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April 18, 2005

San Francisco Bay Area Klezmer Resource Guide

klezcalifornia logoA new KLEZCALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RESOURCE GUIDE is now on our website, www.klezcalifornia.org/local_resources.html

This Resource Guide identifies and gives contact information for 42 individuals and groups available locally for performances, lectures, workshops, and classes on various aspects of Eastern European Jewish culture (Yiddish culture): klezmer music, Yiddish language & literature, Eastern European Jewish history, Ashkenazi influences on American Jewish life, Yiddish theatre, paper-cutting, and other folk arts.

We hope this KlezCalifornia Local Resource Guide will help increase Yiddish culture activities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thanks very much for your consideration,
—Talia Shaham
KlezCalifornia, Inc.

KlezKanada 2005, Aug 21-28, introduces special "East Meets West" Scholarship expansion

klezkanada logoKlezKanada's 10th anniversary is scheduled to begin, for workshop participants, on Sunday, August 21,2005 and extends to Sunday August 28,2005. This includes all scholarship recipients.

Those who are not involved with workshops begin on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 and continue to Sunday, August 28, 2005 also.

A special feature this year is the introduction of a so-called "East Meets West" expansion of the scholarship program. That is 10-12 young, talented artists from Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Moldavia and Belarus are being invited to join their Western compatriots and participate in the week-long scholarship program. This represents a dramatic new development and hopefully will encourage increasing interchange between the countries of Eastern Europe and the West.

Other exciting and new programs for this 10th anniversary are presently being finalized and will be seen on the KlezKanada website (www.klezkanada.com) in early May. [I can say that Judy and I will be part of the faculty, again. There will be a daily Yiddish-English newspaper, along with some incredible new Yiddish language and Arts stuff, as well. Ari]

For further information contact KlezKanada:
E-mail KlezKanada
Tel: 514-489-9014
Fax: 514-489-0260

April 17, 2005

Israeli Songwriter Ehud Manor mourned

Ehud Manor photo from Ha-aretz"Thousands of people turned out Wednesday afternoon for the funeral of Israel Prize laureate Ehud Manor, who died Tuesday.

"Manor, one of Israel's most prolific and best-loved songwriters, passed away early Tuesday morning in his Tel Aviv apartment at the age of 64. His widow said he collapsed early Tuesday of an apparent heart attack."

More, from the English language edition of Israel's Ha'aretz daily: news.haaretz.co.il

April 16, 2005

Taraf de Haidouks, kazoo-ized

Lila Feingold found this on the Balkan list. I will eschew her description and suggest that this must be experienced in full

"this brilliant teenager in NYC has decided to have a kazoo band playing, essentially, gypsy brass band style. Here is the link to his demo:"

I decided that before I form my orchestra it would be nice to know how it would actually sound. SO I hooked up a mic to the computer and overdubbed a kazoo orchestra of 8 parts (all played by me)

With all the talk of Dumbala Dumba I figured it would be a good tune to try. HERE IT IS: www.jeremyb.com/kazoo.mov. Note this requires "Quicktime".

"you may possibly be able to recognize this tune from the playing of Taraf de Haidouks."

April 4, 2005

KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary: the party continues

Showcasing the newest generation of klezmer:
Recklez (Harvard Klezmer Ensemble) and
KlezMITron 5765 (the MIT Klezmer band)
will be playing this Saturday, April 9, at the All-Asia Bar in Central Square, Cambridge, from 1-4 pm (2 sets, $5 to stay as long as you want).

KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary

Charming Hostess rules / Ale Brider returns in Choir Fest

band in the 'burbsThe first wave of KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary concerts came to an end this weekend with two amazing concerts.

In two weeks, in venues from Zeitgeist in Inman Square to the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton we managed to have full houses, which is pretty nifty in a town that supposedly has moved on from Klezmer. Of course, as this past weekend's concerts illustrate, the KlezmerShack is about much more than klezmer, itself.

Charming Hostess played for a packed house at the Center for New Words in Inman Square. The band focused on material from their recent Sarajevo Blues album, including an expanded selection of Ladino songs from the Bosnia region and a killer a capella version of "Spoonful" by that well-known Transylvianian Jew, Count Willie Dixon. As was the case last fall when they focused on material from Trilectic, hearing the band live was even better than the CD. Voices just soared and harmonized and gave life to songs as complex as "What will you remember" and "Death is a Job", plus most of the rest of Sem Mehmedinovic's poetry from the new album.

Afterwards, over a late morning brunch we got to talk a bit about the band, the tour, and a new release from the vaults, "Punch", recorded about the same time as Trilectic, five years ago. The current ensemble is only about three years old (although even the current CD, Sarajevo Blues, features friends from the old gang and gives it a sharper instrumental edge than the free-wheeling vocal soaring apparent in concert).

Saturday night was "At My Grandmother's Knee," an interesting concept in which The National Spiritual Ensemble shared the stage with the Brookline, MA-based "Workmen's Circle Choir". Both choirs focused on songs that they had "learned at their grandmother's knee". In the case of the National Spiritual Ensemble, this meant stunning gospel music, but, surprising to me, none of the movement songs from the Sixties that have recently been shared on recent Black-Jewish recordings. I'm not sure it mattered: the music was powerful and divine and our ears certainly left happy. The Workmen's Circle Choir, suffering from a lack of men's voices (if I could hold a tune, I would regard this as a call to action - those male readers who, like me, are local to Brookline and who lack my handicap should hie themselves over to the Workmen's Circle soonest), but it still sounded divine. In this case, I was again a bit disappointed--this time by the number of sentimental shlaggers. Still, from "Mayn ruhe platz" to "Vakht Oyf", there were several songs to appease the social conscience, and also several songs commemorating the Holocaust including "Vayl Ikh Bin a Yidele", and some lovely, if unexpected Chasidic songs such as "Zol Shoyn Kumen di Geule". Putting the lie to my prediction of last week, the concert not only opened with the combined choruses singing "Ale Brider," but the song was the encore, following a rousing, combined "Amen", also featuring both groups.

There are already new events planned, starting this coming weekend, so stay tuned.

April 1, 2005

Charming Hostess celebrate KlezmerShack 10th tonight in Cambridge, MA

album coverThe new Charming Hostess album is splendid. It's the first album I've liked as much as I loved their first, which is still in the car rotation eight years later. The women do things with their voices—it's like "Sweet Honey in the Rock" but more diverse, like "Zap Mama" only more interesting. But why take my word for it? You can catch them tonight, Friday, April 1, in Cambridge, MA, 8:30pm as part of the touring CD Release party for their new Tzadik release, "Sarajevo Blues". It's $8 at the Center for New Words, 186 Hampshire St. (across from S&S Deli Parking). If you can't make it, you can at least read the review: Charming Hostess / Sarajevo Blues.