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December 28, 2009

Jews and Christmas ... and Mormons

Most years we Jews guiltily acknowledge that it's true, Jews wrote most of the most insipid popular songs of this once sacred season. This year, to return the favor, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wrote an insipid Hanukkah song which has been getting a lot of play. I've been ignoring it, but I just noticed a great catch by Teruah's Jack Zaientz:

December 21, 2009

CD Release: Shir Hodu: Jewish Song from Bombay of the '30s


Thursday 14 January 2010, 7.30pm
Room 116, Main Building SOAS,
Thornhaugh Street,
Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Admission Free.
Exciting new release!
Shir Hodu: Jewish Song from Bombay of the '30s

Producers Julian Futter and Dr Sara Manasseh invite you to the launch of an extraordinary, re-mastered compilation of long lost professional recordings of the Bene Israel and Baghdadian Jewish communities in Bombay, India (originally on the King, Hebrew and Jay Bharat Record labels). Among the performers, all well-known in their communities, are Hazzanim (cantors, prayer leaders) and shofar (Ram's horn) blowers, a meat shop owner, music school directors, and instrumental stars of the Indian cinema. This musical link with the past has been vividly brought to life by the memories and photos of the descendants, relatives and friends of the singers and instrumentalists, gathered from across the globe. The CD comes with a richly illustrated 24-page booklet that will serve as a valuable source for future researchers into Indian Jewish musical traditions.

To purchase the CD please contact Alan or Mark at Honest Jon's: +44(0)208 969 9822
Website: www.honestjons.com

Produced by Julian Futter & Dr. Sara

In association with Jewish Music Institute

New Flying Bulgars CD: Tumble Into Light

cd coverFlying Bulgars' New CD Tumbling Into Light NOW AVAILABLE!

Tumbling Into Light is currently available through order on our website as well as at Soundscapes at 572 College Street, Toronto.

CD also available from Maple Music at www.maplemusic.com

Something different for the solstice season

Jewlia Eisenberg requested a Hebrew version of "Silent Night" for a video to go with a New Yorker satire (currently unavailable, but linked from www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/12/21/091221sh_shouts_rudnick). Not a great satire, but there are more painful things to read. Happy solstice, everyone.

Anyway, upon reflection, she decided that the issue was not "Christianity" vs. "Judaism" and she came up with a very different video:

"The Great Goddess is still rocking out with her bad self … taking new forms but still connected to that neolithic old-school vibe. Go boobs of Mary! Listen, enjoy, post, celebrate dark nights and solstice"

December 18, 2009

Rootless Cosmopolitan nails it

Like much of the rest of the Jewish world, I have been assaulted by countless copies of the video showing a new shlock Hanukkah (official JWA spelling) song by right wing jerk happenstance Jew (but only the "right" kind of Jews)-lover Orrin Hatch.

I have refrained from mentioning the item on these pages. Now, Rohl Kafrissen puts her finger on what is significant about this recording: turnabout is fair play.

Like Rokhl, my family has managed to forget this new one as we light candles this year, although we've done our usual couple of variants of "Ocho Kandelikos" and the Sephardic version of "Maoz Tzur" that Judy knows....

It all ends tonight and through tomorrow. Enjoy the brightest lights tonight and here's to hoping that Hatch's song joins "Hanukkah with Monica" on the trivial pursuit pile.

December 15, 2009

Levi and Dardashti wow the audience at 5th Sephardic Fest

Forwarded to me by a friend:

The 5th Annual Sephardic Music Festival, sponsored by NYC's 92nd Street Y Tribeca location, got off to a roaring start with a performance by Galeet Dardashti's group, "The Naming". Dardashti mixes English, Hebrew, Arabic and Persian in original musical compositions and songs about women. Her subjects range from the matriarchs to her Teheranian great-aunt Tova who was childless and therefore put on tefillin every morning since she felt she had no excuse for slacking, given that women are generally excused from the compulsory execution of this mitzvah by dint of needing to take care of their children. 'The Naming' has good electronics which help visualize the biblical or midrashic texts from which Dardashti crafts her songs. The musicians are more than competent; they are clearly interested in using traditional Persian Jewish music in a respectful way when it gets fused into more western traditions. Themes include Sarah and Hagar, the Queen of Sheba's riddles and hairy legs, childbirth, and a beautiful song about the city of Shusan which is also a paean to Vashti (today's demonstrators in Teheran and Jewish women are all seen as Vashti's offspring).

Smadar Levi was uplifting ; her band had a lot of good energy and she genuinely knew how to work the crowd in a mix of English and Hebrew. The emphasis was on Moroccan music that was clearly suffused not only with Jewish and Moroccan themes but also with Sufiism. She had just come back from the music festival at Fez where she apparently did a command performance for the Moroccan king. Her mix of languages in original songs set usually in both Hebrew and Arabic worked well. Her band felt like an updated version of HaBreira HaTivit and people by the end of the set were clapping and dancing since she clearly invited audience participation.

—Esther Malka

December 14, 2009

Yiddish Rudolph

It's time for a reprise of that killer holiday melody as sung by Jewlia Eisenberg and the wonderful SF band, Kugelplex: