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June 30, 2008

The Lipa Ban - Charedi music controversy continues

Over at Blog in Dm, the author has been detailing curious stories of bizarre over-reaching by some charedi rabbis in Brooklyn. The most intriguing one was a ban on listening to an Orthodox entertainer, Lipa Schmeltzer, right before a major gig. It doesn't seem to have worked, and the new Lipa LP, "A simple guy" (a poshuter yid) is now out. More details from the source: This Review Is Banned! -- Lipa Schmeltzer's "A Poshiter Yid".

I took a quick gander at the promotional video for the new LP:

By me, this is good, current dance music set to frum words. Neither is something that I have a great interest in, although I'm getting ready to pick up my own copy of the CD to weigh in on the controversy. What keeps coming up for me, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, is what the rebbes in Babylon must have said when those modern piyyutim folks started bringing in these pietistic poems set to the current dance music of the day some 1500 years ago (stay tuned--I attended a piyyut class in Jerusalem while I was in Israel this spring and it was damn fun--blog post to follow, I hope, before time erases it from my memory). So, today, at a time when I run around talking about how Judaism is changing and Rabbinic Judaism is sooo last century, people still living in the middle of that allegedly outdated community are listening to what's happening around them and setting pieties to today's modern dance music. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Irony on me if the big changes that stick have to do with music (especially when you consider that I quite like most traditional musics and have no interest in the current stuff), not מנהג or הלכה. heh!

And the anti-Lipa rabbonim? The dustbin of history will be theirs soon enough. Too damn bad they have to engage in such nasty lashon ha-ra on the way.

More on Heeb's allegedly Jewish "Diamond Days"

I wasn't the only person at a nonplus when looking at Heeb's "Diamond Days" event coming up this summer. Teruah - Jewish Music had even more questions than I had, and actually followed up with the Heeb folks, confirming what I have suspected for a while--Heeb is for posers--people who like Jewish ephemera, but don't really want to get too … Jewy or anything. Feh.

Gypsy-Klezmer Mashup

Thanks to Jack Zaentz for discovering this gem, a clip from the 1998 movie, train de vie. Now, if I could just convince Netflix to carry the DVD so I can watch the whole story:

June 29, 2008

Y-Love / This is Babylon

Not bad!My knowledge of rap and hip-hop is extraordinarily limited. Many years ago there were some awful shtick bands replicating every possible to-be-forgotten bad Jewish stereotype using rap. Then we crossed some barrier and it seemed to be part of the vocabulary of Jewish music-makers. We not only got Jewish rappers in the mainstream media, but groups like the Hip-Hop Hoodíos, and Matisyahu, and SoCalled started doing something that sounded like the rap I hear elsewhere, but it had this Jewish content infusion. One of the most fascinating, so far, is a black kid, a convert to chasidism named Y-Love, who has been appearing all over the country, and who seems to have gotten the attention of anyone who pays attention to rap. Now a CD is out and I can hear why. Check it out yourselves, This is Babylon.

Three new reviews by Keith Wolzinger

CD coverWhile my back was turned, Keith Wolzinger has zipped out three more reviews which are now copied here to the KlezmerShack. First, he beat me to the punch and reviewed the most recent Metropolitan Klezmer CD, the deliciously live, "Traveling Show." For hard-driving, enormously fun, American-style klezmer, this band cannot be beat (nor, given Eve at the drumkit, can they lose the beat!)

CD coverNext up is singer Lori Cahan-Simon's latest collection of lesser-known Yiddish songs that, had we been luckier, our bubbies would have taught us. When Chanukah rolls around again this winter, we'll be ready, because she has assembled her usual amazing team and recorded some very special songs in Chanukah is Freylekh! A Yiddish Chanukah Celebration. Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me: Volume Two

CD coverFinally, what Keith calls "neo-klezmer," Toronto's klez-jazz fusion band, Klezfactor releases its second smash album, Klezmachine.

Enjoy! And many thanks to Keith.

Judy Frankel, z"l

Judy Frankel. Photo: Ken FrankelSephardic singer Judy Frankel died of cancer on March 20, 2008. Judith Cohen immediately wrote a remembrance, but I had no time to get it online before departing for travels to Israel. Frankel's role in documenting the music and making it available was tremendous, so with great pleasure, I have finally uploading Dr. Cohen's Remembering Judy Frankel

New releases at UK's "Jewish Music"

CD coverAs long as I'm directing folks to this country's Hatikvah Music, I should also mention some excellent and intriguing new releases across the pond from Jewish Music Distribution. These start off with Moshe Berlin's great new release from Israel, "Melodies from Jerusalem, cd cover The Musical Tradition of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities of Amsterdam, London and New York. They also have the new Veretski Pass CD, Trafik, of course, and lots more. Check them out.

Fresher Reviews from Professor Robinson: Israel at 60

CD coverI entirely overlooked this set of even newer reviews by George Robinson featuring new Israeli music, ranging from Yeminite Diwan to modern Jazz. Take a gander at A 60th Sampler, June 29, 2008, again, from the Jewish Week by the esteemed musicator.

For the curious, the featured CD, “With Songs They Respond: The Diwan of the Jews from Central Yemen”, is available from our friends at Hatikvah Music International. E-mail Simon@Hatikvah right away and enjoy!

A fresh set of reviews from George Robinson

CD coverOkay, these have been online for a few months—catching up means that I get to post a lot of stuff that some people will have already seen. But, this is an incredible set of reviews, covering almost everyone on my own current listening list, and on the "must review very soon or I will be depressed at not getting the word out: Michael Winograd's "Bessarabian Hop," David Buchbinder's excellent "Odessa/Havana," cd coverthe hot new Veretski Pass, "Trafik," and that's just a few of the gems reviewed here. Check out The Jewish-Latin Connection, published, as usual, on the Jewish Week. This one from March 26, by George Robinson, of course.

KlezKamp Channel on YouTube - new clips

Well, first of all, you can view the KlezKamp channel on YouTube (to which you can even subscribe with your ipod or newsreader) at www.youtube.com/klezkamp

Recent posts include "KlezKamp 2007 - Carpathian Jewish Wedding Band (Part 1)":

and KlezKamp 2007 - Dance by Felix Fibich's class

Jewish podcasts that don't suck

Well, obviously Keith Wolzinger's Klezmer Podcast would be one of the featured podcasts mentioned. Even better, commentors to the article have added other names with contact info. Check it out! Jewish Podcasts That Don't Suck, byby Elizabeth Alpern, from the "New Voices" Student Jewish newspaper

While I'm at it, Keith has been busily releasing new podcasts regularly:

Krakow Jewish Culture Festival concerts to be streamed online

It's Krakow Jewish Culture Festival Time! Several of the concerts are being broadcast, starting with today's cantorial concert. Krakow time is GMT+1, or 6 hours later than here on the US East Coast. To catch the7pm local time concert, tune in at 1pm EST, or the equivalent for wherever you are. There will be concerts all week, most at 7pm and 10pm Krakow time.


June 28, 2008

New YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe

book cover

Helen Winkler writes:

The new two volume YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, published by Yale University press, has just been issued. It is an inspiring accomplishment with invaluable text and fine illustrations. Dance in covered from pages 387-392, comprising three articles. The overview and Traditional Dance are written by Walter Zev Feldman and Theatrical Dance by Judith Brin Ingber. There are some cross-references also. It is a recommended resource.

Channe Nussbaum & Klezmofobia rock out in Mexico

From Channe Nussbaum, Queen of Danish Klezmer, ever pushing the edges of Yiddish music, this time, in Mexico! (Is that the largest bass balalaika you've ever seen, or what?

Klezmofobia has recently returned—all high from playing stadium concert in Mexico City for at least 15.000 wild young mexicans. We were also invited to perform in the mexican TV show "Animal Nocturno"; a channel wich is broadcasted in all Mexico, Latin America and the USA.

We met other bands from many countries who also participated the Ollinkan Festival, and we had a marvellous time partying and jamming with people from Africa, Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany, South America etc.

Here's a couple of samples from the TV show "Animal Nocturno":

Grine kuzine/Zigeuner

Vi ahin zol icg gehn

Best regards
Channe Nussbaum

June 27, 2008

KlezKamp one-day roadshow, NYC, July 13, 2008

Living Traditions, in conjunction with YIVO, and the Uriel Weinrich / NYU Program in Yiddish Language Literature and Culture, presents:

KlezKamp Roadshow

posterSunday, July 13, 2008

Classes + Workshops: 12:30-6:00pm
dance party: 7:00-8:30pm

Center for Jewish History
15 W. 16th St., NYC

Living Traditions, in conjunction with YIVO, and the Uriel Weinrich / NYU Program in Yiddish Language Literature and Culture, presents:

KlezKamp Roadshow

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Classes + Workshops: 12:30-6:00pm
dance party: 7:00-8:30pm

Center for Jewish History
15 W. 16th St., NYC

Shemspeed's Summer Stage, this Sunday, June 29, NYC

truncated posterSUMMER STAGE — June 29th — FREE

Shemspeed is throwing the biggest summer party possible with Summer Stage in Central Park for FREE. The line up includes the world famous MOSH BEN ARI, with Rupa, Y-Love and Diwon.

Get to the park early, as the line tends to get crazy as the day goes on.


Location: Central Park Summer Stage is located at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Enter the park at 69th Street and 5th Avenue on the east side or at 72nd Street and Central Park West on the west side.

June 26, 2008

פארווערטס - א שפּאציר איבער דער רעדאקציע

Chana Pollack recently sent a link to the "first yiddish web-video we made here at the Forverts."

It's neat! But when I suggested that it was time to move beyond the nostalgia stuff and do some hard-hitting video news in Yiddish, she responded, "Sandler's already got me cranking on the video magazine. We're on it—it's in the works. And someone in the land of Klez calling us nostalgia freaks? Ahem. Unless you're Wolfe Krakowsky--you're swimming in the stuff."

Touché. And for those of us who need a bit of help, here's the english-subtitled version:

The Ark on SPARK

The Ark
KQED's SPARK video crew chronicled the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival's first ever artist residency: "The Ark presents Cyclical Rituals (part 1): Spring". The 10-minute clip is now available online (also includes a separate segment on David Grisman):


June 23, 2008

"Essen" sticks to my ribs

CD coverSuppose Mickey Katz were alive today. Not alive in tribute. Not alive as a mere incredible clarinet player, but suppose someone could play like Mickey Katz, someone who got how Mickey would sound today and made his music sound like today's hip R&B. Then suppose that this person could convey the craziness of Katz, even better, could channel the earlier craziness of Slim Gaillard, Cab Calloway, the Barton Brothers, even add to it….

It would take someone like, say, Paul Shapiro, him of the Midnight Minyan, yes it would. And here he is with his Ribs and Brisket Revue doing just that. Ahhh, life is good. This is a take on "Essen" that feels 2008 (which is pretty hip, considering that there isn't anything happening in the Catskills these days that involves Yiddish unless you're considering the Limud folks, and that is a very different hipness).

Here's the thing. This is a meta mashup of an album. As Shapiro says in the liner notes, there was a whole mash-up as folks like Gaillard and Calloway incorporated yiddishisms into their songs, just as Jews were getting into jazz. So, now the music getts mashed up again and makes you wanna get your brisket out and start dancing and singing and hollering and moving all around the room. Brian Mitchell is a monster on the piano. Listen to Cilla Owens krecht that Yiddish on Sophie Tucker's "Mama goes where papa goes" and kvell along with me. [Fair disclosure: My day job just released a movie about six groundbreaking women comedians, Making Trouble. It includes Sophie Tucker, of course. We're real proud of it. Make sure it comes to a festival near you.]. Shapiro is an absolute madman on sax and clarinet. Babi Floyd is another Barton Brother. Who knew? Such "Tzouris!" Booker King (bass) and Tony Lewis (drums) are the perfect rhythm section.

Shapiro will be bringing his Ribs and Brisket Revue to the National Yiddish Book Center on July 14th as part of its "Paper Bridge" festival. It's going to be a long commute from Boston, but this is one of the performances that I can't miss. In the meantime, consider this a fair preview and check out the CD from Tzadik.com

For more information, see this article in All About Jazz: Paul Shapiro Releases "Essen," a Tribute to 1940s Yiddish Jazz, by Melissa Daniels

"Shmoozin'" down under--a new "must have" CD from Klezmania

CD coverOh, man. A new disk from Australia's answer to the Klezmer Conservatory Band crossed with digideroo arrived today, and this one doesn't even feature didgideroo (although ears better than mine will catch it's use on a couple of cuts). I should wait and listen to Klezmania's new "Shmoozin'" a few times before writing anything, but I can't wait. The disk is a perfect blend of klezmer and jazz, but damned if I can easily separate one from the other, and all held together by the sensuous voice of Freydi Mrocki.

Here's how good this CD is. I have spent much of my life generally avoiding anything tainted by Leonard Cohen's alleged poetry. I broke the rule only once. I honeymooned to a stupendous version of "Dance me to the end of love," by a different, cherished klezmer band. I now have a new favorite version of the song. If Mrocki's vocals didn't do it, the extra Yiddish verses, which change the tone of the song, entirely, would do it. Add a rather splendid "New Orleans Khasene," a renewal of the old chestnut, "Ikh hob dikh tsu fil lib" and a host of additional jazz and klezmer ("Intersection Waltz," from a 1960s Russian comedy, anyone?), tied together by plucked instruments (mostly David Krycer's guitar?), David Breytman's lovely accordion (okay, to be exact, bayan)--less speed this time around, but deeper, and Lionel Mrocki's clarinet.

All of the patented Klezmania moves are here: The Yiddish and English melded together, but the word is a trifle different than might have been written here in the United States, reflecting a different country and a different, also positive immigrant experience. Listen to the words of Molly Picon's "Oy s'iz git" languidly jazzy, melding slowly into Michael Alpert's anthemic, folky "Klaybt zikh tsunoyf" (Let's gather together). As much as I have enjoyed Alpert's singing of this song over the years, once again, the band has made it their own and irresistable.

I'm not sure how to describe the sound on the CD. Spare. Sensual (I already said that about Freydi's voice, but the same could be said about Lionel's clarinet). Clear. It's klezmer for people my age who dance, but who also listen; for whom the machismo isn't as important as the soul. In sending the CD to me, Lionel tried to warn me that the CD was less "klezmer-styled than previous efforts, by which he meant less of the "speed klez" featured on some earlier recordings. He also noted that it was his favorite so far. I agree—it's my favorite disk by the band, as well.

I recommend writing the band forthwith and encouraging them to send a few to CD Baby or other commercial ventures closer than Australia. It's a must-have.

www.klezmania.com.au. Accept no substitutes.

KlezFest London 2008, Aug 7-22, 2008

KlezFest London 2008 posterKlezFest London August 10 - 15 Directed by Frank London, with SongFest directed by Shura Lipovsky and DanceFest by Andreas Schmitges. With special guests Moshe Berlin (Israel), Steve Weintraub (USA) and Joanne Borts (USA). An incredible week of Klezmer classes, workshops, masterclasses, jams and concerts in the heart of London. See www.jmi.org.uk for full details.

June 22, 2008

KlezKanada Brochure and Workshop Schedule Available Online!, Aug 18-24, 2008

KlezKanada logoKlezKanada

KlezKanada 2008 will take place from August 18 through 24.

We have a world-class faculty and a fantastic program of concerts, lectures, films and hands-on workshops scheduled. The proprietor of this website will be there once again facilitating the Yiddish gossip column, the blog, and other neat, new ventures.

You can download all of the information at www.klezkanada.com.

Hope to see you there!

KlezKamp Roadshow, Poconos, PA, Jul 30 - Aug 6, 2008

Roadshow graphicKlezKamp Roadshow: July 30-August 6, 2008
Block & Hexter Vacation Center, Pocono Mts. PA

Download brochure

For more information (note new address):
Living Traditions
207 W. 25th Street, 4th floor
New York City, NY 10001
(212) 532-8202
or visit the Living Traditions Website

Konsonans Retro on YouTube

Christian Dawid writes: "For those of you who are already looking forward to the Kraków festival and KlezKanada…">

"[Filmed last night [back on May 18, 2008—the KlezmerShack can be slow. ari]. Yes, it's pretty dark, but the tune is all the brighter!] [You can also see Guy Schalom dance for three seconds.]"

Klezmer on Spanish radio

From Spain, I get the following word:

We make a radio program from Madrid, called Mapamundi, where we pay a big attention to klezmer. As an example you can listen to our special report about klezmer history, even from the destruction of the 2nd Temple (hehe) to nowadays. You can also search for "klezmer" in our website www.mundimapa.com and you'll check it.

Sincerely yours,
Araceli Tzigane & Juan Antonio Vázquez

Video: Klezmer Juice performing in LA

Gustavo Bulgach here frOm Klezmer Juice…. Here's a new video of us performing @ the DOROTHY CHANDLER THEATRE in LOS ANGELES last December. I hope everything is fine and we'll see you guys soon with UNA NOCHE YIDDISHE. ZAI GEZUNDT

In praise of Pete Sokolow

Pete SokolowMark Rubin takes some time out to write about an essential (and ubiquitous) member of the Klezmer Community, Pete Sokolow. Follow the discussion and you'll get video, Wex, and more.

New blog from Jeff Klepper

Pioneer in the "folky" new nusakh movement, Cantor Jeff Klepper, now has a blog up at jeffklepper.blogspot.com". He describes it as: "devoted to 'musings on Jewish music, spirituality and humor, and wistful memories of days gone by.' There's a lot of interesting and off-beat music to listen to—what more can I say? "

Cape Code Mandolin camp to feature klezmer, Sep 26-28, 2008

Cape Cod Mandolin Camp offers a klezmer music ensemble taught by Seth Austen, plus workshops in klezmer and other musical styles. Study, jam, rehearse and perform with mandolinists on Cape Cod -- Sept. 26-28, 2008.

New England Mandolin Ensemble
617 306 8055
East Sandwich Beach, MA 02537
To register, visit nemandolins.com/CCMC.html
or email New England Mandolin Ensemble

Best of the new Paris Klezmer scene

Tim SparksA quick note from Tim Sparks (see my recent concert review) a couple of months provided this important link for those who have noticed that something of distinct klezmer interest is happening along the Seine. Indeed, I have never had as many concerts from Paris, or from France, overall, on the Klezmer Calendar. Tim is back in the recording studio. Expect something new from him, via Tzadik Records, very soon.

On my myspace page, www.myspace.com/picksparks, in the favorite friends section, I've posted some of my favorite groups in the Paris New Klezmer/Gypsy scene: Le Freylekh Trio, Caravanne Passe, Finzi Mosaique, Untchak Attak, TsimTsoum, DJ Tagada and Gettabang. If you're not already familiar with them, I think you would enjoy checking these out.

Remembering Marty Levitt and Rudy Tepel, z"l

photoStill catching up from several months of backlog, here is a note from Pete Rushefsky:

For those of you who missed it in the last Center for Traditional Music and Dance eNewsletter (which you can sign up for at www.ctmd.org), I interviewed Joel Rubin about the recent losses of clarinetists/band leaders Marty Levitt and Rudy Tepel. You can find the article here: Remembering Marty Levitt and Rudy Tepel

June 21, 2008

JDUB 5th Anniversary party in NYC

event logoOn Sunday July 20th, JDub is celebrating its 5th Anniversary with a FREE event at the Prospect Park bandshell as part of the annual Celebrate Brooklyn festival series. The event, which runs from 5-9 PM (doors open at 4) will feature Golem, Soulico, DeLeon, Sway Machinery, and Michael Showalter hosting, as well as cool special guests like Brian from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Israeli godfather of hip-hop Sagol 59 and a marching band.

JDub has brought some of the most interesting music of the last five years--yeah, those are JDub artists above, and doesn't even include SoCalled or former stablemate, Matisyahu. This is the place to be on July 20th.

Celebrate Brooklyn @ Prospect Park Bandshell
Doors open at 4 PM; music starts at 5 PM
$3 suggested donation to Celebrate Brooklyn

Drapkin's "Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies" performed by Austin Symphonic, on YouTube

Michael Drapkin writes: Dear Friends and Family: I had the great honor of having our wonderful Austin Symphonic Band perform my concert band piece "Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies" this past Father's Day here in Austin in Zilker Park. The Texas sun had just gone down, but the air temperature was still in the '90s, so it was sweltering, but the band still played great. Shayna videotaped the concert live all the way from the back of the hillside, which accounts for a lot of crowd noise, but it was done on a tripod, so the results were pretty good. Naturally, her bias was to zoom in on her father! It was appropriate for this to be performed on Father's Day, as on the score I dedicated it to my grandfather Philip Segalove, who used to play a lot of these tunes when I was a child. This piece has been performed by several bands previously, but this is the first time I got to actually perform it myself playing the big solo clarinet part. It is being published this year by Northeastern Music Publications, so it may be coming to a high school or college band near you! It is broken into two pieces in order fit onto YouTube: Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies, Part 1: Suite of Old Yiddish Melodies, Part 2:

Paris Klezmer Festival arrives, Jul 7-11, 2008

photoKLEZMER PARIS - 2008 Musique juive d'Europe centrale / Jewish music from Central Europe Stage de musique instrumentale / Music workshop Stage de chant yiddish et de danse / Yiddish song and dance workshop Stage pour enfants et juniors / Kids and juniors classes Du 7 au 11 juillet 2008 - July 7th - 11th, 2008 INSCRIVEZ-VOUS VITE ! REGISTER NOW ! Informations détaillées et bulletin d'inscription / more information and application form: www.yiddishweb.com Tél : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 00 - Fax : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 47 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 : Marthe DESROSIERES (France - France) - coordination musicale, flûte, activités pour enfants / musical coordination, flute / juniors activities Shura LIPOVSKY (Pays-Bas / Netherlands) - direction du stage de chant, chant, danse / director of the song workshop, vocals - dance Lauren BRODY (Etats-Unis / United States) - accordéon, chant / accordion, vocals Arkady GENDLER (Ukraine - Ukraina) - chant / vocals Henri GRUVMAN (France - France) - théâtre, cinéma / theater, cinema Merlin SHEPHERD (Grande Bretagne - Great Britain) - clarinettes / clarinets Polina SHEPHERD (Grande Bretagne - Great Britain) - chant choral, piano / vocals, piano Jake SHULMAN-MENT (Etats-Unis / United States) - violon / violin Michal SVIRONI (France - France) - théâtre, marionnettes / theater, pupets Et leurs assistants / and their assistants 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. INSCRIVEZ-VOUS VITE ! REGISTER NOW ! Informations détaillées et bulletin d'inscription / more information and application form: www.yiddishweb.com Tél : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 00 - Fax : + 33 (0)1 47 00 14 47

June 15, 2008

The klezmer Golem, revisited

dvd coverIt was just a few years ago that Mark Rubin sent me word of an exciting project. He and his Austin-based band had screened the 1920 silent film by Paul Wegener, The Golem to a (mostly klezmer, with some davening assists by Cantor Neil Blumofe) soundtrack he composed. The results were captured on DVD.

The result is fascinating. In the 16th century Prague, of course, wild Jewish wedding music would surely have been popular as 20th century German Jews would have distanced themselves as far as possible from such unmannered music. Anachronisms abound upon anachronisms (including some of the very romantic plot twists), all moved along at an enlivening pace by Rubinchik's Yiddish Ensemble. Occasionally, one can hear the reactions of the audience viewing the movie.

This classic was almost immediately sold out. I am pleased to announce that "The Golem: How He Came Into The World" is once again available to the discerning public, with the klezmer accompaniment from www.filmbaby.com as DVD or digital download.

Yiddish Vokh, Copake, New York, Aug 20 - 26, 2008

Yiddish Week LogoYUGNTRUF presents our year's week-long retreat, where we strive to speak only Yiddish, will be held WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20 through TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2008 at the Berkshire Hills Emanuel Adult Vacation Center in Copake, New York.

The Yiddish-Vokh is a real community, in which our members give the lectures, lead discussions and workshops. Our members include professors, activists, writers and musicians, who share their knowledge, talent and love of mame-loshn.

There's a swimming pool and a beautiful lake. All activities are in Yiddish, including sports, folk-dancing, lectures, discussions, literary reading, campfire singing, talent show, concerts, films, Yiddish classes for advanced beginners and organized programs for children. The food is kosher, with vegetarian options. On Shabes, services will be available.

Register now at yiddishweek.com

Michael Kahan, z"l

Michael Kahan, courtesy Klezmer Gourmets websitefrom the Jewish Music Mailing list on June 4, 2008:

There is very sad news from Manchester, UK.

Our friend, violinist Michael Kahan was killed last Sunday.

List members from the UK, plus anyone who has attended KlezFest London will remember Michael as a wonderful musician and a dear, dear soul.

Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss

It is with great sadness that we at the Jewish Music Institute relate the tragic and untimely death of one of our klezmer family in the North, Michael Kahan. KlezFesters will remember Manchester based, Michael and his sensitive violin playing—particularly with Ros Hawley in a well known and esteemed duo called Klezmer Gourmets.

Michael was inexplicably stabbed to death near his home on Sunday. He had popped out in the morning for some breakfast bagels for his wife and son, and some guy got out of a car and stabbed him to death. Friend and colleague, Adrian Dobson says: 'It just doesn't seem real. Such a waste! His life together with Eva (whom he married only last summer) was just beginning to take off. They gave each other so much and had so many plans together. The wonderful thing was that he had just begun seeing his teenage son again after so much time apart, and there was definitely a dream of being part of a family again'. Adrian adds: We are all in a state of shock here at Michael's tragic death. Nothing can prepare us to cope with such random and extreme violence, and absolutely nothing can explain or excuse it. I fear that we are only beginning to appreciate the extent of our loss as the tragedy continues to unfold. Many of us musicians were inspired by Michael who was so generous with his talents, and we all valued his warmth, enthusiasm and creativity. I will miss him as a very kind and good friend, and I will remember him in my playing of klezmer for as long as I live.

Klezmorim in London and Manchester played in tribute to Michael on Sunday, Jun 8—see below.

Ilana Cravitz, the London-based klezmer violinist and workshop and jam organiser says' He was a very gifted fiddler and a stalwart of the Manchester klezmer community, running regular workshops and other sessions. He had also been an enthusiastic participant at KlezFest, and this year taught some Tuesday classes at SOAS in London for the JMI. His death is a really tragic loss'.

In London those who would like to help Ilana and Friends pay tribute to Mike, would be very welcome to attend Ilana's session at the Cross Kings, 162 York Way, London N1 between 1pm and 4pm on Sunday 8 June. You can call Ilana on 0782 551 0881

Ros Hawley was due to play with Michael at an outdoor event in a Manchester park this coming weekend. She says, 'Sadly and tragically, violinist Michael Kahan died at the weekend. He was my friend and duo partner, and we were due to be performing in our duo, Klezmer Gourmets, at FEAST! a community picnic festival at Platt Fields. We were intending to be strolling musicians entertaining the 'picnic-ers' with our Klezmer tunes.'

As a tribute to Michael, Ros and her husband Fish have invited his musician friends to play with them in the park. She envisages 'The slots will be like a jam session for Mike, where we play together tunes he enjoyed. He loved dancing too and was recently taking on leading dancing at events'.

Adrian Dobson says: I am so glad that Ros has given us the chance to meet this weekend to play klezmer together and dance in Platt Fields Park. It feels absolutely right that we remember Michael with the music and dance that he loved. We won't ever be able to fill the space that he has left, but we will be able form a circle of hugs with all our memories of Michael in the centre.

Ruth Steinberg from Leeds writes: Michael was at the last Klezfest London and I remember sitting in a restaurant round the corner from the Shul talking with Geraldine and her team with a few of us about 'Klezmer up North' and exploring how we could build. It was at the JMI Liverpool Wind Band event with Frank London event that I last saw him and can only think of him as a lifeful and life affirming musician and a kind and gentle Jewish man'.

Ros and friends have set up an email address for anyone wishing to leave any messages and thoughts—Steve Landin has put this on the Klezmer Gourmets website too. Ros says: The Klezmer Gourmets website is going to become a place where musicians can leave their thoughts so that there is a collective focused space for people to remember together, Eva wants this too, so please keep an eye on this and leave something there, and let your Klezmer networks know the same.

Life up here is so strange—we were meant to be rehearsing today for a number gigs we had coming up—it was meant to be a time of looking forward to the summer and the gigs this brings and enjoying playing.

Hopefully we are helping Eva and the family by giving people a focus to help them come to terms with the shock of what's happened and her some kind of space to be with her family'.

Laoise Davidson, who with Yvonne Glass, and Barbara Rosenberg is running KlezFest London this year says: "Not only was Michael a gifted violinist and teacher who was passionate about Klezmer music and Jewish culture, but he was also a very happy guy who always had a smile on his face. He will be terribly missed."

The klezmer London team, as well as the entire faculty of KlezFest—who will all pay tribute to Mike at this year's KlezFest (10–15 August)—join me in sending the traditional Jewish greeting of wishing you all a long life.

Some of the faculty who have heard the awful news have said:

He was a dear soul and friend. —Jeff Warschauer

He'll be missed, a lovely man.... let's put our thoughts out to his family.....and of course honour and remember his at Klezfest! —Merlin Shepherd

This is so tragic —Frank London

I am so incredibly sorry to hear this terribly sad news. I was really looking forward to seeing him again at Klezfest. I always enjoyed chatting about music with him and comparing klezmer notes. I know that the SOAS klezmer class this year respected him a lot. —Meg Hamilton, violinist of She'koyokh Klezmer Ensemble

We just got the news and are in shock. Michael was an incredibly sweet person and wonderful musician. —Josh Horowitz and Cookie Segelsein

Deborah and I spent some lovely one-on-one time with Michael at KlezFest London. I found him to be a passionate and incredibly intelligent musician. As Josh said, we are deeply saddened by this horrible news. —Cookie Segelstein

Michael was a student of Cookie's and mine at Klez Fest London and he was a wonderful player and human being. —Mark Rubin

The thoughts and wishes of all of us are with Eva, and Mike's and Eva's families. We wish them the health and strength to come through this sad time.

Yours sincerely

Geraldine Auerbach MBE
Director, Jewish Music Institute
SOAS University of London
P O Box 232, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 2NN
Tel 020 8909 2445 mobile: 07971 818 262
Website www.jmi.org.uk

bbc news

Wife pays tribute to murdered man

The wife of a man stabbed to death as he went to buy bagels for breakfast has paid tribute to her "kind, gentle and gifted" husband. Violinist Michael Kahan, 39, died after being stabbed twice in Crumpsall, Manchester. It is thought his attacker had mental health problems.

The Jewish man was found outside Johnstone's Leyland Decorating Centre in Middleton Road, near his home.

A 31-year-old man held on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.

'Instantly likeable'

His wife Eva said: "Michael was a very kind, gentle and gifted man—he was just going to buy Sunday breakfast but he never came home.

"He had a great sense of humour, was very chatty and instantly likeable. "He was simply a nice guy and we are devastated at what has happened. We just want to be left to grieve in peace."

Mr Kahan trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and was an expert in a type of Jewish music known as klezmer. He was in a band called the Klezmer Gourmets.

A post-mortem examination revealed he was fatally stabbed once in the abdomen and once in the chest.

A 48-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Story from BBC NEWS: news.bbc.co.uk

From the UK Daily Mail, Jun 4:
Stabbed violinist 'killed by discharged schizophrenic' on breakfast shopping trip, by James Tozer
Last updated at 5:59 PM on 04th June 2008

A violinist stabbed to death near his home in broad daylight was allegedly killed by a man who had recently been discharged from a mental hospital, it emerged today.

Michael Kahan, 39, had gone to buy bagels for Sunday breakfast for himself and his wife at the weekend when he was attacked.

Neighbours of the man accused of murdering the father-of-three said he had recently been treated in hospital for schizophrenia, and an investigation has been launched into his care.


Heeb's "Diamond Days" - this is Jewish?

As I got through months of accumulated email messages, some of them actually relevant and worth posting, my breath was taken away, once again, by a music fest hosted by "Heeb" magazine, the publication for people who want to feel "Jewy," but don't want to be contaminated by anything Jewish. So, it will come as no surprise that Heeb has a new music festival coming up in July called "Diamond Days" that features nothing recognizably Jewish in the lineup.

I would be the last to suggest a token klezmer band. I'd be satisfied even with one of the sterile nouveau religious bands featured in Moment Magazine's "Jewish Music sampler" of a few years ago, or some hip hope like SoCalled or Matisyahu or Y-Love. Perhaps something less classifiable like Pharaoh's Daughter, or Sephardic music of some form--Divahn, say. There are hundreds of people making music that draws on Jewish text or culture in some way. It would be kind of neat if an event targeted at Jews that involves 30 acts found room for some of that.

Or would that get in the way of the desire to hang with people who may be genetically Jewish (I find it as unlikely that a Jew by choice would find this event any more of interest than those of us who are Jews by tradition) without getting too … Jewy?

I like Heeb's attitude, in theory. I don't find the magazine particularly readable or interesting, and I gotta say, I am even less interested when so much efforts goes into something so irrelevant. And I guess that's as much thought as I can give it. On to updating the calendar and maybe getting some Jewishly relevant content back on the blog.

Judaica Sound Archives at FAU Features Legendary Yiddish Entertainment Family on its Website

BOCA RATON, FL (June 12, 2008) – The Judaica Sound Archives® (JSA) at Florida Atlantic University Libraries has obtained the rights to offer on its website a major collection of performances by the Bursteins, one of the most enduring family names in Yiddish entertainment.

The JSA, located on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, created the collection from holdings that had been donated to the archives at different times and from different sources. It includes 33 albums and features the combined works of Pesach Burstein, who produced musicals for audiences worldwide in the 1920s; his wife, Lillian Lux, who joined his troupe when she was 17; and their twins, Susan Burstein-Roth and Mike (Burstein) Burstyn. One can listen to the Burstein family audio collection and read about the family’s accomplishments at www.fau.edu/jsa.

Mike Burstyn, the only member of the popular “Four Bursteins” who is still performing, said he is delighted to share his family’s legacy with the world. “There is a resurgence of interest in Yiddish culture, but not many people are actually able to hear Yiddish the way it was spoken,” said Burstyn, who lives in Los Angeles. “Being able to listen to these great old Yiddish songs will ensure that Yiddish will not become a dead language like Latin. This will be educational and an inspiration to future generations. I am extremely pleased with what the JSA has been able to accomplish.”

Burstyn’s appearances on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in concert halls in the United States, Israel, and around the world qualify him as a cross-over entertainer who is appreciated by both Yiddish-speaking and English-speaking audiences.

The history of the Yiddish musical theater as told through the experiences of the Bursteins was documented in the 1999 award-winning film, Die Komediant, which is now on DVD. The film, based on an autobiography that Pesach Burstein co-authored with his wife, was released after he died in 1986 at age 90. An English translation of Burstein’s memoirs, edited by Gershon Freidlin, was published by Syracuse University Press in New York in 2003 and was titled: What a Life! The autobiography of Pesach’ke Burstein. Lillian Lux died in 2005 at age 86.

Susan Burstein-Roth, a successful writer and philanthropist who lives in New Jersey, praised the JSA’s online collection of recordings, many of which she herself didn’t know existed. “I am extremely pleased, overjoyed,” said Burstein-Roth. “I was so overwhelmed that it made me cry. The beauty of the website is stunning. It is just wonderful.”

Burstein-Roth left the stage at 19 to marry and to raise a family. She is a passionate supporter of Israel, founder of the Eshet Chayil Foundation and has become very involved in the Davidic Dynasty project and the King David Museum.

The JSA has been accumulating recorded music and voices of the early 20th century since 2002. It has become a major center for the collection, preservation and digitization of Judaica audio recordings.

For more information about the Burstein collection or the JSA, call Nathan Tinanoff at 561-297-2207 or Dr. Maxine Schackman at 561-297- 3765. Visit www.fau.edu/jsa for additional information about the JSA or to listen to music.

June 10, 2008

Yiddish Summer Weimar almost here - "The Other Europeans," Jul 10 - Aug 15, 2008

Date: Mon, 19 May 2008
Subject: Newsletter Yiddish Summer Weimar: The Other Europeans July 10th - August 15th 2008

Dear Friends of Yiddish Summer Weimar,

I just returned today from Chisinau (Kishinev), Moldova, where I spent an incredible five days with Marin Bunea (violinist), Diana Bunea (musicologist), Adam Stinga (trumpeter), Kalman Balogh (cimbalist), Fima Chorny (singer/songwriter) and Susana Ghergus (pianist). We spent from morning to night discussing, playing, listening, and exploring the topic of klezmer (Jewish) and lautari (Roma) musicians in Moldavia before the war and until today....

Yiddish Summer Weimar
Veranstalter other music e.V.
c/o Kulturbüro LaRete | Goetheplatz 3 | 99423 Weimar
Fon +49 (0)3643 50 66 77 | Fax +49 (0)3643 49 86 04
Mehr Informationen zum Festival finden Sie unter

... It was an incredible meeting of hearts, souls, minds, and music. Marin and Adam are extraordinary musicians, and they introduced me to a whole scene of musicians in Chisinau playing many of our familiar melodies at the speed of light, or possibly faster. It astonished all of us to discover that these Moldavian musicians had never heard of the klezmer revival, and they had never heard the old klezmer recordings from the 1910s and 1920s that are so important to our understanding of Yiddish music. When I played them Naftule Brandwein, Dave Tarras, Abe Schwartz, Belf's Orchestra, and so on, it was like a generation from 90 years walked into the room for the first time for them. In the days that followed, our conversations and exchanges of ideas, melodies, styles, memories just grew deeper and deeper. So what I want to say to all of you is this: I think that Yiddish Summer in 2008 is going to be just incredible, a great challenge to our ears, fingers, hearts, and understanding in many ways. The technical level will be high, definitely, and the more experience one has with klezmer music, the better. I wish I could go to every music school, conservatory, and university in Europe and tell the students what they'll experience if they come to Weimar this summer. Since I can't do that, I want to ask all of you to think of your friends, acquaintances, and contacts to music schools, cultural centres, universities, etc. If you can help spread the word about Yiddish Summer, please send Stephanie an email and tell her and she'll send you some flyers to distribute.

I also want to encourage you to come to the symposium from July 12-14, just before the beginning of the Instrumental Workshop. It will be a very rich discussion of topics ranging from comparing Roma and Yiddish culture and history to clichés and stereotypes, legal and human rights, and of course research in Yiddish and Roma music. Speakers are coming from Poland, Moldova, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Switzerland and the USA, and it's going to be a very international group indeed. At night we'll have a mini-film festival outdoors, showing “Gadjo Dilo”, “Auf der Kippe”, the music films of Yale Strom, and Adela Peeva's great film "Whose Is This Song?" For more information, please see our website.

Thanks for your attention, and hoping to see you this summer!

Best wishes,

Yiddish Summer Weimar
Veranstalter other music e.V.
c/o Kulturbüro LaRete | Goetheplatz 3 | 99423 Weimar
Fon +49 (0)3643 50 66 77 | Fax +49 (0)3643 49 86 04
Mehr Informationen zum Festival finden Sie unter