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May 14, 2007

"Librescu Tango" in memory of Holocaust survivor who died protecting students at Virginia Tech

From clarinet maestro Gustavo Bulgach, in California, right after the murders a few weeks ago:

Gustavo here from Klezmer Juice … before yu get this from somewhere else, I wanted to give you this song, is a tribute to LIVIU LIBRESCU, the teacher that got killed last week…

I Recorded it @ home because i had this rush to get it out there … sent it to Israel Public radio and they put it on rotation … one thing led to another … I got an email from a radio station in Argentina that also put this song on rotation &hellpi; and a few internet stations as well … anyway … long story short, here's LIBRESCU TANGO for you to post it online for downloading.

David Chevan's "Yizkor" on YouTube

About two weeks ago, on Monday, April 16, I had the opportunity to premiere Yizkor: Music of Memory and Mourning, a memorial concert I composed for cantor and jazz ensemble. The lyrics for the pieces all come from the Yizkor service (the Jewish memorial service) and the music that I composed is a mixture of jazz-inflected melodies and rhythms and chazzanut-the often highly melismatic and distinctive traditional singing style used by cantors-a style that dominated their singing more in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century. One of my compositional goals was to reinvigorate this now less commonly used singing style by putting it into a new context. The other was to create a modern Jewish memorial work.

For the past three months I rehearsed the music with Cantor Martin Levson and members of the Afro-Semitic Experience. We gave the premiere performance at my school, Southern Connecticut State University to commemorate Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The event was recorded and videotaped. Thanks to modern technology I can share some of that event with you. Two of the pieces are now posted on YouTube so that you can see and hear this music.

Psalm 23

Yizkor for Martyrs

April 16, the day that we performed this piece, was also the day of the shootings at Virginia Tech University. Many of those in attendance at the Holocaust Memorial program were aware of the shootings and the peculiar coincidence of an already planned memorial service was not lost on most of us. One colleague later wrote to me, "It is an eerie coincidence about the performance and the events of the day on Monday. I found it particularly ironic that one of the victims at VTech was a holocaust survivor. Maybe in some way Yizkor was for him."

May 13, 2007

video blog from Klezmer Cruise in the Ukraine

This is Aisling Chin-Yee from the National Film Board, I am writing happily to you, to let you know about a film that Montreal director Garry Beitel from Beitel/Lazar Productions is making about the Josh Dolgin, and the Klezmer Cruise. I will be blogging about the experience on the cruise, posting pictures, video clips, and news, that you can check out at:


Looks like the cruise has just ended, but there is some amazing material: SoCalled, Krakauer, the Russian and Ukrainian crowd….

Jewish Dancing in Hollywood

Lori Lippitz, of Maxwell St. Klezmer posted this to the Jewish-Music list:

Speaking of staged movie choreography, Steve Weintraub reminded me of this scene from Thoroughly Modern Millie in which Julie Andrews sings a medley of Yiddish hits to deft Jewish wedding choreography. Someone was kind enough to post it online:

(That link leads one, inevitably, to the bottle dance from Fiddler:

It's 2007...have you shown these to your children/grandchildren?

Klezfest St. Petersburg 2007

St. Petersburg KlezFestThe Center for Jewish Music of the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg is proud to announce "KlezFest St. Petersburg 2007," an international seminar on the traditional music of Eastern European Jewry, to be held July 8-12, 2007 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

For more information, please contact the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg via email or visit our site www.klezfest.ru.

"KlezFest St. Petersburg," now in its 11th year, is the oldest klezmer seminar in Russia. The 2007 festival will include master-classes on Yiddish folk songs and klezmer music, workshops on Yiddish folklore and Yiddish dance, lectures, concerts, and two excursions: "Jewish St. Petersburg" and "Rivers and Canals of St. Petersburg." Our staff will include world-famous musicians—from New York, the violinist, accordion player, vocalist, ethnomusicologist and the world's leading expert on Yiddish dance, Michael Alpert; also from New York, the vocalist from the famous Klezmatics group, Lorin Sklamberg; from Zaporozhie, Ukraine, the Yiddish folk poet and singer Arkady Gendler, and others.

"KlezFest St. Petersburg," dedicated to bringing klezmer music and Yiddish culture back to the land of their birth, includes Jewish musicians from the vibrant centers of the Jewish renaissance throughout the former Soviet Union.

This year again we are pleased to announce a special program for lovers of Yiddish music and culture from other parts of the globe. We are asking for a contribution of $550. This sum will include food and lodging in St. Petersburg for 5 days and the entire seminar program, including interpreters when needed, concerts and two excursions. Participants will pay for their own transportation to St. Petersburg.

For more information, please contact the Jewish Community Center of St. Petersburg via email or visit our site www.klezfest.ru.

For advice on travel and visa arrangements, contact our American sponsor, the Jewish Community Development Fund in Russia and Ukraine, a project of the American Jewish World Service (New York), via telephone: (+1-212) 792-2916, or email.

Join us at "KlezFest St. Petersburg" this summer! If you haven't been on the Neva River during White Nights with Russian klezmorim, you haven't lived!

Molly Picon exhibit in NYC

Molly PiconBob Weiner posted about this one:

If you can make it to NYC's Lincoln Center, don't miss this Molly Picon exhibition from June 26 through September 22, 2007 at the NYPL for the Performing Arts, curated by Dr. Diane Cypkin.

Information on the exhibition and 3 related programs can be found by following the link below: www.nypl.org/research/calendar/exhib/lpa/lpaexhibdesc.cfm?id=446

Nist Grammy: WIRTUALNE GESLE 2007: Minsker K and P Brody

Once again, I rely on Roger Reid for the best writing on interesting new music in Eastern Europe:

I'm never a fan of stuff like Grammies and that, but I may well cast my vote in WIRTUALNE GESLE 2007, to select the Best "Ethnic" CD of 2007 in Poland.

cd coverAside: (I guess in Poland, "Ethnic" means something a little different than in the US? I don't see any traditional Polish bands here, but the Gypsies, Varied Karpatihians, Jews—I mean, Klezmers, (I forgot, klezmer isn’t Jewish in Europe, I'm still stuck in my parocial views…) only question I have—would Bluegrass qualify as Ethnic in a Polish competition?))

Anyhow, as far as I see, the one Jewish—I mean, Klezmer—entry is the fabulous double-CD-packaged-as-if-it-were-an-LP put out by FERMENT—one CD of Paul Brody's Sadawi and one of Reb Zisl-Yeysef's Minsker Kapelye.

I'm not voting for it just because it's Jewish; I'm voting for it because Tat'yana Kukel is a cimbal player whose evolution from the conservatory to the kapelye has been informative for me (and if I would get the heck offline and practice I'd be learning her licks off the record), and because I adore having a cello for the bass, as provided by Violetta Korenkova

So unlike the Grammies, you can vote on this. However, you WILL have to give them a whole lot of contact information about yourself, which is a drag (but prevents ballot box stuffing—this is Poland, not Russia).


If your Polish is worse than mine (and mine's basically hoping I recognize the slavic words and maybe know them in Russian)—here's how to do it: Find the picture of the record on the page. Below is a button which says, more or less, "Glosuye na te plyte". Press this. On next page, enter Name (Imie), Surname (Nawisko), and Email (Email!). They will send you an email, which will have a link you will need to click on to complete your vote.

Of course, feel free to vote for any of the lying, stinking, murde … oh, I mean, feel free to vote for your favorite, not just mine.

Wouldn't that be a gas if a Jew won best Ethnic CD, 65 years after the last Jew was removed from Poland? Maybe gas is a poor choice of word.


Sid Beckerman, z"l

Sid Beckerman and Jonno Lightstone, jammingOne of my fondest memories of my first visit to KlezKamp occurred when I found myself awoken one morning by a group of clarinets practicing in my room—classrooms were aparently scarce, so one of my roommates had invited Sid Beckerman and the class to our place. It was just about the best possible way to wake up—in the middle of a class/jam session, with Sid at the helm.

Sid passed away on April 4, 2007. There will be a memorial event on Monday, May 21 at 8pm at the Congress for Jewish Culture, 25 E. 21st St. ground floor, Manhattan.

From KlezKamp co-founder, Henry Sapoznik:

Sid Beckerman, son of legendary klezmer musician Shloimke Beckerman and himself a inspiration to a new generation of klezmer clarinet players died on April 4 at a hospice in Marboro, New Jersey. He was 87. The cause of death was listed as Alzheimer's.

Sid Beckerman was born in the Bronx in 1919 into an illustrious family of professional musicians. His father Shloimke ("Sam") was a pioneering recording klezmer soloist and a member of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra at New York's Little Club in the 1920s. Shloimke became Sid's first and only teacher and Sid honed his craft playing Jewish weddings and at Catskill hotels throughout the 1930s. During the Second World War he served in the U.S. Army's forward communication divisions in Italy.

After the war, Sid returned to a New York where the Jewish music scene had diminished and so took a job with the U.S. Postal Service only playing occasional weekend jobs.

Not long after retiring from the Post Office in 1982 musician Pete Sokolow plucked Sid Beckerman from obscurity and introduced him to the emerging klezmer revival as a member of the "Klezmer Plus! Orchestra" which Sokolow had just started with partner Henry Sapoznik. Sid Beckerman's earthy, physical old time sound and lush deeply knowing playing was the first introduction many people had to the vibrant musical presence klezmer enjoyed in a previous era. A founding staff member of "KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program" Sid was a generous and giving teacher, imparting his sound and repertoire to many young players.

The 1989 recording of "Klezmer Plus! Featuring Sid Beckerman and Howie Leess" was named an Outstanding Folk Recording by the Library of Congress and the publication of the book in 1991 solidified Sid's influence as a major important link to the classic style of repertoire of traditional klezmer.,/p>

Sid continued to play until the early stages of Alzheimer's forced him to quit in 2001.

He is survived by his wife Mae and sons Bruce and Lloyd.

A generous and deeply humble man, Sid Beckerman always accepted his modest fame and the enthusiastic accolades of his numerous students and fans with warmth, grace and good humor.

May 12, 2007

Women Cantor's Network conference, Sudbury, MA, Jun 13, 2007

The Women Cantor’s Network will hold its annual conference and 25th year celebration at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, MA from Sunday, June 10 – Wednesday, June 13, 2007. All women cantors, cantorial soloists, service leaders, cantorial students, educators and women who have a strong interest in synagogue music are welcomed. This year’s conference theme is “Even Higher: The Cantor as Spiritual Leader through Life’s Rhythms and Rituals” and will include a performance of the acclaimed play, the “The Mikveh Monologues”, which is open to the public on Monday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Beth El. Tickets may be purchased at 978-443-9622. The conference will feature many of Boston’s most renowned Jewish scholars, rabbis and musicians. Conference registration is $190 before May 7th and $225 by June 3rd. One-day registration, student rates and reduced hotel rates are available. Visit www.womencantors.net www.womencantors.net for registration materials and information.

Klezmer-Paris 2007, July 2-6

The Parizer yidish-tsenter - Medem Bibliotek is pleased to inform all the Klezmer Music lovers that this year, our workshop "KLEZMER-PARIS 2007" is going to be organised from July, 2 to 6.

The information an application form can be found on this link :

Klezmer Paris - 2007
Musique juive d'Europe centrale / Jewish music from Central Europe
Faites du Klezmer !

Stage de musique instrumentale / Music workshop
Stage de chant et de danse / Song and dance workshop
Stage pour juniors / Juniors classes

Du 2 au 6 juillet 2007 - July 2nd - 6th, 2007

Simultanés et avec de nombreuses passerelles, ces trois stages de musique juive d'Europe de l'Est seront animés par des artistes de renommée internationale :
The three parallel courses (with common activities) - klezmer music, Yiddish songs and nigunim, and Jewish dances of Eastern Europe - are all led by internationally known musicians :

Christian DAWID (Allemagne - Germany) - clarinettes / clarinets
Marthe DESROSIERES (France - France) - coordination musicale, flûte, activités pour enfants / musical coordination, flute / juniors activities

Josh DOLGIN, alias DJ SOCALLED (Canada - Canada) - accordéon, « boîte à rythmes », chant / accordion, samples, vocals
Arkady GENDLER (Ukraine - Ukraina) - chant / vocals
Joshua HOROWITZ (Etats-Unis / United States) – accordéon, cymbalum / accordion - cymbalum
David KRAKAUER (Etats-Unis / United States) - clarinettes / clarinets
Shura LIPOVSKY (Pays-Bas / Netherlands) - chant, danse / vocals - dance
Cookie SEGELSTEIN (Etats-Unis / United States) - violon, alto / violin, viola
Jacques VERHEIJEN (Pays-Bas / Netherlands) - piano, chant choral / piano - vocals
Susan WATTS (Etats-Unis / United States) - trompette, activités pour enfants / trumpet - juniors activities

Au programme : ateliers, conférences, master classes, jams, spectacles ... certaines animations seront ouvertes au grand public.
Program : daily workshop in singing, dancing and instrumental music, master classes, talks and lectures, jam sessions and performances.
Les cours sont donnés en français et anglais / classes are given in both French and English.


Informations et bulletin d'inscription / information and application form:
Tél : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 00 - Fax : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 47

Estelle HULACK
Maison de la Culture Yiddish - Bibliothèque Medem
Parizer yidish-tsenter - Medem Bibliotek
Directrice des programmes
18, passage Saint-Pierre Amelot
75011 PARIS

Tél. : 01 47 00 14 00
Fax : 01 47 00 14 47
site web : www.yiddishweb.com

Re-release: Folk Songs for Far Out Folk, Jun 26, 2007


West Coast Jazz with Stops in Africa, Brooklyn and the Kabbalah Plus Communism and Star Wars

Reboot Stereophonic, the acclaimed non-profit record label committed to recovering lost music and the stories connected to them from attics across America is proud to announce the July 10 release of its fifth album, a long coveted 1959 gem, FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK from the eclectic jazz pioneer, Kabbalist, magic man, and eternal left-winger Fred Katz. Katz is best known for introducing cello to jazz, which he perfected in the 1950s with his famous stint with west coast jazz legends, the Chico Hamilton Quintet.

Katz, now 86, has had an extraordinary career, from his early days as a cello student of Pablo Casals to his work in Hollywood scoring Roger Corman films like Little Shop of Horrors and A Bucket of Blood, from his anti-Vietnam War piece for solo cello "The Soldier Puppet" to his late 50's stint as an A&R man for Decca Records where he created the experimental Jazz Moods series; from solo jazz cello albums like Fred Katz and His Jammers to his conducting jazz arrangements for Sidney Poitier (the forgotten Sidney Poitier Reads Plato) and Harpo Marx (the almost forgotten Harpo in Hi-Fi) and his 1980s stint teaching jazz in a Benedictine monastery with a bongo-playing nun and a sax-playing priest.

FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK is a musical triptych of orchestrated jazz based on Hebraic, African, and American folk songs. "Those were the three cultures that were most important to me at the time," Katz says. "The American culture I was very interested in but mostly as a radical guy who had to learn about folk music and protest songs. And the African element just followed because of my belief in the oneness of man. The reason for the Jewish stuff was the mystery. It's impossible to ever know what God is. The trillion-faced God!"

From the American folk tradition he chose "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Been in the Pen So Long," "Foggy Foggy Dew," and "Old Paint" which Katz says he "treated as sort of an erotic thing." From the African songbook he went with "Chili'lo," "Manthi-ki," and "Mate'ka," and from the Hebrew side "Baal Shem Tov" and "Rav's Nigun."

FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK was produced by pedal steel guitar pioneer and famed bandleader Alvino Rey and recorded in 1958 during three separate sessions in Hollywood, one for each set of folk songs. Each session also had its own set of musicians, an impressive list of 50s jazz stalwarts hand-picked by Katz. The American songs include jazz guitar great Billy Bean and on piano, Johnny T. Williams, better known nowadays as Hollywood film composer and Oscar mainstay John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws, Schindler's List). The Hebrew sessions featured the flutes and saxophones of Buddy Collette and Paul Horn, Katz's esteemed Los Angeles colleagues from the Chico Hamilton Quintet, and the African songs include appearances by bongo king Jack Costanzo and trumpeters Pete Candoli (alum of the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton bands) and Irving Goodman (brother of Benny).

After Reboot Stereophonic co-founder Josh Kun first heard the original LP a few years ago, the team began searching for Katz. Kun headed south from L.A. to Katz's home in Fullerton for a series of long visits in the fall of 2006. "He is an inspiration as a musician, an intellectual, and a human being," says Kun. "Spending time with Fred, hearing his stories, listening to him play his cello, learning about his life, only made Folk Songs that much more powerful, a true testament to his boundless creativity as an artist. I'm so honored that we're able to make this music available again."

The project is the fifth release by Reboot Stereophonic following the critically acclaimed re-issue of the 1959 Latin-Jewish hybrid, BAGELS AND BONGOS by 92-year-old IRVING FIELDS, GOD IS A MOOG by moog pioneer, Gershon Kingsley, and the JEWFACE collection, the world's first and only anthology of Jewish minstrel songs that took vaudeville stages by storm at the turn of the 20th century. The label is an outgrowth of a fast growing national network called Reboot which engages some of the most talented young creatives in the music, film, television, technology, politics, literature and media realms in the examination of generational changes in identity, community and meaning.

Reboot Stereophonic, which is releasing a series of titles based upon music found in archives and buried in thrift store dustbins, has been developed as a work of passion by an eclectic team of music industry tastemakers, volunteers all, led by Courtney Holt at MTV, David Katznelson at Birdman, USC writer/academic Josh Kun, and Roger Bennett, co-founder of Reboot.

Channe Nussbaum and Klezfobia video

Dennis Wilen, of the Jewish Journal of LA spotted this one: the amazing Danish Yiddish pop star, Channe Nussbaum:

new Klezmer Podcasts posted

Keith Wolzinger posts to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

I have posted three new episodes recently to KlezmerPodcast.com.

Klezmer Podcast 8 features an interview with Dr. Joel E. Rubin, of the University of Virginia.

Klezmer Podcast 9 features an interview with Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys, as well as some news about the Klezmer Cruise.

Klezmer Podcast 10 features and interview with Jack Kessler of Klingon Klez, as well as an update on the Klezmer Cruise.

These are all available at the website or at the iTunes Store