" /> the KlezmerShack: October 2010 Archives

« September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

October 23, 2010

Sephardic Music Compilation, vol 1, to be released 11/30/2010

cd coverA mix of traditional, dance, electro, hip hop, and folk songs from around the Sephardic world makes up the Sephardic Music Festival's first compilation album, set for world-wide release on November 30th. Grammy-nominated artist Matisyahu combines a suite of Middle Eastern inspired hip hop riffs with a time-honored Yemenite chorus sung by Yehuda Solomon. Yasmin Levy's impassioned song "Mi Korasón" (My Heart) emphasizes the underappreciated romantic side of the Ladino language. Moshav—an L.A. based group of expatriate Israeli musicians—contributes a powerful rendition of the Yemenite wedding song "Abba Shimon" in Judeo Arabic. In addition, Yair Dalal, the world-renowned Sephardic musician who performed at the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize Gala in Oslo, offers a memorable interpretation of the classic Shabbat song "Ya Ribon."

Like the Sephardic Music Festival itself, this compilation displays the true breadth of Mizrahi and Sephardi creativity through song. The lyrics embrace traditional liturgy and ceremonial texts, love poems and Sabbath songs, personal reflections, and Biblical inspirations. The range of colors, harmonies, and rhythms in the music mirrors the astonishing diversity of Jewish languages and Jewish culture.

For more information, check out the Sephardic Music Festival website

Y-Love radio interview

Jewish hip-hop artist Yitz "Y-Love" Jordan recently returned to Israel for a series of concerts over the Sukkot holiday. He spoke with Israel National News about his new projects, his journey to Judaism and why hip-hop can invigorate Jewish youth.

For video from "The Beat of Israel" click here: www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139888

October 18, 2010

Latest online access: You ain’t heard nothin’ yet: Al Jolson sings

al jolson singsAl Jolson’s earliest recordings are now online! Visit the glory days of turn-of-the century vaudeville.

The JSA has created five digital albums from 55 of Al Jolson’s most popular songs that were originally produced on 78 rpm recordings. Known as “The World’s Greatest Entertainer” during his lifetime, Jolson became an American-Jewish icon.

Can you remember these favorites tunes? I bet you can’t listen to just one.

Help keep the music alive … Contribute to the JSA

Click here to find out more about Al Jolson.

Click here to listen to all 55 songs.

Review: Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys live at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" Oct 1-3

San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, held a few weeks ago from Oct 1-3, was also notable this year from including some well-known klezmer stars. I'm not surprised. In addition to Leverett's wonderful work (have I mentioned in the last few days that Leverett's most recent CD features Jorma Kaukonnen and Hazel Dickinson?), I should remind Bay Area folks of Sacramento's Freilachmakers who have their own new Celtic-Klezmer fusion CD out. This post, however, belongs to Julie Egger of the Red Hot Chachkas who writes about Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys earlier this month at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass:

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a music festival that is one of the biggest in the Bay Area. I went yesterday, once again, expecting some bluegrass, some rock and roll, Emmylou Harris and Earl Scruggs, but what I got, was Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys. As another Klezmer musician with The Red Hot Chachkas, I have known Margot for many years, Klez Camp, classes, etc. but to get a hit of Klezmer at Hardly Strictly was an amazing surprise. I left my husband and friends, who I had come with, at the Rooster Stage and weaved my way through the throngs down to the Porch Stage.

Margo outdid herself. Her music was amazing, and yes, it is a combination of Klezmer and Bluegrass, and that may be her in in this festival, but it was definitely Klezmer, or what we are struggling to call it these days.

My band, The Red Hot Chachkas, just got back from playing the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto and networking with the most amazing Jewish musicians of our time, Adrienne Cooper, Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Frank London, to name a few. It was an amazing festival and the music that is being created is, as we are struggling with calling it, New Klezmer, or Klezmer fusion, or New Jewish Music, is the next generation of Jewish music. This is not your Bubbe’s Klezmer

With access to music from all over the world, Klezmer and Jewish music is being fused with world music of all genres. This is where we are headed. We are the next generation of Jewish musicians playing New Jewish music. I feel honored to be part of this revolution.

But to see Margot at Hardly Strictly was even more amaz\ing because she is taking her music to the mainstream. I know Ashkenaz is an incredible festival , but to be part of a mainstream festival will get our music out to those who have never heard it before. There are so many times I tell people what kind of music I play and they have never heard of it. Think of the thousands now, (and there were at Hardly Strictly) that now have a new knowledge of klezmer, and with Margot’s amazing chops via Sid Beckerman she plays like the true Klezmer player she is, with a twist.

At one point, I got about 20 people to dance around the lawn, Yiddish style. I wanted to get the whole crowd up on their feet but as I went around I looked at faces, and it may be a projection on my part, but it looked like a great deal of them had never heard this type of music before. It was amazing, and they clapped and loved it. In fact, at one point, Margot got the audience to sing along with Yiddish syllables (di, di, di). They all did it.

I don’t know if others around the country or around the world have seen Klezmer in the mainstream such as this, \ but in my little neck of the woods, this is revolutionary, and will open doors for the rest of us Klezmer players. We need to get out of the ghetto.

Thank you to Margot for pursuing this and moving the revolution forward. We will all benefit, especially since her playing is of excellent caliber, so the impression to those who do not know, will get the right idea.

Mazoltov to Margot and Warren Hellman for featuring her at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

October 17, 2010

Idelsohn Society releases "Black Sabbath"

cd cover At the Ashkenaz Festival last month, one of the highlights for me was listening to a talk by Josh Kun about researching the way that Jews and Blacks; and most surprising to me in some ways, Jews and Hispanics, had mixed musically in previous decades. This goes beyond the "Yiddishe Mambo" or Nina Simone singing "Eretz Zavath Halav u'dvash" (which, I'll grant you, has been fun to rediscover on YouTube every few months).

Having said that, I need to mention that Kun is both a wonderful writer about Hispanic culture here in the US, and more rarely, Jewish culture. One of his many projects is something called the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation (once known as "Reboot"), which has been responsible for some amazing clearing out of the vaults, such as the Fred Katz classic, "Folk Songs for Far Out Folk."

So, the latest release of the Society is something they call "Black Sabbath," which ranges from the aforementioned Nina Simone cut, to Johnny Mathis singing "Kol Nidre." This is seriously beyond Cab Calloway or Slim Gaillard singing "Dunkin' Bagels" (covered wonderfully by the Australian band, Klezmania, on their debut album, or the jive spirit captured by the last two musicians (among others) brilliant captured on Paul Shapiro's "Essen" show.

I mention all of this because of the strange article in Tablet a couple of weeks ago in which the normally astute Alex Gelfand trashes the liner notes for going over territory that is "well-known." Except that (a) it isn't well-known outside of circles consisting of people like Paul Shapiro, Josh Kun, Alex, and me. And, at least in my case, there's a lot here, starting with Billie Holliday singing "My Yiddishe Momme" that I had never imagined, and which points to musical sharing far more intense than I had assumed.

To my extreme surprise, Gelfand then goes on to note what he claims is revelatory—the mixing between Jewish and Roma music communities a century ago. Except that to people like Zev Feldman, or Bob Cohen (whose lecture Gelfand applauds—like Kun, Cohen gives great lecture and even plays better violin), or, um, me, have known or suspected this since Feldman's seminal paper a decade ago about the "Bulgar." Those of us who have followed Alan Bern's "Other Europeans" project from its inception three years ago were thrilled to learn from Feldman's renewed research of how deep the communities mixed, to the point of intermarriage. But, no, this, too, is not news to those of us who have been lucky enough to be following it as it developed. To the rest of the world? It's as shocking as listening to the late German Goldenshteyn explain that "Avinu Malkenu" was an often-requested tune at non-Jewish weddings that his group played back in the former Soviet Union.

All of this is a very long-winded way of introducing Mike Regenstreif's review of "Black Sabbath," originally airing in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, which he has graciously allowed the KlezmerShack to put online: African American artists perform Jewish music. Enjoy!

October 16, 2010

New Milken "Virtual Museum"

The Milken Archive invites you to preview its new virtual museum website

Offering a diverse treasure of recordings, oral histories, photographs, videos, scores and commentaries — much of it available to the public for the very first time—the Milken Archive virtual museum is now open! As we begin to release this new content and prepare for the website's official launch in January 2011, we encourage you to explore the role this music has played in shaping the American Jewish experience through cantorial masterpieces, classical compositions, Yiddish theater, opera, jazz and much, much more.

"By coming to America, Jews have been given the freedom to worship, to work, and thankfully, to create, which has yielded remarkable gifts. The Milken Archive will continue to discover, record, preserve and disseminate a body of music as diverse and beautiful as America itself." —Founder, Lowell Milken

Explore the Milken Archive of Jewish Music: The American Experience

New reviews by Michael Regenstreif

Jewish-Music mailing list regular Mike Regenstreif has begun writing reviews of new Jewish music for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin. He has graciously begun sending the columns to the KlezmerShack for publication online here.

In his first reviews, published last month right after the most musically diverse Ashkenaz Festival yet, he covers a couple of artists about whom I know nothing, and a couple that have been very high on the "get a review onto the KlezmerShack soon" list. Not a bad way to start:

cd cover You may have heard Israeli-born cellist Maya Beiser on NPR a few weeks ago. Here, Mike reviews her excellent new album, Provenance.

cd cover Bassist Jim Guttman has been the rock holding Boston's own Klezmer Conservatory Band together since the band's formation these many decades ago. It's taken him a long time to release a CD under his own name, and we've put up with it because his "day band," is, after all, pretty spectacular. This CD, he says, is the one he's longed to create for years, and Mike discusses what makes Bessarabian Breakdown.

cd cover Mike notes the Ashkenaz Festival debut by the Red Hot Chachkas with admiration—and well he should. I was sitting with Philadelphia drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts while they were doing their set, and Elaine was pretty admiring, herself. I've reviewed previous CDs with great pleasure. Their newest, Beats without Borders deserves everything nice that he says about it.

cd cover I've never heard of jazzman Benny Sharoni until I read Mike's review of Eternal Elixir. I would be very surprised if jazz fans don't really enjoy what they hear when they check out the bebop and ballads on the new CD.

Greg Wall - "A Jam That Goes On Without End"

Really nice article (and accompanying video) that captures one of the current projects, the Ayn Sof Arkestra, of the amazing Greg Wall, rabbi and one of the most "really gets it" people creating Jewish music out there, from one of the NY Times "Local" blogs. His partner in founding Ayn Sof? One of the few other people who deserve that "really gets it" accolades, Frank London:

A Jam That Goes On Without End, by Clint Rainey, Oct 11, 2010

Hankus Netsky tonight, "Klezmer and Beyond"

Chase-Netsky: photo by Susan WilsonHankus Netsky has been stretching the repertoire available in the Klezmer world for quite some time. He has also been doing more work with fellow jazz musician Linda Chase and friends. Tonight we'll get a chance to enjoy the best of both of those worlds at Newton's Temple Reyim. Show is at 8pm and the details, of course, can be found on the KlezmerShack Calendar.

KlezKamp 2010 program announced

KK 2010 logoKlezKamp 2010 will be held December 26-31, 2010 at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in New York's Catskills Mountains.

"Our theme this year, Gilgulim/Transmigrations, celebrates not only the diverse and dynamic history of Yiddish culture on the move, but also Living Traditions' "transmigration" into the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Please check out our online registration. Or, if you are not on our mailing list and would prefer a good old-fashioned in-your-mailbox registration brochure, drop us a line or call our office at (212) 532-8202 with your name and address. Please hurry, though: space is limited and we are already swamped with many more requests than we have seen in a number of years.

It is also our great pleasure to announce the upcoming release of The Tradition Lives: Yiddish-Moldavian Music of German Goldenshteyn. Recorded at last year's KlezKamp, the new CD has material our late and beloved teacher and friend German Goldenshteyn chose for his first recording and for a proposed Volume II, and honors the great music and inspired playing he shared with us.

As with our other LT CDs, we look for support from our KlezKamp community to issue this critically important recording. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation for the production and release of this CD in time for this year's KlezKamp. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made by check to Living Traditions Inc. or online with a credit card. All donors will be listed in the record notes and, as with our previous German Goldenshteyn CD and books, a percentage of the profits are shared with the Goldenshteyn family.

October 9, 2010

Beyond the Pale nominated for four Canadian Folk Music awards

cd coverBeyond the Pale has topped the field with 4 nominations from the Canadian Folk Music Awards for our last CD "Postcards," including Ensemble of the Year, Best World Music, Best Instrumental Ensemble and a category called "Pushing the Boundaries". Check out the press release from CBC news for more details.