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March 31, 2013

The muppets seek the Afikomen

Adorable, and better late than never—just in time for any last-night seders!

"Zog Maran" - Yiddish Passover song remembers crypto-Jews

Dick Rosenberg found this last week and posted to the Jewish-Music list; it's now too late for your seders, but we're at least still in Passover!

I want to share this. We played in an assisted living residence last night and our singer, who is a devout Yiddishist, brought a Yiddish Passover song, 'Zog Maran. I had never heard it before and was very moved by it. It is in Yiddish but tells the story of a Marrano in Spain (a Jew who had on the surface converted after the Spanish Inquisition but who secretly practiced Judaism). The first version, by Martha Schlamme, has the words and the translation.


The second version, by Linda Hirshhorn and Vocolot, is extremely moving.

A zisn pesakh,

Adam Stinga needs your help

I have taken too long to post this. The wonderful trumpeter and member of Alan Bern's Other Europeans project has been undergoing cancer treatment. He has no insurance. Please help. Here is Alan's last update from early March:

Apr 1, 2013

Adam is in a rehab clinic in Marburg. The doctors say that he's making excellent progress. I'm speaking to him daily, and his mood is very good. He'd like to get back to trumpet playing very soon but the medical advice is that he should wait at least another month before risking that much air pressure on the repaired bronchia. Adam and I are very grateful to the generous response of so many friends far and wide. About 8,000 Euros have come together so far, an enormous help.

Best wishes, Alan Bern

Mar 8, 2013

Well, sometimes miracles still happen. Adam Stinga's operation was a complete success, and he'll start rehab next week, working towards the goal of playing trumpet again, which now seems very likely. Think about it: a Moldavian Gypsy trumpet player with lung cancer connects to a network of German doctors and a clinic in Bad Nauheim via his Jewish musician friends, Facebook and German pop music stars, is treated by an Albanian surgeon assisted by Syrian and Egyptian doctors and a Turkish anesthesiologist! This is the world in 2013, it's even Germany in the year 2013. Progress, no? We're deeply grateful to everyone who has given moral and/or financial support! You helped save Adam's life, it's that simple. We're still sitting on some very heavy expenses, though. If you or anyone you know can help, there's a paypal link on the other european's website: www.theothereuropeans.eu please share this posting as widely as possible, and thanks again to everyone.

Holger Berger, a klezmer from Germany, sends this more recent update:

I am from Germany and a regular and enthusiastic reader of your blog … I have met with a message about a trumpet player fallen ill from Moldavia this week which has made me very sad. By his illness (lung cancer) he can perhaps never play the trumpet again.

It is the Roma musician Adam Stinga and he has lung cancer. Because you can treat the lung cancer in Moldova probably not so good, it will be treated in Germany. Due to the lack of health insurance, the operation is of course priceless expensive for him. And even if he survives the cancer, maybe he will never again have the clearance to play his trumpet and earn money with his music.

Here exists also a very touching cinema movie about the [Other Europeans] called "Broken sound". When you download or stream the movie by following this link, the filmmaker donate half of the money on an Adam Stinga Fund:

I've seen the movie and I can only say it is a must-have for any musician, no matter what music genre he belongs to.

On this German Website you can read many reviews of other viewers: www.other-europeans-film.de/index.php?id=70

Perhaps your other readers are also interested in it. I would be glad if you would pass on the story of Adam Stinga and the links. You can find more also on the facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Other-Europeans-in-Broken-Sound/139352856081941

Holger Berger

New European Cantor's Association

From Geraldine Auerbach, allegedly retired, but still making good things happen:

We have newly established the European Cantors Association. Its aim is to focus the attention of synagogal bodies, lay leaders as well as prayer leaders on the situation and possible consequences of what is happening to synagogue music today. A big part of the problem is that congregations are ignorant of what the cantor does. Our aim is education of children and those who attend synagogues. Its all about communication....

We have created a newsletter—its called 'Cantors Banter' and you can read it here on the ECA website, www.cantors.eu

You can see details of the 2013 European Cantors Convention. it takes place in London June 17 - 20 with guest cantors Yehezkel Klang and Sol Zim. We welcome attendees form all over the world. here are the details, www.cantors.eu/8thConvention.html

Best wishes

Don Byron reflects in the "Forward"

One of the most meaningful parts of the KCB reunion held for KlezmerShack's 10th birthday about five years ago, was listening to Don Byron show how much he had absorbed of Klezmer, and then to spin it with his own magical sense of jazz. Truth be told, that mixing of jazz and Jewish is so different from the European klezmer that it is really another genre, entirely. But, I digress. What Byron does with jazz and klezmer is his own, and a treat. Here, he talks with folks at the Forward about his Mickey Katz discovery:

How Don Byron Brought Klezmer Music And Mickey Katz Back To Life: Clarinetist Looks Back At His Triumph, by Jake Marmer, published Mar 29, 2013

"… If you were trying to be hip, and hip meant being assimilated, it was going to be hard to face the thing you ran away from, especially at first. I know many of the downtown types had never seriously thought about doing that music, though many would deny my impact on them; however, you couldn't really argue with the crowds we were getting. That probably broke the ice for many of them. The first anniversary of the premiere of 'Mick at the Knit' suddenly became a downtown festival, including all the revival acts and the downtown folks.…" [More]

March 27, 2013

Cool new Kickstarter campaign w/Andrea Pancur and Ilya Shneyveys

Oh, this is cool. Longtime klezmer Andrea Pancur has teamed up with Latvian Ilya Shneyveys to do this new Bavarian project (kind of south for a Latvian, no?) looking at the roots of shared Jewish and Bavarian tunes. It's Alpine Klezmer: Bavarian and Yiddish and not quite kosher.

I'll let them tell their story their way—check it out at Indiegogo.com

March 7, 2013

Daniel Kahn and Painted Bird bridge generations in Boston

image from brochure

Judy and I have been out every night for days. The Boston Jewish Music Festival is that good. Last night was my first opportunity to see the current incarnation of "The Painted Bird" and my first opportunity to visit Jamaica's "Milky Way Lounge" in its new setting. Major success all around.

For those who don't know Kahn's work, think of a cross between Brecht and badchaness—wonderful, topical rock, folk, cabaret songs about the (generally, ill) state of the world with facile, pointed lyrics, in Yiddish and English, backed up by a talented rhythm team (Michael Tuttle on bass and Hampus Melin on drums) and the always-scintillating Jake Shulmen-Ment on violin. At times you think of a young Leonard Cohen, but less caught in the glare of his love life and more caught up in the ways in which we live together as a society. Other times, I could clearly hear the influences of bands such as the Pogues, whom Kahn cited at dinner preceding the concert as among his influences.

One aspect of the concert that I especially enjoyed was the mix of the expected younger attendees with a large group of older yiddishists. All of us seemed to be having a good time.

Kahn is touring to support his most recent CD, Bad Old Songs, featuring the Brechtian "Good Old Bad Old Days," Leonard Cohen's "Story of Isaac" and much more. If you are lucky enough to be in NYC, you can catch him on tour starting Saturday night in Ithaca, NY, and on Monday night at the Grammercy Theatre; thence off to the left coast.

March 3, 2013

Tarras Band, Lerner & Moguilevsky, Shura Lipovsky kick off BJMF

Such an amazing official kickoff to the Boston Jewish Music Festival last night. The first half was a heimish, wonderfully played tour of familiar klezmer from Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein--The Tarras Band--complete with Pete Sokolow, David Licht, Jim Gutmann, Ben Holmes, and Michael Winograd. Pete's comments on Tarras and the bad old days remain a big part of the fun, as was his final solo at the end of the set where he unleashed his inner "Klezmer Fats."

Anywhere else, that would have been enough, but then Lerner and Moguilevsky took to the stage and we realized that listening to the Tarras Band was in part so that we'd be able to associate the intense and wonderful improvisational music we were now hearing with the originals. I haven't seen the band for a couple of years (Ashkenaz, Toronto, as usual). Such a wonderful feeling to see them on a local stage. But then, Shura Lipovsky took the stage with a big, wonderful voice and Yiddish originals and Cesar and Marcelo were the perfect accompaniment. Talk about three musicians in one mind and performing intimately, flawlessly.

Lerner and Moguilevsky are in New Hampshire today. Lipovsky is off to Berkeley where she will perform with Theo Bikel. Check out the full schedule at http://bostonjewishmusicfestival.org/events/