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October 23, 2006

Thank Gopod* for the Board of Guardians of British Jews

site logo?I first noticed right before Rosh Hashana when I got an email informing me that something called "the board" had kicked off the Jewish satirist who makes fun of Kazakstan (sorry, I mostly track unpopular culture, so I am fuzzy on who does what) because the Kazak government objected to his satire and it was embarrassing to Jews. I replied with a pithy reminder of Spinoza, also excommunicated primarily because of fears of what the goyim would think.

Then I realized it was a joke. Satire.

Since then, the office uk has sent me further news masquerading as satire, and it's great. If there is one thing the Jewish world needs even more than klezmer (and new Jewish music), satire is it.

Check it out The Board of Guardains of British Jews at www.theboard.org.uk

*and what is "gopod" you ask? A typo.

Reminder: Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman featured in Zev Feldman program this week

Beyle Schaechter-GottesmanYiddish Voice of Love: Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman
Thu, Oct 26, 2006, 8:00pm, Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Kaufmann Concert Hall
Code: T-TC5JW11-01
Price: $30.00 All Sections / For tickets

Check out the KlezmerShack calendar for more details.

Walter Zev FeldmanWalter Zev Feldman, known both for his scholarly contributions to Jewish Music history and for his performances and teaching of Jewish music and dance, is artistic director of "Music and Dance of Jewish Traditions: Songs of Love & Longing," a new series at NYC's 92nd St. Y this fall/winter.


The first concert kicks off on October 26th, "Yiddish Voice of Love: Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman". The series continues with "Memories of Spain", featuring the band Arboleas, on Wed, Nov 29, 2006, and "Women of the East" with Kol Oud Tof and Pharaoh's Daughter, on Wed, Jan 17.

Yiddish America up for Grammy

album coverFellow KlezKanadanik Keith Wolzinger (author of the KlezKanada Podcasts) writes:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We're very pleased that our new album, Yiddish America, appears on the nominating ballot for the 49th Grammy Awards! If you're a Recording Academy member and have received your nominating ballot, you can find our entry for voting here:

Field 16- World Music
Category 72- Best Traditional World Music Album
No. 028: Yiddish America
     South Coast Simcha Band

If it's not one thing, it's another

Came down last Tuesday morning to discover an inch of water on the floor—the water heater decided to share. After the shopvac and fans didn't dry the floor quickly enough to prevent mildew, I've been slowly sorting through the tightly packed basement office, removing books and bookshelves so that the carpet can be professionally cleaned. Working in the mildewy environment has been a bit rough. For now, I'm camped out on the dining room table with a small stack of CDs and a laptop from work. Fortunately, iTunes makes it easy to keep the music playing.

New reviews are coming. I am also going to try to start posting announcements about new recordings (some may go back a couple of years) to get the word out, so that readers of this site aren't dependent on my writing a review to know that there are new recordings.

<rant>Getting the word out would be easier, but my HP All-In-One refuses to scan from any of the home computers, so getting graphics of covers can be a challenge (granted, most people have the cover art up on their websites—that's what I've been using when I actually get something posted). HP still makes great hardware, but their software is intrusive and breaks frequently. I have a functioning scanner that won't talk to my home computer. At work, we bought a Sony Pismo, which works very well, thank you, and upstairs, my wife is very happily using a Canon all-in-one. The KlezmerShack suggests that there are excellent alternatives to HP products that come with significantly less obtrusive, less broken software. But, of course, that has nothing to do with Jewish music, so I'll turn the rant off now.</rant>

October 14, 2006

Debbie Friedman bio on TV Oct 19, 22

a correspondent, Scott, writes in to say:

I wanted to let you know that the world premiere of A Journey of Spirit, the award-winning independent documentary on wsinger/songwriter Debbie Friedman, will air on two consecutive Sundays, October 15th and 22nd at 7 a.m. ET/PT (6 a.m. CT) on Hallmark Channel. A Journey of Spirit which won the best film award from the National Council for Jewish Women, and the Detroit Jewish Film Festival award for best new Jewish film, among others, chronicles the inspirational story of Ms. Friedman and how she has affected contemporary Jewish music.

Also, if you are interested in seeing the trailer, please feel free to visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=m41tOXdMsl4

October 9, 2006

The Sukkoth Shake

This came over my synagogue's mailing list. I't Sukkoth, and time to wee how other people shake it!: youtube.com/watch?v=EC4IVe61p-0&mode=related&search=

October 8, 2006

Weimar master classes - winter edition, Feb 3-8, Germany

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

I'd like to let everyone know that Yiddish Summer Weimar is presenting our first ever "Winter Edition" from February 3-8, consisting of two Master Classes: the Yiddish Vocal Master Class, for both vocalists and accompanists, is being conducted by Yefim Chorny and Susanna Ghergus, and the Yiddish Instrumental Music Master Class is being conducted by Alan Bern and Christian Dawid. Both classes are intended to address the relative lack of professional-level coaching in our field, so they are restricted to professionals or very advanced students. To make sure we keep the focus at that level we're asking people to audition with recordings. Class size is limited to 17. For more information, please see www.yiddish-summer-weimar.de, click on the graphic that says Winter Edition, and please help us spread the word!

Alan Bern

October 4, 2006

Yiddishe Cup on Israeli Radio

Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band Live in the Studio
Bert Stratton, clarinetist of the Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band performs live in the studio and discusses their new neo-Borscht Belt klezmer comedy album. An in depth discussion on Israeli versus American style klezmer and its significance to Jewish musicians. Plus, the fine line between cheesy, inspirational and just plain stupid.

Available for mp3 download all this week!, israelbeat.blogspot.com

Don Walser, z"l

Mark Rubin is even better known in country and Texas music circles than in the Jewish music world. I relate, strongly, having lived in Texas back when Willie was relatively young and was holding Fouth of July picnics just outside of Austin. I'll compare the best country music singers with the best Yiddish singers any day of the week, no dishonor to either for both being great. So, it is with sadness, and a sense of the apppropriate, that I note Rubin's tribute to country singer? maven? mensh? All of the above? Don Walser, who died this past week, and which appears in the Austin Chronicle, www.austinchronicle.com">Song for My Father: The house that Don Walser built, 1934-2006

"The Silence is Lifted"

book coverTranscontinental Music Publications releases Songbook and CD of Klezmer melodies many never before printed or heard since the Holocaust.

(New York – September 19, 2006) Transcontinental Music Publications today announced the long awaited release of a one-of-a-kind collection of lost and out of print klezmer music entitled "The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook", by Yale Strom. The author is a musician, film maker, writer, photographer and ethnographer who researched the project for two decades.

This collection, including many out of print and previously unpublished melodies, has 313 klezmer (Yiddish instrumental folk music) tunes, and a few with Yiddish text as well. "Until the mid-1970's klezmer was virtually unknown to the non-Jewish public and only nostalgically remembered by many Jews; today it is the way klezmer bands throughout the world celebrate the resurgence of Yiddish culture,” Strom said.

The song book contains archival photos, cultural and historical background and has an accompanying CD with 36 tunes recorded by Strom's klezmer band Hot Pstromi. Some melodies are attributed to Strom's field recordings he collected in Eastern Europe among Jewish and Rom (Gypsy) Holocaust survivors who recalled melodies from their childhood.

This unique collection contains 313 songs from the klezmer tradition and will be a treasure trove for both the professional and amateur musician as well as enthusiast. To order your copy of The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook ($49.95) by Yale Strom, visit Transcontinental Music Publication visit http://www.etranscon.com/ or call 212-650-4120.

For further information about the book contact the publisher:
Zachary Kolstein - Marketing Director
URJ Books & Music Dept. - 212-650-4125

sincerely Yale Strom

Changing High Holiday liturgy

There has been a nice discussion of nusakh and its relative absence in current American services. Professor Marsha Edelman pointed out that Jewish liturgy has always freely borrowed from surrounding cultures and that Ashkenazic cantorial traditions are relatively late. Eva Broman posted this:

Concerning the influences of the surrounding musical culture on Jewish liturgical music, here is something I found in a scholarly article on the influence of Turkish Ottoman music on Greek rebetika(!):

As we know, Ottoman society was a multi-national society in which the cultures of various ethnic and religious communities existed side by side. Each community preserved its religious music in its place of worship, and its folk music within its customs and mores. The music of various ethnic or religious communities formed the peripheral musical culture of the Empire, while the music of the Ottoman élite constituted the central culture (urban light music was a branch of the classical tradition). The Ottoman central music was cherished not only by Muslim musicians but also by non-Muslims: Greek, Armenian, Jewish and other communities. The interesting point was that a great number of non-Muslim musicians were active both in their own religious milieux ­ in church, in the synagogue, etc. ­ contributing to their local or folk music, and also in the sphere of the central music. This peculiarity led to musical exchanges and borrowings. A very typical example of this process is observed in Jewish liturgical music: Jewish cantors singing in Istanbul synagogues borrowed many Ottoman secular or classical songs and performed them in their liturgical ceremonies, on Hebrew sacred texts. One can still hear religious songs or hymns in Istanbul synagogues that maintain their traditional components. Here's the whole article.

Edwin Seroussi has written several articles on these "borrowings".

And in connection to Marsha's comment "Moses' Shirat HaYam probably sounded like an Egyptian pop song" here is an interesting tidbit I found on liturgica.com

>In the Bakkashot services of the Aleppo Jews in Jerusalem, New York, and
>elsewhere, sacred poems are sung to the latest tunes of Arabic popular
>singers as heard on radio and television.

The history of Jews in America

album coverThe good folks at Hippocampus are at it again (they also brought us bagels and bongos). Pat Morgan spotted this for the Jewish-Music list:

The history of the Jews in America has been spelled out in books and dramatized on the big screen. But it has never been told through LP covers. Until now.

Of course, this collection only takes us into the Sixties. Candidates for more recent history?