sympathy wouldn't help. I play my whistle for a little girl and her mother... trade books with a French woman and get invited to her French/Berber wedding if I'm back in Jyly... Learn to say mikimik (un peau) in Tashelhit Berber, and wonder where the language is on the family Tree of Languages—it is pleasanter sounding than Arabic, but not like anything I have come across before, except maybe Albanian. Albanian?§?! Yikes, another lifetime.

Sidi Ifni, Santa Cruz del Mar Pequeno

Back and forth between Morocco, France and Spain; now Moroccan, but the older folks still speak Spanish. More shabby streets-, no, calles here—and mud puddles, the Plaza de Espana, flowers and children of ineffible sweetness, another colony of French camper vans, satellite dishes on all and the occasional solar panel, the ubiquitous pet yapper dogs...

but hey! everyone's got a story. Like the camper van palace-on-wheels couple I met who are retired Parisian policemen,travelling around with their 15 year old one eyed poodle! Could I make that up?

Down, down through hundreds of km of hammada (desert scrub), washed out roads, mechanical breakdowns, this is now one cheek on the seat Grand Taxi travel, squashed in and heading into the land of wind, dust and spinecrunching piste.

I have made it to Laayoune—goodness knows what comes next.

Zay Gesunt,
Ferenji Naan

The power of Music in Judaism

Yoel Taieb, of the Techelet Ensemble, reports that he has created a new website of interest. Information ranges from Chassidic music to articles on modern Jewish classical composers such as Milhaud, Bloch, and Schoenberg:

I have built a website who is a sort of journey in music image and texts to the land of the nigun. When i began to search my way in chassidic and jewish music about twenty years ago, Paris was such a desert to what concern jewish music. Now that with Ensemble Techelet we succeed in creating a new style and that i see a logic in what i suffured all this years i built this website as a tribute to all those who inspired me on the way. I will be very happy that you'll speak about it and about our music

The new website address: www.geocities.com/chassidmusic