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December 31, 2005

21st Berkeley Jewish Music Festival, Berekeley, CA, 4-26 Mar 2006

BJMF logo

The 21st Annual Jewish Music Festival

c/o Berkeley Richmond Jewish Community Center
1414 Walnut Street
Berkeley, California 94709

510-848-0237 x126 www.brjcc.org/jcc/jewish_music_festival.htm
E-mail Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center.

OPENING NIGHT: New Orleans Klezmer All- Stars, a “genre-crossing, heroically nutty ensemble [with] a raucous, wild spin on the popular Eastern European revival." (Billboard) Saturday, March 4, 8:00 pm, First Congregational Church, Oakland

I-Tal-Ya A taste of Passover from the 2000 year old Jewish community of Italy, performed and taught by Francesco Spagnolo, leading authority on Italian Jewish music, Cantor Sharon Bernstein and Michael Alpert. Sunday, March 5, 11:30 am, Caffe Venezia, Berkeley.

Zimriya: The Bay Area Jewish Choral Festival. An annual event featuring choirs of local synagogues as well as Jewish community choirs. If you are interested in participating, please contact your cantors to join their choirs and experience the incredible feeling of singing great music! Sunday, March 5, 5:00 pm, Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco

Septeto Rodriguez Percussionist Roberto Juan Rodriguez and friends bring the influences of Havana, Miami and New York together in a brilliant alchemy of Cuban sounds and klezmer. MC: Chuy Varela: Music Director, KCSM, “the jazz station.” Special Guest: Irving Fields, creator of the now classic, recently re-released Jewish-Latino fusion record, Bagels and Bongos, (1959). Saturday, March 11, 8:00 pm, First Congregational Church, Oakland

Septeto Rodriguez will also appear Sunday, March 12 at the Little Fox Theatre, Redwood City.

Traditions and Transformations Cantors Alberto Mizrahi (of the PBS special “The Three Cantors” and Jack Mendelson (of the film “The Cantor’s Tale) take liturgical singing of Ashkenazi (East European) and Sephardic (Spanish) traditions to new heights. With renowned NY jazz pianist Anthony Coleman. Sunday, March 12, 7:30 pm, Temple Sinai, Oakland

Jewish Fringes Celebrated Bay Area composers of New Music: Paul Dresher, Daniel David Feinsmith, Amy X. Neuburg and John Schott premiere original works inspired by questions of identity in a post-modern world. Co-sponsored by the Kurz Family Foundation in memory of Ursula Sherman. Thursday, March 16, 7:30 pm, Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Yair Dalal The Middle East meets the Far East when Yair Dalal, one of Israel's most accomplished musicians, collaborates with the renowned Ali Akbar College of Music. Followed by an Israeli-style Purim Party with food, DJ, dancing & costumes. Saturday, March 18, 7:30 pm, Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael

From Istanbul to Jerusalem: Yahudice Sephardic music from an ensemble of Turkey’s finest musicians with Israeli Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) singer Hadass Pal Yarden. In collaboration with Golden Horn Records. Sunday, March 19, 7:30 pm, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman Yiddish songwriter, singer, poet and recipient of the 2005 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award will appear in an afternoon matinee with Canadian singer Theresa Tova, Thursday, March 23, 2:00 pm, BRJCC

Yiddish Matters: A conversation with Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman and her son, Itzik Gottesman, associate editor of the Yiddish Forward, with Harvey Varga, Bay Area Yiddishist. Thursday evening, March 23, 7:30 pm, JCCSF

Yiddish Divas Cabaret stars Adrienne Cooper, Theresa Tova and Joanne Borts sizzle with the souls of Bessie Tomashevsky, Mollie Picon, Fannie Brice and other Yiddish theater greats who inspired modern Broadway. Saturday, March 25, 8:00 pm, JCCSF

Community Music Day An Instrument Petting Zoo, a dozen interactive workshops, and performances throughout the day showcase high quality local artists. Guaranteed to bring out your inner musician. MC: Renowned Bay Area monologist and TV personality Josh Kornbluth. Sunday, March 26, 12-5 pm, BRJCC

Roots of Klezmer CD; recorded in Moldavia

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Shane Solow writes: "I recorded musicians in northern Romania that play archaic melodies that are a prototype for Klezmer music. They learned the melodies from Jewish musicians who lived in this region before the second world war. They are some of the last performers who know this tradition. The musicians on the CD are

  • Constantin Lupu, violin
  • Constantin Negel, cobza
  • Anton Mitica Stefan, drum

"A link to the recording with some free downloads can be found here - www.losttrails.com/pages/Music/Lupu.html, or you can purchase the CD directly from CDBaby.com

"I am not an ethnomusicologist so I really don't know what else to say about these musicians except that Botosani Romania had a very strong Jewish musical tradition which is just about dead now and they are some of the last people who can play jewish melodies (and other material) from a community destroyed by war and migration. The music is absolutely extraordinary in my personal opinion and I think at the very least considering your interests you would enjoy taking a few minutes to download the free samples on our web site and listen for yourself. The music speaks for itself I think better then I can."


There is an interview with Shane Solow about this recording by Michel Borzykowski on the Lost Trails message board.

E-mail Lost Trails for further info.

new Jewish PR blog, UK

Leslie Bunder, the irrepressible host of the UK show, Something Jewish, announces:

Hi folks

Hope the following is of interest to those who are sending out press releases of their music. It's a new service that allows you to gain further distribution of your information.

Jewish PR Blog - The global Jewish Press Release service

20 October 2005 - A new free service to help the Jewish community distribute its information through the internet and also get instant reaction has been launched at Jewish PR Blog (www.JewishPRBlog.com).

Using blog technology, Jewish PR Blog allows anyone sending out a press release of Jewish interest or containing something Jewish to distribute it online for free.

More information: www.JewishPRBlog.com
tel: 07976 220273
E-mail Jewish PR Blog

The new global service has been created by digital Jewish media publisher JMT Ventures.

"Jewish groups and organisations as well as individuals have told us how difficult it is to get their news out on the web," said JMT Ventures co-founder Leslie Bunder. "Through Jewish PR Blog we enable them to get the news out which others can get either through reading online or through our blog feed."

"The advantage of publishing it through a blog format is that readers can instantly comment on the news release and provide comments direct to those who issue the releases," Bunder added. "It really does allow readers direct access to the news releases, something which they have historically never been able to do."

People using Jewish PR Blog are looking for specific Jewish interest releases and being on Jewish PR Blog allows those with a story to be told to reach these people.

Whether you are a Jewish organisation announcing your latest news, or a band with a new CD, Jewish PR Blog covers all sections of the community and all interests.

More information: www.JewishPRBlog.com
tel: 07976 220273
E-mail Jewish PR Blog

Jewish PR Blog is from JMT Ventures, the UK-based Jewish digital media creators. Among the online properties JMT Ventures publish are: SomethingJewish (www.somethingjewish.co.uk), SomeoneJewish.com (www.someonejewish.com), Daily Jews (www.dailyjews.com), JewishBlogging (www.jewishblogging.com), Points of Jew (www.pointsofjew.com) and Jewish Jokes (www.jewishjokes.net)

Elliott Simon discovers amazing Polish Jewish bassist

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Elliott Simon writes to the Jewish-Music list:

Wanted to share an article that appeared in AAJ-NY this month that had me for the first time listening to Vitold Rek...he is one of the most amazing bassists I have ever heard....there are Yiddish themes running through his work which features him solo...or with major jazz players such as John Tchicai, Karl Berger, Charlie Mariano and Albert Mangelsdorff....you can see the article here: Taso Music.

Orange County Klezmer featured by OC Jewish Life

band photo

In a lovely October, 2005 article, Orange County Jewish Life features Orange County Klezmer in a fine article: "Extreme Makeover: Temple Beth David showcases renewal, talent, and enthusiasm under new roof, By Ilene Schneider.

Really good Sephardic folklore sites

I asked Dr. Judith Cohen about the Sephardic Folklore site I posted about earlier this week on the Klezlinks page:

Bruce Rosenstock maintains a website for Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, a multimedia archive of ballads and other oral literature in Judeo-Spanish collected from 1957 to 1993 by Samuel G. Armistead (University of California, Davis), the late Joseph H. Silverman (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Israel J. Katz. Web: www.sephardifolklit.org.

She responded with enthusiasm to the Jewish-Music list: "Just so everyone knows, it's absolutely reliable, the work of the most venerable and respected specialists in Judeo-Spanish folklore. I use it a lot. It can be used in tandem with the Pan-Hispanic Ballad site, depts.washington.edu/hisprom/, prepared by Suzanne Petersen and being continually updated.

George Robinson: Best Jewish Music Recordings of 2005

album coverGeorge Robinson writes frequently for the Jewish Week. He listens to an incredible diversity of music. Take a read of Five Stars All Around: From chasidic reggae to Golden Age chazanut, the best recordings of 2005, Jewish Week, 12/30/2005 (could this really be? Posting a new review in a timely fashion! I'll try to keep up for a while! Since several of the CDs I've been meaning to review are on this list, I even resolve to catch up here at home!)

December 28, 2005

Yiddish 78s online!

Dancin' Steve Weintraub found this and posted it to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Perhaps everyone knows about this site except me, but I just ran across the collection of rare 78 recordings you can listen to on RealPlayer: yiddishsong.org/html/rare_78s.html

Including is a very nice bit of badkhones, lyrics to Rayze nokh Amerika, which I had previously only known as an instrumental, and an english language foxtrot version of di mezinke oysgegeben, titled "Titina" (rhymes with Palestina and farina) recorded, no less, by the Bar Harbor Society Orchestra!

Happy listening.

Brave Old World's "Lodz Ghetto" leads off new George Robinson reviews

album coverOkay, still months behind, but back in the Aug 5 issue of New York's Jewish Week, George Robinson got in a new set of hot reviews: A Still-Beating Yiddish Heart: A sampler from the mamaloshen. CDs inlcuding Yiddish - Klezmer , Ladino, and 'classical' styles.

December 27, 2005

treasure trove of klezmer sheet music online in manchester england, england, over across the atlantic sea

Dick Rosenberg spotted this one

For any of you who are interested, the Manchester Klezmer of Manchester, England, maintain an excellent website with a very nice library of sheetmusic of klez tunes for C-intruments, Bb-instruments, and "C2" (e.g. Cello). There are midi files to hear the tunes and .pdf files of the sheetmusic for free download. Here's the web address:


Bagels and Bongos rerelease

bagels and bongos album coverJewish-music mailing list member Michael Makiri caught this last summer. I'm just catching up. But when you're done reading the article, do check out the blog of the reissue folks. It's great!



Sure the Lomaxes searched the South for a dying breed of Delta Blues musicians. Sure Ry Cooder hit Havana in search of lst Cuban legends. But when's the last time a bunch of Jewish kids started raiding their grandparents' record collections and then set out to track down the musicians, in search of buried clues about their own culture? ... for more, follow up at Indiepulse

You can also go straight to the horse's mouth at Hippocampus

Hip Hop Hoodios debut "Kike on a Mike" video on mymusic.com

album coverThis is even more fun than the "Ocho Kandelikos" video from last year. Check it out!

Yes, at long last, the 3rd video from our new album has been completed! Directed by Alex Cortez (PBS’ “American Family”), the incendiary clip “Kike on the Mic” follows our travails on the road, and features many lovely surprises. Guaranteed to rile Republicans, meatpackers, and shuffleboard enthusiasts alike.

Check out the uncensored version of “Kike on the Mic” on our Myspace site (www.myspace.com/hiphophoodios), as chances are slim that the major Latin tv networks will air it as-is… (We should add that The Jewish Media Conspiracy has still not returned any of our calls. If anyone has any contacts for us at T.J.M.C., that would be really neat.)


December 26, 2005

Hadassah magazine on New Jewish Music

Marvin Margoshes posted this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

The current issue of Hadassah Magazine has an article on Jewish performers who incorporate non-Jewish styles into the Jewish culture. The artists who are featured include Matisyahu, Frank London, Pharoeh's Daughter and others.

See A Musical Coat of Many Colors, by Gaby Alter. For reasons I don't understand, the website uses frames, so note that the link above takes you out of their frameset. I apologize. I just don't understand why an online publication would make it impossible to bookmark or link to a specific story. But, you can't judge a great magazine by it's webmaster ;-).

The Village Voice discovers "New Jewish Music"

balkan beat boxPete Rushefsky beat several others to the punch posting this link from the NYC Village Voice weekly (home of Boston's own jazz writer Nat Hentoff). Between this and the "Jewlicious" special on VH1, it does seems as though Jewish music, or at least people that can be tagged "Jewish" are suddenly more visible as Jews and Jewish than has been the case in a while—maybe ever..

Just when you thought Hanukkah couldn't get any hotter, behold... Matisyahu on the cover of the Village Voice & article about the Nu New Jewish Music Scene:

Get Down, Moses: Upstart local Jewish musicians weave a coat of many colors, by Elena Oumano, December 20th, 2005

Hatikvah Music prepares to close

a young Simon Rutberg at HatikvahThe sad saga of the gentrification of what was once Los Angeles' vibrant Jewish commerical district winds on as Hatikva Records prepares to close down its physical store, a place that has existed since the 1950s. Kirk Silsbee writes It’s the Swan Song for Hatikvah Music in the 12/23/05 issue of the Jewish Journal of Great Los Angeles.

December 25, 2005

Rootless Cosmopolitan to blog KlezKamp

klezkamp posterRokhl Kafrissen, gossip columnist (just kidding!) for my favorite journal of fringe Jewish American socialism (not kidding so much), "Jewish Currents", recently gave us a wonderful rant on Yiddish Culture in that publication.

Now, as she heads off to KlezKamp, she turns her lawyerly eye to that institution. It is most likely that this will be wonderful reading written during one of the most culturally-intense happenings in the Jewish calendar: KlezKamp in the Catskills. Ari sez, "Check it out!"

Rachel Kafrissen's KlezKamp blog

"Song of the Lodz Ghetto" makes Newsday Top 10 Classical for 2005

album coverIn a year that has not been shy on excellent releases of Jewish music, old and new, there has been one CD that has stood out from the others, Brave Old World's 'Song of the Lodz Ghetto."

We are most pleased to direct you to the blog of the Newsday writer who eloquently pointed out that this CD transcends genres as limited as "yiddish music" or "Holocaust music" and belongs in everyone's music collection: Marion Lignana Rosenberg

December 19, 2005

New Cantorial CD: The Spirit of Hanukkah

album coverHere's a hot tip. Cantor Sam Weiss posts to the Jewish-Music list that "The latest CD in the Cantors Assembly/United Synagogue series is now available, 'The Spirit of Hanukkah: Voices of the Conservative Movement'. Liner notes by yours truly."

Knowing Sam, if he's written the liner notes, the CD is very much worth listening to. See www.uscj.org/The_Spirit_Series_CD5799.html

It turns out that the sister of Lori Lippitz (Maxwell Street Klezmer Band) is also on the CD. Kvell! Kvell! Check out Cantor Riki Lippitz of Oheb Shalom in South Orange, NJ, singing the solo on Ocho Kandelikas.

December 12, 2005

Michael Wex on Fresh Air

book coverYiddish Enthusiasts and anyone with a sense of humor have rejoiced at the recent publication of Michael Wex's book, "Born to Kvetch". Now, you can hear Michael Wex on Fresh Air. The original aired earlier today, 12/12/05.


Punk Princesses: Jews with Attitude

Ouch! What headline writer thought that evoking the misogynist image of the Jewish American Princess was a clever way to talk about women doing interesting new things in Jewish music? Surely not George Robinson, who wrote the article and includes some great quotes from Annette Ezekiel, Jewlia Eisenberg, and Sophie Solomon in this article from the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Did I mention his kind inclusion of yours truly among the quotees?

December 6, 2005

Bob Cohen's summer vacation

Bob and other players
My favorite alt.country klezmer tuba player, Mark Rubin writes in with notice that he's put up pictures and text of a summer research expedition to Romania by wonderful Budapest klezmer band leader Bob Cohen (di Naye Kapelye). You can read (and see) more on Rubin's blog at markdrubin.blogspot.com/2005/12/bob-cohens-october-romanian-expedition.html

December 4, 2005

Catching up from last June: Beyle Gottesman receives NEA National Heritage Fellowship

Itzik Gottesman sent this to the Jewish Music list back in June, and the ceremony is long over, but I'd hate for the news not to be posted here at all, even if I didn't have time to post it in a timely fashion then:

This is the only press release i can get so far (it appears in the NYT arts section today). According to my count, she is the fifth Jewish artist to receive this high honor - Dave Tarras, 1984; the Fatima Kuinova, 1992; Epstein Brothers, 1998; Flory Jagoda in 2002. The first time a Yiddish singer/sonwriter/poet has received it.

National Endowment Honors

Beyle Shaechter GottesmanJanette Carter of Hiltons, Va., whose parents, A. P. and Sara Carter, and Aunt Maybelle made up the Carter family, widely regarded as the First Family of Country Music, has been given the National Endowment for the Arts Bess Lomax Hawes Award for service to folk and traditional arts. The award recognizes her lifelong advocacy of Appalachian music. In addition the endowment announced the annual recipients of its $20,000 National Heritage Fellowships. They are Eldrid Skjold Arntzen of Watertown, Conn., a Norwegian-American rosemaler, or flower-motif painter; Earl Barthé of New Orleans, a decorative building craftsman; Chuck Brown of Brandywine, Md., an African-American musical innovator; Michael Doucet of Lafayette, La., a Cajun fiddler, composer and bandleader; Jerry Grcevich of North Huntingdon, Pa., a Tamburitza musician and prim player; Grace Henderson Nez of Ganado, Ariz., a Navajo weaver; Wanda Jackson of Oklahoma City, an early country, rockabilly and gospel singer; Hermina Albarrán Romero of San Francisco, a paper-cutting artist; Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman of the Bronx, a Yiddish singer, poet and songwriter; Albertina Walker of Chicago, a gospel singer; and James Ka'upenaWong of Waianae, Hawaii, a Hawaiian chanter.

More from the NEA website: www.arts.endow.gov/honors/heritage/Heritage05/gottesman.html

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Beyle Schaechter-GottesmanOn Sept. 26, Itzik Gottesman posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Hi. We just got back from D.C. where my mother, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman received the NEA National Heritage Fellowship for Yiddish poetry, songwriting and singing. Check out this webpage from Senator Clinton's website. clinton.senate.gov/news/statements/details.cfm?id=246379&& It was nice to see supporters of Yiddish song at the ceremony on Captial Hill including Theodore Bikel, Shura Lipovsky and fellow lister Michael Spudic.

At the concert, in Lisner Auditorium my mom sang an unaccompanied Yiddish folksong (bay mayn mames shtibele) and that was followed by two songs ("Vos hot lib a yidele" "A zemerl aza" ) that she composed which were performed wonderfully by Michael Alpert, Deborah Strauss, Peter Rushefsky and Theresa Tova.

Amid all the other great music performed by the awardees (Cajun fiddle from Michael Doucet of Beausoleil, rockabilly from Wanda Jackson, gospel, Hawaiin, Carter Family country music, Tamburitza) I think Jewish music made quite an impression.

Reworked Szymon Laks "Elegy for the Jewish Little Towns" released

album coverThis has been sitting in the inbox for an embarrassing number of months:

Debica, Poland--On May 23, 2005 Dembitzer Music is releasing Sztetlach CD - a collection of nine unorthodox reworkings of Szymon Laks's classic song Elegy for the Jewish Little Towns (set to a poem by Antoni Slonimski in 1961). This highly varied music was recorded between 2002 and 2004 and was based on two texts: the Szymon Laks’s score and Jaroslaw Lipszyc’s poem “Little Towns 2.1” ­ the latter being a present-day ‘commentary’ on the Slonimski’s poem. Ireneusz Socha - the mastermind behind the project - commissioned the pieces from some of the most creative Polish musicians such as Jaroslaw Bester (the leader of The Cracow Klezmer Band), Boleslaw Blaszczyk, Tomasz Gwincinski, Wojt3k Kucharczyk, Raphael Roginski (the leader of the Cukunft trio), Pawel Szamburski (the leader of Meritum), Yuriy Yaremchuk and Patryk Zakrocki. More info, mp3 samples and orders from:


Latest George Robinson reviews now online

Simon, from Hatikvah Music, writes:

In the current on line issue of The Jewish Week, George Robinson reviews a number of new Jewish CDs at this site: www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=11727

The reviews include:

Yinon Muallem: “Klezmer for the Sultan” (Oriente)
Muallem is an Israeli-born percussionist now living in Istanbul. He offers an interesting mix of Turkish and Jewish traditional music, with a slightly pop edge. Like so much “world beat” fusion music, this is very pleasant listening, if not as adventurous as it could be.

Polskie Tango, 1929-1939 (Oriente)
A fascinating anthology of tangos from the 1930s, when that sensual music seems to have been the rage everywhere, not just in Buenos Aires. Many of the most popular tango players in Poland were Jewish artists, amply represented on this set, and one can hear the dual influences of Argentine and Jewish music on several of the recordings. Uneven, as most anthologies are, but historically valuable and generally musically satisfying.