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January 24, 2014

Yaeko Elmaleh Quintet shine in return to Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Violinist Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh returned to Club Passim with her quintet last night and blew away a very crowded room. Her repertoire is relatively traditional: mostly klezmer, with outliers from elsewhere in Eastern Europe or the Middle East. In its more traditional moments, one felt the immense conflict of playing great dance music in a room far too crowded for dancing. But this is a quintet for whom tradition is a starting point, not a goal. Given that her fellow musicians included some of my favorite players from the Boston avantgarde (also seen in traditional bands Klezmer Conservatory Band, Shirim: mandolinist/guitarist Brandon Seabrook, accordionist Michael MicLaughlin, percussionist Grant Smith, and the exceptional, new-to-me bassist, but internationally renowed Israeli jazz bassist Ehud Ettun), it isn't surprising that the music often went in powerful and different directions. The result was hard to categorize. The couple sitting opposite me at my table, who had come hoping to hear traditional klezmer, were mezmerized. We were likewise captivated, despite having walked in with an attitude that an evening of traditional-ish music threatened. I was wrong, and look forward to seeing the band again during one of their Boston Jewish Music Festival appearances in March. But, you don't even need to wait that long. The ensemble will be performing in a free concert, February 23rd, as part of Tufts' Community Concert Series.

From the Boston Globe last week: Klezmer without borders for violinist Yaeko Miranda Elmaleh, by By Jeremy D. Goodwin, Jan 18.

January 16, 2014

Klezmer Ensemble class offered in Portland, ME

Carl Dimow, flutist, guitarist, arranger and composer for the Casco Bay Tummlers, will be continuing his Klezmer Ensemble class at Portland Conservatory of Music, and it's open to new members. The fall class was a blast and the ensemble sat in with the Tummlers at the annual Chanukah party at Temple Etz Chaim in Biddeford.

The next four sessions will be once a month, on Friday mornings. The dates and times are Fridays 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, 1/24, 2/28, 3/28, and 5/2. The tuition is $80 for members, (currently enrolled private lesson students at the Conservatory), and $100 for non-members.

The only requirement for the class is a basic facility on your instrument. In the class we'll be learning and arranging a number of classic klezmer tunes. In the process we'll learn some of the scales and rhythms that define this music. We'll also discuss the history of the music and listen to recordings by influential musicians.

To register for the class, contact Portland Conservatory, (which is located at Woodfords Church, 202 Woodford St., Portland). Tel: 775-3356. portlandconservatoryofmusic.org/registration. Or contact Carl for more information – 207-615-1550 – www.carldimow.com

January 13, 2014

Sway Machinery, "My Dead Lover's Wedding"

Filmed in Mexico City, roughly inspired by Jeremiah's grandmother's Transylvanian village, takes the inner life of a young girl as the jumping off point for a meditation on history, mythology and mortality.

A work-in-progress presentation of an excerpt from this new work will be presented at 4pm on January 25 at Congregation B'nei Jeshurun (257 W 88th St), on the upper west side. Please mark your calendars for this exciting event.

New Kleztory video from Montreal

Here is a short video about a performance by the Montreal klezmer band, Kleztory, with the "Nouvelle Génération" Chamber Orchestra. The performance was held at Salle Claude Champagne, Montréal, Canada, November 23 2013.

January 6, 2014

2014 Boston Jewish Music Festival - schedule announced

It's coming this spring, it's diverse, and it's hot. Whatever your Jewish music inclinations, make sure you check out the schedule for the upcoming Boston Jewish Music Festival.

Movie about Michael Bloomfield coming!

Here's the trailer for a movie about one of the great Sixties Jewish Chicago blues guys, who, along with Danny Kalb, Barry Goldberg, and others, reshaped popular music. To me, his first solo album, "It's not killing me" was one of the ultimate fusion albums—the most Jewish blues album I have ever heard: