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July 28, 2005

Great new Jewish arts blog - Mimaamakim

Rivalling Jew*School as a favorite location is a new Jewish arts blog called "Mi-ma'amakim" (from depths). Lots of nice attitude, lots of latitude, very worth reading:


July 25, 2005

Props for the Ken Ulansey Ensemble

Ken UlanseyAs regular readers of this site know, there are no shortage of old friends in Philadelphia who put on an incredible wedding show. When it came time to suggest a band for my stepson Ben's wedding, I did mention some fine names. The bride-to-be demurred and asked if it was okay if she asked the band that had played at her Bat Mitzvah. (She was, I might add, the 4th generation of her family involved in the Germantown Jewish Center, so there was some yikhes beyond merely being the beloved of a rather special stepson.)

As it turned out, I was pretty sure that Ken Ulansey would be rather good. I had seen him blow with Benny and the Vilda Chayas, as well as with his own ensemble, a few years ago when I mc'd the last Intergalactic Jewish Music festival. I was impressed and had really enjoyed the set, so as much as I would have been happy to send business to people that I know better, I had no qualms about this particular gig.

And, I am writing this to publicly note that Ulansey's ensemble was outstanding. Whether playing klezmer, Israeli folk dance, or very excellent soul and rock, the band rocked hard and kept the dance floor crowded. Very nice people, to boot. Ken and one of the singers also accompanied the ceremony, and other musicians quietly played in the background for the reception beforehand

Mind you, I never recommend bands—you'll find that written on the main page of the KlezmerShack, where it has been present since I began listing bands. But, should you read this and audition Ken's ensemble for a Philadelphia-area wedding, I suspect that the simcha will come off as stunning for you as it did for us. We thank Ken, and we thank the band.

July 13, 2005

Hasidic nigunim released in Jerusalem

Here is a very nice article in Haaretz about the release of a two-CD set of Hasidic nigunim, collected over decades by Musicologist Yaakov Mazor of the wonderful National Sound Archive in the Jewish National and University Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Echoes of our grandfathers' world by Haggai Hitron.

July 4, 2005

Calling all Yiddish Theater Enthusiasts to KlezKanada

klezkanada logoCome join us in a workshop of a new piece of musical theatre, based on Sholem Aleichem’s comic monologue Gitl Purishkevitsh. Set in Russia in 1907, Gitl Purishkevitsh is about a widowed tea peddler who manages to outwit the leading anti-Semite of the day, and save her shlemazl of a son from the Czar’s army.

Music Ensemble for instrumentalists—led by Hankus Netsky and Josh Waletzky. This is the hands-on exploration of music from the new musical. We will explore orchestration, theatre performance style, the art of accompanying singers, and the challenge of playing music on-stage, in character.

Acting Ensemble for actors and singers—led by Joanne Borts and Jenny Levison. This is the hands-on exploration of scenes from the new musical. We will explore the text, staging, solo and ensemble performance, and music.

Go to www.klezkanada.com for more information.

Scholarship opportunities available for people under 30. All ages and all levels are welcome. These ensembles will be in primarily in English.