" /> the KlezmerShack: October 2007 Archives

« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

October 31, 2007

Photos: Great Day on Eldridge St.

Okay, with luck this is it for the posts on faux nostalgia day on Eldridge St (where a lot of neat people did get together a couple of weeks ago). Suzanne Schwimmer took a nice set of photos and posted them on flickr:

flickr.com/search/? q=great+day+on+eldridge+street

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Flickr tagged with greatdayoneldrigestreet. Make your own badge here.

And for those who want more, here is the photo from the "The Villager," from the Oct 17 edition: Klezmer convention blows into town on Eldridge St.

October 27, 2007

Michael Wex book launch, "Just Say Nu", Gladstone, Toronto, Oct 29

book coverIf you are a fan of Michael Wex (which is to say, if you have ever met him, heard him speak, or read his previous best-seller), and you live in Toronto, you will be quite pleased to know that the new book, Just say nu is out. It's available at Pages and fine bookstores everywhere. The launch party is going to be this coming Monday night at one of Queen St.'s great reformed hotels (unless you were one of the indigent people who could afford the SRO that it used to be), the Gladstone.

The reading is sponsored by Pages—it's part of their "This is not a reading" series which presents writers and artists with new books. Even if you don't want the book, don't want the autograph, it's still worth showing up because Wex is so damn funny.

Why is Wex so funny? I blame it on Alberta, or at least the Calgary Hebrew Day School, which we both attended (me for just a few early years, insufficient for an adequate humor education, in the early 1960s).

October 26, 2007

Blog for women who perform for women-only audiences

Over at the Blog in Dm, I just found out about this interesting blog for women who perform for "women only audiences" to share info about their music and musical events.

October 23, 2007

Shalshelet deadline next week: Nov 1

Shalshelet Logo, 2007GOT MUSIC ? November 1 DEADLINE for submissions to Shalshelet's Third International Festival.

Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music is currently accepting submissions for its Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music. Guidelines and applications are available at www.shalshelet.org/submission.html.

November 1, 2007 is the postmark deadline. The Shalshelet Music Review Committee will announce results on March 1, 2008. The Festival takes place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 13 to 16, 2008. Questions: E-mail Shalshelet

Yale Strom's The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook, reviewed by Eric Zaidins

book coverYale Strom
The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook

Format: Paperback, 420pp.
ISBN: 0807409472
Pub. Date: October 1, 2006
Publisher: Transcontinental Music Publications
$49.95 from URJ Press (www.urjpress.com)
Also available from Amazon.com and fine vendors everywhere

And if you want to know why this might matter, read Eric Zaidins' review now.

New CD Review: Red Hot Chachkas / Spice it up!

Pretty snazzy woodcut - spicy, indeed!I have corresponded with Julie Egger since the days of her first band. It gives me great pleasure to review this latest CD by the Red Hot Chachkas. I am in awe. Like their Sacramento colleagues, the Freilachmakers, this band consists of great musicians who have been playing together forever and it shows. (I might add that after this CD was recorded, Glenn Hartman, formerly of the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, also joined the group.) I highly recommend that you give Spice it up! a good listen. I suspect that you'll wind up with your own copy, and so will your friends.

October 22, 2007

A Great Day on Eldridge Street - the Podcasts!

photo, from NextbookIt's not enough any more to write about an event. It isn't complete without the blogs full of photos. But, I've already presented those. Today, from two different sources, I got the podcasts.

First, the folks at Nextbook did a really nice job of gathering photos (including the final photo of the musicians) and captured the event on audio. For a delightful "you are there" impression of the synagogue and the event, listen to Julie Subrin narrate, and let the sounds behind her do the talking.

The redoubtable Mark Rubin wasn't on Eldridge St. (but he made sure his friends knew about it, and why. I, for one, am grateful.) Neither was Henry Sapoznik. Jon Kalish captures their voices, along with the people and music which did make the scene, for the Forward.

Two very different audio diaries of the same event. Brought to you in one place through the magic of Kabbalah, er, HTML. Enjoy.

CD Review: The Lithuanian Empire

interesting printOne of the most exciting discoveries at this past summer's KlezKanada was a new-to-me band of KK participants called The Lithuanian Empire. When I first heard them at one of the late night cabarets I was awe-struck. Judy, my wife, had a similar reaction. Now, Eric Zaidins digs their CD and comes to a similar conclusion. Check out his review of the Lithuanian Empire, get a copy yourself, and try to disagree.

October 21, 2007

Call to action! Innovative NYC Yiddish Dance program in peril

Pete Rushefsky posted this request to the Jewish-Music list. I have been so jealous of the talent and opportunity in NYC. It matters enough that people who love dancing keep this program alive:

Dear friends, we're looking for a few more students for this important new Yiddish Dance Class … please call the 92nd St. Y’s Harkness Dance Center at 212.415.5552 to register or Pete Rushefsky at 917-326-9659! Here's some more information (we apologize if you receive this message more than once):

The Center for Traditional Music and Dance in partnership with the 92 St Y presents a new Yiddish Dance Class led by Zev Feldman and other master dance leaders. Building on our hugely successful monthly Tantshoyz (dance house) series at the JCC in Manhattan, the 92 St. Y classes will provide intermediate and advanced dancers with a more in-depth opportunity to explore classic Yiddish dances such as the sher, hora, freylekhs and bulgar and coterritorial dances such as moldavaneasca. Special focus will also be given to the expressive power and gestures of solo dance. Classes will feature live klezmer music performed by Jake Shulman-Ment on violin and Pete Rushefsky on tsimbl (hammered dulcimer) as well as other top local klezmorim.

Seven three-hour sessions will be held from 2pm-5pm on the following Sundays: October 21, November 18, January 20, February 17, March 30, April 27, and June 1. Cost for the eight class series is $250 (folks interested in trying out a single class may call the Y for more information). To register or for more information, call the 92nd St. Y’s Harkness Dance Center at 212.415.5552.

Yiddish Dance Project Coming Dates:

  • Next Tantshoyz: Thursday, November 1 and Thursday, Decembe 6 at JCC (76 & Amsterdam)
  • Yiddish Dance Research Symposium: Sunday December 9 at NYU Bronfman Center

Support for the Yiddish Dance Project was provided to the Center for Traditional Music & Dance by the Forward Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Arts Program, a State agency, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

"Yiddish is Alive and Well in NY"

Pete Rushefsky spotted this in the NY Times last week:

October 17, 2007, 10:15 am
A Yiddish Revival, With New York Leading the Way
By Sewell Chan

The question was bound to come up at some point: Vifl fun aykh do redn yidish? (How many of you here speak Yiddish?) About half of the audience raised their hands—some after a moment’s hesitation.

The audience had gathered Tuesday evening in the basement auditorium at the Museum of the City of New York for a panel discussion, “Yiddish Is Alive and Well and Living in New York,” that traced the language’s rich history and future prospects.

Read the whole article

New series from Stewart Cherlin: "Apprehension and Longing"

Frequent KlezmerShack contributor Stewart Cherlin wrote two fascinating articles this past summer around the theme of "Apprehension and Longing:"

Schoenberg: Erwartung (Ausstattung) / Expectation (Stage settings)"For Europe, the early decades of the twentieth century was a time of transition, anxiety, instability and the rise of unprecedented hatred culminating with two world wars and a holocaust of unparalleled brutality and slaughter.

"In contrast, it was also a period of consummate artistic creativity that transformed 18th century Romanticism, giving birth to Modernism. Aurally, a door opened to an innovative new music landscape by composers exemplified by Arnold Schoenberg, Béla Bartók, and Igor Stravinsky, and lesser known composers including Alexander von Zemlinsky, Victor Ullmann, Franz Schreker, and many others. Positioned at the vanguard, each had their own unique expression; their music reflects a period of apprehension and longing….

I think that these articles will open new doors to those of us less familiar with classical music, especially in its 20th century manifestations. Enjoy!

October 20, 2007

Tango controversy - what do you think?

It started innocently enough. (Doesn't everything?) Lori Cahan-Simon spotted a Yiddish Tango on YouTube and called it "terrific," (presumably thinking of the obvious—Yiddish Tango, on YouTube—Sexy Yiddish!) The singer, Zully Goldfarb is one of the featured artist on the CD, "Yiddish Tango, " available from our friends at Hatikvah Music. But the Yiddish words have meaning. The song is a farewell, written by someone about to be sent to Auschwitz. Just because it's a tango, doesn't make this particular song appropriate to this setting:

Indeed, Lloica Czackis, well known as an expert and a performer of Yiddish tangos, wrote:

"Terrific? What's terrific about it? The tango gloss? We can find that in any video "for export". Are we going to be charmed by whatever we're presented only because it's exotic and unknown?

"The song in this video is 'Makh tsu di eygelakh' by Dovid Beygelman. Beygelman, a well-known composer and orchestra director in pre-war Lodz, wrote it, to words by Isaiah Shpigl, before being sent to Auschwitz, never to return. The song is a lullaby, a farewell. Nothing can be more painful than to sing as a mother or a father saying a final goodbye to one's child.

"So where's the place for the lipstick? What are the sexy dancers doing there? Are we so forgetful? Can we be so macabre as to make a mockery of our own history? I find this totally inappropriate.

"There was a lively discussion some months ago about the Polish singer/actress Justyna Steczkowska and her interpretation of 'Yidl mitn fidl.' Many people felt this was an 'appropriation' of 'our' culture. I personally don't believe one has to be Jewish to interpret Jewish music. But one should have the sensitivity and respect towards our material. One should also try to learn about the context of the music we perform. My point is not about 'authentic' performances. But only if we know the material and it's context can we produce an consistent interpretation.

Adrienne Cooper and Zalmen Mlotek interpret this song in 'Ghetto Tango'."

Lloica Czackis

What do you think? Email me

Taglit-birthright israel and JDub Records Launch 'The Eight,' A New Way To Celebrate Hanukah

First of its kind; worldwide Hanukah parties to take place on December 8

logoNew York NY – October 15, 2007 – Taglit-birthright israel and JDub Records announced today the launch of the first-ever multi-city Hanukkah concert event series. All taking place on December 8, 2007, The Eight (goeight.com) celebrates the Festival of Lights with parties in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC (as well as Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Moscow, and Sydney!) that will feature music from up-and-coming artists handpicked by JDub, multimedia performances, and a unique menorah lighting ceremony at each event.

Confirmed musical guests include Israeli hip-hop superstars Hadag Nachash at Webster Hall in New York; the indie-vaudeville-art-rock-act Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players at Crocodile Café in Seattle; hip-hop-inflected Middle Eastern-Gypsy collective Balkan Beat Box and Cambodian Rockers Dengue Fever at the Echo Plex in Los Angeles. Full lineup follows below.

The Eight was conceptualized based on Jewltide, JDub’s successful annual Hanukah concerts, which evolved over the last five years into mini-tours the week during the holiday. By partnering with Taglit-birthright israel, the two organizations will create a worldwide, interactive Hanukah event on a massive scale, offering participants a unique shared opportunity to engage with Judaism outside of an institutional or religious Jewish setting.

“The Eight event will bring the next generation of young Jews together to celebrate the festival of Hanukah on a worldwide level,” said Rabbi Daniel Brenner of Taglit-birthright israel. “Having sent over 145,000 young people from 52 countries on 10-day educational journeys to Israel, we are committed to significantly investing in further opportunities for our alumni to engage with their peers and deepen their connection to Jewish life.”

“This is the first worldwide event of its kind, with young Jews reclaiming old rituals like the menorah lighting and celebrating a Jewish holiday in their own way, in the places that they find community,” said Aaron Bisman, founder of JDub Records. “We are thrilled to partner with Taglit-birthright israel to take the Hanukkah events we’ve produced over the past 4 years to elevate it to a worldwide audience.”

Tickets for The Eight will go on sale on October 19th to alumni of birthright israel via goeight.com and October 26th to the general public via goeight.com.

About Taglit-birthright israel

Taglit-birthright israel provides the gift of first time, peer group, 10-day educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18 to 26. Taglit-birthright israel operates on a belief that it is every Jewish person's birthright to visit Israel. To date, nearly 145,000 young adults from 52 countries have traveled to Israel for the first time on Taglit-birthright israel trips. The gift of the 10-day trip is being provided by our partners: the people of Israel through the Government of Israel, Jewish communities around the world and private philanthropists through the birthright israel Foundation. (Website: www.birthrightisrael.com)

About JDub Records

Founded in December 2002 by two New York University students, JDub, the non-profit record label and event production company, has grown into an internationally recognized brand and has introduced proud Jewish voices squarely into mainstream culture. In its start-up phase, JDub focused on developing a small cadre of artists, including Matisyahu, SoCalled, and Balkan Beat Box, and introducing its unique programming to its target audience, primarily through events in New York City, festivals such as Bonnaroo, national CD releases, and via national media outlets such as MTV and The New York Times. JDub will celebrate its fifth anniversary in December 2007. (Website: www.jdubrecords.org)

The Eight: Participating Artists

(All shows taking place December 8, 2007) New York, NY – Webster Hall ($20 advance/$25 day of show // 7 PM // 18+) Hadag Nachash Budos Band Soulico Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex ($15 advance /$20 day of show // 8 PM // 18+) Balkan Beat Box Dengue Fever San Francisco, CA – The Independent ($12 in advance /$14 at the door // 8:30 PM //$21+) Apollo Sunshine Seattle, WA – Crocodile Café (Tickets TBD // 8 PM // 21+) Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Golem Boston, MA – T.T. The Bears ($12 advance / $15 day of show // 8:30PM // 21+) Simple People Mocean Worker Wailing Wall Washington, DC – Sixth & I ($12 in advance /$18 at the door // 8 PM // All Ages) The Leevees Deleon Local contest will determine opening band For more information, please contact Dave Cirilli: 212.246.7044 or email.

OyHoo Festival Opener tonight!: Fiddlin' w/the roof

concert logoThe 2007 Oyhoo Festival Opening Night World Premier Saturday, October 20 - 8pm Kaufmann Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y

A live concert featuring 14 groups each performing one song in the original order of classic motion picture soundtrack of Sholem Aleichem's great tale.

From theatrical legends who have performed the role of Tevye on the stage such as Mike Burstyn or Bruce Adler to the recent Grammy nominated Klezmatics or popular Blue Fringe taking on the material. Imagine the classic song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" sung by three of the most popular young female Jewish artists on the NY scene for the first time: Basya Schecter of Pharaoh's Daughter, Chana Rothman, and Shira Kline. The Sephardic sounds of Sarah Aroeste to the soulful voice of Neshama Carlebach or Debbie Friedman, the richness of the Jewish music scene is really represented. Even the most popular secular radio friendly pop rock is represented by Jill Sobule. New music from Heedoosh and Good for the Jews is rounded out by the new Klezmer from Greg Wall's Later Prophets, Paul Shapiro's Rib's & Brisket Band, and Frank London's Inebriated Orchestra. OyHoo logoIf there was a "hit single" from the soundtrack, it would have been "If I Were a Rich Man" which will be very unique collaboration between classic version sung by Mike Burstyn mixed and backed up by the Hip Hop of Y-Love and DJ Handler. The show is a production by Michael Dorf.

Check out the rest of the Oyhoo Festival as well—a week long immersion into Jewish music.

Four new CD reviews--Keith Wolzinger on Vira Lozinsky, KlezFactor, Den Flygande Bokrullen, Budowitz

As I review less, a couple of KlezmerShack regulars have stepped in to fill the breach. Their taste is impeccable—I am jealous that they have beaten me to the punch on some stunning new releases. First up is Keith Wolzinger, whose name will be recognized by fans of the Klezmer Podcast:

album coverVira Lozinsky, a Moldova-born Israel immigrant, is a fresh voice in the world of Yiddish song. This is the Yiddish of native speakers, not that of those who simply pick up the lyrics and learn the pronunciation. In fact, nearly half of these songs are from the hand of Lozinsky's father, Yiddish poet Michael Felsenbaum…. There's more. Check out Keith's full review of Vayte Shtern (Distant Stars)

album coverOne of the stand-out bands at last year's Ashkenaz Festival was Toronto's own KlezFactor. Under the leadership of Mike Anklewicz, the band deftly fuses jazz and klezmer with a nice hard edge. Keith reviews their debut CD, 2005's The Golem of Bathurst Manor. I'm only embarrassed that I keep listening to it myself, can't put it away, and hadn't yet written my own review.

album coverThe redoubtable masters of Swedish klezmer, among the first bands listed (and reviewed) here on the KlezmerShack are still at it. Here Keith catches their latest release, hot off the press: Shuff!.

album coverFor those of you who didn't believe me about Budowitz' latest CD, Wolzinger has his own admiring perspective. Take it from us, this is the one of the best klezmer recordings of the decade: Budowitz Live.

October 16, 2007

Yiddish "Hard Day's Night"

Once of the things I miss most from my years in California is Gerry Tenney's wonderful Yiddish rock 'n' roll. Someone (maybe Gerry, himself) has taking his version of "hard day's night" (in Yiddish) and synced it to the original video. Priceless:

"Kamti LeHallel" - music of Spanish & Portugese Jewish communities

From Daniel Halfon:

CD coverI want to draw attention to you the release of 'Kamti Lehallel' a Double CD album featuring the music of the Spanish & Portugese communities of Amsterdam, London and New York.

For more information: www.bh.org.il/Music/catalogue.aspx#kamti

October 15, 2007

The Shondes!

Correction? Am informed that this band, whose videos are on YouTube as the "Shondes" are, in fact, called "Something Fierce." Interesting band, but the real shondes can be found at www.myspace.com/theshondes. So what's up with these YouTube videos?

Found this great punk band with a wonderful Jewish name, albeit, no particularly Jewish content or sound. It's a shonde that I haven't heard of them before. If you know more about them, send me e-mail.

South Coast Simcha Band on YouTube

Keith Wolzinger sends notice that his band, South Coast Simcha Band, has joined the trend and now has a wide panoply of performance clips up on YouTube. S'iz a pleasure, Keith:

More about "The Harlem Experiment"

Yesterday, I posted about a new CD, due to be released in a few days, called "The Harlem Experiment". Over at "Hungry Blues," Ben Greenberg has listened to the whole CD and has this to say. בקיצור, he found it sufficiently compelling to listen to it straight through. He's posted a player so that others can do the same. Check it out!

October 14, 2007

Fine new Jewish Music website: Shemspeed.com

Shemspeed.com logo
There is a new website in town. Brainchild of dj handler and a host of folks in the NYC Jewish music scene, Shemspeed claims to be the world's largest and most diverse Jewish music website. True, the KlezmerShack is currently the world's largest and most diverse Jewish music website, but there is some definite potential here to surpass and excel! Shemspeed looks exciting, offers lots of interesting content, and seems worth checking out regularly. (Don't forget to subscribe to the blog feeds.) There is Shemspeed TV, album of the day, a nascent calendar of events with band listings. Any site featuring new content by a diverse group (and it is a diverse group) regularly has to be vital. This one looks good, and feels alive. Check it out.

There will be a Shemspeed blowout on October 25 as part of the upcoming "Oyhoo" festival.

What can we say but G-dspeed and good luck, ha-shem wiling!

"The Harlem Experiment" to be released Oct 30, 2007

Nancie Schwartz Martin sends this very interesting press release (timed nicely to go with the "A Great Day on Eldridge Street" project)

CD coverWhen you think of New York City's Harlem, you may think of James Brown at the Apollo, Duke Ellington at the Savoy or Bill Clinton's offices on 125th Street. But did you know that Harlem was also home to large numbers of Eastern European Jews in the early 20th century? Some of the grandest brownstones in the Mount Morris Park neighborhood were Jewish family homes.

Grammy-winning producer Aaron Levinson pays homage to the vibrant history of Harlem in 'The Harlem Experiment', to be released by Ropeadope Records October 30th. Featuring musicians such as clarinetist Don Byron of the Grammy-awarded Klezmatics, trombonist Steve Bernstein and many other notable jazz musicians, it showcases Harlem as melting pot and offers a uniquely klezmerized version of the Yiddish folk song "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," with a soaring solo by Byron.

'The Harlem Experiment' Due Next in Tastemaker Label's Innovative City "Experiment" Series

Full Album Available for Pre-Order via www.ropeadope.com; Two Tracks Available on iTunes Now

Ropeadope to release 'The Harlem Experiment' on October 30

On October 30, indie label Ropeadope will release 'The Harlem Experiment,' the third installment in their city "experiment" series. The "experiment" albums are jazz-inspired collaborations by well-known local musicians who set out to capture the sound and spirit of their hometowns.

The first two in the series focus on Philadelphia (music provided by ?uestlove Ahmir Thompson, Christian McBride, and Uri Cane) and Detroit (featuring Regina Carter, Marcus Belgrave, Bennie Maupin and others). So why Harlem? According to label president Andy Blackman Hurwitz: "The history, the present and the future. We look to Harlem as ground zero for all that is modern day 'American' music—whether you call it jazz, R&B, hip-hop or rock, all of it passed through the neighborhood's gates."

'The Harlem Experiment' takes on the melting pot identity of Harlem, from the early Jewish enclaves to the epicenter of African-American culture to the Latin legacy of Spanish Harlem titans like Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. The Harlem House Band features Carlos Alomar (guitar, David Bowie), Eddy Martinez (keys, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Run D.M.C.), Steven Bernstein (trumpet, Sex Mob), Steve Berrios (drums, Chick Corea), Don Byron (clarinet, The Klezmatics, Vernon Reid) and Ruben Rodriguez (bass, Tito Puente). Grammy Award-Winning producer Aaron Levinson, creator of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, produced the album.

An audio homage to Harlem would clearly have to include jazz, funk and hip-hop, given that Harlem is synonymous with James Brown's 'Live At The Apollo' and Duke Ellington's "Stompin' At The Savoy." 'The Harlem Experiment' does just that with its' big beats, horns, and swagger. But the project also digs deep into Harlem's illustrious roots and gives shout-outs to the Jewish and Spanish communities that also helped to create one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It makes sense that Latin rhythms are laced throughout the jazz and hip-hop of tracks like "One For Jackie," and "It's Just Begun." It makes sense that the Klezmer style of Don Byron's clarinet transcends the playful jazz on "Reefer Man" and the funkified Yiddish folk song "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen."

'The Harlem Experiment' achieves a mighty task: summing up the cultural rainbow of Harlem in 50 minutes of music. Listen to this album and 100 years of Harlem begins to unfold in your ears.

Pre-Order the album at www.ropeadope.com. "A Rose In Spanish Harlem," featuring James Hunter and "Reefer Man," featuring Taj Mahal, are now available for purchase on iTunes.

Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. One for Jackie (featuring the Harlem Experiment House Band)
  3. Rigor Mortis (featuring the Harlem Experiment House Band)
  4. Reefer Man (featuring Taj Mahal on vocals)
  5. Harlem River Drive (featuring Steven Bernstein on trumpet)
  6. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen (featuring Don Byron on clarinet)
  7. Mums Interlude
  8. It's Just Begun (featuring Larry Legend on turntables)
  9. Mambo a la Savoy (featuring Carlos Alomar on guitar)
  10. A Rose in Spanish Harlem (featuring James Hunter on vocals & guitar)
  11. One For Malcolm (featuring Malcolm X)
  12. 'Lil Bit (featuring DJ Mums on the mic)
  13. Think (featuring Queen Esther on vocals)
  14. A Rose in Spanish Harlem (Instrumental)
  15. Walking Through Harlem (featuring Olu Dara on vocals, guitar & pocket trumpet)

Andy Rubin interviewed about old time banjo and klezmer, July 2007

From Andy Rubin of the Freilachmakers, the wonderful klezmer/celtic fusionistas from Sacramento, CA:

"This doesn't happen too often to klezmer banjo players—so since it did, I thought you might be interested (see PDF attached to our website). The interview appeared in the July 2007 issue of The Banjo Newsletter, a monthly for banjo fanatics of all stripes."

[I'll add that Andy talks about the claw hammer banjo, klezmer, and the issue even has a review of the most recent Freilachmakers CD. Nice interview. ari]

"Secular and Religious Musicians Perform at Beit Shemesh Festival"

Benyamin Bresky, who does the "">Beat of Israel" radio show, emails about this new article. There are lots of photos, as well:

The annual Beit Shemesh Music Festival held during the Sukkot holiday featured a mix of religious rockers with secular mainstream artists. Highlights this year included mainstream artist Ariel Zilber who performed wearing a kippah (skullcap), and the return of Yishai Lapidot from Oif Simchas.

more of "Secular and Religious Musicians Perform at Beit Shemesh Festival" by Benyamin Bresky

October 13, 2007

Bob Cohen blogs "The Great Day," the parade, and the tour to come

From Di Naye Kapelye meister Bob Cohen:

Im back in the USA for a bit... I was also at the Eldridge Street photo shoot.. I blogged it a bit with photos and a youtuibe link:

"A Night in the Old Market" opens in Philly

From Frank London, via Sam Weiss on the Jewish-Music list:

poster"… after ten years of work, many partial versions, a CD of the music … we are having the World Premiere of A NIGHT IN THE OLD MARKETPLACE, the musical that Glen Berger, Alex Aron & I adapted from Y. L. Peretz' 1907 Yiddish masterpiece. Our version is an insane wild dark philosophical comedy, with a wild band of the freakiest klezmer musicians in Philly, an amazing cast, beautiful sets and design, costumes by ex-Hasidic fashion designer Levi Okunov, animations by Mornography and Tine Kindermann…. It is huge and exciting. In fact, I am sitting in the theater teching the show and it is stunningly beautiful and so much fun.

There are lots of tickets available and info is at the Prince Music Theater website. Previews started September 28 and the show continues until October 21 2007.

The other issue is that, due to circumstances beyond our control, the Prince needs help getting the word out about this show. And that is a shame because it is really good and exciting, and deserves to be seen. We are really trying to make Yiddish Theater that is not nostalgic, not self referential, intelligent, fun, challenging & a bit of the anti-Fiddler. Think Tom Waits or Kurt Weill do klezmer. It is especially interesting to people interested in new Jewish theater and culture.

And here's the pitch: if you can help spread the word it would be appreciated. Forward this email, post it on listserves, anything, Thank you.


New SoCalled video, "You are never alone"

Lori Cahan-Simon spotted this one and posted to the Jewish-Music list (does he ever write the KlezmerShack? does he ever call?):

Konsonans Retro review

Christian Dawid writes:

CD cover, click to purchase and support the KlezmerShackblog in Dm has a nice review ouf our album today: In Review - konsonans retro: a podolian affair

Sukkoth in Jerusalem

Dancer Yehuda Schnaps sent in this link:

Movie with some clips of music ,dances and sites from the beautiful Klezmer parade at Sukot in Jerusalem (See dances of original chasidic dancers at the start of second minute in the movie)

"A Great Day on Eldridge Street" begins

Drummer Charlie Berg, the original drummer of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, writes to remind me that a new Yale Strom project has begun:

a great day in harlem; photo by Art KaneJust got back from the Great Day at Eldridge St. photo shot. It was a hoot! There must have been 120 klezmorim there, from youngbloods like Annette Ezekiel (who grew up in Lexington MA, where I now live...and she formed the band Golem with a high school friend, just as Hankus & I were high school friends … what goes around ….) all the way up to Ray Muziker & beyond. I felt like Baby Dodds at this event … one of the REAL old-timers, lost in the fog of time :-) ! There must have been almost as many media folks, too—photogs, videogs, interviewers for radio, etc.

I got to see various old friends & bandmates—Don, Matt Darriau, Frank, Grant, Eve Sicular, Judy—and made some new ones as well. Aaron Alexander told me he uses my klezmer drumming article for teaching classes—props to you for getting me to write it.

I had studied the Kane photo the night before, and noticed a gaggle of drummers on the left side of the picture—JC Heard, Jo Jones, Sonny Greer, George Wettling, and Gene Krupa are all standing together. So, I got together Aaron Alexander, Dave Licht, Grant Smith, Eve Sicular, and myself, and you'll find us in the same position—a tribute to Papa Jo, Sonny, and all those other wonderful cats who came before us.

There are two concerts still to come in this tribute to a wonderful Jewish music scene, and a thriving Yiddish culture in NYC. Tonight, there is a free concert at NYU. Tomorrow night there is a paid concert at Symphony Space which includes Theo Bikel. Check out the KlezmerShack calendar for information on a short tour to upstate NY following.

October 8, 2007

New "Boston Jewish Music" group on Facebook

One result of tonight's concert was the Jessica Bloom and I agreed that it would be neat to organize a "Boston Jewish Music Group" on Facebook (look under Music, international). There are so many good musicians here, home of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Voice of the Turtle, Hazamir, a plethora of college klezmer and a capella groups.... So, why are there so few concerts? recitals? jam sessions?

Maybe this will help. I am new to Facebook, so don't email me with questions yet. On the other hand, if you get Facebook, then, especially join and let's see if this does anything useful. I have attached the KlezmerShack calendar feed for the northeast to the group. I hope that is useful in some way. Isn't there a Facebook way of doing calendaring usefully? This could be fun. Just what I need—another excuse not to keep the KlezmerShack caught up :-).

October 7, 2007

Khevre in joyous reunion; fundraiser for Leukemia Research

If it's Sunday night, I must be doing something with Hankus Netsky. Last Sunday night we terminated a tenuous jam at the end of our annual Sukkoth party to catch Hankus and his jazz band. It was a wonderful, heimish concert (nothing much to do with klezmer, until the encore, when Hankus even went out into the audience and handed his clarinet to Ben Pasamaniuk, while Hankus went back to the piano).

band photoTonight was a fundraiser a the Lily Pad, a tiny hole-in-the-wall gallery-by-day / performance-space-by-night in Inman Square, Cambridge, MA. Last year the space was known as "Zeitgeit." It's across the street from the "S & S" deli (think, "essn, essn!"), so it's as Jewish a performance space as it gets here in Boston.

Carmen Staaf organized the event, with some lovely jazz opening with the Esperanza Spalding Duo (Esperanza and Carmen). But the excitement to the sold out (okay, that makes it about 70 people) crowd was the Khevre reunion. Since part of the band moved to NYC a couple of years ago, concerts have been few and far between. Tonight proved that the band still makes magical music together. What was even more exciting is that the music has changed radically—nobody plays as they did two years ago. The new sound is jazzier and harder and louder—but if anything, the band is tighter than ever before. Dana Sandler (who is hopefully heading off to medical school next year) sang with greater assurance than I remember, and this despite some serious mike problems. Jorge sounds entirely different on bass, and it's all good. Since we always thought he was special as a bass player, this is pretty exciting. Austin McMann (Dana's fiance) did well on drums, although I miss Richie Barshay, now of the Klezmatics (but, consider, now I miss David Licht when I listen to the Klezmatics, much as I love Richie's playing. It's all weirdly circular.) Winograd has grown tremendously as a clarinet player, as have Carmen and Eylem.

The new version of "Reyzele" is simply radical. Full. That's the song where Judy and I, watching Jorge and Michael having fun, turned to each other, watching Jorge's fingers, and said, simultaneously, "Jorge!"

The band kicks through a short (45 minutes? Half an hour?) set of their favorites, including a nicely redone "Oyfn Sheydveg," the title track from their excellent album. This, too, is fuller, less gentle, and ends with an almost rock 'n' roll intensity.

The evening ends with a klezmer jam, including Hankus Netsky, who taught most of these folks when they were at the New England Conservatory not so longer ago, and more friends (notably, Winograd's frequent music partner, trombonist Dan Blacksberg).

It was just wonderful music, in a lovely, if overly small setting. The community was great, featuring younger people of the same age as the band members, up to middle aged folks like myself and older. There isn't a lot of music that can pull such a diverse crowd together so pleasurably.

As I mentioned, the event was a fundraiser organized by Carmen Staff for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event may be over, but the fundraiser is still with us. You can still contribute! Join Judy and I and help cure this disease.

Krakow 2007

Dan Blacksberg, Alex Kontorovich, Mark Rubin. Photo: Bob BlacksbergSpeaking of festivals, this year's Krakow festival provided inspiration to a rather sarcastic (in some ways) article in the forward (Krakow Jewish Fest Features Notable Absence: Jews, by Rukhl Schaechte, Wed. Jul 11, 2007) about what if they gave a Jewish music festival and most of the Jews in the area were the performers? I dunno. I mean, have you ever gone to a blues festival and looked at how little of the audience is black? (But we don't have an official killing program against blacks; we seem to be headed, slowly in that direction given the high percentage of blacks killed in urban violence, not to mention the high percentage of black men who are or have been in prison, but that is merely unjust, inequitable, and evil—it's still many orders of magnitude away from the Holocaust.)

So, where was I? The Krakow Music festival this past summer. As I catch up on my correspondence, I realize that several people wrote very movingly about various aspects of the festival this year. So, this being the KlezmerShack, I have gathered the pieces together. A couple of the articles are here on the KlezmerShack, even:

October 5, 2007

Honkfest in Somerville, MA, Oct 5-7, 2007

honkfest graphic, somerville, ma, Oct 5-7, 2005There is something special about a band marching in a parade. It doesn't have to be an "official" marching band, as at Veteran's Day parades or football games. When I lived in Santa Cruz I remember some glorious marches with a delightful cacophony of musicians and street performers. Anyone who has attended a Gay Pride parade knows of what I speak—but so do the people who have attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Sometime in the last few years, this mix of loud brassy music has gotten fused with social concerns, with community activities, and something noisy and edgy and extremely fun. This weekend, in Somerville, MA, there is a "Festival of Activist Street Bands." One of the organizers turns out to be one of my professors from UMass/Boston's College of Public and Community Service, Reebe Garofalo.

So, tonight there are bands in the Abbey Lounge, in Inman Square. Tomorrow, though, there is a day of concerts in Davis Square, from noon to 7pm. And Sunday? Can you say parade? Sets out at noon from Davis Square to Harvard Square, followed by performances at the Harvard Square Oktoberfest. To find out more about the honkfest, check out the honkfest website. If you see Judy and I there, stop by and say, "hello"!