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March 26, 2006

An amazing 10th Anniversary sendoff/KCB Reunion/mini-Jewish Music Fest - the 'too tired to write/too hyper to sleep yet' entry

KlezmerShack 10th AnniversaryTo everyone who was a part of this concert, audience, workshop participant, performer, I just have to say, "thank you". It was sold out. The band was fabulous. The workshops were crowded and had a lot of fun (especially the one that I was co-moderating). Wow!

audience before the concertThe energy in the workshops blew me away. Michael Alpert leading the dance workshop with Jeff Warschauer and Dobe Ressler providing the music; Deborah Strauss and her fidl-kapelye; Hankus performing magic with his instant klezmer; the rapt interest in Yiddish in the "Taste of Yiddish" made for a diverse, exciting, and crowded first series. Then the musicians joined me for a great discussion on Yiddish music and where it might be going—that deserves its own post. In the second round of workshps, Nancy Weisman, taking pictures for me, was unable to even get into the room where Lisa Gallatin's Yiddish sing thing happened, and the jam session, led by Barry Shapiro was outstanding.

jim, practicing alone on stage, before the concertBut then came the concert. From the opening chords through original drummer Charlie Berg's introduction of Hankus at the end, complete with a long, wonderful story about meeting Hankus in 9th grade and the music they have made in the 37 years since, it was just one of those memorable, special evenings. Many of the people who made the klezmer revival were on stage tonight—a damn good representation of the people who inspired the KlezmerShack and made it worth doing—there were five fiddles, three banjos, a double-drum section (and, speaking of "whew", Grant Smith and Charlie Berg did a double-drum solo that was matched only by the double bass medley performed by Jim Guttman and Andy Blickendorfer) that turned this ensemble into the Allman Brothers, or Grateful Dead, or Doobie Brothers of Klezmer.

Many thanks to the JCC for the organizing and faith that this could work, to Norman and Claire Sherman for providing essential funding, and to Workman's Circle for support, leading the Yiddish and singing workshops, and for just being there. Let's make this a habit.

More (and pix, if any came out) later. Too much wine and overwhelmed feeling for now.

March 23, 2006

Ride-Shares to KCB reunion? Cambridge student and others in need

KlezmerShack 10th AnniversaryIn one of the wonderful ironies of running the KlezmerShack, I'm here in Albuquerque at a conference and will miss the first concert this weekend. In the meantime, I am hearing from college students looking for rides to the concert (in my stead?). As much as I appreciate the amazing job that the LSJCC has done in facilitating this event (okay, doing just about everything, plus providing the major chunk of cash), the JCC is in a location in Newton remote from useful bus service and very far for hiking in from the T.

If you can offer a ride Saturday night or Sunday, please e-mail me (don't post phone numbers or email addresses as comments). And, if you need a ride, also email me.

There are going to be two very different concerts Saturday night and Sunday, so I encourage people to attend both. And especially, let me help facilitating all or both so that we get as many people to attend as possible. Oh, and did I get to mention that I'll be speaking at a roundtable on Sunday? Look forward to meeting people then.

March 18, 2006

First International Jewish Music Festival, New Orleans, Apr 1-2

festival logo Many of the top names in Jewish music will be performing at the inaugural New Orleans International Jewish Music Festival. The two-day gathering is a celebration of Jewish culture and rebuilding of the New Orleans Jewish community after Hurricane Katrina. The festival will be held April 1 starting at 8 p.m. at The Howlin’ Wolf and April 2 beginning at noon at Tulane University’s McAlister Hall.

A great fortnight of Jewish music in London!

From the always-active Geraldine of JMI:

Dear All, I am sure you would enjoy these events if you could be around London —Geraldine

Violins, Sephardi Songbook and Klezmerpolitan Music ... a great fortnight or so (10 March - 2 April) for Jewish music in London.

Ring JMI Tel 020 8909 2445 Fax 020 8909 1030 or see Website www.jmi.org.uk for more information.

Have you ever wanted to know what the connection is between Jews and Violins? Well the violinist Paul de Keyser - son of Fanny Waterman of Leeds Piano fame - has tried to tease it out. He has, as a newfound Chassid, some fascinating theories which he will demonstrate to us on Friday lunchtime at SOAS (10 March). Come to room G50 (ground floor main building, Russell Square) at 1.00pm to hear him talk and demonstrate his theories.

This is part of the series of talks JMI Fridays. On Friday 17 March from 1.00pm - 2.00pm Alex Knapp will close the series appropriately with Yigdal. His talk entitled 'The significance of Meier Leon's 'Yigdal' Melody as a link between Jewish and Christian Hymnody in 18th Century London'. (JMI Fridays is presented by JMI with Alex and the Department of Music SOAS). The talks are free and students are encouraged to come and they are also open to the public.

Stepping slightly out of the University on Sunday 19 March, JMI and Jewish Music Central will launch 'The Sephardi Songbook', a new collection of 51 songs by Peters Edition edited by Aron Saltiel and Joshua Horowitz, at the Central Synagogue, 36 Hallam Street with a family workshop in the morning and a reception and concert in the evening where Dr Hilary Pomeroy (UCL) will introduce the book and Monica Acosta will sing some of the beautiful songs. Ring Jewish Music Central (JMC) at 020 7580 1355 for tickets. £15, concessions £12.50 (SOAS Students £7.50)

Monica will be holding a singers workshop on Sunday 2 April at Central 10.30am - 1.00 @ £20 - ring JMC to book.

If you missed the pre-Hanukah Hopkele- then you can catch the Post-Purim Hopkele on Sunday 2 April at Central (36 Hallam Street Tubes Regents Park, Gt Portland Street and Oxford Circus). It's a great Klezmer Keilidh. The renowned Swedish dance leader Leon Blank will be leading Yiddish and Balkan Dances to live music from the FDT Klezmorim led by Ilana Cravitz. It's a great night out. All ages and dancing abilities welcome. Tickets £11, £8 concs. £1 off if bought in advance. Call Ilana on 020 8985 3724. Ask Ilana too about regular Klezmer Classes at SOAS

The following night Monday 20 March is the opening salvo of Klez in the City - an occasional series of great klezmer concerts featuring the best bands from across the world. We welcome an outstanding duo of singer and accordion Schikker wi Lot (Drunk as Lot) from Berlin, highly recommended by Meg Hamilton of She'koyokh for their innovative way of performing Yiddish song. She'koyokh Klezmer Ensemble (born at SOAS and regulars at KlezFest) in their 8 piece glory will also be appearing and we introduce to London, Edinburgh's Moishe's Bagel led by Phil Alexander. A great klezmerpolitan swinging night out in London. (Watch out for the next concerts in this series - on 8 and 16 August featuring some great bands of faculty and students of KlezFest. Book online at www.Ticketweb.co.uk or reserve at The Spitz 020 7392 9032

Booking is now open for Ot Azoy! the Yiddish Crash Course (6-11 August) and KlezFest London (13 - 18 August) see the JMI Website www.jmi.org.uk for details and registration forms. (There is an early booking discount). Special this year we have at Ot Azoy! a representative of the Yiddish Theatre in Bucharest, and Khayele has a great drama idea for the students - and for KlezFest we will be running also a professional strand for professional klezmorim dealing with presentation and professional development. These courses though held off campus, are part of World of Music Summer Schools at SOAS

Ring JMI Tel 020 8909 2445 Fax 020 8909 1030 or see Website www.jmi.org.uk for more information.

2006 Weimar Festival announced - Jul 11 - Aug 10, 2006

festival logoFestival of Yiddish Music, Dance, Song and Language in Weimar, Germany. From 11th of July to 10th of August 2006. Workshops with Alan Bern, Zev Feidman, Michael Alpert, Arkadi Gendler and many more.

For further information take a look at www.yiddish-summer-weimar.de

This is an incredible set of workshops, and they tend to fill up, so register now and make plans to be there!

Golem inks deal with JDUB

band photo...the rocking klezmer band Golem has been signed to a 3 album recording contract with JDUB - the label/organization that launched the career of Hassidic Rapper Matisyahu. The band is in the studio now, working with indie rock producer Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony and the Johnsons). The band is planning a national tour to celebrate and support the release of the album in the coming months.

KlezmerPalooza, Today!

In case no one has noticed, the 8th Annual College Klezmer Klezmerpalooza is taking place at Brown University, in Providence, today. Last night there was a concert that included David Krakauer and DJ SoCalled. Today is workshops, music, and jam sessions. If you're in the area, and you're college age, this is the event to check out:

www.klezmershack.com/calendar/003599.php or www.brownhillel.org/students/events/event.2005-10-25.9771950368

Afro-Semitic Experience Live via Podcast

Afr-Semitic Experience bandleader David Chevan reports:

Our live radio concert performance recorded in January on WPKN in Bridgeport is now available 24 hours a day as a live stream on the web. You can find in by clicking on www.rootsworld.com/rw/

The concert is on the home page of that web site. If you do give the concert a listen please let me know what you think of it, we are considering remastering the recording and releasing a live album, but I am interested in your opinion.

March 8, 2006

KCB Reunion - last call for Playbill ads

KlezmerShack 10th AnniversaryI forgot to mention one last thing that people can do to support this last KlezmerShack 10th anniversary event: take out an ad in the Playbill—the program.

Unfortunately, that opportunity closes on Friday. If you would like to show your support the KCB Reunion with an ad in the playbill, call Celia Kaplan, Playbill Advertising Manager at 617-965-1829 between now and Friday!

Many thanks, Ari

March 6, 2006

KCB Reunion/KlezmerShack 10th - you can help!

KlezmerShack 10th AnniversaryHere are some things that you can do for this festival:

This last KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary event is, in some ways, the most important. Combined with the diversity of last spring's events (Khevre, Charming Hostess, Workman's Circle Chorus, Becky Kaplan and Pete Rushefsky, di bostoner klezmer), this is the closest Boston has come to an actual Jewish Music Festival in over a decade. We want it to succeed, so that we can maybe make this a habit. It seems so important that Jewish culture be extended beyond the intellectual and the religious. If we do not provide opportunities to experience and to create Jewish culture, we lose it. The way we live our lives can include a wide variety of Jewish components, or not. But if we don't ensure that this is a living culture, it will be gone, along with much else.

I'll be writing more and more about this—I feel so strongly about this issue that I have hesitated to put it online. There is so much going through my head that I worry about it coming out as an incoherent stream of consciousness. And, my feelings of anger about the lack of support for Jewish music, visual arts, theatre are most unseemly.

Workshop Schedule set for final KlezmerShack 10th Anniversary Concert

KlezmerShack 10th AnniversaryAs the dates approach for the Klezmer Conservatory Band reunion + Mini Jewish Music festival (Mar 25-26), we finally have final info on the Sunday workshops for the fest. In addition to the workshops and the concerts, there will also be information tables and possibly other activities in the JCC lobby. See ya'll in about three weeks:

(And if you are interested in volunteering on Sunday, do email me; if you can help fund this festival, do contact the Leventhal-Sidman JCC


Saturday, March 25, 2006 ­ 8pm
Sunday, March 26, 2006 ­ Concert ­ 4:00pm

Workshop Schedule

Sunday, March 26, 2006 ­ 1:30-3:40 Workshops

Dance, sing, play music or learn to kibbutz in Yiddish with these entertaining and informative workshops. This is a unique opportunity to participate in interactive workshops with some of the greatest talents on today's Klezmer scene (including the maintainer of this website!)

1:30–2:30pm: Eastern European Yiddish Dance—Learn to dance with an "old world flavor". Michael Alpert, world-renowned vocalist and member of the legendary Band, Brave Old World, leads this unique dance workshop. All Levels Welcome!

1:30–2:30 pm: Instant Klezmer—Play klezmer music in a flash. Bring your instrument and participate in this great opportunity to learn from the master, Hankus Netsky, founder of KCB and one of the leaders of the klezmer revival.

1:30–2:30pm: Fidl­Kapelye—This workshop geared for all bowed instruments and tsimbl, will focus on learning music by ear and playing in a fluid, dynamic and interactive way. Please bring your instrument to this session led by Klezmer musician Deborah Strauss.

1:30–2:30pm: Taste of Yiddish—Yiddish for the non-Yiddish speaker. Schlep over to the JCC for a nosh of this Hamish language with Workmen's Circle Yiddish instructor Dovid Braun

2:40–3:40pm: Yiddish Sing-Along—Experience the power and poetry of Yiddish folk music with Workmen's Circle music director Lisa Gallatin. Singers of all levels are welcome.

2:40–3:40 pm: Klezmer Jam—Bring your instrument and jam with JCC Klezmer Band instructor Barry Shapiro. All levels welcome

2:40–3:40 pm: Round Table Discussion: Klezmer Revival, Nu? What's Next...—Join KCB's Hankus Netsky, duo Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss, BOW's Michael Alpert and KlezmerShacks'Ari Davidow for an informative and entertaining discussion about Jewish music. Free Event

Workshop Fee: JCC Members: $5 per workshop; General: $7 per workshop
Concerts: JCC Members $20; General $22;
Youth: JCC Members $14; General $16
Festival Pass (concert plus workshops): JCC Members $24; General $23

Pre-registration recommended. Please call 617-558-6486 for registration information
Concert information call 617-965-5226

Jazz for all of us, regardless of physical ability

This is one of those events that feels like it will be great fun, and that it matters. It's happening here in my town


Making Live Jazz Accessible To All People With and Without Disabilities

WHAT: JazzArtSigns, acclaimed vocalist Lisa Thorson's groundbreaking multimedia, multisensory and interactive improvised jazz performance piece for all audiences. JazzArtSigns features a group of world-class jazz musicians, an improvisational painter, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, a live audio describer and text captioner, as well as program information in Braille, large print and on tape. What makes this event groundbreaking is that everyone involved - the band, ASL interpreters and painter - trade fours and improvise.
WHEN JazzArtSIgns Concert Thursday, March 9, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wheelock Family
/WHERE: Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston.

TICKETS: $20; $10 students. Voice: 617-879-2300 * TTY: 617-879-2150.

PERFORMERS: Lisa Thorson, vocals; Cercie Miller, saxophones; Doug Johnson, piano; David Clark, bass; George Schuller, drums; Nancy Ostrovsky, improvisational painter; Jody Steiner and Misha Derissaint, ASL interpreters; Vince Lombardi, audio describer; and Don DePew of The Caption Coalition.

WHY: "Access to the arts and culture is still a rarity for many people with disabilities," says VSA arts of Massachusetts' director Charlie Washburn. "Rarest of all are integrated events that make the artistic product available and accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. JazzArtSigns is a groundbreaking event because it provides people with and without disabilities the opportunity to interact with art and music from a variety of perspectives so that they literally see, hear and feel music as it is being performed."

JazzArtSigns creator Thorson, a wheelchair user, comments on her artistic vision. "Through JazzArtSigns I hope to inspire new mainstream artistic projects that will take a holistic view of access to the arts - one where access is an element in the creative process rather than an add-on that restricts creativity. With JazzArtSigns, the ASL interpreter and painter trade fours with the band and everyone improvises. This is what makes this event so unique."

PRESENTERS: VSA arts of Massachusetts and Wheelock Family Theatre. Each organization is celebrating its 25th Anniversary Season.

WORKSHOPS VSA arts of Massachusetts is sponsoring workshops for students and presenters in jazz and painting improvisation, universal design in the arts and audience development. These will encourage community building and give everyone a look at the future of cultural access. A complete schedule of workshops will be available soon.

FUNDING: JazzArtSigns was developed in collaboration with VSA Arts of Massachusetts' National Cultural Arts Initiative with support from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). JazzArtSigns is also supported by Berklee College of Music's Faculty Fellowship Program, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.


March 5, 2006

new George Robinson reviews

The prolific George Robinson manages to cover his usual wide range of new Jewish music in New York's Jewish Week. This edition, Ghosts In The Machine: Dead clubs, composers and languages enjoy new lives in these albums, came out March 3. CDs reviewed range from Frank London's brilliant "Chazanut" to Yiddish over world beat from Israel.

March 4, 2006

KlezKanada announces dates: Aug 20-27, 2006

KlezKanada logoThe internationally renowned and only annual rural–based summer festival of yiddish / jewish culture and the arts returns for a 11th year in 2006

Sunday August 20th, 2006 (5pm) to Sunday August 27th, 2006

KlezKanada takes place at Camp B'Nai Brith—St. Agathe (Lantier), Quebec MAPQUEST


You can download the KlezKanada registration form and/or KlezKanada scholarship application form.

[I, Mr. KlezmerShack, am already signed up to take the daily newsletter and camp blog to new heights. If you are interested in being part of this particular project, email me right after you register!]

*Please note that KlezKanada 2006 will now take place over a full week for all participants

Let My People Sing - 9 days of music in LA

festival logo
"Let My People Sing:" a groundbreaking Passover festival celebrating freedom, Jewish life, art and culture will be in Los Angeles, April 8-16, 2006.

For nine days, Los Angeles will celebrate the glory of Passover. From a Celebrity Seder featuring Danny Glover, Debbie Friedman, Jon Voight and many others to FaithJAM '06, an Interfaith concert of Muslim, Christian and Jewish artists, "Let My People Sing" will bring together tens of thousands of people eager for a unique and inspiring experience. Over ten events city-wide will feature Israeli Super group Hadag Nachash, Rick Recht, Black Jewish Gospel Artist Joshua Nelson, Frank London, Kings of Klezmer and more!

To View our Flash Promo Movie (Turn up the volume!) Click here: Let My People Sing

For further info: Tel: 818-760-1077
Web: www.letmypeoplesing.com/main.html

Los Angeles' Hatikvah Music still in business

Those who have followed recent stories know that Hatikvah Music lost its lease on Fairfax Avenue as one victim of the neighborhood's increasing gentrification. Those looking for the latest in Jewish music, however, need not despair. Simon writes:

Hatikvah is back up, but strictly on the Internet and wholesale distribution, and there is still much to do. Unfortunately, the space I have now is much smaller and it's been a chore putting out the merchandise. Naturally, with the retail space we had, we carried many CDs that sold primarily in the shop, not necessarily on the web site, those will be deleted from the catalog as they are sold off.

I would like to inform everybody that since we no longer have a storefront, the address for Hatikvah Music has changed. We are using a Post Office box for a while so all correspondence MUST be sent by US MAIL.

Our new address is: Hatikvah Music, PO 48739, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Phone#: 323) 655-7083

March 3, 2006

Klezmer Heritage Cruise on the Dnieper, Apr 29 to May 11, 2007

All I know is that Josh Dolgin (DJ SoCalled) is involved, so it is likely to be fun:

A May 2007 cruise down the Dnieper River from Kiev, through the Crimean to Odessa, combining klezmer on board and on shore with lectures, films, visits to major sites and personal excursions to old villages and shtetles. Participation in jam sessions and dance is encouraged. Website: www.magma.ca/~klezmercruise. Early registration discount.
cruise ship

March 2, 2006

"20 Years Live!" for the Klezmatics, NYC, Town Hall, Mar 5

In case anyone missed this, I thought I'd repost: Should be a killer concert, and if they're not sold out now, they will be. ari

band photoThe Klezmatics
perform "20 Years Live!" Concert
Town Hall NYC
Sunday, March 5, show-time is 4 PM

(NY, NY): The Klezmatics, NYC's eccentric Jewish Folk Music renegades, are working on twenty years of existence and are celebrating with a special performance at the famed Town Hall on Sunday, March 5, 2006. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com.

Tel:(212) 840-2824

The Klezmatics will be recording the show for an upcoming documentary and tv broadcast that are being filmed simultaneously. The documentary is due to be released in 2007. The tv show will hopefully hit the airwaves in Autumn 2006.

Also on the radar:

  • The Klezmatics are recording the first ever Klezmercana album; the songs of American Folk Icon Woody Guthrie meets the music of the pre-eminent Jewish Folk group. The album, in coordination with Nora Guthrie and the Woody Guthrie Archives, is due for release in mid - late 2006.

  • The band will performing at SXSW 2006 for the first time in over fifteen years. Their unique billing will be with noted Guthrie / Wilco singer- songwriter Billy Bragg.

"Shalom Comrade" CD release - Yiddish music in the USSR, 1928-1961

cd coverFrom Joel Rubin:

We are pleased to announce the US release today (Feb. 14, 2006) of "Shalom Comrade!: Yiddish Music in the Soviet Union 1928-1961" (Schott Wergo SM 1627-2), the 10th production in the Jewish Music Series of CDs edited by ethnomusicologists Joel Rubin and Rita Ottens. "Shalom Comrade" and other productions of the Jewish Music Series are distributed by Harmonia Mundi USA.

For more information:

The anthology "Shalom Comrade" tells the history of Yiddish music in the Soviet Union via rare recordings from the archive of Ottens and Rubin. This carefully edited production documents the enormous variety of Yiddish music performed in the Soviet Union, from rollicking klezmer dance tunes to the interwar Polish-Jewish cabaret songs of the Galician troubadour Mordkhe Gebirtig, 19th century Yiddish folk songs, music of the Soviet Yiddish theatre, to art songs with revolutionary texts by composers such as Samuil Polonskii, Lev Pul'ver, Vladimir Shainskii and Moses Mil'ner, and texts by the poets B. Bergol'ts and Iosif Kerler. Rubin and Ottens' 40-page booklet in English and German includes a detailed essay about the political-ideological impact on Yiddish language, culture and music and ­ in the final analysis ­ on Jewish life in the Soviet Union.

Yiddish music played an important role in the cultural and political life of the Soviet Union's several million Jews throughout the 74 years of communist rule. Stalin's cultural ideologues planned to deploy the music of the Yiddish-speaking Jews as a building block for the new Soviet music; at the same time, the "outmoded" Jewish religion and its traditional way of life was being branded as counter-revolutionary in show trials. The recording of Jewish music in the Soviet Union was limited, with only 100-150 78 rpm discs released from 1917-1967. The importance of artists like Solomon Mikhoels and Nechama Lifshitsaite was immense for the Jews of the Soviet Union: celebrities of international significance, they were as well known for their roles as political figureheads as they were for their performances.

"Shalom Comrade" features some of the great performers of the Soviet and world stage: Misha Aleksandrovich, Sof'ia (Sonya) Druker, Mikhail Epel'baum, Solomon Fayntukh, Sara Fibikh, Marina (Masha) Gordon, Emil' Gorovets, Anna Guzik, Irma Iaunzem, Solomon Khromchenko, Nechama Lifshitsaite, Saul Liubimov, Solomon Mikhoels, the Moscow State Yiddish Theatre, Debora Pantofel'-Nechetskaia, M. I. Rabinovich, Zinovii Shul'man, Sidi Tal', Tatiana Vayntraub, and Klara Vaga.

For more information: