January 22, 2018

Rokhl Kafrissen: No Yortsayts, Please. We're Yiddish.

Her first Tablet Magazine column of the new secular year, and apologies for taking so long to post it here.:

Yortsayt shmortsayt. Abi gezint! My first GOLDEN CITY of 2018 is here and friends, the prognosis is good. At least for Yiddish.

As always, please click and read. Share if you liked it. Share twice if you hated it. ❤️

No Yortsayts, Please. We're Yiddish. Rokhl's Golden City: Why reports of the death of Yiddish theater are greatly exaggerated, by Rokhl Kafrissen

December 28, 2017

Latest "Rootless Cosmopolitan" post on Tablet Magazine

I wanna be your Goyfriend (or at least your Berlin boo) - new GOLDEN CITY is here! Be a pal (or a bandmate or a lover or a groupie or a husband WHO NEEDS LABELS??) and click, read and share. Tis the reason for the squeezin of the season ❤️

May 16, 2017

Milken Archive: Intimate Voices: Solo and Ensemble Music of Jewish Spirit"

Our virtual exhibit "Intimate Voices: Solo and Ensemble Music of Jewish Spirit" continues its multimedia exploration of Jewish chamber music, from its roots to its fully mature--and still evolving--art form. Drawing on Jewish traditions, rites and folklore, the included works use the medium to evoke history and push boundaries, all on an intimate scale, all with a personal connection.

Follow this musical journey from Jerusalem to Odessa, with works by:

  • Meyer Kupferman
  • Richard Wernick
  • Samuel Adler
  • Michael Shapiro
  • Leo Ornstein
  • Ofer Ben-Amots
  • Aaron Copland
  • Jan Radzynski

Experience the History and Hear the Music in Part Two of Intimate Voices Solo and Ensemble Music of Jewish Spirit

March 19, 2017

Times of Israel on Pepi Littman

This turn-of-the-century crossdressing feminist proves that Yiddish theater ain't no drag, Mar 12, 2017

With a modern revival 100 years after Pepi Littman donned Hasidic garb, the irreverent, nearly forgotten performer is even more relevant

Frank London's "Hatuey Memoria de Fuego" premieres in Cuba

The KlezmerShack is embarrassed to be a month behind the times, but we'd rather be late than not acknowledge this neat new Frank London project

Yiddish Opera to premiere in Havana, by Miranda Cooper

'Hatuey: Memory of Fire,' written by composer Frank London of the Klezmatics, tells the story of a Ukrainian refugee who falls in love with a revolutionary Taíno singer

Hatuey: del cabaret a la colonización

El próximo viernes 3 de marzo, la compañía Ópera de la Calle estrenará Hatuey, obra que—además de haber captado la atención de los medios internacionales—promete un espectáculo singular en dos tiempos: el siglo XVI cubano y la vida social de los años treinta.

Basada en el poema épico del ucraniano Oscar Pinis: Hatuey, memorias de fuego, y adaptada al teatro musical por la dramaturga Elise Thoron y el compositor Sir. Frank London, la ópera mezcla ritmos judíos y afrocubanos en compases irregulares, muy diferentes a los acostumbrados en el género.

January 19, 2017

Local singer brings to life cross-dressing Yiddish vaudevillian

Bay area folks may enjoy this article about Jeanette Lewicki and tonight's performance, "Comedienne in a Hasid's Pants: Pepi Litman."

Local singer brings to life cross-dressing Yiddish vaudevillian, Hannah Rubin, Jan 12, 2017, J Weekly

epi Litman may have been born in the 1800s, but from reading the details of her life, you wouldn't know it. A cross-dressing performer with undeniable Yiddish swagger, Litman toured Eastern Europe with her vaudeville theater troupe, singing songs about politics, archaic religious traditions and the death of bureaucracy.… [more]

January 18, 2017

The unexpected smash success of Jewish bluegrass music - Forward, 12-Jan-17

This one was captured by Margot Leverett, leader of the Klezmer Mountain Boys. Not sure the headline writer knows the difference between "blues" and "bluegrass", so think of this as a paean to Jewish "Americana" music. But, don't let the headline put you off—good article:

The Unexpected Smash Success of Jewish Bluegrass Music, by Gabe Friedman, January 12, 2017, The Forward

Saul Kaye never wanted to be a "Jewish blues" player. In his opinion, the Jewish music he had heard growing up in Northern California's Bay Area ranged from "really bad to horrible." In 2009, he was touring as a rock musician, playing hundreds of shows a year with various bands at bars and clubs. And though he had never been very religious, he experienced a bad breakup and felt the need to do something spiritually "radical." …[more]

September 9, 2016

new Klezmer resource: Sherry Mayrent's "Klezmer Academy"

I'm not sure if this is new, or simply new to me—the KlezmerShack has been mightily distracted for a while. In all events, it's a great site:

Klezmer Academy, curated by clarinetist Sherry Mayrent, has klezmer tunes, discussions of klezmer theory, practical lessons on style, musings on current and past trends in the music and its performance, and other topics on all aspects of klezmer and its history.

December 26, 2015

Working to construct a "new Yiddish culture"

Have me mentioned that Yiddish New York event is taking place right now!? You can find out more at

Working To 'Construct' A 'New Yiddish Culture': Josh Waletzky is creating a new festival to celebrate a culture in the making., by Sandee Brawarsky, 15-Dec-2015

Q.: What the genesis of the idea for Yiddish New York?

A: It grew out of some discussions taking place informally among some artists who are veterans of the klezmer revival camp scene, the granddaddy being KlezKamp. There's a year-round rotation of festivals that include workshops, lectures, special events, concerts dedicated to Yiddish culture. KlezKamp, which ended its run after 30 very productive years, was on a number of people's minds. Last winter was its last session, and a number people were saying there would be a hole in the calendar. New York, which was the home base of KlezKamp (even though it was held an hour north of the city in the Catskills) is for all intents and purposes the world capital of Yiddish culture, both historically and in the concentration of individuals and institutions active in that scene. We couldn't just leave this hole in the schedule and not have New York represented, with all the world-class people actively engaged in creating Yiddish culture here. So we proceeded in tasking certain individuals in areas of their expertise and experience, like trumpeter, bandleader and composer Frank London, who has been the artistic director of KlezKanada for some time. We're had an embarrassment of riches putting together the faculty. [more]

Best Klezmer recordings of 2015

Yeah, you would expect the KlezmerShack to have already done this, but, as usual, Bert Stratton has scooped us:


My desk is piled high with free CDs: Ezekiel's Wheels, Golem, Vulfpeck, Winograd, all kinds of Dutch and Polish bands, and the old standbys like Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Klezmatics.... [more]

December 1, 2015

Alicia Svigals on cover of "Fiddler" magazine

"In the world of klezmer music, Alicia Svigals is a household name. Ever since her band The Klezmatics came on the scene in 1986 with its unique take on traditional klezmer music (she remained a member until 2002), Alicia has been the go-to person for klezmer fiddle."

Alicia Svigals: A New Role, by Matt Merta, Fiddler Magazine, 2015-11-20

July 3, 2015

Podcast: album launch: "Chekov's Band"

From Joel Rubin, who has been behind so many excellent anthologies of historic Jewish music:

"Our famous, Jewish orchestra, you remember, four violins, a flute and a double bass" (Gayev in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, 1904)

Renair records are proud to announce the fourth of their series of issues exploring the story of Jewish recorded music. For more than one-hundred years the recordings on this CD had lain forgotten and unheard in the EMI archives. This ground breaking release of these extraordinary early recordings rewrites the story of Jewish instrumental music. Their exuberance and life affirming feeling allow us a glimpse into a world that has completely vanished. We interview Joel Rubin and Julian Futter to find out more.

ShirimKhadashim is made new - blog active again

From George Robinson to the Jewish-Music list:

"I'm on hiatus from Jewish Week for the summer, but there is so much going on in the Jewish music world that I feel compelled to revive my Jewish music blog. As you can see from the archives of the blog, this was a sputtering, misfiring venue ("I had a car like that"), and I can't promise it won't be more of the same, except that I feel a strong responsibility to the community to get the news out there."

May 15, 2015


For those of us in my adopted home of Boston, MA, this is not a new subject. Dance leader Jacob Bloom has been fusing klezmer music and contradance for years (he also led the dance at our wedding). But, for those elsewhere, perhaps a fun introduction to the subject:

Klezmephonic and Drake Meadow: Bringing Jewish Music and Dance together the Ann Arbor Way, May 13, 2015 By Clare Kinberg

Can a Contra dance caller lead a Yiddish sher (scissors dance)? Darn right, if it's Drake Meadow! We will all get to experience the fun of it on Friday May 22nd as we gather to honor Rabbi Michal and appreciate her leadership of our community over the past two years. A special Kabbalat Shabbat beginning at 6:30 will be followed by a potluck dinner and entertainment by Klezmephonic, a new Ann Arbor klezmer band. [more]

May 2, 2015

New website: Klezmer in Seattle

Klezmer Music in and around Seattle & Klezmer Resources

What a great idea! Everything from lists of local bands, where to find the local klezmer jams, where/how to learn more about klezmer, etc.

Appears to be sponsored by the local Seattle, WA klezmer band, Klezmer Chaos.

April 24, 2015

Yiddish Song of the week: One song, three pogroms

A song used in variant forms to memorialize tragedies befalling early 20th century Jewish communities in Kishinev, Bialystock and Volodarka. Commentary by Itzik Gottesman, now on Center for Traditional Music and Dance's Yiddish Song of the Week...

A project of CTMD's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture

March 27, 2015

Link: In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war

Posted to Facebook by Toronto scholar Anna Shternshis about the work of two of her students:

In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war, by Judy Maltz, HaAretz, Mar 25, 2015

"Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, a unique collaboration of composers from two enemy states, will debut at Toronto's Alliance Francaise Theatre." [more]

January 13, 2015

Jeremiah Lockwood, "Songs of Zebulon," singing and writing about khazones

interesting collage of musicians and disksJeremiah Lockwood is the long-time frontman for one of the most interesting young Jewish bands, The Sway Machinery. He is creating some of the most interesting new Jewish music today. The grandson of a cantor, he has been musing about khazones in several recent forums. This blog post from Jewish Currents is one facet of that engagement:

Legendary voices: The education of the great cantors, by Jeremiah Lockwood, posted Dec 2, 2014.

This is no casual interest. Lockwood has recently released an album of works inspired by the music of Cantor Zebulon Kwartin, Songs of Zebulon, with help from several luminaries of the NY music scene: Frank London, Ron Caswell, Brian Drye, and Shoko Nagai. The album is on the "Blue Thread" label (an imprint of Jewish Currents and is both a Lockwood original, and to a lesser, but still significant degree, Frank London's ongoing exploration of khazones. The voice is the voice of a khazan, but the music pulls in sounds from the blues, from North Africa, from spirituality around the world in an exciting, not always easy, mix. For people like me, this is the sort of music we keep waiting for—something that listens to tradition from other ears, and with an exciting patchwork of twentieth century identities. For one hint of how that all pulls together, listen to the slide on "B'rach Dodi" (I assume it is Lockwood's blues slide.) There are also flashes of familiarity, as with the album's closing "Od Ha-Pa'am" ("Once again"). You can find out more about Cantor Kwartin and his time, and listen to samples, from the project website, or get your own copy directly from Blue Thread.

January 10, 2015

"World music for war child," just released by ARC, includes Yale Strom song

When I post online about the latest outrages around the world, I most often find myself saying some variant on, "we won't have peace until all sides care about each other's children as their own." Here's an effort to drive that idea home, sent by Yale Strom:

My song "What Time Will It Be" composed by me and lyrics by me and Elizabeth Schwartz is on this recording with many other world renown artists. Please tell others. All money raised goes to the cause of helping children in war torn areas throughout the world. featuring: Yale Strom, Ahmed Mukhtar, Robin Hogarth, Blessings Nqo Nkomo and Slim Ali & The Hodi Boys.

October 30, 2014

Yiddish song of the week, from Josh Waltezky

These are posted each week by Pete Rushefsky to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

O rebbe I stand and shiver
In my heart burns fire.
I want to be a good khosid,
a faithful khosid.

A song from the repertoire of Josh Waletzky's grandfather Morris. Commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at the Yiddish Song of the Week.

A project of Center for Traditional Music and Dance and the Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture.

May 22, 2014

Cantorial recordings re-imagined

This latest Yoshie Fruchter project needs help on Kickstarter. I'm in. How about you?

Schizophonia is an exploration of cantorial music found on 20th century recordings and re-imagined through a contemporary lens.

May 17, 2014

Great new resource: YIVO Digital Archive on Jewish Life in Poland

From Gerben Zaagsma in the "Yiddish Sources" group on LinkedIn

Poland was once the home of the largest Jewish community in the world and until World War II was one of the great centers of Jewish political, cultural, and religious life.

YIVO's Polish Jewish Archive is the only American collection, and one of very few worldwide, which was saved from the destruction of the Holocaust.

Explore this world here through manuscripts, posters, photographs, music and other artifacts.

Klezmer Podcast 115 - Golem

cd cover

Golem has a hot new release featuring their patented klezmer/yiddish/balkan-ish punk anarchy. The opening song is like a cross between Cyndi Lauper's "Girls want to have fun" and Daniel Kahn. Get the complete scoop in this week's Klezmer Podcast as the Annette discusses "Tanz," and more. What I find most fascinating is her description of the inspiration for her current songwriting based on her husband's family stories—Russian Jewish stories not from our grandparents, but from our time. What better subject for a Jewish punk-rock-traditional band?

Klezmer Podcast 115: Annette Ezekiel Kogan, of Golem

You can also catch Annette, with violinist Jeremy Brown, interviewed by Sarah Ivry on Vox Tablet:

December 20, 2013

Two House Parties

This has been a wonderful week for music. I was too tired to attend the KlezWoods Christmas Klezmer Special (hint: holding me to attend events that begin at my bedtime is iffy), much as I would love to see them back where it all began, at the Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge. But they have neat shows planned for January (see the KlezmerShack world Jewish music calendar) so I am sure to see them soon.

But, this past Saturday night, motzei shabbes, I was treated to a rare local performance—the week's first house party by Alicia Jo Rabins. With her husband, Aaron, she presented a wonderful, midrashic evening full of "Girls in Trouble," including some very new stories that will be featured on a third album in the series. For those unfamilar with "Girls in Trouble," it is a program that grew out of a Masters Thesis at JTA in which Rabins tells the story of women in the Bible. Her use of both literal text and midrash to explicate the lives of women, both well-known (e.g., the prophetess Miriam) and obscure (Tamar), coupled with very American music make for a delicious concert To listen to midrash about Biblical women during this season of lights is also very special. Nah, the truth is, Girls in Trouble give good concert. The rest is just, um, midrash. You can find out more about the project at the Girls in Trouble website.

Wednesday night, we hosted Canadian ethnomusicologist Judith Cohen at our own home. As usually happens, people from all walks of life attended, and the event was just as lively for the conversations that took place after the lecture/performance as people discovered new connections amongst themselves, as for the event itself, which extended long past the scheduled stop time. Cohen reflected on her work in North Africa, Israel, Europe, and back home in Canada, gathering songs and stories. We followed the same song through several languages. We spent a lot of time on variants of the "guy goes off to war, comes back seven years later, and what happens when he tests his wife's faithfulness and feelings." Alas, in all of the variants, there appear to be none in which the woman says, "fuck you for abandoning me for seven years and then having the gall to test my fidelity get lost." There are, however, some in which she says, "well, too bad. I'm married with four kids now. Shoulda stayed home." It's a start.

As tends to happen when the speaker has done field research around the globe, she was also able to dig up songs from town and regions whence came several members of the audience. There were also some singalongs, and, happily, no performance of "Cuando el rey nimrod" (or other chestnuts). Cohen did point out that a song about the birth of the founder of the Hebrew people that refers to the "Jewish Quarter" does lack a certain amount of credibility, overall--but does reflect the song's own origins outside of Jewish tradition.

This morning, Henry Goldberg sent a list of links to follow up on some of the discussion. I post them here for those who were (or weren't) there, for following up further.

  • "Judith mentioned the National Authority for Ladino and postings on youtube—if you search for: Autoridad Nasionala del Ladino i su Kultura you will find many postings
    – some are interviews with Sephardim (in Judeo-Espanyol); – some are songs, including the singalong songs
  • if you search for: שרים בלאדינו you will get those most directly, but they have a number of other videos that are songs with lyrics that one can sing with. This one: is a long posting with 8 different songs.
  • Judith also mentioned the songs collected by Susana Weich-Shahak—and there are a number of examples posted on youtube. You can search for: Susana Weich-Shahak or שושנה וייך-שחק those come up.

Judith did recover from her travels, and adds to the above:

Here's a link to one of my general articles on Sephardic music—most of my articles aren't online (or maybe they are and I just don't know—it happens.) This one is from the SIbE online journal TRANS (SIbE is Sociedad Iberica de Etnomusicología):

"Revival," by Scott Alarik

Was just reading a new-to-me novel by local writer about traditional music, Scott Alarik. It's called "Revival." Not a bad novel. A very good bit of writing about what folk traditions are and why they matter--just the sort of thing that people involved in traditional Jewish music, for instance, and its evolution might enjoy. One quote in particular articulated something that I have thought about for years without being able to put it into words: "tradition is another word for community."

September 7, 2013

Selichot recordings from "Ha-project shel Revivo"

From Eva Broman on the Jewish-Music list:

I just found this recording of some classic selichot that I'd like to pass on. They are sung by "Ha-project shel Revivo", a trio of young Yemenite singers that is very popular in Israel (and 230.000 hits for traditional religious songs is pretty good!):

And here is an article about the group: 'Revivo's Project' brings Mizrahi pop back to its Arab roots, by Ophir Toubul, March 11, 2013, 972Magazine

August 26, 2013

Andy Statman interview, clips on Aish site

Via @TheRealTzvi on twitter, in response to my recent tweet about the Center for Traditional Music and Dance clips of Dave Tarras. Statman is widely considered to be Tarras' musical heir:

Klezmer's Virtuoso: Patience and perseverance: Andy Statman's journey through Judaism and music, by Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin

Andy's earliest musical memories are his family's collection of 78s; an old-school mashup of show tunes, classical music, popular songs, and Jewish music (what would today be called klezmer). Shortwave radio and an encounter with WWVA out of West Virginia - Andy lived in Queens - turned him on to country music and bluegrass, inspiring him to take up an instrument. … [more]

More Yiddish song recordings online

There are a slew of Yiddish song recordings available for listening online at Dr. Joe's Ethnic music page,

July 17, 2013

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 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

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


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 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:"

"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 article:

"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:"

June 6, 2012

Jewish Music in Morocco

From George Robinson, to the Jewish-Music list, noting another great Tablet audio podcast by Sara Ivry:

Just wanted to pull your coat to an item at Tablet Magazine that will be of interest to list members:

Moroccan Grooves, Blogged

The blog in question, Jewish Morocco, is here:

And I enthusiastically second Chris Silver's plug for "El Gusto" the documentary about Jewish Moroccan musicians today. Terrific film, great people, thrilling music.

George (Great film critic, thrilling music) Robinson

April 28, 2012

"Candles of Song," Yiddish poetry blog, now with audio

From Sheva Zucker:

Yiddish Poems about Mothers
ייִדישע לידער וועגן מאַמעס willow

Dear People who are following my blog: Candles of Songs: Yiddish Poems about Mothers,

I'm pleased to tell you that audio is now available at the blog. You will be able to hear a reading of each of the poems in Yiddish (by me). You will find the recording at the very top left of each posting. The name of the poem in Yiddish is given in transliteration in blue letters followed by the word "audio". To access the audio just click on those words. I hope this will add to your enjoyment and appreciation of these poems.

Candles of song can be found at:

September 28, 2011

Afro-Semitic Experience, "Further Defintions...." featured on NPR

From Davido Chevan, about the new a href="/bands/chevan/further/">Afro-Semitic Experience CD:

A story about the new CD on the NPR News Show, "Tell Me More," aired today. Samples of four tunes from the new CD are being aired along with an interview of Alvin and David by NPR’s Jacki Lyden. I know we cannot get that show anywhere around here but there is a pod cast that you can stream or download (for free!):

And if that was not enough NPR has chosen “Adoshem, Adoshem,” one of the tracks on the album to be today’s SONG OF THE DAY!! Here’s a link to that site:

September 8, 2011

logoFrom Mike Gerber

The latest edition of my Kosher Jam internet radio show, first broadcast on Tuesday 6th September, can now be listened to anytime at:

Highlights include: Martial Solal, one of the great jazz pianists, performing live in New York just after the 9/11 terrorist attack; guitarist Michel Sajrawy, a Palestinian from Nazereth, whose albums are collaborations between Palestinian and Israeli Jewish musicians; the late saxophonist Arnie Lawrence, who also strove to bring musicians from these two communities together; and one of the rhythm and blues hits Jerry Leiber, who died last month, co-wrote for the Coasters; and Jewish jazz from Australia.

September 5, 2011

Review of Yale Strom's "Dave Tarras, the King of Klezmer"

book coverI am catching up from a year of overload, it seems. Here is a review of Yale Strom's new book on Dave Tarras—if you look at the KlezmerShack calendar you'll see that Yale is doing some appearances this fall based on the book, so it is still current.

Dave Tarras, the King of Klezmer - by Yale Strom : A book review by Michael Sherman, January 2011.

Many thanks to author Michael Sherman for bringing this to my attention.

April 4, 2011

Jake Shulman-Ment Romanian Klezmer Tour fundraiser

I avoid passing on requests for funds, but the people involved in this project are very special, and they've even gotten a token bit of my own non-existent funds.

Dear Friends,

Thanks to you and your wonderfully generous and supportive responses, we're well on our way to funding this concert tour of Romania! I just wanted to send out a little reminder in case there's anyone who is still planning to donate and/or help spread the word about the project. It's not too late!! Take a look on the Kickstarter link below for updates.

The fundraising drive ends on May 1, and, although the Kickstarter funding goal has been reached, we actually need quite a bit more to make it all happen.

Thanks again for everything, and I hope to see you soon,

March 30, 2011

Ofra Haza's "Kadish" a hit in the Yemeni resistance

From the Teruah blog:

Today I woke up to a twitter discussion between National Public radio strategist and digital technology community organizer Andy Carvin and Maria Al-Masani, a Canadian public relations agent, model, and former Miss Universe Canada. Al-Masani was telling Carvin, and others, about how Ofra Haza's song Kaddish was becoming the anthem of the current Yemeni revolution. Haza was a popular Israeli singer of a Yemeni-Jewish family who sang pop-Israeli, Yemeni-Jewish, and Yemeni-Arabic music.... [whole story includes video of Ofra Haza singing "Kadish"]

Jeremiah Lockwood in Mali - the Tablet report

Sway Machinery frontman Jeremiah Lockwood returns from a festival in Mali and Tablet Magazine gets the skinny—photos, recordings, etc. Have fun!

Pilgrimage: An engagement at an African music festival took bandleader Jeremiah Lockwood as far from his musical roots as he’d ever ventured—and put him in tune with them anew

March 26, 2011

Jewish music documentaries documented

I haven't had time to catch up on anything, but back in January, Teruah blogger, Jack Zaeintz put up a fabulous list of Jewish music documentaries. He includes old favorites, of course—Michal Goldman's groundbreaking A Jumpin night at the garden of Eden that caught the klezmer revival happening, or A Tickle in the Heart about the Epstein Brothers. There are new films listed, such as the brand-new documentaries on SoCalled and the Klezmatics, and a couple of oldies that I have been avoiding for years. Never mind. They are all listed, and the filmmakers should only go on to produce even better films to come.

February 13, 2011

New online guide to Klezmer music

This looks really cool - song titles, cross-referenced with both recordings and music sources!. The author is from the Cornell Klezmer Band, as well a member of the new upstate NY band, Mitzfits.

I just posted the fruits of many hours of labor to, a comprehensive cross-reference to klezmer recordings and sheet music sources.

For questions (the author asks that you not email him with questions about where to purchase or find things—he either knows, and the info is online, or he doesn't know) about the website, contact Allen Lutins

January 17, 2011

Pro Musica Hebraica Classical Music Blog

"As our February 10 concert approaches, Pro Musica Hebraica is pleased to announce a new feature to our website—a blog devoted to Jewish classical music:

In the first post, PMH contributor and British bass baritone Mark Glanville describes his personal journey to A Yiddishe Winterreise:

“A Yiddishe Winterreise reminds me that the culture of the people I was encouraged to reject is also part of who they are, that for every Goerring who would reach for his revolver when he heard the word culture, there is a Schubert who set a Hebrew psalm for the Jewish friend who sang his Lied.” [More]

In the second post, PMH contributor and cellist Jason Calloway describes his experience playing Jewish music in Budapest::

“…knowing as I played Eli Zion or the heartbreaking slow movement of the Shostakovich trio (which is a conscious monument by its composer to these victims) that I was truly communing with those lost spirits, is a feeling I will cherish forever. I only hope that I will be able to repeat it and to see the day when the Rumbach Synagogue is once again a living and vibrant house of worship.” [more]

January 9, 2011

Yiddish Song of the Week

Posted to the Jewish-Music list by Pete Rushefsky:

A fire burns dimly … an angry wind blows … the news from Amerika is not good. Performance by Jacob Gorelik, commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at the Yiddish Song of the Week:

Presented by Center for Traditional Music and Dance's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture

January 3, 2011

Interview w/Flory Jagoda online in Sephardic Horizons

Credit Joel Bresler for spotting this article:

"Rosine Nussenblatt Flory Jagoda, a Jewish folk singer, has devoted her career as a musician to transmit her Sephardic Judeo-Spanish culture from Bosnia through her music and songs. She has told the history of her family in several venues, including in her songbook entitled: The Flory Jagoda Songbook: Memories of Sarajevo (1996). Here, she has recreated for us the life of her family in Vlasenica, a picturesque Bosnian mountain village where she grew up.

This interview was very informal, being conducted at Flory Jagoda’s apartment, in Arlington, Virginia, on February 19, 2010, around a cup of coffee and delicious homemade Sephardic delicacies, a real Sephardic vijita [visit]. "

Read the entire text of: Interview with American Sephardic Singer Flory Jagoda, by Rosine Nussenblatt in Sephardic Horizons

January 2, 2011

Book review: Israeli Mediterranean Music

From Eva Broman, on the Jewish-Music mailing list:

book coverHere is a review of Amy Horowitz's book on Israeli Mediterranean music that might be of interest:

Mediterranean Israeli Music and the Politics of the Aesthetic, reviewed by Motti Regev, Aug 30, 2010

Musiqa mizrahit, aka Israeli Mediterranean Music, is a category of popular music mostly known for its strong Middle Eastern and Greek tinges. It has been at the center of Israeli public discourse on popular music since the late 1970s. By 2010, the leading theme of this discourse is the "triumph" of the genre in the field of Israeli popular music. With prominent performers such as Sarit Hadad, Eyal Golan, Kobi Peretz, Moshe Peretz, Shlomi Shabat, Lior Narkis and others filling up the largest music venues in Israel, leading the sale charts and ruling the radio airwaves, Israeli Mediterranean Music is by 2010 the "mainstream" of Israeli popular music.

January 1, 2011

Catching up - wonderful tablet article about two afro-klez jazz bands

This past year has been one of the busiest of my life. There are hundreds of emails to the KlezmerShack that are sitting in a folder, dated from 2009 and even earlier. One of the articles I missed, from the often-excellent Tablet covers two fascinating bands, one long-known to me (the Afro-Semitic Experience), and one, entirely new to me—Atlanta's 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra. Read on:

Hyphenated Sounds: Two bands cultivate the ‘Afro-Judaic’ aesthetic, by Alexander Gelfand, Jan 28, 2010

Rainlore's World of Music returns!

Helen Winkler passed on this announcement from Richard Sharma. Many of us remember his prolific reviews, often of British bands that don't get covered much elsewhere, from a few years ago. Welcome back, Richard:

"I re-launched my web site in its own domain in Oct. 08, 2008:

"I am now able to accept a limited number of submissions for reviews again. People can get in touch via the Review form on my site at

December 31, 2010

Musique judéo-andalouse: Benjamin Bouzaglo, Haïm Louk, Moshé Louk, Shimon Sibony

Eva Broman spotted this and posted to the Jewish-Music list:

A great website with two complete concerts of Judeo-Andalousian music:

The source for Jewish sheet music

In response to a query about finding sheet music for zmires (psalms) and nigunim (Chasidic tunes), Province, RI musician Fishel Bresler writes (and it should be spread more widely):

"A Notable Idea has sheet music for everything. Except for his irritating practice of printing the key signatures only on the first line (as I guess some of the cool NY jazz guys do), the sheets are excellent."

Fishel On Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 5:26 PM, Itzik Gottesman <> wrote: > > I am helping a friend plan his wedding. Does the sheet music for these > > nigunim/zmires (I know there's more than one tune for each)exist on line? > > Can they be heard on line? > > thanks - itzik

How Jewish songwriters secularized Christmas

Judith Cohen spotted this one—time to post it before the season is completely behind us:

"Most people here know most of this, but it isn't a typical article for Toronto's Globe and Mail paper, and it also deatures a commissioned "dreidl-friendly Christmas song" by David Wall.: Schmeck the Halls: How Jewish songwriters created Christmas, Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail, Saturday, Dec. 18

December 25, 2010

Klutzy Klezmer: Zeek's First Klezmer Liner Note Contest

Klezmer, blogger Bert Stratton strikes again:

"Have you read any klezmer CD liner notes lately? Some are great—they read like fascinating mini-doctoral theses about Eastern Europe and/or the Lower East Side. And some are downright horrible. Too much Slivovitz has gone into the writing. Some of these homemade liner notes are best read only on Purim. (Hey, the music is often terrific, but the notes—the liner notes—are sour.)

Are you ready to write your own bad liner note? Zeek is holding a contest. The best worst klezmer liner note—as judged by Zeek Editor-in-chief Jo Ellen Green Kaiser and Bert Stratton (a.k.a. Klezmer Guy)—wins a One Ring Zero’s new Planets cd. Just submit your line in the comment section below. We’ll email you if you win, and fb it out to all our fans!

December 15, 2010

Yiddish Song of the Week

If I were to have the Emperor‘s treasures
and his entire land.
It would not be as pleasing to me,
as you are pleasing to me.

As long as I'm mentioning blogs of note: "A gorgeous lullabye by Mikhl Gordon, sung by Ita Taub, Notes by Itzik Gottesman. Now at the Yiddish Song of the Week."

Klezmer Guy - a blog worth reading

I can't remember when I last mentioned this, but each week Bert Stratton, of the delightful (and, when the occasion demands, delightfully wacky) Yiddishe Cup posts about his experiences as a landlord and bandleader (roles not always as different as one might think) in Cleveland. Some weeks I'm too busy. But, it's a blog, so it's easy to catch up later. It's always worth catching up. I sign up for the email notices so I won't miss them on the weeks when I can't be bothered with news feeds.

This week he explains why Cleveland is not a cupcake town. Read on.

Jeremiah Lockwood, of The Sway Machinery sends this update:

I just recorded a track with Jordan McLean's DROID...extremely lovely experience...listen here:

"This is the last installation in my ten month long NIGUN PROJECT for the Forward...all ten collaborations (including work with Khaira Arby, Sahr Ngaujah, Brian Chase and other wonderful friends) based on old nigunim are now up online and can be heard here:"

You can also hear the first single from The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol 1 on iTunes.

November 26, 2010

Weimar Winter Workshops announced, Jan 23 - Feb 9, 2011

What is Winter Edition? It is a path-breaking institute for the study of music improvisation with an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach. Teachers and students from around the world join in an open, evolving exploration of the connections between improvisation, musical tradition, communication, cognition, the voice, the body and awareness. Led by Alan Bern and an outstanding international faculty, Winter Edition is a learning community: a place for taking new risks, acquiring new skills and information and for making new personal and professional relationships. In past years, Winter Edition has focused on how to discover musical intentions and communicate them in various group improvisations settings. In 2011 it takes a new turn in order to complement the work on musical impulses, awareness and communication with intensive work on practical skills in rhythm, harmony and melody. The theme of Winter Edition 2011 is Techné: Craft & Creativity. In ancient Greek, techné meant multi-faceted craftsmanship, the kind of knowledge necessary to make something, as opposed to purely theoretical knowledge. For many musicians today, though, "technique" (deriving from techné) means only physical mastery of their instrument. This narrowed conception reflects the loss of many skills that belong to musical mastery, such as being able to hear and freely create harmonic, melodic and rhythmic material in real time. The purpose is not to return to any particular musical language, but to increase the range and freedom of musical expression. The workshops will be led by a great team of artists and teachers with a lot of experience and many approaches to the work of integrating creativity and craft. The various workshops that make up Winter Edition are for instrumentalists and vocalists, from advanced students to professionals, who want to develop their creativity through an intensive exploration of improvisation, awareness, and deepening fundamental musical skills. For further info:

NY Times celebrate KlezKamp

I am very, very tired of the "last gasp of a dying culture" articles about Yiddish and Yiddish culture. The Yiddish culture of a century ago is long gone. The Yiddish culture of modern haredi Jews is quite well, if not remotely relevant to those who celebrate this new, ongoing "Yiddishland," (taking the term from the excellent Adventures in Yiddishland (2008) by Jeffrey Shandler). In short, KlezKamp represents neither a dying culture, nor its most dominant current form. It does provide wonderful access to a culture that was, and to a wonderful, very alive current culture in which "Yiddishkeit" is a significant component. Anyway, that's my take. Here's what the NY Times has to say. You can find out for yourself, of course, next month, at KlezKamp. Why rely on the NY Times when it is so easy and rewarding to find out for yourself?

No Need to Kvetch, Yiddish Lives On in Catskills, David Goldman for The New York Times, November 25, 2010

KERHONKSON, N.Y.—In a chilled and snow-shrouded Catskills landscape, hundreds of people get together every December to try to breathe some warmth into a dying culture. … [more]

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

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.

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

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

July 26, 2010

HBI issue on young Jewish women doing Jewish music

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) has an online magazine called "614" (extending the 613 commandments followed by traditional Jews....) This issue has some short interviews with several young Jewish women creating interesting music. There is also an interview with jDub founder Aaron Bisman, and a link to the grandmother of Jewish Music Festivals, the Berkeley Jewish Music Fest, currently celebrating it's 25th birthday.

Taking Jewish music mainstream

I think what I like best is that there are articles about several people doing interesting music, and that I could go on for several more without even thinking that coulda shoulda also been part of that issue, but for deadlines and limited resources. So, I'll praise the magazine for catching a few facets of the prism, and encourage them to continue to explore the subject over time.


June 19, 2010

YIVO encyclopedia now online!

This unprecedented website makes accurate, reliable, scholarly information about Eastern European Jewish life universally available online free of charge. Since 2008, The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, published by Yale University Press, has been the only resource of its kind;providing the most complete picture of the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe from the beginning of their settlement in the region tothe present. The online edition includes the contents of the 2008 edition, plus interactive maps, more color photographs, and rare letters and documents as well as newly added video and audio clips. To date, this is the first full-fledged online encyclopedia dedicated to the history and culture of Eastern European Jewry.

June 18, 2010

Yiddish Song of the Week

I have been remiss in not passing on word of two excellent new blogs:

Yiddish Song of the Week is curated by the excellent Itzik Gottesman, of the Forward (more accurately, since he works on the Yiddish side of the paper, פֿאָרווערטס). This week, thrill to “Klezmorim mayne” from the Ben Stonehill Collection, a recording of an unidentified singer recorded by Ben Stonehill in the lobby of the Marseilles Hotel (Broadway and 103rd street in Manhattan) in summer 1948.

The recording follows on work by YIVO sound archivist/Klezmatics keyboardist-singer Lorin Sklamberg. The sound archive, and the projects on which Sklamberg is working, are documented in the YIVOSounds blog.

June 13, 2010

Klez and more, in French

i'm the creator of a web site in french devoted to Jewish culture. The Klez activity in France is hudge even if the achkénazy peaple are very few so i've made this unique source of information and links.

June 12, 2010

JSA highlights Zimbalist and Gluck

I have mixed feelings about this announcement, given how ambivalent (to put as positive a spin on it as possible) Alma Gluck felt about the "Jewish" part of her heritage.

JSA highlights two brilliant Jewish performers from the early 20th century.

About a hundred years ago two Jewish superstars of classical music met and fell in love. They were young, they were talented, and they made beautiful music together.

Even before her marriage to the violin virtuoso, Efrem Zimbalist, famed operatic soprano Alma Gluck enjoyed a highly successful recording career.

The Zimbalist-Gluck romance provided lots of material for the gossips of their day. While the idea of such a wonderful pairing of talents was thrilling, there were those who pointed out that Gluck was six years older, as well as a divorcee with a daughter. Scandalous!

After their marriage the Victor/Victrola company capitalized on a sure bet....recording the newlyweds together. You can read more about these performers and their romance on JSA’s blog.

The JSA is proud to announce this special collection of music featuring the combined talents of these legendary performers.

Listen to their music

March 24, 2010

Kafrissen on rebooting the Barry Sisters

Rokhl Kafrissen has an interesting piece on Reboot's recent rerelease of a late Barry Sisters recording in the latest issue of Jewish Currents to which I hope all KlezmerShack readers are subscribed. Take a look at Yiddish American Music: “Camp” or For Real?. Enjoy!

September 13, 2009

Publicity on work by Greg Wall, et al, for a cure

Pioneering a cure, by Mel Bezalel, Jun 15, 2009, Jerusalem Post

When the first pioneers arrived on these shores almost 100 years ago, they carried with them numerous and varied cultural identities, a reminder of their home communities that, in many cases, had evolved over many generations.

Music was a significant facet of this, says the New York-based Rabbi Greg Wall, producer of Pioneers for a Cure (PfaC), a charity project officially launched on Yom Ha'atzmaut this year to raise funds for cancer research through re-recording and distributing pioneer songs. Thirty tracks were recorded over the past two years in a New York studio, and are now available to download. [More]

May 30, 2009

Greg Wall & Hasidic New Wave are fighting cancer with song - and they aren't the only ones

So, I get this email, 'Greg Wall and Hasidic New Wave Are Fighting Cancer with Song...Pioneers for a Cure.

That's pretty cool. It's a pretty cool song, but if you take a look, you'll see that a host of artists from Smadar Levi to Tovah Feldshuh to Alicia Svigals to Y-Love and Diwon are torturing, er, re-imagining old Israeli "pioneer" songs that we learned at summer camp or on kibbutz, into ways to contribute money for cancer research. Not a bad thing (and, thinking of some of the horrible things we used to do to צאנה צאנה in my dorm room at Hebrew U., probably the nicest thing that anyone has done with these songs since the Ethnix remixed "Hey Daroma" back in the '90s.

You can browse the artists and songs online, or just give money without being burdened by the songs. Up to you.

April 23, 2009

Klezmer workshop, French countryside, Jul 26 - Aug 2, 2009

Klezmer workshop,summer 2009 in France.
For musicians who want to play Klezmer music in a very nice area in the french countryside, from the 26 of July to the 2nd of August. A week of work and a little concert at the end.

Musique Ensemble
tel: 01 43 61 52 88
All information on our website.

April 17, 2009

The KlezmerShack now on Twitter

If you are a fan of the "twitter" microblog, you can now follow the Klezmershack as ... @klezmershack. Send me a message and say, "hello." . We always knew it, but now it is confirmed. I am a twit.

(You can follow the adventures of me and the rest of the Jewish Women's Archive staff @jwaonline, too)

April 5, 2009

Vilnius Jewish Library seeks music donations

This came in at the beginning of March from Wyman Brent, in Vilnius:

While there is a lot of negative news to be covered these days with the rising levels of anti-Semitism, there is still an uplifting story to report. Today in Vilnius, Lithuania 165 boxes of Jewish books arrived from California. The books are the beginning of the new Vilnius Jewish Library. I am asking Klezmer bands and lovers of the music to donate CDs and DVDs and related books to help revive Jewish culture in the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Web:

Wyman Brent
Vilnius Jewish Library
Ausros Vartu 20-15A
Vilnius LT-02100

March 29, 2009

ידיעות אחרונות discovers Yiddish dancing ;-)

Helen Winkler discovered this article in Hebrew, with some video featuring Zev Feldman teaching:

Zev Feldman and Leon Balaban both forwarded me a link about an article(In Hebrew) re: Zev's Yiddish dance workshop that was held in Israel and was reported on in the Israeli media. There is a video on this webpage of Zev in action:,7340,L-3673020,00.html

Sounds like the workshop was well received.

February 15, 2009

Josh Horowitz: Klezmer and the Hungarian Tanchaz scene

From Josh Horowitz, who's articles on the KlezmerShack, and in recent years, on his own website, are always worth reading:

If you're interested, I've just posted a partly self-critical pdf article I wrote for the Hungarian Studies Journal on the relationship of the Klezmer scene and the Hungarian Tanchaz scene. If you'd like to know some of the down and dirty, its called "If the Tune is Jewish, Why is the Style Hungarian?". Please download it for your pleasure.

The article is the published form of a paper I gave at last years' symposium at the University of Indiana. Enjoy. Josh Horowitz

February 14, 2009

Valentine's Lecha Dodi

From our friends at shemspeed

Diwon Valentine remix coverValentine's is here and we thought the best way to celebrate was to give you a free download to the "i heart mixtape" of Love Songs mixed by Diwon. Feel free to pass the direct download link to everyone you know, as it is really really good: - Diwon has also just finished his club mix of Akon vs. Benyamin Brody. The song is Lecha Dodi and it's blazin hot, download that below. Besides that, next month we will be releasing "Shir Ha Shirim" by Benyamin Brody, Diwon, & Dugans. The record is an hour long meditation of Moroccan, hip hop, mizrachi music, and rock. We haven't taken it out of our rotation yet and it's been 3 weeks!

Continue reading "Valentine's Lecha Dodi" »

February 7, 2009

Music site on Algerian Jewish music

Peter of the Aaron Lebedeff site spotted this French-language site about Judeo-Arabic music from Algeria: It contains pictures, biographies, old recordings, MIDI files, sheet music.

January 26, 2009

Felix Mendelssohn, lost and found

Fanny Mendelssohn, from Wikipedia CommonsGeorge Robinson's latest piece for the Jewish Week discusses the question of the grandson of Haskalah founder Moses Mendelssohn possibly returning to Judaism (his father converted both Felix and sister Fanny when they were young). In Mendelssohn, Lost And Found, Robinson talks about a plethora of pieces that were not published in Mendelssohn's lifetime. It's a fascinating piece, and will hopefully inspire some thinking and research, but to me, the most significant "lost" Mendelssohn is older sister Fanny, who not only played an active role in much of Felix's output (to the degree that some historians feel she should be credited as "co-author" of many pieces, and the possibly-not-coincidental fact that Felix died within months of Fanny), but whose own career as a musician and composer was prevented by both father and brother who felt it entirely inappropriate that a woman should be engaged in such pursuits. One could hope that at least some of the 200th anniversary concerts would acknowledge Fanny (and at least one concert in NYC does), but here in Boston, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra played the 200th anniversary "all-Mendelssohn" concert, they meant Felix only. Sad. Check out your local library for some recordings of Fanny's music that have been recorded and you'll see what I mean. By me, Fanny is the real "lost" story—and for most people, she still hasn't been "found."

January 23, 2009

KlezKanada tribute to Pesakh Fiszman, z"l

KlezKanada logo
KlezKanada has posted a short tribute to former staffmember Pesakh Fiszman on it's main page, Scroll down to read/view the tribute.

Photos: Yiddishe March at the Jewish inaugural festivities

Photo by Lloyd WolfPhotographer Lloyd Wolf posts these photos from the inauguration:

"The Jewish Grassroots Action Network threw a pre-inaugural dinner and concert in Washington, DC, in honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama. Adrianne Greenbaum, a noted klezmer musician, assembled and led an all-star group for the occasion, featuring world-renowned clarinetist Joel Rubin, and violinist Jake Shulman-Ment, among other superb players."

Read the whole story, and see the photos on Lloyd's blog, Lloyd Wolf Photographer

Ruth Ellen Gruber memories of Henryk Halkowski, z"l

Henryk Halkowski poses in Krakow in 1997 at a souvenir stand selling carved figures of Jews. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)Ruth Ellen Gruber's column, Ruthless Cosmopolitan, about the late, much-missed Henryk Halkowski.

More on Henryk on the Klezmershack

January 20, 2009

Props to the Klezphonics

I missed a couple of great performances by our Rhode Island neighbors, the Klezphonics a couple of weekends ago, but fortunately a reporter from one of the local papers caught the music, and documented:

Beyond ‘Hava Nagila’, by Jim McGaw, 16 Jan 2009, EastBayRI

January 19, 2009

Veretski Pass t-shirts almost as good as the music

It is one of my complaints that Jewish musicians do generally uninspired t-shirts. Except for the KlezmerShack, itself, and a few bands like the Klezmatics or Yiddishe Cup or Jewlia Eisenberg, t-shirts that one might really want to wear are few and far between. For someone like me, for whom making the t-shirt fashion statement is a minor ingredient at getting myself up to the gym early in the morning, this is no trivial thing.

t=shirtThere is, however, one klezmer band whose wild, insanely good playing sets the bar. And, it is fitting that Veretski Pass should issue t-shirts worth having. I post this notice not just to encourage fans of the band's music to grab one of these custom-made, limited edition goodies before they disappear (now $20, incl. shipping), but to encourage other bands to do the same.

cd coverCheck out the Veretski Pass store, where you can purchase the t-shirt, a full-sized poster. Elsewhere on the website you will discover actual CDs of the band, including their blazing second CD, on the 10-best list of all cognoscenti, including new blogger/long-time reviewer George Robinson this past year, and even printed music! Such a deal!

January 18, 2009

Reappearing Acts: From Jewish Life to Jewish Dance Theatre, now online

Here is a fascinating account of a century of traditional Jewish life leading to Jewish dance, from the Yiddish Dance Network:

… the paper I wrote last year is now online through "Mofa, Magazine of the Performing Arts," published out of Tel Aviv U., edited by Avraham Oz from Haifa U.: Reappearing Acts: From Jewish Life to Jewish Dance Theatre, by: Karen Goodman, Los Angeles date: 2008-01-14

In 1913, in Lodz, Poland, a fifteen year old cheder boy pushes his payes under his hat to go tango dancing with his sister. He wins a ballet scholarship to Berlin; and this youngest and only son of thirteen, whose Chasidic mother wants him to be a rabbi, changes tracks. Soon he is performing for even the Kaiser, with the Berlin Opera Ballet, then as soloist in operettas, and studying drama with Max Reinhardt. He enters the U.S. illegally in 1920. [more]

Bios of Jewish musicians in Poland between the two World Wars

From Helen Winkler, back in mid-December, comes this gem from

I came a cross a website today that give bios of various Jewish musicians in Poland between WW1&2—Thought it might be of interest.

Jewish Music in Poland between the World Wars. It is a partial translation of a book written in Yiddish originally.

There's a very moving section that talks about a musician, Jakob Glatstein, who led a children's choir in the Warsaw Ghetto, including a photo of the choir. (scroll down a short way)

Lori Cahan-Simon adds some additional resources:

I've been wanting information on just some of these people! I have the Jakob Glatstein 1918 book Di fraye muze and am so glad to know something more about both the book and the author/composer. Does anyone know anything about the music and school books of CJSZO (The Central Organization of Yiddish Schools ) or the Tzisha shuln in Poyln? I know about Israel Glatstein's Gezang un Shpil, Warsaw, 1920s, but haven't seen a copy yet.

Speaking of Poland and Yiddish, have you all heard about the hundreds of Yiddish books online to view for free from the Polish National Library?

January 7, 2009

Travelogue of last fall - Brian Bender in Europe

We're still catching up from months ago and spent a few minutes reading up on Brian Bender's trip to Europe last fall, posted to


January 4, 2009

Free Jewish Sheet Music

This was sent in time to be helpful for Chanukah—but music for other holidays should be available soon, so bookmark the site:

Free downloadable Jewish sheet music for Chanukah with melody line, Hebrew text, English translation & transliteration. Enjoy singing with your family or congregation: excellent for sing-alongs. Great supplementation for Jewish homeschoolers & Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation. I will be adding music for Shabbat & the other holidays soon.

Patricia Baumhoff

Yom Tov Ehrlich celebrated

Itzik Gottesman noticed this wonderful article: Yom Tov Ehrlich: Willamsburg’s Poet Laureate: Yom Tov Ehrlich by Michael Casper, from the local newspaper, the Brooklyn Rail

January 3, 2009

The Forward: article on Serge Gainsbourg

Eliezer Kaplan forwarded a link to this fascinating article on the life of French-Jewish composer Serge Gainsbourg: The Man With the Yellow Star: The Jewish Life of Serge Gainsbourg.

January 1, 2009

Diwon: The Beat Guide to Yiddish

From our friends over at comes this wonderful "beat guide to Yiddish" mixed by Diwon. It's 25 minutes of gems like you've never heard them:

coverDiwon has produced countless electro and hip hop mixes. His use of traditional Yemenite and Sephardic music, however, sets him apart from other artists in the genre. Influenced heavily by his family's roots in Yemen, Ethiopia and Israel, the multicultural maestro is always full of suprises and his latest release, The Beat Guide to Yiddish, is no exception. Diwon's Beat Guide mixes some of his own music into forgotten sounds from Eastern Europe.

Download the mix for free and hear Yiddish in a way you would have never thought possible. Included on the mix are sounds from; Gershon Kingsley, Jewdyssee, Sam Medoff, Lipa, Seymour Rechtzeit and a few other gems.

"Save the Music" brings digital Jewish music collection online

Peter, of the Aaron Lebedeff site, spotted this interesting source of digitized, out-of-print Jewish recordings:

The website states that it exists to:

Save the Music is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural music through its digitization and placement on the Internet. Founded by Roman Ajzen a few years ago, Save the Music has already become the leading collector of Jewish Music LP's in the world. Just as important is our goal to become a virtual meeting place for performers to interact and post upcoming concerts, events and releases. We aim to preserve the past and assist its renaissance in the future.

Alas, some things (low pay for cantors; low pay for Jewish musicians) don't seem to change

Marvin Margoshes posts to the Jewish-Music list:

There was some discussion recently of ways that makers of Jewish music are being squeezed financially. Those on this mail list may want to read about the abuse of cantors by synagogues in New York in 1917-1918.

My uncle, Samuel Margoshes, was one of the authors of a study called "The Jewish Communal Register of New York City, 1917-1918. The whole book can be read at A chapter, starting on p. 301, "The Cantors and Their Problem", is by N. Avromson, the President of the Jewish Cantors Association. It describes how congregations in New York City used a series of trial performances to get cantors to lead services without pay. Avromson also describes how short term contracts were used to keep cantorial pay low. According the Avromson, the old tradition was for cantors to have life-time appointments, with a pension for their widows. Also, if a son was qualified, he would have first claim to replace his father.

December 29, 2008

Maxwell St. Klezmer celebrates 25th Anniversary

From the Chicago Jewish NewsMaxwell Street Klezmer celebrates, in part, with a long, well-written article in the Chicago Jewish News: All that Jewish Jazz: Maxwell Street Klezmer Band celebrates 25 years of keeping the music of our past alive and well, by Pauline Dubkin Yearwood (12/26/2008)

Blog in Dm comments on "Beyond Boundaries"

I've been hoping that someone would have something to say about the "Beyond Boundaries" session a couple of weeks ago. I have talked with one participant on the panel who said that the panel was probably too large for the time, and that there wasn't time for the audience to really participate. The concert was reported as "okay." This is reportage? Fortunately, Blog in Dm offers up some germane and insightful coverage: Some Comments on Beyond Boundaries: Klezmer Music in the 21st Century

December 28, 2008

Maurice Schwartz exhibit now online

From Steven Lasky, posted to the Mendele mailing list:

I have just placed online within the walls of my virtual, internet-only museum the next exhibition that falls under the title of "Great Artists Series." This exhibition about Yiddish acting great Maurice Schwartz and his Yiddish Art Theatre is the fourth of five such exhibitions to be presented within this category. Others featured within this series include Bialystok-born artist Max Weber, Yiddish playwright David Pinski, and the great American (Lithuanian-born) entertainer Al Jolson. The Jolson exhibition is a rather large one, containing twenty-seven web pages, featuring more than one dozen video clips and nearly four dozen sound clips, including Jolson songs, Fanny Brice singing "My Man," Jolson and Groucho Marx, George Jessel and more. You may wish to visit the page "The Jewish Side of Jolson" and hear him sing "Cantor on the Sabbath" in Yiddish, as well as Hatikvah and Kol Nidre. The last planned exhibition in the Great Artists Series that will be published online within the next month or so will be about American tenor and chazzan Richard Tucker.

The Schwartz exhibition contains a serialized version of the only known biography of Maurice Schwartz, a fairly complete listing of all of the Yiddish Art Theatre productions (title of work, author, years played), photos of scenes from various productions, many of the actors who played with troupe, as well as those who worked behind the scenes. I will be adding audio clips to this exhibition in the future featuring comments about Schwartz, from such greats as Luba Kadison, Seymour Rexsite et al. Your comments are most welcome, as are your suggestions for future exhibitions.

The URL for the Great Artists Series is The URL for the Schwartz exhibition is

December 27, 2008

Freestyling to klezmer

Ruth Ellen Gruber sends notice of this wild Hungarian Hannukah party, complete with video, showing a progression from rap to klezmer to Israeli folk song. Check it out!

Budapest -- Hanukkah Hungarian Klezmer Rap Party

Pete Rushefsky featured in Jewish Week article

Pete Rushefsky at the tsimblBack on the Jewish-Music list, George Robinson (whose own blog and reviews should be launched in a few days—stay tuned) got a chance to profile someone "… in the Jewish music world who was focusing on good works. I could have given my editor a list that would essentially have included every working musician on /this/ list, but I had to pick one to write about. I chose Pete Rushefsky, in no small part because I think that CTMD does important work directly affecting the future of the arts in New York City and beyond.…

All joking aside, I'm sure everyone knows Pete as a terrific and dedicated musician and a creative arts administrator and programmer. And now he's learning to change diapers, too. A man of many talents, profiled at Playing Against Time.

December 25, 2008

Der yidisher-gramofon online!

Michael Aylward writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

I am pleased to be able to announce the launch of my website 'Der yidisher gramofon' at:

I am hugely indebted to Joel Bresler who generously created this website for me. It is only now the project is complete that I realise what enormous demands I have made on Joel, no doubt on occasion testing his patience (and sanity?) to the limit. Without the enormous amount of work he contributed, the site simply would not exist.

The site falls into 3 broad sections:

Continue reading "Der yidisher-gramofon online!" »

Bob Cohen on the story behind the new DNK CD

cd coverYou've seen my review. Now Bob Cohen blogs about the sessions behind the new CD and even presents some video. Check it out on his blog.

October 18, 2008

New website on Sephardic music discography:

From Joel Bresler, the go-to person on Sephardic discography:

Dear Friends:

Sephardic Music Site logoI am very pleased to announce the launch of my site, The site chronicles the first 100 years of commercial Sephardic recordings. It includes survey articles on the 78 and modern eras, a comprehensive discography of Sephardic 78s, and a sample of what a future discography of modern-era recordings could look like.

I have tried to take advantage of the web's multimedia capabilities to expand well beyond the normal contents of a discography (artist, title, place and date recorded, etc.) Wherever possible, I include label graphics and sound samples. A Union Catalog feature shows which public institutions own a particular recording, and I have normalized the songs' titles so that users can find all versions of any given song. Last, I have included information on the labels that published these recordings, the artists that made them, and the stores that sold them. I would welcome your comments.

Thank you for your help and support over the past decade.

Joel Bresler

July 10, 2008

Bob Cohen salutes the "others"

If you've been paying attention, you know that Alan Bern has set up a wonderful project with Jewish and Rom musicians as part of his Yiddish Summer Weimar project. They did a preview at the Krakow festival, and you'll get a chance to hear them in Vienna, then at Yiddish Summer Weimar, itself. Bob has been doing this sort of fusion most of his life, of course. Among my fondest memories of wandering in Eastern Europe in 1996 was listening to Bob and Josh Horowitz talk about meeting and playing with musicians, Jewish, Rom, and otherwise, throughout eastern Europe. This week, spurred by the Weimar project, Bob pays homage to some of his teachers:

Jews and Gypsies: The "Others" in European Music

July 6, 2008

Washington Post Columnist Starts Jewish Music Project

This came out a couple of months ago, but shouldn't get lost just because I had no chance to go through mail then ;-)

Post Columnist Starts Jewish Music Project, by Ezra Glinter, The Forward, Thu. Mar 20, 2008

Charles Krauthammer knows his way around the written word. But next month, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and his wife, artist Robyn Krauthammer, will unveil a project devoted to the music note. Pro Musica Hebraica, a new Washington-based organization spearheaded by the couple, will be devoted to highlighting historically neglected works of Jewish art music as well as commissioning new works.

more …

June 29, 2008

New releases at UK's "Jewish Music"

CD coverAs long as I'm directing folks to this country's Hatikvah Music, I should also mention some excellent and intriguing new releases across the pond from Jewish Music Distribution. These start off with Moshe Berlin's great new release from Israel, "Melodies from Jerusalem, cd cover The Musical Tradition of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities of Amsterdam, London and New York. They also have the new Veretski Pass CD, Trafik, of course, and lots more. Check them out.

Fresher Reviews from Professor Robinson: Israel at 60

CD coverI entirely overlooked this set of even newer reviews by George Robinson featuring new Israeli music, ranging from Yeminite Diwan to modern Jazz. Take a gander at A 60th Sampler, June 29, 2008, again, from the Jewish Week by the esteemed musicator.

For the curious, the featured CD, “With Songs They Respond: The Diwan of the Jews from Central Yemen”, is available from our friends at Hatikvah Music International. E-mail Simon@Hatikvah right away and enjoy!

A fresh set of reviews from George Robinson

CD coverOkay, these have been online for a few months—catching up means that I get to post a lot of stuff that some people will have already seen. But, this is an incredible set of reviews, covering almost everyone on my own current listening list, and on the "must review very soon or I will be depressed at not getting the word out: Michael Winograd's "Bessarabian Hop," David Buchbinder's excellent "Odessa/Havana," cd coverthe hot new Veretski Pass, "Trafik," and that's just a few of the gems reviewed here. Check out The Jewish-Latin Connection, published, as usual, on the Jewish Week. This one from March 26, by George Robinson, of course.

June 26, 2008

The Ark on SPARK

The Ark
KQED's SPARK video crew chronicled the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival's first ever artist residency: "The Ark presents Cyclical Rituals (part 1): Spring". The 10-minute clip is now available online (also includes a separate segment on David Grisman):

June 22, 2008

New blog from Jeff Klepper

Pioneer in the "folky" new nusakh movement, Cantor Jeff Klepper, now has a blog up at". He describes it as: "devoted to 'musings on Jewish music, spirituality and humor, and wistful memories of days gone by.' There's a lot of interesting and off-beat music to listen to—what more can I say? "

Best of the new Paris Klezmer scene

Tim SparksA quick note from Tim Sparks (see my recent concert review) a couple of months provided this important link for those who have noticed that something of distinct klezmer interest is happening along the Seine. Indeed, I have never had as many concerts from Paris, or from France, overall, on the Klezmer Calendar. Tim is back in the recording studio. Expect something new from him, via Tzadik Records, very soon.

On my myspace page,, in the favorite friends section, I've posted some of my favorite groups in the Paris New Klezmer/Gypsy scene: Le Freylekh Trio, Caravanne Passe, Finzi Mosaique, Untchak Attak, TsimTsoum, DJ Tagada and Gettabang. If you're not already familiar with them, I think you would enjoy checking these out.

March 16, 2008

Purim coming! CDs and music available online

album coverWith Purim due this week, it is time to mentionBinyomin Ginzberg's Purim CD, a very yeshivish, bouncy combo of songs appropriate to any Purim Party. The music is among the large selection available on the Jewish music download site, OySongs.

Likewise, the Jewish Music Distribution in the UK announces several new releases for Purim and the fast-approaching Passover holiday.

March 8, 2008

New klezmer podcasts and blog entries

Keith Wolzinger announces Klezmer Podcast 30, featuring an interview with Eric and Mindy Zaidins, and Kenny Green, of the Westchester Klezmer Program, There are also new reviews, which will be up on the KlezmerShack soon.

You can also catch Keith's MySpace blog where he posts about the cancellation of the Balkan Beat Box U.S. tour. He was planning to see their concert and interview them for the Podcast. He has also posted an upcoming concert by Odessa/Havana.

February 23, 2008

OySongs: Dan Nichols & Eighteen sheet music catalog added

oySongs is proud to announce the addition to our catalog of DAN NICHOLS & EIGHTEEN'S ENTIRE SHEET MUSIC CATALOG. Rick's immensely popular music is now available in Scorch format - in the key of your choice, right out of your printer!

Eighteen is Modern Jewish Rock. For centuries, Jewish themes and values have been communicated through music. Today's Jewish youth hunger to hear those themes through music that speaks directly to them. Eighteen answers this need uniquely by setting the joy, wonder and excitement of Judaism to Modern Rock sound (think Third Eye Blind, Barenaked Ladies, etc.) with which today's Jewish youth identify … MORE

Zeek issue on Jewish music

magazine logoA few months ago I got the then current (Fall/Winter 2007) issue of a new, relatively edgy Jewish cultural magazine called "Zeek." Featuring photography, poetry, and both a CD and several articles on "Music, Art, and the World," the magazine provided a window onto new Jewish music, most of which I had, at best, vaguely heard of. There was an article by Basya Schaechter, of Pharaoh's Daughter, and the words to the Tipex Eurovision entry, "Push the button" (along with an article about Israel, Eurovision, and this particularly controversial entry). Another article claimed, "Piyyut is Jewish Soul Music." The CD (what an anachronism for an online magazine!?!), curated by Jew*School founder Mobius and others, contained cuts by rappers Y-Love and Sagol 59, along with cuts by Pharaoh's Daughter, Juez, Roberto Rodriguez, the aforementioned Tipex (oops, after legal threats, that is now "Teapacks" in transliteration), as well as Silver Jews, Chana Rothman, and others about whom I know next to nothing.

It's sort of humbling to have spent a decade or so claiming to be writing about cutting edge Jewish music and then see someone else not just have a different take on bands that are significant, but present so many bands about whom I know nothing. (The reverse is also true. I would have valued this CD more if there were some Deep Minor, or Later Prophets, or Rashanim, or Hazanos, or Strauss-Warschauer or any of a host of bands/musicians that are neither Israeli nor NewYorkish, but are blowing away old ideas of what "Jewish Music" means.). But then, if you went over to the hasidish Jewish-Music list (not the older list of the same name that I host) you'd find yet another repertoire and list of cutting-edge musicians. If we can't even bring the musics together, what are we to do about the rest of our lives?

In the meantime, hie to the Zeek website, and sample the articles, catch the latest from the magazine, and help keep them going by ordering your own copy of this rather marvellous collection—it may be as new and wonderous to you as it largely was to me.

February 16, 2008

new dance documentary released

Eva Broman found this one, The Land of Milk and Honey:

The original concept was to introduce to the world a man we believed was lost to history. From childhood on, we all sang and danced to the song “Eretz Zavat Chalav u’Dvash”, but like most, we believed the song was one passed down from generation to generation, a traditional song written eons ago, another song of the collective Jewish experience. But through a chance encounter a few years back, we learned that the composer, Eliahu Gamliel (now in his 80’s), was indeed alive and still teaching dance and music in Israel.

For more, check out the website for the documentary.

February 9, 2008

The Harlem Experiment's "Reefer Man" gets political animation on YouTube

CD coverIt's Black History month. On a site that talks mostly about Jewish music, there isn't a lot of intersection once I get through with the bittersweet way in which Rabbi Heschel's yahrzeit and the Reverend King, Jr's birthday come at the same time, just before the month begins. (Bittersweet because both are missed.) But there was a fascinating place where "black" and "Jewish" intersected in a fascinating way, and that was Harlem. A couple of months ago Grammy-winning producer Aaron Levinson got folks ranging from Taj Mahal to Don Byron to celebrate that shared history in a remarkably wonderful CD, "The Harlem Experiment. You first heard about it here back in October, and then I found a great review and other info. Now, I offer a wonderfully tasteless political cartoon animating "The Reefer Man" from that self-same CD.

I confess. I'd be tempted to eschew the video and get a few copies of the CD.

February 7, 2008

The weirdest klezmer review so far

So, what happens when a deep south wanna be literature major (or something) meets klezmer for the first time? Joel Rubin posts this link to a review of a concert he gave with Pete Rushefsky down in Charlottesville, VA.

oel Rubin and Pete Rushefsky, Gravity Lounge; Tuesday January 29, by Brendan Fitzgerald

Mickey Katz' descendents endow Jewish Music chair

Rokhl Kafrissen blogged this one on her גלות ײד blog

UCLA receives $1 million to establish chair in Jewish music: UCLA alum and wife make gift in honor of Yiddish entertainer Mickey Katz, By Carolyn Campbell and Eleanore Reznikoff

While I'm at it, read down on recent blog entries and you'll find a link to video of KlezCalifornia way back when—When KlezKamp was a baby. Such young looking Hank Sapoznik, Adrienne Cooper, Margot Leverett, and Joel Rubin, among others. I can even swear I caught Jim Rebhan at one of the jam sessions.

February 3, 2008

Klezmerola - Klezmer piano roll recordings released on CD

Klezmerola CD coverCleveland native ‘on a roll’ with new klezmer piano CD, by Vivian Witt, Special to the Cleveland Jewish News.

“Klezmerola,” a brand-new CD created by native Clevelander Bob Berkman, makes it possible for the first time ever to hear Jewish recordings from a long-neglected source: old player piano rolls.

Included in the CD is the only Jewish roll by George Gershwin, recorded in 1916 and long thought lost. There is also music from the world of klezmer, highlighting Russian-born Samuel A. Perlstein. … [The CD] comes with a 16-page booklet. For information, visit wwwklezmer

For more, read the article in the Cleveland Jewish News

New Klezmer Clarinet forum

Internationally acclaimed mensh (and incidentally, acclaimed klezmer clarinetist) Merlin Shepherd writes the Jewish-Music list to note a new klezmer clarinet forum, nestled among other forums dedicated to the clarinet in other world music settings. Shepherd's most recent CD, last year's Intimate Hopes & Terrors, is an excellent example of the clarinet in such a setting, so his advice to check out the new forum should be heeded:

Just to let any clarinetists amongst us know that there is a brand new section of the Greek and Turkish clarinet forum dedicated to Klezmer clarinet. I'm moderating it, so you'll be on friendly ground straight away!

If any of you want to go there then we can all discuss the various issues involved … subjects currently under scrutiny include: Ornamentation, Phrasing, Tonality, Timbre and general technical section Vocal Ornaments transferred to instrumental playing Repertoire, Genres and Crossover. There's also a category dedicated to Jewish cooking!

January 13, 2008

Alicia Svigals article: "Queer Klezmer Quandry" in Shma

shma logo
"On October 12, 2007, over 100 musicians prominent in the contemporary revival of klezmer music gathered on the steps of the Eldridge Street synagogue on the Lower East Side of New York for an historic photo. This Ashkenazic Jewish music tradition had faded to a whisper in the 1950s and 1960s but returned with an unexpected crescendo in the 1970s, and the photo was intended to document the thriving creative community that the klezmer world has become. Among the faces in that photo are several people, like myself, who are openly gay and lesbian; our disproportionate presence is an oft-noted and curious fact about the current klezmer and Yiddishist scenes...."

rest of Alicia Svigals' article in Shma, Dec 2007

Those familiar with her article several years ago in Judaism, from a conference on the Klezmer Revival back then, later published in book form in Slobin, Mark, American Klezmer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).

December 13, 2007

Blast from the past, that ol' "Violin in the Home"

Ellen Kushner's "Sound and Spirit" program has long been one of my favorites. This past weekend they re-broadcast one of her old shows, "The New Klezmorim" (as of this past weekend, I now know, by the way, that klezmer experienced a 'revitalization' not a 'revival'—but more on that when I get my Yiddish Dance Symposium notes online).

You can read listener's reactions to Itzhak Perlman on Ellen's blog. Read the entry Is there a Fiddler in the House? (you needn't stop there!)

November 4, 2007

new blog: "Learning Tsymbaly"

From Dan Carkner comes word of a new blog:

I've been working on a blog about klezmer, Learning Tsymbaly, and learning the tsimbl/tsymbaly from an amateur Canadian point of view. I usually play klezmer music on it, but I'm also interested in Ukrainian-Canadian tsymbaly music.

Klezmer on the Square, London, UK

Geraldine Auerbach sends this reminder that not all documentation of fun Jewish music events happens in the US:

dancing in Trafalgar Square'Simcha on the Square' For those that are interested there is a lovely website about 'Simcha on the Square' which took place in Trafalgar Square on 14 October—the student who made a wonderful website of 'Simcha on the Square' last year—has done it again—look at this He has also kept last year's photos and these are now at the following address:

October 26, 2007

Blog for women who perform for women-only audiences

Over at the Blog in Dm, I just found out about this interesting blog for women who perform for "women only audiences" to share info about their music and musical events.

October 15, 2007

More about "The Harlem Experiment"

Yesterday, I posted about a new CD, due to be released in a few days, called "The Harlem Experiment". Over at "Hungry Blues," Ben Greenberg has listened to the whole CD and has this to say. בקיצור, he found it sufficiently compelling to listen to it straight through. He's posted a player so that others can do the same. Check it out!

October 14, 2007

Fine new Jewish Music website: logo
There is a new website in town. Brainchild of dj handler and a host of folks in the NYC Jewish music scene, Shemspeed claims to be the world's largest and most diverse Jewish music website. True, the KlezmerShack is currently the world's largest and most diverse Jewish music website, but there is some definite potential here to surpass and excel! Shemspeed looks exciting, offers lots of interesting content, and seems worth checking out regularly. (Don't forget to subscribe to the blog feeds.) There is Shemspeed TV, album of the day, a nascent calendar of events with band listings. Any site featuring new content by a diverse group (and it is a diverse group) regularly has to be vital. This one looks good, and feels alive. Check it out.

There will be a Shemspeed blowout on October 25 as part of the upcoming "Oyhoo" festival.

What can we say but G-dspeed and good luck, ha-shem wiling!

"Secular and Religious Musicians Perform at Beit Shemesh Festival"

Benyamin Bresky, who does the "">Beat of Israel" radio show, emails about this new article. There are lots of photos, as well:

The annual Beit Shemesh Music Festival held during the Sukkot holiday featured a mix of religious rockers with secular mainstream artists. Highlights this year included mainstream artist Ariel Zilber who performed wearing a kippah (skullcap), and the return of Yishai Lapidot from Oif Simchas.

more of "Secular and Religious Musicians Perform at Beit Shemesh Festival" by Benyamin Bresky

October 13, 2007

Bob Cohen blogs "The Great Day," the parade, and the tour to come

From Di Naye Kapelye meister Bob Cohen:

Im back in the USA for a bit... I was also at the Eldridge Street photo shoot.. I blogged it a bit with photos and a youtuibe link:

October 8, 2007

New "Boston Jewish Music" group on Facebook

One result of tonight's concert was the Jessica Bloom and I agreed that it would be neat to organize a "Boston Jewish Music Group" on Facebook (look under Music, international). There are so many good musicians here, home of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Voice of the Turtle, Hazamir, a plethora of college klezmer and a capella groups.... So, why are there so few concerts? recitals? jam sessions?

Continue reading "New "Boston Jewish Music" group on Facebook" »

September 27, 2007

Writer Richard Grayson reminisces about "Uncle Dave" Tarras

Dave Tarras, courtesy 'Only the blog knowns Brooklyn'Many thanks to Bert Stratton, whose Yiddish Cup albums have long cheered me up when down, and who now goes the extra mile with this great spotting of a blog post by Richard Grayson about Dave Tarras:

… When I was a kid, Uncle Dave lived on Tilden Avenue in East Flatbush, just across the street from Tilden High School (closed last June and broken up into smaller schools). At one point my mother decided I should have clarinet lessons and Uncle Dave came over and gamely tried to instruct me….


New International Journal of Community Music

One more great George Robinson resource posted to the Jewish-Music list recently:

I'm not sure how these folks are defining community music, but I suspect that at least some of what goes on here fits the bill. At any rate, I know that many of you are ethnomusicologists and I assume that "publish or perish" is still the order of the day in academe (It's been a while since I taught anywhere besides my shul's Hebrew school, but I'm sure the ivory-towered salt mines haven't changed that much), so for your interest I enclose the notice below.

Continue reading "New International Journal of Community Music" »

Special Opera Nostalgia issue on great cantors

George Robinson posts to the Jewish-Music list in time for ראש השנה, and I just get caught up now:

Cantor Israel Marokko from Opera Nostalgia mag, Sep 2007Subject: [JLM] The greatest cantorial voices
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 13:23:06 -0000
To: jewishshulmusic[at] September issue issue is devoted to the great cantorial voices of yesteryear with an essay (see profiles), a photo gallery of more than 40 often unique photos. The soundbites section offers rare recorded material (hear Serota in opera) and there are CD's to be won. Be quick as the sounbites are on-line for one month only.

Peter Nahon writes:

"A great website about the wonderful Yiddish singer and actor Aaron Lebedeff opened at the address There is a French version and an English version. Maybe I will make a Yiddish and a Russian version. Enjoy with the lyrics, the mp3s, the complete 3-pages biography, an enormous number of pictures (available in a fews weeks), and buy the two-CD set with many songs of Lebedeff for only 25 $ (available in 2 weeks)!

August 28, 2007

Good places to find out about Jewish Music

My life continues to be very busy, such that I don't have time to keep listings up and to post news as I get it. I'm not giving up, just acknowledging that I'm not doing a good job here. On the other hand, there are two blogs that I read daily that provide different—from me, and from each other—perspectives on Jewish music, each interesting, each illuminating and worth reading. (There are several blogs that I read regularly—you can look at the "blog roll" on the right-hand side of the main KlezmerShack page. These two are just a bit more special.

Blog in Dm is maintained by a Hasidic musician with music reviews, gossip, and commentary that span the world of Jewish music, hasidic and otherwise. He has extended the KlezmerShack a frequent shout-out and I want to make sure that I acknowledge the favor—especially in a recent post about the ADL—about which, more anon.

I became aware of Teruah - Jewish Music when the blogmeister, Jack Z., emailed me regarding a post I'd made on the Jewish Music list looking for volunteers. (I am still looking for volunteers.). Like his fellow at "Blog in Dm," Jack is a really good writer who covers a very pleasant diversity of Jewish music with a knowledgeable ear. One of my favorite recent posts is about Kinky Friedman. I'll grant that there are very few of Friedman's songs that you can listen to once past the hormonal rush of young adulthood, but "We reserve the right to refuse service to you" is brilliant, as Jack notes, and the ideas behind "They don't make Jews like Jesus anymore" or "ride 'em jewboy" are pretty good, however much I'm not in love with the final result. If I tell you that the Kinky Friedman article is just the first in a series about singing cowboys, you can understand that there is some serious breadth happening here.

Joe Bob says, "check 'em out."

May 13, 2007

Nist Grammy: WIRTUALNE GESLE 2007: Minsker K and P Brody

Once again, I rely on Roger Reid for the best writing on interesting new music in Eastern Europe:

I'm never a fan of stuff like Grammies and that, but I may well cast my vote in WIRTUALNE GESLE 2007, to select the Best "Ethnic" CD of 2007 in Poland.

cd coverAside: (I guess in Poland, "Ethnic" means something a little different than in the US? I don't see any traditional Polish bands here, but the Gypsies, Varied Karpatihians, Jews—I mean, Klezmers, (I forgot, klezmer isn’t Jewish in Europe, I'm still stuck in my parocial views…) only question I have—would Bluegrass qualify as Ethnic in a Polish competition?))

Anyhow, as far as I see, the one Jewish—I mean, Klezmer—entry is the fabulous double-CD-packaged-as-if-it-were-an-LP put out by FERMENT—one CD of Paul Brody's Sadawi and one of Reb Zisl-Yeysef's Minsker Kapelye.

Continue reading "Nist Grammy: WIRTUALNE GESLE 2007: Minsker K and P Brody" »

April 25, 2007

More on hutsul music

I have posted a couple of articles recently about hutsul music. Now, one of my favorite authorities, Budapest's (and Di Naye Kapelye)'s) Bob Cohen weighs in:

Over on Ari Davidow’s Klezmer Shack site there has been an airing of a controversy about the relationship between Hutsul (Ruthenian) music and Klezmer music, which played out on the Jewish music mailing list a few weeks ago. It’s time to weigh in.

For more, check out Bob's blog.

March 22, 2007

New Klezmer Reviews by George Robinson

George Robinson posts to the Jewish-Music list:

Thought you'd be interested in my latest record column, which toasts several frequent contributors to this list (you know who you are):

Long Time Coming: Budowitz and the Joel Rubin Ensemble are back after long hiatuses (and more!)

March 19, 2007

The roots of the tune, Miserlu

From Andy Tannenbaum comes this incredible page on the history of the tune, "Miserlu"—note that this isn't the page on the dance, just on the tune, itself, and its many applications:

I was reading this interesting note on

I never connected Misirlou with Mitzrayim.

Note the versions by Seymour Rexite: _-_miserlou.mp3, and by Rabbi Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia:

More on Abulafia:

The 30 minute documentary:
[you can get a username/password from the bugmenot website, if necessary]

February 24, 2007

Klezmer Podcast #2, Lorin Sklamberg

Keith Wolzinger writes in:

The Klezmer Podcast episode 2, featuring an interview with Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics is now available on the website and the iTunes Store. Happy listening!

It's a very nice interview with Loren, talking about winning the Grammy, the significance of a band on a Jewish label (Jewish Music Group) winning, and the first Jewish-identified band winning a Grammy. As I enjoy saying, "couldn't happen to a nicer group of folks, or a band that is more deserving."

You can listen to (or download) the podcast at

February 18, 2007

Set list - Klezmer: The Next Generation

We had a really large crowd last night at my attempt to DJ a set list around "klezmer:the next generation." I am much gratified! I am still working out how much talk goes with how much music, and tried to err on the side of the music. I put up the set list a few minutes, ago. I tried to annotate everything so that people could find the recordings they enjoyed and dig in more deeply.

I also listed a few artists that I meant to include, and sure enough, the first person to email me right after I put up the list (noting some awkward wording in one of the descriptions) was yet another artist I could have included, especially if I had wanted to focus more on Yiddish song: Lori Cahan-Simon whose recordings of once-obscure, "it's about time someone brought them into the light—or sound— of day" Yiddish songs have been a treasure. Her most recent release, Chanukah is Freylekh! proves my point—there is too much excellent new music out to capture in one evening, and I plead as I did at the bottom of my set list: I had to stop somewhere—the entire KlezmerShack is about "Jewish Music: The Next Generation."


February 17, 2007

Klezmer Podcast premieres w/David Krakauer, SoCalled

Keith Wolzinger, David Krakauer, SoCalledKeith Wolzinger, of The South Coast Simcha Band, did some very nice podcasts at KlezKanada last year. Now he's taking it up straight from his home in California. He starts auspiciously with an interview with David Krakauer and SoCalled.

I am very happy to announce the posting of the first episode of my new Klezmer Podcast. I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think. It is posted at and at the iTunes Music Store.

Nikitov captured live on video

archived on their website () and on the popular Dutch all-music program Vrije Geluiden which can be viewed at (Once on the website click on "bevat video" in the Nikitov Ensemble section and then click on "kijk hier naar Vrije Geluiden 11 Feb. 2007" on the left to view the show. The music performances are at 4:00 and 22:40 in the video). The group concludes the tour at De Waag in Haarlem where centuries of troubadors performed to prove their skill and talent and, in more recent history, folk singers like Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel have come to pay homage to the great singers of the past. The band begins their fall European tour in November.

January 22, 2007

Sounds files from Austin, TX

Mark Rubin, the Texas klezmer bass-player, has been keeping busy playing with some of the best:

I revamped the Jewband's website and added a bunch of sound files of us backing up Steven Greenman and David Krakauer. As soon as I can find them in my messy office, I'll be adding a live set with Michael Alpert as well.

Take a look at the webpage and you'll find a host of very nifty MP3s.

January 21, 2007

Web resource for chasidic nigun

Steve Weintraub writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

"This may be old news, but while searching for a tune for "Shoshanos Yaakov" for Purim, I came across this incredible site of online, full-length nigun recordings, There must be about 100 recordings, most with commentary in a real geshmakt chassidic yiddish. Many sound like vintage recordings. A real treasure trove."

But wait, there's more! Andy Tannenbaum writes about (and They have well over 1000 recordings of piyutim (including nigunim).

December 31, 2006

Pictures of KlezKamp 2006

For those who attended (and for those of us who weren't able to attend this year, but wish we had), Bob Blacksberg has uploaded his amazing pictures. Going to the URL activates a flash application. If you move your mouse towards the top or bottom of the screen you can see captions, or choose specific images:

December 27, 2006

The KlezKamp Blog

klezkamp poster 2006Like me, did you miss KlezKamp this year? Fear not! You can be reminded of how much you missed and feel determined to make it next year, come what may, by browsing the KlezKamp blog:

December 25, 2006

The march of bad Jewish videos continues

Lila Feingold passes on this, um, version of one of the songs we instructed the band, at our wedding, not to play:

And Cantor Sam Weiss contributes this swinging version of the dreidl song featuring singer Kenny Ellis:

A day in the life of a tuba player

I'm only a few months behind in the list of really cool stuff that I need to get up on the KlezmerShack right away. But, here's a wonderful item forwarded to us by tuba god, Ron Caswell:

A friend of mine did a short 3 minute film on a day in the life of a tuba player in New York City. Some will find it amusing. Others will be horrified. I apologize in advance.


November 16, 2006

Hava Nagila

It was only yesterday that Christian Dawid posted this YouTube video URL to the Jewish-Music list:

Words fail.

I can confirm that the group is Thai—apparently a popular Thai comedy troupe.

And then serendipity struck. Tonight, we were watching a rather pleasant "B" movie—"Keeping up the with Steins". Needless to say, this film features two versions of Hava Nagila. One features DJ Quik; the other Neil Diamond. Both are, um, memorable. At my wedding, we asked the band not to play Hava Nagila whatever the provocation, a request with which they happily complied.

October 9, 2006

The Sukkoth Shake

This came over my synagogue's mailing list. I't Sukkoth, and time to wee how other people shake it!:

October 4, 2006

Yiddishe Cup on Israeli Radio

Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band Live in the Studio
Bert Stratton, clarinetist of the Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band performs live in the studio and discusses their new neo-Borscht Belt klezmer comedy album. An in depth discussion on Israeli versus American style klezmer and its significance to Jewish musicians. Plus, the fine line between cheesy, inspirational and just plain stupid.

Available for mp3 download all this week!,

The history of Jews in America

album coverThe good folks at Hippocampus are at it again (they also brought us bagels and bongos). Pat Morgan spotted this for the Jewish-Music list:

The history of the Jews in America has been spelled out in books and dramatized on the big screen. But it has never been told through LP covers. Until now.

Of course, this collection only takes us into the Sixties. Candidates for more recent history?

September 20, 2006

Coverage of the "Oyhoo" Jewish Music Festival, NYC

The last two weeks have seen a wonderful intensity of Jewish music in NYC, part of the "Oyhoo" festival. There is a wide variety of coverage on the Jew*School blog. Blogger Ruby K does a quick wrap-up. Then Yosef Lieb does the same, but more detail.. Zoomusikgrl talks about the performance of Aviv Geffen, an Israeli artist previously unknown to me.

All in all, a nice spot of diverse writing about Jewish music. Good on Jew*School!

September 16, 2006

Latest reviews by George Robinson, just in time for High Holidays

Reviewer George Robinson passes on this link to his latest column in the Jewish Week: Musical Awe: A roundup of new releases tied to the High Holy Days, and more.

September 12, 2006

Dance and Klezmer Video online

Recent discussion on the Jewish-Music list resulted in several links to Eastern European Jewish Dance online:

From Leon Balaban:

Just posted a couple of dance videos I recorded this week at Ashkenaz festival in Toronto, can be seen here: there are another 50 dance and music videos I posted (scroll down on list on right side of said video) among them Yiddish dance workshop with Helen Winkler and the Pomegranates klezmer band and other Israeli/Jewish dances and concerts. BTW The dance band at Ashkenaz was a "volunteer klezmer band" and I got only the names of Donald Lightstone on flute and Aleksi Rozoff on bass. If any one knows the other musicians please let me know so I can add to the video description. [Janina Werb adds: "the missing one: Marek Kovnatskij on violin (right)."]

And from Helen Winkler:

I have some Episodes of klezmer music from Linz' Street Festival 2006 (Austria).

September 6, 2006

Classic rebetika with Hebrew lyrics

Eva Broman found this to go along with a recent discussion on Jewish influence on rebetika, from the Jewish-Music mailing list:

re: the "Jews and rebetiko" thread, here's a lovely youtube video clip with the Israeli rebetiko group "Perach Adom"....classic rebetika with Hebrew lyrics!

There are two more clips with Perach Adom, hopefully accessible from the same page.

June 7, 2006

Best of Bay Area Jewish music poll

Do you live in the San Francisco Bay Area? If so, you can vote in the 2nd annual Jewish community poll beng held by the former Northern California Jewish Bulletin (now known as "J" magazine?):

Go for it! Vote early, vote often, and may the best band win!

June 4, 2006

Klezmer Video Blog

Here's a fascinating new site. Someone named Alak, from Tehran, has set up a website called "Klezvid":

this is my free klezmer video library online for all to download any klezmer videos from the net.

There already seem to be a lot of clips noted, but he doesn't seem to be getting the feedback he wants—check it out and comment if it seems appropriate!

April 2, 2006

And now, introducing Gad Elbaz

Eva Broman, following the discussion about Matisyahu on the Jewish-Music list, forwarded this:

After all the discussion about Matisyahu's success, I thought it might be interesting to read about another a young artist that apparently is rocking the Israeli Haredi community, selling in numbers that many secular artists can only dream of in a small market like the Israeli one:

Pop Star Rocks Orthodox Jewish Community by Scott Wilson, Washington Post, Nov 12, 2005

Gad Elbaz is the son of former secular Mizrahi singer Beni Elbaz, who now sings only religious material. I have one of Gad Elbaz's CDs, and I'd say that apart from the lyrics (which are too difficult to understand for my beginner's Hebrew), Elbaz doesn't sound that different from the current crowd of secular artists doing Western rap/R&B/modern pop balladry with a Mizrahi touch. He has also recently recorded a duet with mainstream star Shlomi Shabat (on Shabat's "Chaverim 2").

All this actually reminds me of the successful gospel groups of the seventies (e.g. The Staple Singers) who put religious/spiritual texts to current soul backings, with wah wah guitars and all.

Matisyahu interview in "The Onion"

Eve Sicular caught this:

, by Noel Murray, The Onion, Mar 14, 2006

April 1, 2006

Broiges tanz - on film!

Another item from the amazing Helen Winkler:

I now have a page up with video and photos from the event Judith Cohen and I did a few weeks ago:

The video clip of the broiges tants requires the most recent version of Quick Time to view it. This dance happened quite by accident as I had not planned to do it but Judith started playing and singing it earlier in the evening and we decided to include it at the last minute. My dance partner, Judy Silver had never seen a broiges tants before so it was very improvised and spontaneous. I welcome all information that people might have about this dance from past years, as I am accumulating a collection of people's recollections elsewhere on my web site.

March 18, 2006

Afro-Semitic Experience Live via Podcast

Afr-Semitic Experience bandleader David Chevan reports:

Our live radio concert performance recorded in January on WPKN in Bridgeport is now available 24 hours a day as a live stream on the web. You can find in by clicking on

The concert is on the home page of that web site. If you do give the concert a listen please let me know what you think of it, we are considering remastering the recording and releasing a live album, but I am interested in your opinion.

January 29, 2006

Shai: Misc Pop Culture Entries Archives

Eva Broman passes another excellent link on to the Jewish-Music mailing list. Looks like a very neat blogger:

I don't know if I have posted this link before, but never mind. It's a link that goes to the Shai Israeli Pop Culture archives:

Lots of enlightening articles on Israeli old and new(er) popular culture there.

December 31, 2005

new Jewish PR blog, UK

Leslie Bunder, the irrepressible host of the UK show, Something Jewish, announces:

Hi folks

Hope the following is of interest to those who are sending out press releases of their music. It's a new service that allows you to gain further distribution of your information.

Jewish PR Blog - The global Jewish Press Release service

20 October 2005 - A new free service to help the Jewish community distribute its information through the internet and also get instant reaction has been launched at Jewish PR Blog (

Using blog technology, Jewish PR Blog allows anyone sending out a press release of Jewish interest or containing something Jewish to distribute it online for free.

More information:
tel: 07976 220273
E-mail Jewish PR Blog

Continue reading "new Jewish PR blog, UK" »

Really good Sephardic folklore sites

I asked Dr. Judith Cohen about the Sephardic Folklore site I posted about earlier this week on the Klezlinks page:

Bruce Rosenstock maintains a website for Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, a multimedia archive of ballads and other oral literature in Judeo-Spanish collected from 1957 to 1993 by Samuel G. Armistead (University of California, Davis), the late Joseph H. Silverman (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Israel J. Katz. Web:

She responded with enthusiasm to the Jewish-Music list: "Just so everyone knows, it's absolutely reliable, the work of the most venerable and respected specialists in Judeo-Spanish folklore. I use it a lot. It can be used in tandem with the Pan-Hispanic Ballad site,, prepared by Suzanne Petersen and being continually updated.

George Robinson: Best Jewish Music Recordings of 2005

album coverGeorge Robinson writes frequently for the Jewish Week. He listens to an incredible diversity of music. Take a read of Five Stars All Around: From chasidic reggae to Golden Age chazanut, the best recordings of 2005, Jewish Week, 12/30/2005 (could this really be? Posting a new review in a timely fashion! I'll try to keep up for a while! Since several of the CDs I've been meaning to review are on this list, I even resolve to catch up here at home!)

December 26, 2005

Hadassah magazine on New Jewish Music

Marvin Margoshes posted this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

The current issue of Hadassah Magazine has an article on Jewish performers who incorporate non-Jewish styles into the Jewish culture. The artists who are featured include Matisyahu, Frank London, Pharoeh's Daughter and others.

See A Musical Coat of Many Colors, by Gaby Alter. For reasons I don't understand, the website uses frames, so note that the link above takes you out of their frameset. I apologize. I just don't understand why an online publication would make it impossible to bookmark or link to a specific story. But, you can't judge a great magazine by it's webmaster ;-).

The Village Voice discovers "New Jewish Music"

balkan beat boxPete Rushefsky beat several others to the punch posting this link from the NYC Village Voice weekly (home of Boston's own jazz writer Nat Hentoff). Between this and the "Jewlicious" special on VH1, it does seems as though Jewish music, or at least people that can be tagged "Jewish" are suddenly more visible as Jews and Jewish than has been the case in a while—maybe ever..

Just when you thought Hanukkah couldn't get any hotter, behold... Matisyahu on the cover of the Village Voice & article about the Nu New Jewish Music Scene:

Get Down, Moses: Upstart local Jewish musicians weave a coat of many colors, by Elena Oumano, December 20th, 2005

December 25, 2005

Rootless Cosmopolitan to blog KlezKamp

klezkamp posterRokhl Kafrissen, gossip columnist (just kidding!) for my favorite journal of fringe Jewish American socialism (not kidding so much), "Jewish Currents", recently gave us a wonderful rant on Yiddish Culture in that publication.

Now, as she heads off to KlezKamp, she turns her lawyerly eye to that institution. It is most likely that this will be wonderful reading written during one of the most culturally-intense happenings in the Jewish calendar: KlezKamp in the Catskills. Ari sez, "Check it out!"

Rachel Kafrissen's KlezKamp blog

"Song of the Lodz Ghetto" makes Newsday Top 10 Classical for 2005

album coverIn a year that has not been shy on excellent releases of Jewish music, old and new, there has been one CD that has stood out from the others, Brave Old World's 'Song of the Lodz Ghetto."

We are most pleased to direct you to the blog of the Newsday writer who eloquently pointed out that this CD transcends genres as limited as "yiddish music" or "Holocaust music" and belongs in everyone's music collection: Marion Lignana Rosenberg

December 12, 2005

Michael Wex on Fresh Air

book coverYiddish Enthusiasts and anyone with a sense of humor have rejoiced at the recent publication of Michael Wex's book, "Born to Kvetch". Now, you can hear Michael Wex on Fresh Air. The original aired earlier today, 12/12/05.

Punk Princesses: Jews with Attitude

Ouch! What headline writer thought that evoking the misogynist image of the Jewish American Princess was a clever way to talk about women doing interesting new things in Jewish music? Surely not George Robinson, who wrote the article and includes some great quotes from Annette Ezekiel, Jewlia Eisenberg, and Sophie Solomon in this article from the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. Did I mention his kind inclusion of yours truly among the quotees?

December 6, 2005

Bob Cohen's summer vacation

Bob and other players
My favorite klezmer tuba player, Mark Rubin writes in with notice that he's put up pictures and text of a summer research expedition to Romania by wonderful Budapest klezmer band leader Bob Cohen (di Naye Kapelye). You can read (and see) more on Rubin's blog at

December 4, 2005

Reworked Szymon Laks "Elegy for the Jewish Little Towns" released

album coverThis has been sitting in the inbox for an embarrassing number of months:

Debica, Poland--On May 23, 2005 Dembitzer Music is releasing Sztetlach CD - a collection of nine unorthodox reworkings of Szymon Laks's classic song Elegy for the Jewish Little Towns (set to a poem by Antoni Slonimski in 1961). This highly varied music was recorded between 2002 and 2004 and was based on two texts: the Szymon Laks’s score and Jaroslaw Lipszyc’s poem “Little Towns 2.1” ­ the latter being a present-day ‘commentary’ on the Slonimski’s poem. Ireneusz Socha - the mastermind behind the project - commissioned the pieces from some of the most creative Polish musicians such as Jaroslaw Bester (the leader of The Cracow Klezmer Band), Boleslaw Blaszczyk, Tomasz Gwincinski, Wojt3k Kucharczyk, Raphael Roginski (the leader of the Cukunft trio), Pawel Szamburski (the leader of Meritum), Yuriy Yaremchuk and Patryk Zakrocki. More info, mp3 samples and orders from:

Latest George Robinson reviews now online

Simon, from Hatikvah Music, writes:

In the current on line issue of The Jewish Week, George Robinson reviews a number of new Jewish CDs at this site:

The reviews include:

Yinon Muallem: “Klezmer for the Sultan” (Oriente)
Muallem is an Israeli-born percussionist now living in Istanbul. He offers an interesting mix of Turkish and Jewish traditional music, with a slightly pop edge. Like so much “world beat” fusion music, this is very pleasant listening, if not as adventurous as it could be.

Polskie Tango, 1929-1939 (Oriente)
A fascinating anthology of tangos from the 1930s, when that sensual music seems to have been the rage everywhere, not just in Buenos Aires. Many of the most popular tango players in Poland were Jewish artists, amply represented on this set, and one can hear the dual influences of Argentine and Jewish music on several of the recordings. Uneven, as most anthologies are, but historically valuable and generally musically satisfying.

November 29, 2005

Cowboy "Hamentaschen" from Smithsonian Folkways

Months ago Robert Cohen sent the URL for the Smithsonian Folkways global folk music online catalog. Tonight I tried it out with the kewords "Jewish" or "klezmer". Got 22 hits, the second of which was "Hamentashen" on Hootenany Tonight, as performed by the "Jewish Young Folksingers". Check it out - there are some ipodable gems here:

November 21, 2005

Sephardic music article in the Forward

Joel Bresler writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

The Forward continues to cover Sephardic music quite intensively! Ladino: Alive in Song, If Not Speech, By Elissa Strauss, Nov 4, 2005. Please note that there actually was at least one other Ladino lyricist in Los Angeles, the 'oud player Isaac Sene.

November 19, 2005

UK Jewish Music Podcast

Leslie Bunder posts this new to the Jewish-Music mailing list. The one time I was able to catch his show, I really enjoyed it:

The UK's only weekly world Jewish music show, the SomethingJewish show broadcast on Resonance104.4fm radio in London is also now podcasting. We have just soft-launched it over at

This week, Leslie and Caroline played music from artists including Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, David Krakauer, Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars and Pharaoh's Daughter.

Plus, in the versus series of the show it was Australia's Yidcore against California's The Makkabees.

Leslie and Caroline discussed the merits of both bands - but what exactly did they say? And who did they choose as the winner?

We will also be adding further shows from the archive as well as each week's show. Plus, it will also be hosted at which is a new project we are developing.

November 14, 2005

Pics of the Frank London Klezmer Brass AllStars in Richmond, VA

Rubin and London in front of port-a-pottiesAnd what says "down home music" like Klezmer, especially big, loud, brassy klezmer (and other world music) as played by Frank London's Klezmer Brass AllStars? Many thanks to Mark Rubin for brightening up a late night attempt to catch up on just a few hundred of the most urgent messages to the KlezmerShack.

You can view the whole set at

November 13, 2005

NPR Interview: John Zorn and John Madof

album coverHey, if this isn't a good excuse to be up early and listening to NPR instead of working! A really nice interview with John Zorn about his Masada music, and John Madof who recently released one of the 10th Anniversary Masada albums, and of John Madof. What I found especially interesting was the assertion that the Radical Jewish Music label was formed to give a voice to Jewish music that is broader than klezmer—to counter the notion that klezmer and Jewish music are synonyms—a goal with which anyone who knows and loves Jewish music (see last week's entry on "A Cantor's Tale," for one non-klezmer roots example) will heartily concur.

It's an interesting interview with excellent song samples. The audio should be available for rerun online today after 1pm EST at 'Masada Songbook': Zorn Redefines Jewish Music

link updated 3/21/07

September 18, 2005

Jew*School covers the NYJMHC

jewschool goes to NYJMHFMy favorite Jewish blog has done some dynamite coverage of several events at the New York Jewish Music and Heritage fest. You can start from the most recent by just popping over to Jew*School, or you can start with mobius' coverage of the opening night.

September 11, 2005

Josh Dolgin interview: The Walrus

If, like most of us, you are fascinated and excited by DJ Socalled's work, you won't want to miss the current issue of the Canadian arts and culture magazine, "The Walrus": Jew Funk, "Josh Dolgin, a.k.a. Socalled, is Montreal's leading mixer of klezmer and hip hop" by David Coodin with files from Sharon Drache

September 2, 2005

Alan Watsky's comments on KlezKanada

klezkanada logoRokhl Kafriesen, a columnist for the Jewish Currents (among other accomplishments) blogs Alan Watsky's comments to the Jewish-Music list about KlezKanada: Rhapsody in Jew—Watsky on KlezKanada

August 31, 2005

First round, KlezKanada photos

klezkanada logoBob Blacksberg, who supplied the best pictures for the KlezKanada newsletter, but has been known for years for documenting KlezKanada in general, writes:

The first round of my KlezKanada pictures can be found at:

There will be hundreds more, plus video, as I get the chance to work on it. I will try to post full resolution versions of the group pictures in the next day or two, and perhaps select different ones than those that appear here.

I can barely find the words to express the learning, joy, khevre, affection of this week. I hope the pictures help to capture it.

If you would like to send a caption or description for any of these pictures, or others that I post, please write. I will add them to the web pages to enrich the experience for all.

A sheynem dank!!!!
Bob Blacksberg

August 30, 2005

Montreal Gazette on KlezKanada 2005

[article seems to have disappeared!

klezkanada logoKeith Wolzinger pointed this out to me: "Fresh country air for old-world klezmer", by Irwin Block, in this past Sunday's Montreal Gazette.

July 28, 2005

Great new Jewish arts blog - Mimaamakim

Rivalling Jew*School as a favorite location is a new Jewish arts blog called "Mi-ma'amakim" (from depths). Lots of nice attitude, lots of latitude, very worth reading:

June 19, 2005

The Jewgrass Boys go to Harvard

Si Kahn mentioned this very interesting new paper out of Harvard tonight:

The Jewgrass Boys
Bluegrass Music's Emergence in New York City's
Washington Square Park,

By Timothy Josiah Morris Pertz

Winner of the 2005 Edward Chandler Cumming Prize for the Thesis of Highest Distinction in the Field of History and Literature and the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize For Outstanding Thesis of the Senior Class At Harvard College

What's more, it looks like a fascinating article about that whole crowd of Jewish bluegrass fans (Andy Statman, among them) - the NYC counterpart to the Jewish blues mafia of Chicago and New York (then, Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Danny Kalb and so many others).

June 16, 2005

Yiddish Dancing as a metaphor for life

Browsing through feedster, I noticed this fascinating entry A Real Update: Life Lessons from a Jewish Folkdance by a blogger on livejournal called "dreamplum."

I say, anything that gets more people onto the dancefloor is a good thing. Maybe Helen Winkler can incorporate this into some of her amazing dance classes.

June 15, 2005

This is my idea of a music calendar

I've been gradually working my way out from under work, then catching up with listings and reviews. Still a ways to go. One move that may happen this year is into a "framework" website that will facilitate the listings, the calendar, the blog, all as one integrated piece. I've been mostly looking at something called "Drupal", which is written in a language I sort of understand (PHP) and which would be a great framework for many of the non-profits that I work with. Drupal was used by the Howard Dean campaign last year, which spawned a very, very interesting meta-Drupal project called "CivicSpace," which is now inching towards a first release. CivicSpace looks to me like "Drupal, plus all the cool community features that I've been looking for." We'll see.

So, one of the sites using the still-beta CivicSpace framework is Music Across America. Take a look at this calendar and tell me that it wouldn't be cool to have for the klezmershack calendar - we'd need the world, not just the US, but imagine being able to zero in on music and events relevant to Jewish music just my moving your mouse (or, one hopes, speaking or using alternative navigation devices, as needed or preferred)! If I can find a way to make more events more accessible - and to make it easy for bands, musicians, and venues to list events by themselves - we could really do something neat.

June 14, 2005

New Jewish blog aggregator - welcome to

Leslie Bunder, who already does a radio show in the UK and is a major force behind "" announces to the Jewish-Music list:

If anyone has a Jewish music blog, then you may like to submit it to a new site we have just put into beta -

We already have a couple of Jewish music blogs indexed, but are there any we are missing? [He already lists the KlezmerShack and hte Jewish Music WebCenter. There are more needed? ari] is from SomethingJewish and offers all bloggers the opportunity to get their blog indexed.

And if you know other Jewish blogs who should be featured, then let me know.

June 7, 2005

BBC commemorates 80th anniversar of YIVO

Lorin Sklamberg posts this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Check out Tim Whewell's in-depth radio documentary, Plucked from the Fire, commemorating the 80th anniversary of YIVO (including many vintage recordings from our collections) at

June 5, 2005

And, from the NYTimes via Alex Lubet:

Jews Rock Blog logoWho knew there was so much of real interest in the world of Jews and rock music? Someone does, because there is a very interesting website,, and you can visit (but not subscribe, I believe - there doesn't appear to be RSS) the jews Rock blog

Newly discovered Jewish Music Blog

I've just discovered this blog, the Jewish Blogmeister. The correspondent refers to himself as someone who has been performing at weddings for a decade. The last three headlines were:

  • The Yeshiva Boys Choir try outs!
  • London band dips into Klezmer (about Oi Va Voi)
  • The real deal behind Abbas

Which I'd describe as a reasonable range. Probably not my politics, but I'm glad the range is there and that there is another, interesting take on Jewish music, culture, life, and politics. Enjoy!

May 22, 2005

Article on the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir

Eva Broman spotted this article on Canada's oldest Jewish folk choir:

Since I have understood that several members here are involved with the "Workmen's Circle", I thought you might be interested in this article. You'll need an Acrobat reader to open it, and it takes some time to load if you don't have broadband connection. Leftist, Jewish, and Canadian Identities Voiced in the Repertoire of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, 1939-1959, by Benita Wolters-Fredlund, Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, 29:04 (2002).

"Abstract: This article focuses on a twenty-year period of the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir during which the ensemble was conducted by Emil Gartner. Considering historical contexts, including political pressures and social frameworks, the author shows how repertoire choices were linked to overlapping patterns of identify, notably the choir as a voice for progressive political ideas, as a Jewish community group, and as a player in the emerging multicultural Canadian fabric."

May 1, 2005

Frank London itnerviewed by Benjamin Bresky

Okay, here's a treat. Frank London being interviewed by Benjamin Bresky on the latter's show, "The Beat" (streamed live on 11-12am on Sundays). The Klezmatics are currently touring Israel with Ehud Banai—I'd give a lot for tapes of the concerts, because just as the Klezmatics mix punk and rock and avant garde with klezmer and Yiddish; Banai got his start as an Israeli Mizrahi punk rocker and his albums have always featured a wonderful mix of interesting music, strong, proud Mizrahi roots, and interesting words. As I listen to the interview, London is having a lot of fun dissecting klezmer as practiced in Israel, Europe, and the US. (Israeli klezmer, except for Moussa Berlin and his Meron-derived melodies to which London offers considerable props, is dismissed for being something that sounds suspicously like "they're still stuck in playing klezmer as mere dance music". What London actually says is more subtle, and truer.) Also discussed is Woody Guthrie's Jewish music, the factoid that Rabbi Meir Kahane officiated at Arlo Guthrie's bar mitzvah and Mordechai Ben-David's Yidden. London even manages to get a welcome mention in of Kruzenshtern and Parohod, that amazing trio of avant gardeists based in Tel Aviv.

The interview should be available for at least a week at

I do need to note that while I really enjoyed Bresky's show, it seems to be in odd company. Israel National Radio as a whole (based on the show that preceded Bresky's, the website, and the house ads with which his broadcast was peppered) seems to have much more in common with the loony intolerant international right wing fundamentalist conspiracy at its scariest than anything else. So it goes. I'll continue to brave indications that right wing crazies are alive and well in order to listen to future shows by Bresky, now that I've found the show.

April 18, 2005

San Francisco Bay Area Klezmer Resource Guide

klezcalifornia logoA new KLEZCALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RESOURCE GUIDE is now on our website,

This Resource Guide identifies and gives contact information for 42 individuals and groups available locally for performances, lectures, workshops, and classes on various aspects of Eastern European Jewish culture (Yiddish culture): klezmer music, Yiddish language & literature, Eastern European Jewish history, Ashkenazi influences on American Jewish life, Yiddish theatre, paper-cutting, and other folk arts.

We hope this KlezCalifornia Local Resource Guide will help increase Yiddish culture activities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thanks very much for your consideration,
—Talia Shaham
KlezCalifornia, Inc.

April 16, 2005

Taraf de Haidouks, kazoo-ized

Lila Feingold found this on the Balkan list. I will eschew her description and suggest that this must be experienced in full

"this brilliant teenager in NYC has decided to have a kazoo band playing, essentially, gypsy brass band style. Here is the link to his demo:"

I decided that before I form my orchestra it would be nice to know how it would actually sound. SO I hooked up a mic to the computer and overdubbed a kazoo orchestra of 8 parts (all played by me)

With all the talk of Dumbala Dumba I figured it would be a good tune to try. HERE IT IS: Note this requires "Quicktime".

"you may possibly be able to recognize this tune from the playing of Taraf de Haidouks."

March 27, 2005

European Assoc. for Jewish Culture Review, 2005

an interesting e-mail from across the pond:

photo montage
[I wish to let you know] about the European Association for Jewish Culture Review 2005, which has just been published on our website. It includes 16 pages of illustrated reports about new music compositions and their performances as well as new drama and other arts projects.

A rich harvest of new drama, art, music, and film: For the overview and highlights of 100 projects in 20 European countries, visit

March 16, 2005

"The Language of the Heart"/"Los Muestros"

Eva Broman posts to the Jewish-Music list:

I'm forwarding an interesting article by Amnon Shiloah:

The Language of the Heart Encounters between Jewish and Moslem Musicians in Morocco and Spain, from The Israel Review of Arts and Letters - 1997/105

And another link to the magazine "Los Muestros" which is available online (many articles on Greek Jewry, which interests me!):

March 5, 2005

Yankl Falk on a good Israeli record store

Back in January, our favorite resident American member of Di Naye Kapelye, Yankl Falk, sent this out in response to an early post by Eva Broman on new Sephardic Israeli music:

Thanks to Eva Broman for introducing us to—and also for your comments about traditional vs popular music in Israel. Reva and I just got back from two weeks in Israel, where we bought buckets of CDs at HaTav HaShmini (a great shop in Jerusalem near Nahalat Shiva) and at Renanot (in the Heichal Shlomo synagogue - mostly liturgical). We were fortunate enough to pick up a hitchhiker with good taste, who gave us great recommendations. Plus, we found some knowledgeable and helpful folks at the record shop. HaTav HaShmini has a really diverse selection of traditional and contemporary Israeli music of all flavors, with much of their stock selling for only 29 or 39 shekels - less than $10 - so we didn't mind taking some chances: new music in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdi, Russian, and more. We also wound up with some Palestinian and Lebanese pop music that we found at a tiny Druze village in the Galilee. (Debka meets drums 'n' bass.) Should keep us busy l! istening for a while....

Continue reading "Yankl Falk on a good Israeli record store" »

New Israeli Peace Music Group is finally launching! wider in vision than Ofer (Jerusaleman) the musician and design by Earthmandala - with a 40 minute music loop (popup enable) and lots of links including Kultur ohne Grenzen (see the links page - from Networking page) so........................ if you have a link to please please change it to we have 3 focuses for March in healing Israel/Palestine of nationalism

  • the All Nations Caravan with Jewish and Arab musicians after a series of events in Jerusalem (east and west) is coming to Germany / Holland / Switzerland in May -connect through Travel page at
  • the IDF has jailed a conscientious objector who refuses to wear a uniform - if there is enough protest the army will know it can not jail pacifists for their refusal - go thru the link on Education page (we can educate the military to recognize pacifism) at
  • PURIM - the holiday of carnaval, salvation (of course through a woman)

Jewish Holiday Music from the Jerusalem National University Library Sound Archive

Just in time for Purim, Passover through Sukkoth, Pete Rushefsky posted this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

I just came across this—lots of good holiday-specific sound files from different Jewish communities.

March 4, 2005

The power of Music in Judaism

Yoel Taieb, of the Techelet Ensemble, reports that he has created a new website of interest. Information ranges from Chassidic music to articles on modern Jewish classical composers such as Milhaud, Bloch, and Schoenberg:

I have built a website who is a sort of journey in music image and texts to the land of the nigun. When i began to search my way in chassidic and jewish music about twenty years ago, Paris was such a desert to what concern jewish music. Now that with Ensemble Techelet we succeed in creating a new style and that i see a logic in what i suffured all this years i built this website as a tribute to all those who inspired me on the way. I will be very happy that you'll speak about it and about our music

The new website address:

January 30, 2005

Eva Broman with new Ladino Music leads

Eva Broman posted a long message to the Jewish-Music list about some great new Ladino music to which she has been listening. With her permission, it is now part of the KlezmerShack library.

January 22, 2005

How Stalin invented world music

This article has been making the rounds all weekend. At first I figured I had no interest. I am in the minority of folks who don't inherently care to know more about Stalin, in particular whatever hook might be attached to: How Stalin invented world music, by Joe Boyd (2nd article - the first is also interesting). But I was wrong. In the face of ongoing e-mails from unrelated friends, I decided to see what was up. This is a fascinating article. Don't miss it.

My friend, Lila, writes: "I found it exciting that Joe Boyd, whom I have known as a brilliant pop music producer, is so well acquainted with the history and context of this stuff." (She found out about the article from a post to the Balkan music list which claimed that there were a few inaccuracies.)

Seth Rogovoy on "What the Klezmer Revival can teach Sephardic Music"

In this week's Forward (Feb. 21): "What the Klezmer Revival can teach Sephardic music", by Seth Rogovoy. Yes, I've already talked about the inane Forward "you must register or else" web viewing style, today.

But, here's the thing. Do make the effort to read the article. Do you agree with Seth? Does his article account for the fact that Klezmer no longer seems to be the hip form (at least, not to the young, hip set - by me, and I presume by Seth, we're still excited), and harder to book? Is there a different path Sephardic music fans could take, or are taking, or should fans worry about the music's popularity or familiarity among the non-cognoscenti in the first place? (trying not to give away too much that is in the article - if you post a comment, do make sure that you have read what Seth had to say first.

Some quibbles for those who have read the article: First, without arguing for a minute against the fact that Golem do a dynamite version of "Ocho Kandelikos" (after seeing them live this December they are firmly on my "never miss a chance to see" list), writing pilpul to try to prove that a Bosnian song written in Ladino could properly be considered "Eastern European" is a bit of, well, pilpul. Second, I do want to note that I recently had an e-mail conversation with singer/researcher Judith Cohen about the music of Sarah Aroeste. Both Cohen and I are big fans of Aroeste, so it was odd to read him contrast the two singers' work (one traditional, one not) as though they might be at odds. And finally, while advice is being offered on how to make Sephardic music more successful than klezmer, it should be noted that Sephardic music significantly outsells klezmer in Judaica shops. The explosive Sephardic music scene in Israel (and the spin-offs into rock, hip hop, and dance music) is also worth noting.

Having said all of that, as I said, Rogovoy has excellent points to make and I thank him for writing the article.

Kabbalistic Kirtan featured in The Forward

album coverThe Forward is yet another publication with that useless "register before reading" hassle that trades millions of general bits of viewing info for 10s of specific viewing info, but it still publishes interesting articles, such as Kabbalistic Kirtan: Just Replace Hindu With Hebrew, by Rachel Zuckerman, published on Jan 14, 2005.

It's an interesting article about some very good, very interesting new music from Philly.

January 16, 2005

20th KlezKamp scrapbook, 2004

JammingThe 20th annual KlezKamp has come and gone. Bob Blacksberg has done his usual wonderful job of taking pictures and putting them online. You can sample them at Lots of people posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list, and gave me permission to gather everyone's excitement, pleasure, kvetches, and everything that makes KlezKamp the wonderful experience that it is into one long webpage. It's a wonderful crew, have a good read.

January 14, 2005

new website yiddish for historians

Historian Gerben Zaagsma, who contributed an article to the KlezmerShack library years ago, "The Klezmorim of Prague", writes:

I would like to let you know i have put a website online entitled "Yiddish sources in historical research". It can be found at:

The idea of the site is to provide people who wish to use Yiddish sources in historical research with links to materials, institutions etcetera and it grew out of my own collection of links and it seemed a good thing to turn them into a site. The site is very much a work in progress and this is the first basic version, i will be adding more things over time. I would like to invite everybody to take a look and send me any comments, criticisms or suggestions you might have.

E-mail Gerben Zaagsma.

January 7, 2005

Belated "Light the Menorah"

I'd save this for next year, but who knows whether it will be there next year? So, take a look at Light the Menorah a delightful, Adam Sandler-esque holiday romp:

Now here's a little something we gots to say,
We're gonna spread a little Judaism down your way,
'Cause we rock the star of david instead of a cross,
And when we eat our latkes we like applesauce,
And if you're still not sure why the rhyming's so pure,
You'll be singing the Shema 'till your lips start getting sore,
'Cause we're mixing up the matzo with some rhythm and tone,
And we're spitting it out for you in this microphone, ....

from a blog called "elephantitis of the mind". Thank you!

January 6, 2005

NewMusicBox looks as Klezmer (is that the only Jewish music?)

Eve Sicular notes:

You may want to have a look at the January edition of, the webmag of the American Music Center, all about klezmer this month!

it includes a feature on David Krakauer and shorter pieces (in the LeadSheet section) by various other klezmer instrumentalists, including Metropolitan Klezmer & Isle of Klezbos' reed player, Debra Kreisberg.

I'll add that Seth Rogovoy's summary of Klezmer is pretty decent, and I really enjoyed Seth Kibel's and Anthony Coleman's comments, and others, alongside Debra's. Nice interview with David Krakauer, too, but that's in PDF form, which is a bit clunky for this purpose.

January 1, 2005

Interesting articles on Jewish music in the Forward

Seth Rogovoy notes two articles of interest in this week's English language Forward

Music from the World's Kosher Kitchens by Michael Wex is a review of a new book by Yale Strom.

A Slew of new CDs to take into 2005 by Seth Rogovoy is a nicely diverse set of reviews of new Jewish music.

December 20, 2004

Wonderful rant on Carlebach jam bands

I had no idea! Although I have long been horrified by the idea of kids hiring a DJ instead of a real band for simkhas, I assumed that was a partially-assimilated Jewish suburbs kind of thing. Once again, I rely on the esteemed Blog in Dm for the scoop.

Tofuhut on Brandwein

There is a very interesting passage about Naftule Brandwein and klezmer on the TofuHut, an very interesting-looking blog that seems to put up a lot of MP3s for a limited time. The Brandwein discussion, of course, has a link to one of his recordings. There is a nice link to the KlezmerShack, too, which I appreciate:

The TofuHut, then search for "klezmer".

December 19, 2004

Matisyahu, Hip Hop Hoodios live video links

matisyahuBoth Matisyahu and the Hip Hop Hoodíos were in Paris this fall. You can view parts of each concert over the web, courtesy Claude Szwimer. Many thanks!

Matisyahu live, from Nov 11, La Scene Bastille, Paris. It looks like this is the encore.

Hip Hop Hoodíos live, from Dec 11, La Scene Bastille, Paris. This is their song about 1492.

I don't know who the violinist is on the Paris backup band, but she solos on both of these recordings and she is incendiary—a young Alicia Svigals. Estelle Goldfarb? perhaps? Keep your eyes and ears open.

December 12, 2004

Loolwa Khazoom on Jewish Hip Hop

album coverWhen I reviewed the new Celebrate Hip Hop CD, I was speaking from a limited knowledge of Hip Hop. Loolwa Khazoom offers a much deeper perspective, in this article from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Hip-Hop's Jew Crew Takes Center Stage

November 30, 2004

A Carlebach encounter in Tel Aviv

Klezmer Ted Kuster writes about encountering an amazing klezmer in Tel Aviv:

... By the way, I was in Tel Aviv for work last summer and was able to squeeze in one concert, by a guy named Rabbi Judah Fasselman. Have you heard of him? I really enjoyed it but can't find any recordings. I came back with some kick-ass Hasidic party music compilations, though. I wrote about it on my site. (Sorry if it's a slow load; I'm playing with Bloxsom and have yet to work out the kinds of CGI.)

Link to an actual wedding site?

Here's a new one for me. I've added this to the "klezlinks" page. After all, shouldn't a site originally dedicated to Jewish music have a link to a Jewish wedding site? Klezmer is Jewish wedding music—that was the original point. So, now there's a site to accompany "The Creative Jewish Wedding Book (Jewish Lights, 2004). I haven't reviewed either the book or the site: Let me know if this is useful! Are there other/better Jewish wedding sites that would be of interest to those who use this site to find a wedding band?

(Usual disclaimer: I cannot recommend a wedding band. I can point you to the international list of bands by location. Beyond that, the usual good ways to choose a band include talking with friends, consulting your local Jewish newspaper and Jewish Federation (one of which usually has a Jewish resource guide), and, of course, do speak with folks at your local synagogue. It isn't just the music: do support local Jewish institutions—and don't hesitate to start new ones if what you want isn't there!)

November 29, 2004

New Elliott Simon reviews in "All About Jazz" including Chanukah selections

Elliott Simon writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Hi all and best of the holidays..the December issue of AAJ-NY is out and if you can't pick up a paper in is available for download as a pdf

This month plenty of content of interest to the list...double cd reviews of Midrash Mish Mosh and the re-release of drummer Shelly Manne's part of our holiday coverage the Klezmatics Woody Guthrie Hanuka and Lori Simon's Vessel of Song,,,,in addition there is a concert/cd review of klezmer madness guitarist Sherl Bauley's latest and material by zorn, ned rothenberg and others....below are some links to the article previews as they will appear on the regards to all...Elliott

November 28, 2004

Bubby's Song

Dennis Wilen found this and posted it to the Jewish conference on the WELL, my online home

"I grew up in a home with a strong sense of Jewish identity. Although we weren’t observant, my mother lit Shabbos candles, and my father made kiddush over the Welch’s grape juice. And then there was Grandma Rose. She came to America from Romania when she was eight years old and, though she spoke English fluently, I never heard her use a sentence that didn’t contain some Yiddish. There was the Yiddish song she used to sing to me and my siblings, a tragic folksong, really, composed by a woman whose husband had died of tuberculosis. Grandma Rose learned it while rocking the cradle of the woman’s fatherless daughter.


Bubby Maaseh, by Peter Himmelman. Lots there to think about, including the idea of being comfortable being out as ourselves and what that means.

peter himmelman

Pincus and the Pig - the Seth Rogovoy review

In this week's Forward, Shirim's new "Pincus and the Pig" CD is reviewed in Peter and the Wolf Gets Klezmerized, by Seth Rogovoy. You'll need to log on, as the Forwards follows the lemmings over the cliff in an effort to make sure that no one but diehards reads their material, and that it doesn't get indexed by Google or anyone. So it goes.

November 22, 2004

"Kosher Woody" - article on the new Klezmatics work with Woody Guthrie songs

Seth Rogovoy reports to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

"Kosher Woody," by Michael Eck of the Albany Times Union, is a wonderful article about the Klezmatics' current "Holy Ground" project of Woody Guthrie songs. (and I'm not just saying that because I'm quoted in the piece)

Really terrific work considering a) this is in the general, non-Jewish press; b) the writer is not a specialist in the subject.

Note: I found that the link timed out on me, so be prepared to try at different times of the day. ari

November 21, 2004

Jack Gottlieb at the Library of Congress, via the web

Marvin Margoshes writes to the Jewish-Music list about the availability of Jack Gottlieb's lecture this past September on the web:

At, you can see and hear a talk at the Library of Congress by Jack Gottlieb, on September 20. He plays and sings examples of American music, Hebrew prayer melodies, and music from the Jewish theater, to illustrate his thesis that they are not coincidentally similar. It is easier to believe in the case of Irving Berlin's music than in the case of Gershwin's. but it is an interesting lecture. He wrote the book, "Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Jewish: How Yiddish Songs and Synagogue Melodies Influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood".

The link works well with a high-speed Internet connection. It may not work with a dial-up connection.

November 10, 2004

Yossi Piamenta mailing list

In response to a group emailing about a forthcoming Koby Israelite album, Steven Weiss posted a blurb about Yossi Piamenta and a mailing list for his fans. It seems worth passing on the info:

Come join the mailing list for Yosi Piamenta, the Israeli born rocker. Concert info and band happenings!

"Yossi Piamenta and the Piamenta band jam with frenetic abandon, creating a psychedelic haze of classic rock, jazz, and Oriental Hebrew music. Critics have compared Piamenta's fret magic to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana, though Piamenta's style is truly his own."

"Spiritual music never sounded so good!"

Link to keep track of band happenings:

October 7, 2004

More reviews by George Robinson

Another "lost" link—in this case, a whole new slew of reviews (well, new back in February) from George Robinson for the Jewish Week: An Eclectic New Year: From Arab-Andalusian classics to Baudelaire-inspired piano, a wide-ranging mix of CDs for the new season.

Who is a Jew? What is Jewish Art?

Lori Cahan-Simon found this very interesting article, from Aug 6, '04, about the new Modigliani exhibit at New York's Jewish Museum: Modigliani: Pretty darned Jewish

September 24, 2004

Milken Archive on NPR

Earlier this week we were treated to a story on the Milken Archive on NPR. For those who are interested in the project, the NPR story is here: (FYI: Dave Brubeck is pictured - his CD is catalogue number 8.559406).

July 16, 2004

"Something Jewish" - a new online Jewish magazine

Frank LondonThere is a new online Jewish magazine in the UK that looks fairly interesting, called "Something Jewish". Glancing through it quickly I found some tired Jewish jokes, and this great interview with Frank London from a couple of months ago:

Continue reading ""Something Jewish" - a new online Jewish magazine" »

May 28, 2004

Rogovoy on Mikveh, Golem

Seth Rogovoy covers a recent concert by both Mikveh and Golem in Western Massachusetts: Klezmer revived and recontextualized.

May 7, 2004

Interview with composer Ofer Ben-Amots at Milken Archive site

A new interview with Ofer Ben-Amots is featured on the homepage of the Milken Archive Web site. Also, the CDs page now features the David Diamond and Ofer Ben-Amots CDs, which are now available.

April 12, 2004

Right Wing Orthodox Jewish Rocker has interesting blog

I haven't often used this weblog for the obvious purpose of linking to other weblogs. This weekend I was looking at the entries for Jewish music subjects in a new blog search engine, technorati, and found a rather interesting blog by someone who appears to be part of the more-orthodox-than-thou community, who is especially interested in the loud rock side of Jewish music. His comments about My Afro-semitic Experience are a good representative of his writing, but only one - it's certainly worth reading more.

I didn't agree with the blogger's reaction to Chevan's small political mention, and I certainly would not and do not draw the same conclusions from Chevan's intent. Come to think of it, as a child of the Sixties (well, as a tail-end baby boomer) I think that politics and music should mix - that politics infuses everything we do (as much as I do my best to keep politics off the Jewish-Music mailing list as the only way to accomodate widely differing, frequently polarized political views trying to come together to share cultural commonality), so not only don't I draw the same conclusions about Chevan's intent - opposition to Israel's security fence is not necessarily a sign that one is careless of Israel's security; rather it could be that calling the fence a "security" fence doesn't necessarily make it so - but I don't agree with the belief that music can always be separated from politics.

But that's me. More important, Velvel writes an interesting blog, and it is often about Jewish Music. And we came very close to doing something very similar when we opened the door for Elijah at our seder. Enjoy.

April 3, 2004

Jewish music list archives now searchable

Search broke on the Shamash lists a year or so ago. Irwin Oppenheim, who runs the wonderful Cantors pages, has now created his own searchable archive of everything. Thank you, Irwin!


Have you experienced trouble searching the archives of the Shamash mailing lists, like me? Have you always wished that there were an easy way to find a mail thread of several months or years ago?

As a service to the public, Chazzanut Online now contains a fully searchable and browsable archive of the <> (1992-2004) and <> (1996-2004) mailing lists. That's more than 800MB worth of data!

Now you can finally read again what Ari Davidow thought about Jewish Music way back in 1992: not to speak about 1986...

Care has been taken to protect the archive server against e-mail harvesting spam bots, by scrambling all the e-mail addresses contained within the messages.

Again, enjoy the services of

January 31, 2004

Online Study Guide for Klezmer Music

Oh, right - you thought that would be the KlezmerShack. Well, I like to think that it is, but someone at the Chicago Public Library has created this great list of sites for learning about Klezmer Music: I found out about it when I was checking out the new website by a Virginia band called the "Vulgar Bulgars". If you check out their website, be sure to go to the "links" page and try the link to the Moon Song. Not klezmer, but damn ... well, damn something.

Oi Va Voi big hit in Israel

album coverHere's something new: A "Diaspora" Jewish band making a big pop spash in Israel: The Haaretz review of Oi Va Voi's new "Laughter Through Tears", an interesting Jewish-tinged dance album that made several of last year's 10-best list here and in the UK notes: "... Israeli radio has not been too taken aback by the album's decidedly Jewish overtones. To judge by the number of times 'Refugee' and another track, 'Yesterday's Mistakes,' have been played already on 88 FM (Israeli and world music) and Army Radio's Galgalatz traffic-music station, it seems Israelis are also finding Oi Va Voi's stuffed kreplach quite tasty." Read more via the English-language version of Haaretz, The Jewish Cry of Joy, by Sagi Ben-Nun.

January 27, 2004

More reviews from Richard Sharma

Richard Sharma writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

There's another bunch of new album reviews up on Rainlore's World of Music

Wolf Krakowski / Transmigrations

Wolf Krakowski / Goyrl

Yaffa Yarkoni / Rumania, Rumania

Pete Rushefsky and Elie Rosenblatt / Tsimbl un Fidl

CeiliZemer / Shalom Ireland

January 6, 2004

Rainlore adds even more - updated UK calendar coming

Richard Sharma posted the following to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

There's a whole bunch of new album reviews up on Rainlore's World of Music ( ), plus a profile of fab Aussie band Monsieur Camembert who recently won another ARIA Award for their current album, Absynthe (reviewed earlier), plus other bits of news etc. - see

Reviews are of two more albums by superb Dutch Yiddish song duo Mariejan van Oort and Jacques Verheijen, "Brikele - A Concert of Yiddish Songs" plus their latest hot-off-the-presses "Mayn Fayfele - Songs of Gebirtig", a fab tribute to and musical portrait of Mordekhay Gebirtig. For something completely different, there's The Amazing Assaf's "Explicit Lifestyles" and "Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't". Assaf's truly amazing and will here be more familiar as the percussionist of Daphna Sadeh's new all-star Voyagers line-up. Also familiar from the same line-up will be multi-woodwind phenomenon Stewart Curtis, whose albums with Stewart Curtis' K-Groove, "Smoked Salmon Salsa", and with the Stewart Curtis Trio, "Saracubana - The Stewart Curtis Trio Plays B.B. Cooper" are reviewed.

Links to all these reviews at:

A "silent" update to the Jewish Music UK Calendar ( ) is due to follow in the next few days - so if you have any forthcoming UK dates of any kind of Jewish musical events, please contact me off-list ASAP with as much detail as poss.

January 5, 2004

jmwc announcements - new weblog on the block

JMWC logoThere is finally another weblog devoted to Jewish music. Over the secular new year, my wife, Judy Pinnolis launched the Jewish Music WebCenter Announcements Weblog at Looks good, if I may say so, myself!

December 23, 2003

Polish Jewish Music - Online Journal

Judy Pinnolis writes to the Jewish Music list:

The Polish Music Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, Summer 2003 has several articles on Jewish music. It's an online journal with the full text of the articles available to the public. These articles were mainly from a conferece held in 1998 in LA on Polish/Jewish music. There are also other articles of Jewish interest in the back issues of the journal. Member-of-the-list Hankus Netsky was one of the authors.

There are several articles worth our attention from this recent issue including:

  • Marian Fuks: Musical Traditions of Polish Jews

  • Maciej Golab: Józef Koffler: The First Polish Composer of Twelve-Tone Music

  • Martin Schüssler: "Karol RathausAn American Composer of Polish Origin:" The Development of an Americanized View of Rathaus and its Consequences for the Reception of His Music
  • Hankus Netsky: Three Twentieth-Century Jewish Musicians from Poland: Frydman, Rosner, and Bazyler
  • Bret Werb: "Majufes: A Vestige of Jewish Traditional Song in Polish Popular Entertainments"

The URL for the Jewish Music edition of the Polish Music Journal is

December 19, 2003

Sarah Aroeste interview on NPR

interesting letter on desert background"Morning Edition" on NPR this morning has a nice story on Ladino by Renee Montagne, which includes an interview with Sarah Aroeste, whose album, A La Una is one of my favorites this year.

The interview is called Ladino, the Language of Sephardic Jews.

Hannukah at the Phonoteqah

Francesco Spagnolo, who knows Italian Jewish music like none other, posts this to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

For those of you who are not (yet) familiar with the amazing collection of the Jerusalem "Phonoteqah," aka the National Sound Archives (NSA) of the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, Hannukah is a perfect time to become acquainted with it.

I just checked the NSA Hannukah page at: and had the pleasure of finding a wonderful selection compiled by Ruti Freed.

Of course, the Italian-Ashkenazi "Ma'oz tzur" is included. This a very important melody, as "ancient" as they come. It takes us straight back to the time when German Jews were fleeing Germany and moving Southbound to Venice, Italy, and its environs....

You will find several tunes for candle lighting, five different versions of "Ma'oz tzur," a song in Yiddish and one in Ladino. All tunes come also as downloadable Mp3 files.

December 18, 2003

Catching up with Rainlore's articles, UK

Richard Sharma writes from the UK

Slowly catching up, and a few new reviews are up again on Rainlore's World of Music (

There's Lloica Czackis' "Tangele - The Pulse of Yiddish Tango" performance at Union Chapel, London, in November, at: and Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers at the Brighton Festival of Jewish Music, also in November, at:

Both reviews are lavishly illustrated, no expense, hard work and sleepless nights spared. Both performances outstanding musical events, it was more than worth the effort.

There's also a long overdue book review of Gilad Atzmon's "A Guide To The Perplexed"

Traditional Chanuka and Purim songs for piano

cover graphic?Just in time for Chanukah, Dovid Kanter announces an inexpensive book with 11 songs for Chanukah and Purim. You can find out more at his website,

November 26, 2003

Updates at Rainlore's World of Jewish Music

Richard "Renaissance Man" Sharma writes:

Recent new reviews, one an illustrated review of Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers (with a new all-star line up that's a real killer!) at Momo, a popular club in London's West End, the other the recent Giora Feidman Quartet date at the Union Chapel in Islington, North London, are here:

Reviews - Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers at Momo, London, 14th October 2003

Reviews - TangoKlezmer: Giora Feidman Quartet at Union Chapel, London, 23rd October 2003

Both reviews are lavishly illustrated with photographs of each event, no expense or effort spared! ;-)

November 15, 2003

Chopin for the Oud

Judith Cohen found this delightful article in Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper:

Chopin for the Oud, by Noam Ben Ze'ev, Friday, Nov 14, 2003

Two cellists and three oud players join a kanunist and two flautists, violinists (both of the Arabic and the Western variety) and players of percussion and wood instruments and piano. They hail from Sakhnin and Ramat Gan, Shfaram and Modi'in, Herzliya, Nazareth and Kafr Kana. This multicultural orchestra, and its unique assortment of human and musical talents, is the Jewish-Arab Musical Youth Orchestra - a longish name for a young ensemble, whose teenage members gather together to make music with one another.....

October 12, 2003

Czech Jewish Jazz from Nazi Era

Sandra Layman posted this link to the Jewish-Music mailing list.

(About "In Defiance of Fate," 26 compositions arranged by sax player Fritz Weiss for the Czech-based Emil Ludvik Orchestra between 1939 and 1941)

New jazz CD shows contribution of Czech Jew persecuted by Nazis, By Pavla Kozakova. It's on the JTA website.

October 8, 2003

article on Israeli music in "Maamakim"

I don't know if I've mentioned "Maamakim", but it's an interesting-looking website on Jewish music. The website is hosted at Yeshiva University, these days generally considered part of the frummer-than-thou branch of Jewish Orthodoxy. There is a lot of religious-inspired music mentioned (and I hasten to confess I have no "frummer" scale on which to judge it - if anyone has such a thing) and sampled on the pages, but the magazine is much broader. The current issue includes an interview with Basya Schechter of Pharaoh's Daughter and a positive review of "Trumpet in the Wadi," an Israeli movie that is a Jewish-Christian Arab love story. Here's a recent article on Israeli Ethiopian and Mizrahi music cited by Eva Broman on the Jewish-Music list:

Daves Guide to Israeli Music, Part 2: Mizrahi and Ethiopian Music by magazine chief editor David Druce.

October 4, 2003

Updated Ukrainian Jewish site

Dear Friends,

Please, visit updated "Klezmer vig"! There you can find the info about the recent "Klezfest in Ukraine, 2003" and sound tracks from Gala Concert, which took place in Kiev August, 28!

Yana Yanover
Director, The Center of Jewish Education in Ukraine

Continue reading "Updated Ukrainian Jewish site" »

October 2, 2003

Judaica Music Website Now Open

Joel Bresler writes to the Jewish-Music mailing list about this new website:

The Judaica Music Rescue Project at the FAU Library s Fraiberg Judaica Collections is proud to announce the opening of our website at

We have worked very hard to make this website accessible, enjoyable and unique. We have given birth, but the baby has not yet taken its first steps. There is so much more to come in the months ahead. We will continue to increase the listings in our database, add a detailed page for each song, and label scans will be added for viewing, as well as album covers (when available). Most of all, we look forward to the day when we can announce that the actual music is available to be listened to in a non-downloadable streaming audio format.

September 30, 2003

Radio feature on Tzadik artists

Several Tzadik artists: Steve Bernstein, Roberto Rodriguez (w/David Krakauer), Paul Shapiro are performing tomorrow night in NYC.

For a Jon Kalish radio article on the artists performing, check out the audio link for the "All Things Considered" profile Scroll to the bottom of the page and click to listen on "Jazz Gets a Jewish Twist"

September 21, 2003

More on KlezKanada, on the radio

Posted by RL Reid to the Jewish-music mailing list:

I'm still, myself, trying to get back on track after Klez Kanada.

I just now got to listen to the archive of Itzik Gottesman's report on Klex Kanada on the Foverts Hour from the end of August. It is wonderfully done with some superb music, , and the yiddish is not too hard to follow for a dumkop like me. and click on August 30. The segment on Klez Kanada is between 25:00 and 38:00.

There is of course, much more winderful stuff in there as well. Itzik, you talented and lucky fellow (never mind me, I started out to be a radio producer and ended up with - um - a different day job).

It's good radio, folks, give a listen.

Article: Klezmer Dance at KlezKanada

Helen Winkler caught this article and posted the link to the Jewish-music mailing list a couple of weeks ago: Wrapping Their Feet Around the Music, by William Meyers, in the Sep 5, 2003 edition of the Yiddish Forward (English language edition).

New Entries on Rainlore's Jewish Music pages

Richard Sharma writes last month (okay, I'm slow):

New Review: Monsieur Camembert - Absynthe: A review of the above album is now available on Rainlore's World of Music ( Monsieur Camembert is an outstanding band from down under blending klezmer with gypsy music, swing, musette music and tango with irresistable results.

There's also a new profile of versatile composer and double bassist Daphna Sadeh,

There are also brief if somewhat belated tributes to Herbie Mann (z"l) and Howie Leess (z"l) on the Jewish Music page -

(An updated page of eulogies dedicated to Howie Leess, originally posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list is also available.

August 29, 2003

More on the Milken Archive and Conference

Mobius, whose Jew*School weblog is my favorite Jewish weblog, sends me a link,, to a lovely JTA article on the 80 CD set the Milken Archive is releasing on American Jewish music starting Sep 23, and the celebratory conference this Nov. 7-11.

July 17, 2003

Jeff Dorchen strikes back with Ad-Hoc Book of Days

In the "if I don't mention it, where will you find out about it" category, Jeff Dorchen, who does all sorts of interesting stuff, has invented a wonderful "ad hoc book of days". Sample:

February 13, Lag b'Omar

This was the day Omar was supposed to have my car ready. Now he tells me I have to take it to the dealership.

On this day I thought Omar was laggin' b'hind.

WOOD OF THE DAY: red cedar

Lest I be accused of abandoning all Jewish music in my last few posts, don't miss his "Jewboy Cain Socialist Orthodox Jewish Folksinger from the South". Scary how much he looks like Elvis and reminds me of my favorite Chicago grunge klezmer band, "Shloinke".

June 13, 2003

"Nextbook" - New Jewish Cultural website

I've just encountered a promising new Jewish website called "Nextbook," The web manifestation of the organization provides a daily(?) digest of interesting Jewish arts and cultural reviews and articles on the net. There isn't much about Jewish music (although they did feature a review of the latest Klezmatics album, "Rise Up".

The site also is a prime candidate for a weblog, but that doesn't seem to have sunk in yet--write them and ask them to add an RSS feed.

In the meantime, I had a great time browsing, and found a link to a very, very interesting fiction piece in the current Zoetrope on Jewish music from Sarajevo, and even found a couple of links to Divahn, live!

May 26, 2003

Jewish Music Blog in NYC

Matt Temkin now lives in New York. He grew up in Chicago and played in the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band's junior band until he came to Boston to go to college, where we enjoyed seeing him at all simkhas and concerts and sometimes just to shmooze. To our great regret, he has now moved to New York, where he has started the first Jewish music blog in that city, No RSS feed yet, but some interesting items, including one about purchasing an old vinyl album on e-bay attributed to the Joseph Korda players, which turned out to be an exact duplicate of "Freilach For Weddings, Bar Mitzvah and Other Celebrations - Vol.1" on the Request label (SRLP 10102) by Dave Tarras and Murray Leher.

May 24, 2003

Interview with Yasmin Levy

Yasmin Levy is a significant new singer of Sephardic music. You'll understand better if you read this article that R. L. Reid sent my way a couple of weeks ago. "Echos of Forgotten Music", by Noam Ben Ze-ev in Israel's Haaretz (article is in English)

There was considerable discussion about Levy on the Jewish-music mailing list. First off, there was some rejoicing that Levy is, in fact, performing the songs using traditional instrumentation, and the expected scorn at those who are so used to international folk music with guitar and sound-alikes, that they don't recognize tradition when they see it, second, of course, lots of people think that she sings like an angel, and third, there was some discussion about an event referred to in the article in which her father's field recordings were all destroyed after he died, because he didn't want his transcriptions argued with. This was felt to be cultural vandalism of a nasty sort. Want to know more? Check out the article and her recordings!

May 6, 2003

new JMD-UK site

Rainlore's World of Jewish Music calls our attention to a new site design by the UK's Jewish Music Distribution Co. Although there is still no shopping cart feature (you order by pasting the vital info into an e-mail and sending it off, or by calling), the site is less harsh on the eyes than some of the other online Jewish music websites. I don't know the old design, but it is reasonably easy to find information and to find albums, now. Compare to Hatikvah or Tara Music, both based in the USA. The JMD site also showcases links to vital UK Jewish arts and culture pages, which is nice. I'd still like to know why the one group of people supposedly earning money off of Jewish music (sadly, the artists certainly aren't) - the CD stores - have the least attractive, least functional websites. This one is at least reasonably attractive, and Jewish music fans in the UK, or in Europe, should know that there are local sources of good music.

RAS also notes that the e-mail address for JMD has changed. The current e-mail address is:

Review of Koby Israelite

album coverSelf-proclaimed "Renaissance Man," Richard A. Sharma raves about the latest Tzadik release by Koby Israelite. Tzadik Records describes the new release as a combination of "Cantorial Death Metal, Nino Rota Klezmer, Balkan Surf, Catskills free improvisation". It's gotten my attention, and I'm looking forward to listening to it, myself. You can head straight for the review (okay, I would format the pages differently, which would make them differently hard-to-read) at

RAS has accumulated an impressive set of reviews, as well as uploaded archives on early Jewish European music star, Guzikov. Knock at Rainlore's World of Music, at

May 4, 2003

Klezmer midi etc

Reiner Oberbeck writes from Germany: "My new ( polyphonic ) klezmerarrangements "look on "On my website you can find 18 ( and soon more ) arrangements in different grades for 2-3 melody instruments, bass and Piano / git. of some famous trad. melodies "you can download midi, pdf und cap files "feedback would be nice "reiner oberbeck" For people who like this sort of thing, this looks like just the sort of thing that more of is welcome.

April 27, 2003


The other week, or the other month, when I was complaining about the lack of Jewish weblogs, I was only partially correct. There doesn't seem to be anyone other than the Klezmershack writing about Jewish music online, regularly. I link to every article I can find that might be of interest to klezmershack readers, but there aren't a lot.

But where the KlezmerShack is always torn between wanting to write about interesting and new music, and wanting to spread the word specifically about interesting and new Jewish culture, there seem to be a host of weblogs out there that have lots of attitude, interesting things to say, but almost nothing to say about Klezmer or Radical Jewish Culture as I understand them, or that reworking of Jewish culture that marks a change in what being Jewish means. Here's a fascinating sample - JewSchool.

For interesting surface froth about Jewish attitudes - occasional bits about antisemitism, the obligatory putdown of Madonna's "kabala" phase, a link to Afro-Jewish garb - it looks, well, kinda nifty. And it has a good calendar of events - not a lot of events, but ones that look worth attending. Lotsa links. Just a weblog that kvetches. Well, that's Jewish, I guess.

April 7, 2003

Websites on Jewish Liturgical Music

An exchange between Joel Bresler and Sam Weiss on the Jewish-Music list last summer elicited some excellent items about Jewish Liturgical music:

First, Joel posted the following link to a site with a good, articles on Jewish liturgy and liturgical music:

I found that I had to search on "Jewish Liturgy" to find the wealth of articles on the site--I didn't find a table of contents. But there are some very interesting-looking articles, for sure.

Sam Weiss, responded to Joel's post, noting: ... The article by Eliyahu Schleiffer [in three parts on this site. ari] is an excellent "thumbnail course" on Jewish liturgical music.... I'd like to return the favor by pointing out the following wonderful website on cantors of Alsace-Lorraine, with some great sound files:

Italian Jewish musical traditions, article

book coverWe were distracted last summer and almost missed this wonderful article about Italian Jewish Musical traditons, by Ruth Gruber (whose most recent book is the rather amazing "Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe"). In particular, she highlights work done by Francesco Spagnolo, one of my favorite Italians, who seems to be single-handedly responsible for growing awareness in the field:

Centuries-old liturgical tradition comes alive on CD of Jewish tunes.

April 3, 2003

E. Euro Ashkenazi Nusach online

Irwin Oppenheim writes to the Jewish-music mailing list:

I've just become aware of an amazing project by Josh Sharfman.

He has recorded an Eastern European Ashkenazi nusach of more or less the whole year and made it available on his website in no less than 725 MP3 tracks!

This is the url:

Argentinian Yiddish Choir on the Web: Spanish, English

We'd like to invite you to visit the new English version of the site of the Popular Jewish Choir "Mordje Guebirtig"

The Choir was created in 1995 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and it's integrated for 175 singers between women and men.

Inside the site you can find the complete Choir history, songs, pictures and many others interesting things.

Well, we'll very pleased with your visit in

March 27, 2003

mailing lists for stringed instruments

This was conveyed to the Jewish-music mailing list by way of Lenka Lichtenberg:

"My brothers, Pooyan and Parham established two Yahoo groups. One for Hammered Dulcimer such as Persian santoor and so on...and the other for Plucked Stringed Instruments such as guitar and so on... 'This group is for all those instrumentalists interested in the hammered dulcimers of the world.' And if you know anybody around yourself that might be interested in plucked stringed instruments, then please let them know about: This group is for all those instrumentalists interested in the plucked stringed instruments of the world."

March 23, 2003

First Icelandic band listing

At this point, I tend to think that we have listings for klezmer bands in just about every country where there is likely to be a band playing Jewish music, klezmer or otherwise (see the listing of bands by location at, but this morning I entered our first listing for Iceland. Actually, it's an Icelandic/German band, but the person making the entry is from Selfoss, Iceland. The band is called 'Kol Isha". Here's to encouraging them to play together, indeed, for many years to come.

Although the KlezmerShack is a good place for me to post links to my reviews and articles, and to other people's reviews and articles about klezmer and other Jewish music, the thing that seems to be most useful to most people is the listings. It seems that wherever I go, there are people listed here, who have gotten gigs because other people could find out about them. I'm hoping to launch better tools in a few months that will make it easier to find bands, easier to list them (and impossible for spammers to scan for more e-mail addresses). Stay tuned!

March 8, 2003

New Jewish Music website

Rainlore's World of MusicRichard Sharma, Renaissance man and composer, has been posting reviews to the Jewish-music mailing list for a while. Now he has begun gathering his writings and getting them online. Visit the Jewish music part of his website at

It's definitely worth a visit. When he gets the Guzikov materials online, it will be even more so! Stay tuned for a pending announcement.

February 17, 2003

"Mediterraneanism" in Israeli music:

Eva Broman found this article by Israeli scholar Edwin Seroussi about ""Mediterraneanism" in Israeli music: an idea and its permutations" from Music & Anthropology, Journal of Musical Anthropology of the Mediterranean, Number 7


new website: Lingua Franca

George Robinson passed this along to the Jewish-Music mailing list:
From: Alan D Corre
Subject: NEW WEBSITE: Lingua Franca

I am pleased to announce the fourth edition of the Lingua Franca website.
Lingua Franca was a trade language which existed around the mediterranean
for centuries, and disappeared around 1900. Significant items were
extracted from Tunisian Judeo-Arabic sources, and the language was widely
used by Jews.

The fourth edition includes various corrections and new items:

* Transcript of a lecture by Prof. Roberto Rossetti on LF with valuable
bibliographical appendices.

* An acrobat version of the main glossary which produces an excellent
printable text.

* A set of discussions on LF with participants all over the world.

The URL is

January 31, 2003

More on "Oriental" Israeli music

From: "Eva Broman" on the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 +0100

For anyone interested in the development of "Eastern style" (Musica Mizrahit) music in Israel, here's an interesting piece from The Jerusalem Post, by Helen Kaye who has written several articles on the subject:

December 30, 2001

Jewish Entertainment Resources

Judy Caplan Ginsburgh runs a site called Jewish Entertainment Resources which was formed as a cooperative for Jewish performers to be able to show the talent that exists in the Jewish world by maintaining a permanent, searchable web presence. Features also include a concert calendar. The services charges a small annual membership fee of $150 which helps pay for costs of maintaining the server and the site. The goal is to be a resource for Jewish performers who want to know more about marketing their careers and to be a resource to the Jewish world at large (especially entities who book Jewish talent) to help them find a broader range of performer to bring to their communities.

December 16, 2001

Klezmer in Berlin: Whose Klezmer Is It, Anyway?

From New York's Jewish Week: A tour of Berlins fascination with things Jewish reveals some frayed nerves and a growing sensitivity by a new generation, by Elicia Brown - Staff Writer.

Shul Music Web page is finally on-line!

The site contains all of the Blue Book (314 pages) and all of Sulzer's material (not quite ready yet though!), midi files, etc. More will be constantly added.

December 9, 2001

Radio Szalom, Jewish music Internet broadcast from Poland

Radio Szalom from Poland transmits 24 hrs/7/365 days Jewish and Israeli music !!! There must be a lonely Jewish Musician in Poland? From 3.5 million Jews, are left only about 8,000 elderly Jews. How tragic it is. If you have a Real Audio Player listen to the most beautiful Jewish and Israeli Music.

December 1, 2001

Klingon Klezmer Live, on the web

You can view a live video clip of the bad boys of klezmer being themselves. This is a new wrinkle provided by Pennpat which we greatly appreciate. Please send us your feedback! Jack Kessler, Supreme Commander, Klingon Klezmer