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August 30, 2007

KlezKanada Budowitz rebate offer

Why did I finally get it together to get my review of the new Budowitz Live CD (previous blog post)? In part it's because of a mix-up at KlezKanada, where the price of the CD was set at $55 Canadian, instead of the intended price. Despite the price, several people bought the CD (and got their money's worth, in my never humble opinion). But the CD is significantly cheaper, so bandleader Josh Horowitz has requested that this notice be posted:

Dear Klez Kanada campers who bought the new Budowitz Live CD: My guilty apologies to you for making you pay 55 Canadian dollars for the double CD. The CD was supposed to sell less but I accidentally put the number of CDs I brought with me (55) as the price, which turns out to be unconscionably high by any standards.

I would like to refund each person 16 U.S. Dollars (the difference minus the 20% commission taken by the vendor) please let me know who you are with a short email to me.

Thanks and sorry for the mixup!
Josh Horowitz

new CD Review: Budowitz / Live

Budowitz / Live CD cover - mighty fishy!I have been a fan of Budowitz since I first heard them back in '96 or '97. By me, this is the revolutionary klezmer music—a stretch back to the supposedly-forgotten past, with new material written to fit in with a wild, celebratory, Eastern European sound. Now they've captured it live: Budowitz / Live. Available from CDbaby.com and fine retailers everywhere.

I wrote this review months ago and never had time to put it into HTML. It's still hot. Get a few copies now.

August 28, 2007

ADL reverses course; Tarsy rehired

Apparently, I wasn't the only person upset by the genocide denial the ADL's head, Abe Foxman. As of last week, he had conceded that what happened to the Armenians starting in 1915 "[was] tantamount to genocide." (whew! reminding readers that Henry Morgenthau, coincidentally Jewish and then US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, coined the term to describe what he saw happening to the Armenians in the crumbling Ottoman Empire)

Foxman has also rehired local ADL leader Andy Tarsy.

This is all potentially good news. If the lesson has been learned, I expect the ADL to lobby hard in support of the bill currently in Congress acknowledging the Armenian genocide. I also expect to see examples in the ADL's "No time to hate" course to reflect what happened in Armenia, and would expect Foxman's statements to continue to reflect acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide. It isn't enough to make a statement—now that we have reason to disbelieve the ADL's relevance, or its right to speak for us as a Jewish organization, we need proof that it is going to follow through.

It is almost Rosh Hashanah. In the spirit of that holiday, I presume that Foxman is sincere, and that from this time forth the national office of the ADL will exemplify the bridge-building ability of Boston's own, late, Leonard Zakim (the guy they named the beautiful new bridge after—the one that started to buckle when Foxman began equivocating), Tarsy's predecessor as Regional ADL director here. Tarsy is living up to Lenny's reputation. Now let's see the national organization catch up and hope that Tarsy's rehiring is the positive sign we are hoping for.

Good places to find out about Jewish Music

My life continues to be very busy, such that I don't have time to keep listings up and to post news as I get it. I'm not giving up, just acknowledging that I'm not doing a good job here. On the other hand, there are two blogs that I read daily that provide different—from me, and from each other—perspectives on Jewish music, each interesting, each illuminating and worth reading. (There are several blogs that I read regularly—you can look at the "blog roll" on the right-hand side of the main KlezmerShack page. These two are just a bit more special.

Blog in Dm is maintained by a Hasidic musician with music reviews, gossip, and commentary that span the world of Jewish music, hasidic and otherwise. He has extended the KlezmerShack a frequent shout-out and I want to make sure that I acknowledge the favor—especially in a recent post about the ADL—about which, more anon.

I became aware of Teruah - Jewish Music when the blogmeister, Jack Z., emailed me regarding a post I'd made on the Jewish Music list looking for volunteers. (I am still looking for volunteers.). Like his fellow at "Blog in Dm," Jack is a really good writer who covers a very pleasant diversity of Jewish music with a knowledgeable ear. One of my favorite recent posts is about Kinky Friedman. I'll grant that there are very few of Friedman's songs that you can listen to once past the hormonal rush of young adulthood, but "We reserve the right to refuse service to you" is brilliant, as Jack notes, and the ideas behind "They don't make Jews like Jesus anymore" or "ride 'em jewboy" are pretty good, however much I'm not in love with the final result. If I tell you that the Kinky Friedman article is just the first in a series about singing cowboys, you can understand that there is some serious breadth happening here.

Joe Bob says, "check 'em out."

August 20, 2007

For the next week: KlezKanada

KlezKanada logoWe're off to KlezKanada in a few minutes. I'm still a couple of months behind in updating listings, and even farther behind with reviews. But, for the next week, we'll live klezmer and yiddishkeit in the Laurentians.

If all goes well, this year internet connectivity will finally have reached the fabled lands north of Montreal. In that case, you can follow the week's happenings on the KlezKanada blog. See ya'll next week.

August 19, 2007

Genocide denial by ADL makes a mockery of organization's mission - Time for Foxman to go

I have been very careful to refrain from political or religious postings in this space. It's my personal blog. I want it to reach people interested in Jewish music, regardless of religion or politics. The current genocide denial by the Anti-Defamation League president Abraham Foxman (not a new position for him) is something of such rank evil hypocrisy, that I can't stay silent. The issue of Foxman's genocide denial caused the Watertown, MA city council to reject the ADL's "No Room for Hate Program." It has most recently resulting in the firing of the local head of the ADL for affirming the historical fact of Armenian genocide, and the subsequent resignation of at least two board members in protest.

In a nutshell, Holocaust denial is evil. Holocaust denial by a Jew is obscene. That a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust should deny the Aremenian genocide—the horror for which another Jew, Henry Morgenthau, then US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire invented the term, is beyond obscene.

It is preposterous and evil that an organization that claims to fight discrimination should so staunchly engage in pilpul to avoid calling what was perpetuated against Armenians by Turks in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire "genocide."

As local Rabbi Bernard Mehlman notes, the term "genocide" was good enough for Hitler: "Look at the Armenian genocide. Who cares about them?" Mehlman goes on to say that Hitler used this as proof that he could get away with active persecution of Jews.

Foxman's position, which is the official ADL position is that, well, yes, 1.5 million people were killed, but it wasn't really genocide, and we can't call it genocide, anyway, because it will put Jewish citizens in Turkey at risk. That is evil folly on so many levels that I refuse to discuss it, other than to note that history has been very clear, from Darfur, through WWII, into the dawn of history, that genocide denial is one of the greatest ways to ensure that it will occur again and worse. If Jewish safety mattered to the ADL (never mind if it took it's name or mission seriously) it would be clear that there is nothing it could do to endanger that safety more that its current policy.

The ADL is about to launch a PR campaign to put ads explaining its position in major newspapers. I call on all Jewish bloggers to explore the facts of this case and to post about it on their blogs. And if anyone is launching a truth campaign to protest the Abe Foxman's confusion between ignorant hysteria and truth; between fighting defamation and the art of hypocritcal self-service; I am your volunteer.

A quick sampling of other blogs/resources on the subject

August 13, 2007

Quick review of The Klezmatics in Rome last month

This arrived July 7, but I am just now beginning to unpack the last month or two of email.

We almost got looped into spending 70 euros to see Lou Reed last night in Rome when we discovered--in the nick of time--that the Klezmatics were playing a counter-gig. We missed them two years ago, but hauled tuches out to see them last night. By mid-show Romans were tantzing and whirling and wondering who those cats were on stage. They blew and shpilt for two hours. It was great to hear Romans of all types and political leanings crooning "Oy, oy, oy!" together.

Marc DiMartino

Jennifer Grey sings "Duvid Crocket" - on YouTube, of course

By where I work, we recently had a maidl-only 25th anniversary showing of "Dirty Dancing," Jennifer Grey's big hit about the Catskills and the early '60s and, of course, dirty dancing. By me, it's a "chick flick", but my ability to miss significant films (still never seen "E.T.") is pretty serious.

Of special interest to this forum, however, is the post-nose job Jennifer Grey on Conan O'Brien singing one of her grandfather's tunes, "Duvid Crocket." This was dub up by jewish-music list regular, Lori Cahan-Simon:

August 9, 2007

Hip Hop Hoodíos Partners with Amnesty International for

EP coverI've been a fan of the Hip Hop Hoodíos since their first EP. If the travesty at Guantanemo Bay gets them together with members of Ozomatli and the Klezmatics, more power to all of us (we should, in the future, be celebrating simkhas, instead, bringing us together).

On new single "Viva la Guantanamera", the critically acclaimed Latino-Jewish Urban Collective is joined by members of Grammy-winning acts Ozomatli & The Klezmatics as well as Kemo the Blaxican of Delinquent Habits

Album also features remixes by The Pinker Tones & Leo Sidran (Jorge Drexler, Ana Laan); iTunes and eMusic editions of the 'Viva la Guantanamera EP' each feature exclusive bonus tracks

Latino-Jewish urban collective Hip Hop Hoodíos is back with a new 5-song digital-only release, the 'Viva la Guantanamera EP' (Nacional Records - Aug. 7th, 2007). The post-ethnic merrymakers will be donating 18% of net profits from digital sales of the "Viva la Guantanamera" single to Amnesty International's efforts to close Guantanamo Bay Prison and encourage the full restoration of due process. The song was produced by Wildog of Ozomatli, and is a veritable Latino-Jewish "We are the World"; joining Hip Hop Hoodíos as guests on the track are Wildog, Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg of The Klezmatics, Kemo the Blaxican of Latin hip hop pioneers Delinquent Habits, and instrumentalists Walter Miranda (Beastie Boys, Plastilina Mosh) and Chris Washburne (The Syotos Band, Tito Puente).

"The socially conscious anti-corporate playa-hating of Hip Hop Hoodíos is funnier than any Beastie Boys punchlines recently." —VILLAGE VOICE

"This Latino-Jewish rap duo's stew of klezmer, pop-hop and rock en español is meatier than its gimmicky aroma would suggest…. Hip Hop Hoodíos combines lithe Latin dance and the sharp hooks of radio rock with elastic Spanish rhymes and Dr. Dre-baiting jokes. Finally, a rap group whose only beef is with pork." —BLENDER

"Hip Hop Hoodios are the hottest white rappers since the Beastie Boys." —BUFFALO NEWS

"The lyrics are provocative, clever and funny. Musically, Hip Hop Hoodíos are an intriguing mix of modern and classical instruments, cutting-edge sensibility and ancient echoes. The Hoodios are indeed onto something funky, fresh and fun." —ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amnesty International has initially committed to inclusion of the new Hip Hop Hoodíos track "Viva La Guantanamera" on multiple Amnesty and Amnesty-related websites including AmnestyUSA.org, MusicForHumanRights.org, and TearItDown.org.

Also featured on the 'Viva la Guantanamera EP' are remixes of tracks from Hip Hop Hoodios' previous album 'Agua pa' La Gente.' DJ Niño of Barcelona-based electronic sensations The Pinker Tones puts a dancefloor-friendly spin on the track "Agua pa' la Gente", while Hector Coulon a.k.a Leo Sidran (producer of Jorge Drexler's Oscar-winning "Al Otro Lado del Rio") recasts "1492" with spacey jazz bass. Also included on the mini-album is a shiny new mix of fan favorite "Havana Nagila" from the forthcoming V2 France release 'Nu Jewish Musique'.

The iTunes edition of the EP includes an exclusive bonus track, a live Hip Hop Hoodíos performance of "Ocho Kandelikas" on LATV. The eMusic edition also includes an exclusive track, "Tu Margarita," an anthem that sees Hip Hop Hoodíos write and record the greatest reggaeton song of ALL TIME (and in only one hour).

About Amnesty International

Winner of the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize, Amnesty International includes people from all walks of life taking action and is composed of more than 2.2 million human rights activists worldwide. Its members protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Amnesty International investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and helps transform societies to create a safer, more just world. Amnesty International has a long history of activism involving musicians including 1988's worldwide Human Rights Now! Tour and 1998's Paris concert, which honored the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, respectively.

For more information about Hip Hop Hoodíos or the 'Viva la Guantanamera EP', please contact Jennifer Sarkissian at 818.763.1397 (or follow the link).

For more information about Amnesty International, please contact Sharon Singh at 202.544.0200 ex. 289 (or follow the link).

Photos from Weimar Summer

dance session at Yiddish Summer Weimarand while I'm at it, Christian Dawid, posting as the spokesperson for the Ukrainian world music supergroup, Konsonans Retro, writes:

There are many wonderful photos from Yiddish Summer Weimar online at www.yiddish-summer-weimar.de Click on 'Diashow'.

The workshops are still running—currently featuring Lorin Sklamberg, Pesakh Fiszman and others.

New brass band, our first Ukrainian listing, and a new CD

CD coverIt was back in December that Christian Dawid first emailed me about the new website for this Ukrainian brass band with which he's been hanging out. It's called Konsonans Retro. A couple of people offered opinions:

"… the funkiest, freshest, most rooted and rocking klezzified sounds of the new millenium." —SOCALLED

"… a sensation! Better, fresher and more interesting than [bleep]!" —RUSSENDISKO

Now Christian announces:

There's a new CD out … an amazing family brass band from Ukraine, playing Podolian wedding music, the Moldovan-Ukrainian-Jewish blend many of us first got to know through German Goldenshteyn. I first met the band two years ago at Roman Grinberg's KlezVienna. Luckily, they tolerated me and Guy Schalom on stage with them, so we've been doing the one or other since then. Check it out! We're pretty proud, actually.

What can I say but "check it out!"?

August 7, 2007

Message from Israel - Glenn Tamir

I lost track for former KlezSka leader Glenn Tamir when he moved to Israel. Recent posts to YouTube got my attention and this email in response:

Hey Ari,

Yup, it's me. I've been here in the Galil for about a year now. It's been really great and the family is very happy. We're building a house in Shorashim—a Masorti yishuv in the Misgav close to Karmiel. You are welcome anytime so come on up to the Galil as we say!

I've been putting together a business to bring Israeli music to the US. There are many wonderful musicians up here - many who play traditional instruments like the saz, baglama, tar, darbuka, oud, etc. … as well as the contemporary stuff.

I just returned from a 10-day tour with a group called Ahavat Haaretz. We played in several camps and spent a few days at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival which was a blast. I've got some videos from a show I did here in my village on youtube. Just type Ahavat Haaretz into the youtube search and you'll see them. The composer and singer is Roi Levi from Shotei HaNevuah and his wife Osnat. Roi is an amazing composer who wrote many of the Shotei songs that were big hits here and even in the US.

I am also very proud of a group called Ruach Glilit which is made up of Israeli Jews and Arabs from the Galil. Here is an mp3 that I think is particularly interesting. It's a Hebrew/Arabic version of Erev Shel Shoshanim with Oud, Didgeridoo, and Djembe.

I hope all is well with you and I hope to see you over here sometime.

Kol tuv,

Paris Yiddish Center - Nouveau programme - new program - naye program

Chers amis, Le nouveau programme des activités de la Maison de la culture yiddish (cours de yiddish, conférences, projections, spectacles,...) est disponible sur le site internet : www.yiddishweb.com/MCY/

Zamir Chorale of Boston to hold Auditions, Newton, MA, Sep 23, 2007

The Zamir Chorale of Boston, "America's foremost Jewish choral ensemble," will hold auditions for all voice parts on Sunday, September 23 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Hebrew College, 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre. Auditions are by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance by calling the Zamir office at (617) 244-6333.

Candidates must have excellent vocal quality, the ability to sight-read music, and previous choral experience. In addition to the audition, candidates are required to attend open rehearsals at Hebrew College on Tuesday, September 11th and September 18th from 7:15 to 10:00 p.m. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays at Hebrew College, from 7:15 to 10:00 p.m., from September through early June. For more information about Zamir, visit www.zamir.org

Khevre Reunion/Benefit set for Oct. 7, 2007, Cambridge, MA

Paraphrasing a bit from a recent email from Michael Winograd:

band photo

Your help is needed for a very important happening

Carmen Staaf, accordionist from Khevre is putting on a special benefit concert on October 7th (sunday) in Boston at the Lily Pad. It's a benefit for the leukemia and lymphoma foundation.

Although were not really playing anymore, the guys and gals in Khevre thought this was the right time to come together for another show—it will be our first in boston in 2 years, and we really want to spread the word about it.

To help, for for more information, email Michael Winograd.