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January 31, 2008

Y-Love and Afro-Semitic Ensemble on YouTube

David Chevan, currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Afro-Semitic Ensemble, writes to the Jewish-Music list:

Just wanted to let you know that there is now a video on YouTube of The Afro-Semitic Experience jamming this past Sunday night with Y-Love rapping!! It is pretty cool (though you can't see Baba and Alvin drumming) and the audio is decent enough that you can even hear when Y-Love switches to Aramaic. Hope you enjoy!

Greg Wall article in NY Jewish Week

Greg Wall was in town this past Saturday night with his "Later Prophets" ensemble. As expected, they were superb, a unique and exciting blend of hassidish nign and driving jazz. Wall's sax playing was superb, of course. Arele Alexander's drumming, phenomenal. Shai Bachar on piano and keyboards continues to astound me, and David Richards' perfect basslines kept everything together. But you've heard me say all this before. What we really need is to get an audience out to experience this music. Maybe this article by George Robinson in today's NY Jewish Week will help turn the tide. Rabbi Wall will be appearing next week at the Eldridge St. Synagogue. If you're in NYC, check him out. Trust me on this.

His Bima Is The Bandstand, by George Robinson, NY Jewish Week, Jan 30, 2008.

NEC courses on Eastern European Jewish Music begin in Feb.

New England Conservatory, 241 St. Botolph Street, Boston, will host two ten week courses with Instructor Yelena Neplok. 'Eastern European Jewish Musical Traditions' runs on Wednesdays, February 13–April 30, 2008, from 7:00–8:30 p.m., and 'The Art of Russian Piano Music' runs on Tuesdays, February 12–April 29, 2008, from 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Tuition for the NEC School of Continuing Education is $355, and financial aid is available. For more information and registration, contact: 617-585-1125 (NEC) or call the instructor at 617-566-7969 / email the instructor.

Registration is now available.

Eastern European Jewish Musical Traditions

This course introduces unique musical heritage stemming from Jewish composers and their communities in pre-war eastern Europe.

Students will become aware of the uniqueness of Jewish folk music, connection between Jewish traditional and art music, Russian Jewish musical culture, famous cantors of the "Golden Age", and great East European Jewish performers.

Students have the opportunity to perform in class and participate in a closing concert. Vocalists, instrumentalists, and all interested public are welcome.

The Art of Russian Piano Music

This course will describe Russian musical culture and piano music from the end of the 18th century through the middle of the 20th century.

I: Late 18th century–second part of 19th century: Bortniansky to Tchaikovsky

II: Late 19th century–mid-20th century: Liadov to Prokofiev

January 30, 2008

Klezmatics live on Italian radio, Fri, Feb 1, 2008

Lorin Sklamberg writes the Jewish-Music list:

… at the last minute we found out that tonight's supposedly live concert was taped for broadcast on Friday night (gut shabes, everyone!). Of course, it'll still be afternoon in the U.S…

So, it'll be broadcast/webcast on Friday, January 30, 9:30-10:30pm Milan time at www.radiopopolare.it

Classical to Klezmer: a Wild Wind Weekend at Liverpool University Sunday 9 – Monday 10 March 2008

Dear Wind Players

JMI has pleasure in inviting you to join a Wind Weekend in Liverpool where we travel the journey from traditional to classical music.

E-mail JMI for registration form. Places will be limited, so do apply as soon as possible. (Players should be at least equivalent of grade 6 on their instruments)

We will be working on Adam Gorb’s Wind band pieces ‘Yiddish Dances’ and ‘ Eine Kleine Yiddishe Rag Musik’ and to do this we will have a real immersion in traditional Eastern European Jewish music and shake everyone up with the opportunity to actually learn and participate in Yiddish dances.

And to top it all, Frank London and his Klezmer Brass All Stars (of New York) will be flying in from their European tour to spend Monday afternoon teaching us a Klezmer piece by ear.

The culmination will be a fabulous concert in the beautiful Princes Road Synagogue where you will all perform.

The cost of all this will be only £30 full price, and for full time students, £17.50. I promise you it will be worth taking a day off work, if you have to take it, but such opportunities do not fall into our lap too often.

E-mail JMI for registration form. Places will be limited, so do apply as soon as possible. (Players should be at least equivalent of grade 6 on their instruments)

Flying Bulgars 20th Anniversary concert, Toronto, Canada, Feb 9,10, 2008

For a number of years I had an arrangement with one of my oldest friends. She'd fly out to California, where her mother (and, I) lived and we'd celebrate American Thanksgiving. And then I'd fly to Toronto to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. One year she neglected to tell me that we were preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a couple hundred of our closest friends following a rally in support of First Nations' rights in Canada. It was tremendous fun (despite succotash made of frozen vegetables.) One year I noticed a CD by a band that featured one of my favorite folk fiddlers, Anne Lederman. Indeed, it was Toronto's first klezmer band, and they were excellent. In subsequent years the band moved from traditional klezmer to world klezmer fusion, but better than almost anyone I can think of making a similar journey. Led by trumpeter David Buchbinder (in whose honor Frank London is sometimes referred to as "the American David Buchbinder), featuring the last decade the voice of David Wall—if these guys were an American band, Wall and Buchbinder would be as well known as Loren Sklamberg and Michael Alpert—the band is going through changes, again. For their 20th anniversary, they are doing two concerts to show off and celebrate:

band in concert

The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band
20th Anniversary Concert
at the Al Green Theatre (in the Miles Nadal JCC) 750 Spadina Ave

Saturday, February 9th, 8pm & Sunday, February 10th, 7:30pm
Tickets: $24 in advance, $30 at the door
Tickets available at Miles Nadal JCC reception, and by phone 416-924-6211 x 0

More info on the KlezmerShack "Jewish music around the world" calendar.

Michael Winograd Klezmer Ensemble CD Release, NYC, Feb 17, 2008

Suppose you can't be here in the Boston area on the 17th? (Suppose you're crazy like me and might even drive down from the Boston area to NYC after the Shirim gig that day?) Then, you really want to be in NYC. Winograd's first klezmer band, Khevre was a favorite of mine. But his new ensemble, and the new CD, kick ass way beyond that. This is new klezmer, in traditional style, featuring some of the best folks around, playing incredibly tightly. Don't be silly. Don't live the rest of your life regretting that you could have been at this party, and just didn't make it….

CD coverSunday, February 17th Michael Winograd and his Klezmer Ensemble celebrate the release of their new CD "Bessarabian Hop" with a Big CD release party/bash/concert/extravaganza!!!

this will take place at the Workmen's Circle, in NYC! (on Sunday, Feb 17th)
that's at 45 E. 33rd Street (off Park Ave)
that's at 8pm (with doors open at 7ish)
that's $10
that's alot of fun!!!!

More info on the KlezmerShack "Jewish music anywhere in the world" calendar.

Shirim 25th Anniversary concert, Arlington, MA, Feb 17, 2008

Glenn summarizes band history, below, but I should mention that Shirim is one of the reasons I wound up in the Boston area. I was in town on business and saw them at Club Passim back in 1996. It was the performance at which they announced that they were splitting in two: Shirim would continue to play traditional klezmer (including the very traditional klezmer nutcracker), and Naftule's Dream would be the name of their avant garde ensemble (the name followed the title of their second CD). Seing them in person was incredible. I still haven't forgiven the little "Toad" bar for cancelling their monthly Naftule's Dream gig. The band has changed in the dozen years since I've known them (and even more over 25 years). They played my wedding. We run into each other as we try to catch exciting music around town. I've never heard them perform less than wonderfully, so this (and the following two posts) is the first of three concerts that I absolutely don't want to miss—and which I not so humbly submit, you don't want to miss, either:

shirimCan you believe it? It is time for the 25th Anniversary concert of Shirim on Feb. 17, 2:00 at the Regent Theater, 7 Medford St., Arlington, MA. Tickets are $12.50, $8 for seniors and kids. Call the box office at (781) 646-4849 for tickets or visit www.regenttheatre.com. We are keeping the price low in the spirit of celebration and because we are making a video of the concert and want to have you there! Buy your tickets early!

more info

New video clip of Divahn, others

Eva Broman found these clips:

I just found some really nice clips on youtube. The first one is "Divahn" performing Avihu Medina's "Shabechi Yerushalayim":

And some of my favourite Israeli artists, the comedy/singing combo "Ma Kashur?" together with Sharif in a real "hafla" tune: And something totally different, from another era in Israeli music and television (Yigal Bashan, singing "Yesh li Tsipur K'tana b'lev" (I've a small bird in my heart)): I fell for this song when I first heard it in the movie "Bikur Ha-Tizmoret" with a group of Israeli friends. It must be something of a classic, because all the Israelis instantly recognized it and hummed along. "Bikur Ha-Tizmoret" is highly recommended, BTW. There is some excellent acting, and a warm, understated humour.

Abe Brumberg, z"l

From Itzik Gottesman, posting to the Jewish-Music list:

Sorry to pass the sad news that Abe Brumberg died this weekend in Washington, DC. . He released an excellent and important album of yiddish folksongs "Of Lovers, Dreamers and Thieves: Yiddish Folksongs From Eastern Europe". Most of the songs had never been recorded before. A fine singer. The record was later released in CD form ( I bought it at the Workmen Circle bookstore in NY). He was also an excellent recitationalist of Yiddish literatrue and has a CD of his work available. My condolences to his family.

For those who want to know more about Abe, one of his articles, Yiddish and Hebrew, about the language wars of the early 20th century, is available online.

On Feb 12, 2007, Rachel Kafrissen post to the Jewish-Music list:

www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/us/ 07brumberg.html?ref=obituaries
OK, so I just saw this. Abe Brumberg was officially the coolest Yiddishist ever (and Communistologist)—he recorded a satirical album with Joe Glazer (another awesome Yid) called "My Darling Party Line."

January 29, 2008

Israel apologizes to surviving Fab 4 members of 1965 ban

Straight from the JTA, via Jew*School and a few other blogs:

Israel apologizes to the Beatles

Israel is trying to atone for a decision to bar a tour by the Beatles 43 years ago. … The Beatles were to have sung in Tel Aviv during their 1960s heyday, but political leaders nixed the appearances out of fear the Fab Four would "corrupt" Zionist youth.

January 26, 2008

Klezmerquerque returns, Feb 15-17, 2008, Albuquerque, NM

Klezmerquerque logo Albuquerque's annual Klezmer music and dance festival celebrates its sixth year over Presidents’ Day weekend.

KLEZMERQUERQUE 2008 welcomes back by popular demand the klezmer dance master from Chicago: Steve Weintraub, who teaches and performs klezmer and East European Jewish dance at workshops around the world. Steve will perform on Friday and Saturday evenings in addition to teaching two dance workshops on Saturday and one on Sunday. The Rebbe's Orkestra, the popular Albuquerque-based klezmer ensemble will also perform on Friday and Saturday evenings with special guest clarinetist and vocalist Seattle's Kosher Red Hots: Sheila Fox. Sheila will also be teaching a Yiddish & Sephardic song workshop on Sunday from 10:30am-noon.

Beyond the PaleKLEZMERQUERQUE 2008 also welcomes back Toronto's critically-acclaimed and award-winning 5-piece klezmer ensemble Beyond the Pale. The band will be teaching klezmer music classes on Saturday and Sunday plus BTP’s virtuoso violinist Aleksandar Gajic will teach a special Serbian violin kolo workshop on Saturday. Beyond the Pale will perform on Friday evening and is the featured band at the concert/dance party on Saturday, Feb. 16th at 7:30PM. Tickets for the Saturday concert may be purchased in advance for $18.00 (for ALL seats/ages) at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW (505)344-8139 and at Natural Sound, 3422 Central Ave. SE (505)255-8295 - both in Albuquerque. Tickets will also be available at the door for $20.00-general and $18.00-fixed income & under 18.

For more information please contact: Festival Coordinator Beth Cohen (505) 243-6276 or email her and/or Congregation Nahalat Shalom www.nahalatshalom.org (505)343-8227 Pre-registration forms are available on the web site

All events held at Congregation Nahalat Shalom, 3606 Rio Grande Blvd. NW (between Candelaria & Griegos) in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA

January 25, 2008

Not klezmer, but really neat, anyway

Rio Nido CD coverBack in 1978, newly returned from Israel, I settled in to Santa Cruz, California. A local record store had this amazing LP that captured my ears for ages. By a band called "Rio Nido" (is that a pun?), it was called "I like to riff." It's one of the few LPs still occasionally played in this house of mp3s and CDs. I have wanted this music on CD for many, many years. Now, it's here. Rio Nido's first two CDs (I'm more a fan of the first, which is more deeply rooted in that '20s and '30s jazz-blues territory now being mined so effectively by Saskatchewan's Little Miss Higgins; the second is more "Lambert, Hendricks and Ross," and maybe my own listening had changed by the time it came out) are finally available.

In addition to being wonderful music, it is important to note that the Tim Sparks who was a core member of that original trio, is the same Tim Sparks whose amazing, warm guitar work on Jewish melody has long been generating best-selling CDs on John Zorn's Tzadik label. He has also released a book, Neshamah of his guitar arrangements.

The guy has talent. What can I say.

Check out Rio Nido on Tim Sparks website, listen to some mp3s, and pick up your own copies of that, and of his Jewish music, too.

JWABlog "Postcards from Yiddishland" celebrates KlezKamp

Over at the JWABlog ("Jewesses with Attitude," from the Jewish Women's Archive), researcher Anna Elena Torres writes:

This year's KlezKamp theme was 'Mameloshn: Women in Yiddish Culture,' and there was no shortage of material on that subject. Two matriarchs of Yiddish culture (and winners of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship) taught classes: the drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts, a third-generation klezmer musician from Philly and the first woman admitted to Curtis Institute, who is currently recording the music of her father and grandfather; and Beyle Schaecter-Gottesman, the poet and songwriter, who is the subject of a new documentary.

To read the entire entry, visit JWABlog.

January 17, 2008

Blog in Dm: "The Klezmer Gene"

Over at Blog in Dm, there is lovely musing about what compels unaffiliated Jews to hire a klezmer band:

Over the past few years, I've played a lot of small weddings for unaffiliated Jews. In many instances, the calls for these affairs come in a week or two before the wedding. In one case, a fellow walked over to us at a Sunday night gig and hired us for his wedding on Thursday.

Coming off of a really fun one of these weddings, where we had them dancing in the street in Greenwich Village, I've been thinking about what makes people who have clearly been planning their dream wedding for a very long time, suddenly decide that they need "authentic" live Jewish music at their affair. more

I find it especially interesting because my boss, not a klezmer aficionado, is trying to find the perfect band for her Boston-based wedding—one that can play the jazz and oldies and rock that she and her spouse-to-be adore, but one that can also do something better than a canned klezmer set. Not quite ready to contact 'Hasidic Musician,' but not necessarily convinced to sign up for Shirim or the Klezmer Conservatory Band, either.

January 16, 2008

Greg Wall's Later Prophets returns to Boston 1/26/08

Greg WallGreg Wall is a member of several amazing bands. His simkha band, Klezmerfest is one of the sharpest of the genre available in the New York area. His avant garde band, Hasidic New Wave, co-founded with Frank London, is also amazing. But my favorite Greg Wall ensemble is probably the band that pulls both of those sides together and melds them into a klezmer-jazz fusion, so thoroughly grounded in nusakh and klezmer, yet also as exciting as Weather Report at that band's height. I wouldn't stay away barring an emergency.

Last January the ensemble came to town to do some student teaching workshops at Gans Academy, culminating in a concert by the band and the students. The idea was to push the notion that one can be traditionally Jewish—yeshivish, even—and still pursue uncompromising music and the arts. Later Prophets rocked. The students did, too, which has to partly be a tribute to Wall's (and band's—including one of the world's great drummers, Aaron Alexander) ability to communicate. He doesn't just play amazingly deep music, he can teach it.

I didn't have time to write at the time, and now I can barely make out my notes from the time (note that I refused to let them go—they've been sitting next to the computer for a year waiting for this inspiration and opportunity)….

… vision of bones? Ezekiel saw the wheel (Afr-Am Spiritual) … Egyptian pop tune (sounds like hasidic nign — Tisch Nign from Stlyner … grandmother taught him papirosn — at one point Alexander, in fierce intensity, kicks over a drum. Wall walks over and pulls it out of the way … the song ends in rhythmic, throbbing chaotic intensity; builds and builds ….

Anyway, the band will be here in Boston Saturday night, Jan 26, 2008. Here are the details (they'll also be on the calendar, shortly, but I couldn't wait):

Saturday, January 26, 2008 8:00 p.m.
Greg Wall's Later Prophets
The prophetic visions of Ezekiel are some of the most fascinating and vivid of all ancient texts. The traditional melodies used to chant them in the synagogue have been with us for ages, and serve as the inspiration for saxophonist Greg Wall’s Later Prophets. Featuring master percussionist and long time collaborator Aaron Alexander, seriously grooving bassist David Richards, and keyboards phenom Shai Bachar, the quartet manages to simultaneously straddle the gates of the ancient and avant-garde, while creating a musical experience that is as timeless as the texts themselves.


Hope to see an SRO crowd. You'll be thrilled you went, and it's time Boston gave music this interesting some props.

January 13, 2008

Klezmer Shofar

This latest video clip from Metropolitan Klezmer features trumpeter Pam Fleming on the kudu shofar. I'll have to remember this clip come the High Holidays! Enjoy.

You can catch other clips from the band on YouTube, as well. (Eve, do you have a tag and a "subscribe" thing going so that people can be informed when new clips to, say, "metropolitanklezmer" are uploaded?)

Alicia Svigals article: "Queer Klezmer Quandry" in Shma

shma logo
"On October 12, 2007, over 100 musicians prominent in the contemporary revival of klezmer music gathered on the steps of the Eldridge Street synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York for an historic photo. This Ashkenazic Jewish music tradition had faded to a whisper in the 1950s and 1960s but returned with an unexpected crescendo in the 1970s, and the photo was intended to document the thriving creative community that the klezmer world has become. Among the faces in that photo are several people, like myself, who are openly gay and lesbian; our disproportionate presence is an oft-noted and curious fact about the current klezmer and Yiddishist scenes...."

rest of Alicia Svigals' article in Shma, Dec 2007

Those familiar with her article several years ago in Judaism, from a conference on the Klezmer Revival back then, later published in book form in Slobin, Mark, American Klezmer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

January 12, 2008

Yiddish Dance Action Network: Calling All Zamlers!

From Helen Winkler:

The Yiddish Dance Action Network is an association of musicians, dancers, ethnographers and others who strive to document and continue the traditions of Yiddish Dance. We need your help. We seek materials and memories that will help complete the picture of what Yiddish dance was and what it can be. Examples of useful documentation include:

  • memories of Yiddish dancing: perhaps you have a family member or friend who recalls the old dances and wants to share these memories
  • old family films, home movies or photos of celebrations that feature Yiddish dance
  • written descriptions in books or personal accounts of the dances, such as written memoirs

If you have information about the dances that you would like to share, please contact us: E-mail Helen Winkler or orPete Rushefsky

*Zamler is the Yiddish word for compiler. Zamlers gather together scattered things in order to form a collection.

For hundreds of years, Ashkenazi Jews were part of a diverse tapestry of ethnic communities in Eastern and Central Europe. Dance, particularly during wedding festivities, was an important means of cultural expression and community cohesion for Jews living in cities and shtetlekh (villages) alike. These old Eastern European Jewish folk dances are now known as Yiddish dances. Examples include the freylekhs, bulgar and sher. To find out more about the dances visit www.yiddishdance.com.

A variety of factors caused most traditional Yiddish dance and its associated klezmer repertoire to fall almost completely out of practice by the 1960s. While remnants of a limited number of dance forms and gestures are retained in Hasidic communities, today there are but a few elderly immigrant and second-generation Jews left who still perform, or can even recall traditional dance from either Europe or America.

Klezmatics in Rome, Jan 22, 2008

Woody Guthrie mosaicMarc Di Martino caught this one on his blog. The Klezmatics are coming back to Rome and playing a bigger venue than ever: "This time they're playing the prestigious Auditorium."

Klezmatics Back in Rome!

Jewish Music at the Grassroots - class by Hankus Netsky in Brookline, MA, Feb 10-Mar 9, 2008

Jewish Music at the Grassroots: A Class for Musicians of All Levels
With Klezmer great Hankus Netsky

Featuring traditional klezmer, contemporary klezmer, and American Jewish popular music from the Yiddish theater. Part history, part music appreciation, part guided jam.

Sunday afternoons, February 10, February 24, and March 9 at the Workmen’s Circle 2-5pm
1762 Beacon Street, BrooklineM
Course costs $90 for Workmen’s Circle members, $120 for non-members, and $45 for young adults. Or take any single class for $45.
Registration is limited – so sign up today!

The Shondes for real - CD released

CD coverI got around to catching up with web stuff too late to get this into the calendar, but the "Shondes," the wonderfully-named band from Brooklyn about whom I posted false clips just a few months ago, not only exist for real, but have a real CD out. Transgressive Jewish punk. This is one excellent example of my idea of excellent new Jewish music. The CD release was last night and four hours away. Damn. I coulda made it if I'd known about it in time. All I know is that one of my fellow staff-people at the Jewish Women's Archive saw them here in Boston a couple of months ago (hello? bandmembers? it's okay to send items for the calendar, eh?) and has a sticker on his desk. He loved them. You can find out more at their myspace page, www.myspace.com/theshondes or their website: www.shondes.com

Rudy Tepel, o"h

Rudy TepelItzik Gottesman posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list this week that long-time bandleader Rudy Tepel passed away a few weeks ago. Hankus Netsky writes: "Rudy played with great passion and feeling. He actually started out as a dixieland player, but joined the Hassidic scene, since it fit his Orthodox lifestyle better. He was featured with 'Neginah' for a while and later was one of the best clarinetists playing the klezmer rep with Klezmer Plus in the early revival era. He made three excellent recordings on Westminster, which his son put out on CD, 'Chassidic Wedding,' 'Lubavitcher Wedding,' and 'Bobover Wedding.' [Recordings re-released just a few years ago, and reviewed on the KlezmerShack by Matt Temkin: www.klezmershack.com /articles/temkin /tepel/temkin.tepel.html.]

For more information, there is a website devoted to Rudy's music: www.tepel.org

January 1, 2008

Yiddish Dance Symposium notes now online

at the symposium, Pete Rushefsky in centerIt took hours just to code the HTML, so please don't laugh at typos (but do let me know). There was a wonderful Yiddish Dance Symposium in NYC, at NYU, back on December 9. It was followed the next day by a "planning meeting" for the academics, teachers, and others who want to ensure that this tradition is better recorded and especially, taught. My notes are online now. Enjoy!