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July 30, 2013

Radical Yiddish: Another take on Daniel Kahn

Did I mention that I am not the first to review the new Painted Bird recording? Take a look at this from the summer 2013 Jewish Currents? You haven't heard of Jewish Currents? Let me be the first to introduce you.

"Radical Yiddish: Moyshe Kulbak's Minsk, Daniel Kahn's Berlin," by Joel Schechter, from Jewish Currents, Summer 2013

Soviet Yiddish writer Moyshe Kulbak, arrested and executed in 1937, could be one of the poètes maudits (accursed or outsider poets) about whom Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird sing in their new release, Bad Old Songs [more]

Kahn, Charming Hostess, Schechter

Still pretending that I am making a dent in the piles (I count five, all labeled, "review first") of CDs and MP3s on the review tables):

cd coverWhat does a theatre major with an affinity with Yiddish do? Obviously, move to Berlin and make trouble. This latest release, "Bad Old Songs" by Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird demonstrates that trouble is in no danger of abating.

cd coverWho can keep up with Jewlia Eisenberg? "The Bowls Project" is the most radical, revolutionary, and delightful to listen to CD by Charming Hostess, yet.

cd coverHeartstoppingly beautiful settings for equally intricate and beautiful poetry by the late Rabbi Abraham Joshual Heschel, Basya Schechter's latest solo project, "Songs of Wonder" is the closest we have to new Yiddish music to carry on the tradition of the late Adrienne Cooper.

July 29, 2013

new reviews: Frank London, Michael Winograd

It was a guys' week at the KlezmerShack last week, with new reviews of CDs, one old, one new:

cd coverMichael Winograd has earned a stellar reputation as a band-leader and arranger. His previous CD was a sparkling, very traditional excursion. Now, with Storm Game he demostrates his skill with a wider palette, ranging from Minimalism to cantorial music, anchored by an all-star international gang. One of my favorite recent releases!

cd coverFrank London's Hazónos was recorded at the same time as the acclaimed documentary about Cantor Jack Mendelson, A Cantor's Tale, and features music from, but also inspired by, the film. I'm still finding inspiration and new meaning in the music years later. It's time to get the word out

July 17, 2013

From our overflowing stack of new klezmer releases - a sampling of recent favorites

There are new CDs arriving every week. I got an email this week from a friend who saw one band from Knoxville, TN. "I don't think you know what it's like to encounter good klezmer here in the hinterlands! The least you can do is mention the CD on your website." So, we'll get to "Dor L'Dor" in a few minutes. And, in keeping with that suggestion, today's post, long as it is, focuses primarily on Klezmer. Despite our name, that is a small fraction of the wide array of Jewish music that is sent for listening and review, so stay tuned for some variety in coming days and weeks.

In the meantime, for those of you who are curious, last week I got most of one of the simpler websites set up acceptably in Drupal! It's only been a decade or so. Expect to see some fun announcements soon. There is still some significant work I want to do before launching that website and starting to apply that knowledge to the KlezmerShack, but, thanks to the ever-useful Using Drupal, things are finally starting to fall into place.

joy with (primarily) primary colors!The first CD I have to mention was released just today. The Breslov Bar Band is a joyous melee of klezmer, hasidish, funk, rock, ska, punk, and more. I loved the first CD, but this one just hits the spot. For many Happy Hours, Check out the CD website and extended liner notes, and then order the CD or MP3. I am likely to give this a more extensive review as time permits.

trendy middle earth coverAnother arrival this week is from a Polish band, "Di Galitzyaner Klezmorim." This release follows in the wake of several other recent Polish bands such as Kroke and the Bester Quartet in that the music is klezmer-influenced jazzy world music. In this, to some extent, they are also children of the later works by Brave Old World. At a first listen, the musicians are excellent, as well. There are extensive liner notes. Check it out at tylkomuzyka.pl

brass unleashed but held back by cheesy typeThis is the band that got me started on this post. Dor L'Dor is based in Knoxville, TN, which is also home to a dear friend. Said friend was at a concert by the band and was blown away. "Why," he lamented, "was such an excellent band not mentioned on the KlezmerShack?"dancing at the khuppah with more cheesy type אשמתי. Mea culpa. The band is a delightfully brassy concoction. Their most recent CD is a few years old, but remains a nicely jazz-inflected collection of Jewish standards, most definitely living up to its title, "Not Your Father's Klezmer Band." Their earlier release, "Dance for your Life" is more straightforward modern Jewish wedding music. Both include klezmer, Israeli standards, old favorites, familiar and less so (one number works in "Putting on the Ritz"), often arranged in the sorts of medleys you would expect (and enjoy) at your next simkha or rounding out a good Jewish dance mix tape. Available, of course, on cdbaby.com as well as common mp3 platforms

brass unleashed but held back by cheesy typeYou'd think it would be easier to get a mention on the KlezmerShack if you live nearby and run into Mr. KlezmerShack at gigs. Hah! You get the same look of despair and "how can I keep up" that everyone else gets—just to your face, instead of via email. Having said that, Dick Schoeller, of Shpilkes Klezmer Band (note proper Yiddish transliteration of the band name) put his band's newest release, "Can't Sit Still," (2012) into my hands at the most recent Boston Jewish Music Festival. Featuring excellent instrumentals, as well as vocals by Barbara Green, Arnie Harris, and Dick, himself. This CD features mostly klezmer, with one Ladino and one Hebrew song.

fun with memorabilia of the last centuryAnd speaking of local bands that I love and don't mention often enough, it is over half a year since the KlezWoods released their second CD, "The 30th Meridian: From Cairo to St. Petersburg with love." You can get your copy either on a physical CD or from iTunes. KlezWoods have long been my favorite klezmer bar band, and this CD begins to capture them at their best, playing all manner of Jewish simkha tunes and their own originals ("Somerville Sirba," anyone? Perhaps on "January 7th Early in the morning"). If you have the pleasure of catching them live, this will help you remember the good times. If you haven't yet had that pleasure, this is close enough—get your copy soonest.

If you liked ET, you might like this coverBased up in the northwest corner of the United States, Bellingham, Washington, Millie and the Mentshn offer a surprisingly classical Jewish sound. At times, with Millie's trained voice, the band sounds more like a "chamber simkhe" band than their more common and more raucous counterparts elsewhere. Bandleader Millie Johnson is out to entertain, but also to tell the story of her family's immigration experience, as well as stories of most of us whose ancestors came from Eastern Europe a century ago. Cover not notable for design or for typographyIn "Another DiMentshn" (2008), the band opens with a song written by a Brazilian Jewish immigrant a century ago ("Tico Tico""), gives the Israeli pioneer song more often known as "Arava, Arava" a cowboy beat, and otherwise ranges wide from klezmer to Ladino to Yiddish. In a second CD from the same year, "Mentshn It" (2008) the band performs a wide array of klezmer and yiddish folk/theatre tunes, but also recounts the experience in di goldene medine with "Brother can you spare a dime.". Sound samples, and more available on the band's website.

Nice and imaginative coverI close for today with a mention of a dear recent recording by Klezmerfest accordion maestro Zevy Zions. You can hear Zevy and the rest of the gang this fall at Greg Wall's birthday bash at the NY Klezmer Series. In the meantime, on this disk (his fourth) he takes us on another solo tour of the world via accordion. Despite the presumed limitation of using his solo accordion only, this is a very sweet and varied CD. But, you can get your copy of Bolero Fantasia from CDBaby.com and other find klezmer vendors. Check out the sound samples on cdbaby.com and try it yourself, or reach the review at the esteemed Blog in Dm.

Yidstock, at the NYBC, Amherst, MA, July 18-21, is nigh!

This will probably be my last plug for this delightful local festival, but it's from their press release and worth noting:

There are two concerts on the program that no one has ever seen anywhere else, and which will probably never be repeated. Frank London, trumpeter and founding member of the Klezmatics, and Steven Bernstein, a great jazz trumpeter who's worked with The Lounge Lizards, will be appearing on the Yidstock bill as Brass Khazones. Yidstock will conclude with a massive jam session at the end of the weekend featuring the "Yidstock All-Stars," a group comprised of players from the weekend's bands, under the musical directorship of Frank London. Among those all-stars are two of the greatest clarinetists in klezmer: Ilene Stahl of Klezperanto and Margot Leverett of the Klezmer Mountain Boys.

New blog for the Johanna Spector Archival Collection

This from Joel Rubin on the Jewish-Music list:

From: Katherine Aron-Beller

Check out The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary's new blog jts-spectorarchives.tumblr.com with findings from the Johanna Spector Archival Collection.

The collection consists of papers, recordings, photos and other items related to Spector's career as an ethnomusicologist focusing on Jewish communities of the East.


Naomi M. Steinberger
Director of Library Services
The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Song for the Maskilim

In response to a recent discussion, Lucy Fisher posted this excellent blog post to the Jewish-Music list. It's from the wonderful "Yiddish Song of the Week" blog, edited by Itzik Gottesman:

"Di apikorsim" Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

The song itself, a maskilic song mocking the Hasidim but sung in the voice of true believers, was a common genre. However, in Apikorsim the humor is quite vulgar. In songs such as "Kum aher du filosof" the irony is much more subtle. Ruth Rubin's book Voices of a People has a nice section on maskilic songs (chapter 10). Rubin also prints Velvl Zbarzher's song "Moshiakh's tsaytn" (pp. 255 - 257) which is on the same theme as di apikorsim.

The heretics, those loose fellows,
Their lungs will all rattle.
They will burst apart,
when they hear the shofar of the messiah.…

July 14, 2013

Pianist Irving Fields new autobiography "The Pianos I Have Known" now available

To be honest, this has been available for a year! Time to get the word out.

The Pianos I Have Known: The Autobiography Of Irving Fields was collaboratively written by 94 year old Irving Fields and Huffington Post columnist Tony Sachs and edited/released by music critic Aaron Joy through his indie book publishing/music label Roman Midnight Music.

The book is currently available in paperback via Lulu, Inc. or Amazon.

The following is from the back cover, covering all the bases of Irving's career: "He's the composer of chart- topping songs performed by the likes of Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Xavier Cugat … one of the original Manhattan "society" cocktail pianists whose career stretches back to the days of Prohibition … whose sister Peppy was known as the Sophie Tucker of Miami Beach due to her long running radio show … the originator of one of the first piano-drum-bass trios, with a later trio lasting nearly 40 years … the man who first fused Jewish and Latin music with the classic 1959 album Bagels & Bongos … a headliner at Carnegie Hall, top draw on round-the-world cruises, star of radio and TV, and writer/performer of a hit song on YouTube … and he's still playing six nights a week as he approaches his 100th birthday … This is the life of a Jewish kid from the Lower East Side who hated practicing piano." He's also the inspiration behind the writing of the book And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Our Vinyl about Jewish music history and the first release by the ReBoot Stereophonic jazz reissue label.

The book, at nearly 300 pages, covers his life growing up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, performing in local Jewish theaters, through being inspired by a trip to Cuba and forming his legendary trio, recording his albums and making hit records, a look behind many of his popular songs, playing with many celebrities including songwriter Albert Gamse, Jackie Mason, Canadian Jewish fusion artist Josh "SoCalled" Dolgin, and to finding a second career well past retirement age. Also included are unseen photos, the first published visual discography of his albums, an appendix on his sister Peppy Fields "the Sophie Tucker of Miami" who started a career in New York as a radio host before relocating south and now she gets into print for the first time. 30 year Manhattan lounge pianist Albert Aprigliano, whose often worked with Irving over the decades, contributed a short introduction.

Irving, who will turn 98 August 4th, continues to play as a solo pianist 6 nights a week in Manhattan at Nino's Tuscany (117 W 58th, Manhattan, Tuesday through Sunday 7-10).

July 13, 2013

KlezmerGuide--the online reference to klezmer recordings, sheet music

Allen Lutins sent me this link two years ago to a website that he has created. I am just now posting the link to the KlezmerShack. Mea Culpa. אשמתי. But, in the meantime, he has just been adding to it and maintaining it:

KlezmerGuide.com, a comprehensive cross-reference to klezmer recordings and sheet music sources.


Shlomo Carlebach meets Nina Simone? New music to open in NYC


For all THEATER LOVERS or MUSIC lovers, this show is a MUST SEE!

SOUL DOCTOR is an exhilarating musical journey through the triumphs and tribulations of a cultural phenomenon. It tells the fascinating story of the father of popular Jewish music, Shlomo Carlebach, and his unlikely friendship with Nina Simone. A modern-day troubadour, Shlomo ignited the spirit of millions around the world with his soul-stirring melodies, transformative storytelling and boundless love.

After his escape from Nazi Germany, the young Rabbi befriended the legendary jazz singer Nina Simone who introduced him to soul and gospel music. With the "High Priestess of Soul" as his inspiration, Shlomo created a joyous new sound with melodies that fused his roots with American popular music. With his meteoric rise as a "Rock Star Rabbi," he struggled to harmonize his traditional beliefs with the "free love"" generation of the 1960s. Today, his uplifting music and message help to define America's most defiant era.

SOUL DOCTOR features Shlomo's timeless hits in a rocking score by the orchestrator of The Who's Tommy and Elton John's Aida. It stars Eric Anderson (Kinky Boots), who received a 2013 Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance as Shlomo Off-Broadway. The New York Times proclaims, "As he transforms from rabbi to kinetic dynamo, Eric Anderson imbues his numbers with their own arc, building to a joyous, leaping roar!"

More info: souldoctorbroadway.com/

How has Sephardic singing fared with assimilation into American culture?

Eva Broman found this delightful article and posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Seven Songs, Seven Identities: Bridging the Past and the Future, by Dr. Jane Mushabac, from Sephardic Horizons

"... Singing in traditional societies was very different. A traditional home was directly enlivened by song. Sephardic women sang regularly while busy with tasks and in social gatherings; their songs were full of pleasure, angst, bitterness, joy, and sexual innuendo. Men's singing was liturgical. At home and in synagogue, men's prayers and blessings celebrated Jewish history and coherence. For both women and men, singing was both easy and habitual, and physical and intense.… [more]

July 9, 2013

Adam Stinga update - looks like he's cured and healthier than ever!

Alan Bern reports to the Jewish-Music list this morning this very welcome update:

Dear Friends & Supporters!

I'm delighted to update you on Adam's health. I'm with him now at the Kerckhoff Klinik in Bad Nauheim, Germany. He arrived here yesterday for his 3-month post-operative check-up that took place this morning. Dr. Med Safet Beqiri, the brilliant surgeon who operated on Adam, used a bronchioscope to check how the internal incisions have healed. Indeed, they've healed perfectly with no scarring and no sign at all of any further growths. In short, a 100% result, incredible. Adam himself has put on some weight in the last few months due to enjoying life and quitting smoking (mazltov!) and his handshake and hug are as strong as a bear's. Dr. Beqiri stated that there's no reason for Adam to be cautious about playing trumpet now, he can go full out as if he'd never been sick.

It's hard to put into words how amazing this is, and how grateful we are to everyone who helped with support of all kinds. Without your help, this outcome would have been impossible.

Warmest greetings to all, Alan

More on Adam's battle with cancer:

We're #1! Hatikvah's "Jewish Soul" is Amazon.com hit

From Hatikvah Music's Simon, on the Jewish-Music list

'I went to Amazon to see how our CD of "Jewish Soul: The Heart & Soul of Jewish Music" is doing in the ratings, and I was quite pleasantly surprised to see it ranked at #1 in both the "Jewish" and "Israel" categories.'

'The ratings are updated every hour based on sales, but this was quite a nice surprised considering the CD was originally release almost 3 years ago. www.amazon.com/Jewish-Soul-The-Heart-Music/dp/B004CP7T8A/'

This was the "report" around 6:00 PM

Original Release Date: 2010
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Hatikvah Music
Run Time: 43 minutes
ASIN: B004CP7T8A Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,683 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
#1 in Music > World Music > Middle East > Israel
#1 in Music > Folk > Jewish & Yiddish Music
#11 in Music > World Music > Europe > Eastern Europe

July 8, 2013

almost time for Yidstock, Amherst, MA, Jul 18-21, 2013

There are some real goodies happening out in Amherst weekend after next. Here are some excerpts from the latest newsletter. Need I mention that we haven't seen Klezperanto live, anywhere, in years. To see them with Margot Leverett and her Klezmer Mountain Boys? Priceless:

Yidstock Logo 2013Yidstock 2013: The Festival of New Yiddish Music

July 18 - 21, 2013 at the Yiddish Book Center
Amherst, MA

"There are two concerts on the program that no one has ever seen anywhere else, and which will probably never be repeated. Frank London, trumpeter and founding member of the Klezmatics, and Steven Bernstein, a great jazz trumpeter who's worked with The Lounge Lizards, will be appearing on the Yidstock bill as Brass Khazones. Yidstock will conclude with a massive jam session at the end of the weekend featuring the "Yidstock All-Stars," a group comprised of players from the weekend's bands, under the musical directorship of Frank London. Among those all-stars are two of the greatest clarinetists in klezmer: Ilene Stahl of Klezperanto and Margot Leverett of Klezmer Mountain Boys."

"To see the full schedule and to order tickets or a Festival Pass (a limited number are available) visit yiddishbookcenter.org/yidstock or call us at 413-256-4900."

July 7, 2013

Yidlid website needs support

Belatedly posted, from Helene B. Katz, via the Mendele mailing list:

"The Yidlid—ייִדישע לידער Yiddish songs—website is one year old.

"Each song in the site (almost thirty, and growing) is complete with Yiddish and translitterated text, French and English translations, vocabulary, score, audio file, links to recordings, etc.It has already been visited by thousands of persons from more than forty different countries and we're really grateful for all the messages of thanks and encouragement we received.

"Presently, Yidlid needs some financial support.

"Our seven years old old-faithful computer is slower every day and won't survive much longer. We already extended its life by shifting to Linux when Windows wouldn't work any longer... and are very happy with the change! But it can't adapt to recent softwares anymore. We would like to buy or find a newer one.

"We would like also to spend more time keeping the website growing, and this means finding at least a small income through working on it. If you like the website, and want to contribute, please contact us and we will give you all the information necessary.

"Even small contributions are welcome!

"The website's adress: rama01.free.fr/yidlid"

"God Bless America--or, Mose and His Big Jewish Nose"

From the Jewish-Music list, via Cantor Sam Weiss, one last tribute this year to the anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence:

"That's the title of this July 4th Jewniverse.com article: thejewniverse.com/2013/god-bless-america-or-mose-and-his-big-jewish-nose/

"I first came across the vaudeville song (Before the Jewface CD brought it to our attention) in a much rarer alternate version of the sheet-music in which the title is ever-so-slightly modified by one word to make it ever-so-slightly less offensive: "When Mose With His Hand Leads the Band." Similarly in the lyrics, the line "He's unique with nothing else but just his nose" (which you hear in the Jewniverse recording link at 0:48) was changed to "And to see him lead they stand up on their toes." I just located a complete copy of this version of the sheet music here:


"Compared to the "Nose" cover attached to the "Jewniverse" article, the "Hand" cover shows an even more prominently preposterous proboscis, and when I first saw it I just knew that "hand" could not have been in the original title. Sure enough the anatomically correct original version soon was publicized in connection with the Jewface album release.

"Interestingly, both versions were published in 1906. My guess is that the milder title was issued to suit the more delicate sensibilities of the lady performer (Jeannette Dupre) seen in the bottom cameo photo. The recorded version on the Jewface album is slightly faster, and includes the second verse ("Katzenstein plays 'The Rhein'...") missing from the recorded link in this article.

"As far as interesting musicology on "God Bless America," the book described in this recent Forward article looks much more promising: forward.com/articles/179363/the-jewish-history-of-god-bless-america/"

July 5, 2013

Yiddish Summer Weimar 2013, July 20 - Aug 11

Catching up still from the period when I was laid up (which means that you want to apply to this extraordinary program now, from Alan Bern:

It's my pleasure to let you know that the Yiddish Summer Weimar 2013 website is online and registration is now open: www.yiddishsummer.eu. This year's topic is New Yiddish Music, with Advanced and Intermediate workshops in Song, Dance and Instrumental music, as well as beginning through advanced Yiddish classes. For the first time in 2013, we're presenting a "festival-within-the-festival"—a week of two concerts each night followed by a Gala Dance Ball and the first ever Yiddish Summer Pool Party—yes you read that right! Workshop faculty includes Efim Chorny, Dan Kahn, Frank London, the Michael Winograd Trio, Sasha Lurje, Ilya Schneyveys, Steven Weintraub, Zev Feldman, Andreas Schmitges and more. Concerts include the Zmiros Trio, Dan Kahn & The Painted Bird, Forshpil, Semer Label Reloaded, Voices of Ashkenaz, AlpenKlezmer, Milena Kartowski, Schikker wi Lot, and more. Running from July 21 - August 11, Yiddish Summer 2013 is going to be incredible, and I hope you can join us for one or more weeks!

Warmest greetings to all from Alan Bern, Director, Yiddish Summer Weimar

Review of Strom's "Shpil"

book coverShpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer, edited by Yale Strom, Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 2012. 153 pp. Reviewed by Jonathan L. Friedmann, Ph.D.

"The past decade or so has witnessed a flourishing of books tackling various aspects of klezmer, a term referring both to a style of Eastern European-born Jewish folk music and the musicians who perform it. Growing interest in the centuries-old genre has spurred the printing of a variety of songbooks, fake books, instrument-specific collections, historical analyses and ethnographic studies. All of these areas find a home in Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer, a slim yet information-rich volume edited by accomplished klezmer violinist and ethnographer Yale Strom. Filled with historical details, practical advice, technical instruction, musical examples and illustrative anecdotes, this all-in-one book gathers the wisdom of renowned klezmer performers, specifically Peter Stan (accordion), Jeff Pekarek (bass), Norbert Stachel (clarinet), David Licht (drums), Yale Strom (violin) and Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals)." [more]

July 4, 2013

A Biselle KlezKamp - free day-long workshop, Madison, WI, Jul 21, 2013

event logoA Biselle KlezKamp (a bit of KlezKamp) Please join us for our next day-long, free event on July 21, 2013, 9am-9pm. UW-Madison campus Union South 1308 Langdon Street Madison, WI More info: call 608-890-4818 or visit mayrentinstitute.wisc.edu/ Music, dance, language, art, and cultural studies—plus age appropriate children's programming—are the lively core of this whirlwind 12-hour extravaganza of Eastern Euro pean / American Jewish life. A Biselle KlezKamp is the Midwest's premiere Yiddish event. This year's program will be as rich as ever. Our world renowned staff will return with new and exciting offerings, and we've implemented suggestions from previous attendees to make this event even more responsive to the needs of all participants, veterans and newcomers alike. If you've attended A Biselle KlezKamp before, come back to continue deepening your exploration of the bounties of traditional and popular Yiddish culture with our new workshops and lectures. And if you've never joined us, what are you waiting for? Yiddish culture is a thousand years old, but it can't wait for you forever! We'll be there. Will you? Join us! Henry Sapoznik Director, Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture

Three Lenka Lichtenberg album reviewed

While you're waiting for the KlezmerShack reviews of these new albums by Lenka Lichtenberg, we've been scooped by "The Whole Note". Three review covers the diversity most recent three CDs, including the newest, a complete departure, "Songs for the Breathing Walls." I say, get the word out, and enjoy.

cd coverPot pouri, Lenka Lichtenberg, by Andrew Timar, June 2, 2013.

"The deeply affecting album Songs for the Breathing Walls refers to the 12 historic synagogues scattered throughout the Czech Republic whose Jewish populations were decimated by the mid-20th century Holocaust. These settings of Jewish liturgical songs reflect the varying onsite interior acoustics of the synagogues, their outside soundscapes (on track 18 Lichtenberg remarks "...birds, cars, bells...everything...") as well as their history, intimately connected to their congregations. [more]

Bonus: The following audio links are from the CD release party:

  • Laska, boze, laska ("a Moravian song that i loved since childhood that i did on a hunch—and people just loved it. i guess something to be said for simplicity...")
  • Di Goldene Pave ("here is Di goldene pave from same concert (poem Simcha Simchovitch—who was there!) … finally i got it right i think. my fourth arrangement of it (it exists on two albums, each totally different, and there was also a never-recorded 4-part arrangement i did for the Sisters of Sheynville …) well here, i dropped all the fancy modulations, time changes and stuff. just added lots of dai dais at the end so peeps would sing along and they did … clearly it's a folk song and i was trying too hard to make it into something that it is not... :-)")

"In a Jewish Moog" - Gershon Kingsley

While I'm catching up on amazing finds from Eric Krasner, here's one more, posted to the Jewish music list last August:

"Here's a fascinating clip of a performance of Gershon Kingsley's 'Sabbath for Today' (1971) performed with an early Moog synthesizer. Gershon Kingsley is the man behind the kitschy Moog classic, "Popcorn".

"Gershon Kingsley's 'Sabbath for today,' conducted by the composer, broadcast on Channel 13 in 1971 from Temple Rodeph Shalom. Ephraim Biran cantor/soloist, Rabbi Gunter Hirschberg, speaker, Alfred Drake, narrator, Kenneth Bichel, Moog Modular"

Catching up - remember Mickey Katz, born June 15 over a century ago

I was a bit out of it this past month (bicycle accident—see Google Plus). Among the things I missed were Mickey Katz' birthday on June 15th. Happily, Eric Krasner has shared some links:

104 years ago on June 15, 1909, in the city of Cleveland, a baby born was born, Mickey Myron Victor Katz.

/thejewniverse.com/2013/mickey-katz-borscht-jester/ (includes video w/recording of "Duvid Krocket")

Need some "Yinglish" translation? "Duvid Crockett" was actuall banned in Mickey's hometown! Eric found this gem to help us understand the fuss:

"Big Chief" Norman Wain, a disc jockey in Mickey's hometown of Cleveland banned Mickey's hit, "Duvid Crockett" from his radio show on WDOK back in 1955. Radio host, Phil Fink translates the Yiddish and Yinglish lyrics for us in a search to find out why.

You can find out more about Eric's Mickey Katz movie project at:


Here are two clips from a 1979 interview with Mickey Katz, plus a very short clip of Mickey posing for an album cover, put online by Eric this year—he has more—fund him!

Mickey Katz posing for the cover of "The Most Mishige" (1958) from CineGraphic Studios on Vimeo.

July 3, 2013

The Forward: Three Jewish Albums Channel the Black Music Experience

Jake Marmer notes three fascinating new Jewish recordings (none of which have anything in particular to do with klezmer) for summer pleasure. Highly recommended:

Three Jewish Albums Channel the Black Music Experience, by Jake Marmer, The Forward, June 28, 2013 (originally titled: The Three Must-List (Jewish) Albums for Summer, in the print edition)

"Perhaps the story of the great Jewish music in America is truly that of its encounter with African-American music. Three terrific new albums traverse the traditions of Afrobeat, jazz and reggae, while at the same time staying informed—in very different ways—by music more traditionally associated with the Jewish sound.…" (more)