September 27, 2014

More from Ashkenaz 2014: Forshpil, Geoff Berner

Before memories of this year's Ashkenaz Festival totally dissipate, I wanted to continue my mentions of several notable bands and musicians encountered there.

cd coverFirst up is Forshpil, from Riga, Latvia. Although they performed a couple of traditional klezmer/yiddish sets at the obligatory "Bella Did ya eat?" brunch at the FreeTimes Cafe, the band is much more "rock-klezmer" fusion. In fact, the opening "Volekhl" on their eponymous 2012 CD immediately attracts the ears, sounding like an improbably successful marriage between Hawkwind and traditional klezmer. From there, it's on to a funk-infused "Priv Trink Oys." Despite the quite, gentle rendition of "Di sapozkelekh" or the closing "Dobranotsh," and although there are reggae and jazz influences, the dominant sound is that opening "heavy metal progrock" feel, along with a certain Dick Dale-inspired speed guitar picking, as on "Meyld in di yorn." In this, the band reminds me not a little of "Yiddish Princess." The diversity continues to good effect. Like so much good klezmer-and-more recordings these days, you can get your copy at, where you can also listen to samples of each of the songs.

cd coverGeoff Berner's 2011 "Victory Party" is a different kettle of fish. A long-time stalwart of the Canadian folkie scene, this is his sixth recording. Berner is often compared to Daniel Katz for the social commentary and (in Berner's case, relatively rare) Yiddish or klezmer inflections in his music. You can hear their similarities in songs such as "Laughing Jackie the Pimp" and in a very nicely contextualized "Daloy Polizei," also covered by Kahn (especially timely this year--and now that I think about it, all too often). At the same time, where Kahn both incites to action and expresses an ennui (this, too, will not ultimately change the world), Berner more often seems a bit more of a commentator, distant. His "Mayn rue platz" is less a call to action, than an evocation of sadness. But, we speak of relativity. "I am going to jail / to get a new pair of shoes" ("Jail") pulls few punches, despite its jaunty tune. "Oh my golem" is likewise fairly direct commentary. "Did you really think a perfect god / wants you to burn a goat / or nail the Messiah in place" from "Rabbi Berner finally reveals his true religion" may be gentle, but it's a call to action, nonetheless (smirk included).

In addition to performing at Ashkenaz, Berner was interviewed by DJ SoCalled (who also produced "Victory Party") at the Festival about his relatively recent short novel, Festival Man. Advertised as a hard-hitting satire about the Canadian Folk Festival scene, the book is actually a bit of a fond love poem to same—satire included, and a pleasure to read.

January 13, 2014

Sway Machinery, "My Dead Lover's Wedding"

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

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

April 23, 2012

New "Shondes" single

My favorite Brooklyn rock band, the folks who put "transgression" into "shonde," have become much too good for niche labels. It's probably time to stop championing them as GLBT and to accept that they help fill a hole left by the breakup of Sleater-Kinney. Fine by me.

"Give Me What You've Got," is the second single off their September release, Searchlights (Exotic Fever Records, 2011). Directed by Emily Millay Haddad, the video premiered last month on!

June 17, 2010

Yiddish Princess!

First off, if you don't already know, tonight Sarah Gordon's band, "Yiddish Princess" is coming to Boston. It is their CD release tour. I am going to try very hard to break my usual old fogey bedtime rules and attend.

Sara Ivry, whose podcasts on tablet are my favorite part of the site, does a damn fine podcast with Sarah, Michael Winograd, and I believe, Yoshie Fruchter, at . Not only does she play a cut or two from the album, but gets the three to do a song live.

And, as icing on the cake, the Jewish Week names Gordon as one its "36 most influential people under 36." Sadly, the author seems not to have understood that there are two significant East Coast Yiddish culture camps--one, KlezKamp held each winter in the Catskills US); the other, KlezKanada held each summer in the Laurentians (Canada). The talented Ms. Gordon not only grew up attending both, but is now on the faculty of both. Read the article to see how the JW interviewer, um, mashups up the descriptions of the two for this wonderful "Yiddish Mash-Up Artist" (his term).

February 1, 2010

The Sway Machinery and Super 11 in Timbucktu

The Sway Machinery traveled to Mali in January to play at the Festival of the Desert. It was quite an exciting moment for the band. You can check out some of what transpired in this video of The Sway Machinery and Super 11:

May 31, 2009

A blast from the past - "Mazl," by the Ravens

Lori Lippitz of Chicago's Maxwell St. Klezmer spotted this. It's not on the CD, but I am pretty sure that this is also covered by Paul Shapiro's "Brisket 'n' Ribs Revue" group in concert:

January 18, 2009

Some recent reviews of interest by Elliott Simon

While I am catching up, it is long past time to note several new posts of interest by Elliott Simon, from All About Jazz:

Nicely done!Let's start with a review of David Buchbinder's brilliant collaboration with Cuban musician Hilario Durán, Odessa/Havana.

… Partnering with Cuban pianist Hilario Duran, Buchbinder has created more of a symphonic statement that extols the best of both genres [Cuban/Jewish]. While some pieces clearly ring more Latin than Jewish and vice versa, others blend aspects of both musics into a holistic experience that highlights the commonalities while celebrating the differences….

CD coverIf, like me, you are as captivated by Balkan brass rhythms as by klezmer, you will be very interested in Simon's review of this new entry from Seattle: Orkestar Zirkonium.

… This is great "tukhes" shaking music with a depth of composition and style that keeps it from becoming cartoonish—Orkestar Zirkonium is the real deal.

cd coverFinally, and sticking closer to home, Simon catches the latest of a series of Israeli jazz artists who have come to call New York their home, Introducing Omer Klein

… an Israeli-American jazz connection … has produced a culture of premier artists who have gone on to influence the broader jazz community. Pianist Omer Klein is part of a second wave of these musicians who mix virtuosity, world music sensibility and melodic flair to affect a global sound….

March 9, 2008

Herbie Mann's Eastern European Roots

According to Wikipedia, this was the last Herbie Mann recording made. Britt, of the Nefesh Klezmer Band, spotting this back in 2001.

cd coverChaverim,

pardon my enthusiasm, but …

I'm in love with a new CD and I just had to share it with the list. It's Herbie Mann's "Eastern European Roots". Yes, it's the same jazz flute I've loved since I first heard it as a teenager, but there is something more, a soulfulness. Mann explains in his liner notes that a brush with death made him re-examine his musical life, and he realized he had explored many other types of music but not his own Jewish musical roots—his mother is from Bucovina, Romania.

When he recovered, he traveled to Eastern Europe and this CD is the result. He's joined by other exemplary musicians, most notably Gil Goldstein on accordion (sounds to me like a chromatic button accordion) played with a moody musette sound. And Alexander Fedoriouk on cymbalom, my current instrument of choice. His style ranges from a dark, old time klezmer- sound to a jazzy gypsy swing (a la Kalman Balogh). However you classify this album (jazz, klezmer), I'm sure many list members will also enjoy it.

Origins of "Miserlu," the melody

A couple of years ago, someone posted to the Jewish-Music mailing list asking about a version of "Miserlu" played at a football game at Foxboro Stadium. I gave the stock reply about the origins of the Miserlu dance, and dutifully guessed that the version played was that classic of California surf rock, the Dick Dale "Miserlu." So far, so good. But this morning, following another excellent Balkan night (more, anon, time permitting, in another post), I noticed a rather excellent email that one of Balkan Night's organizers, Henry Goldberg, wrote explaining the origins of the tune, itself. It seems worth presenting to a larger audience:

… Agreed, the song does not have Klezmer origins, but, not to put too fine a point on it—that posting on EEFC provided by Ari describes how the DANCE was invented in 1945 in Pittsburgh and spread from there.

The music had been recorded earlier. There are many other informative posts on this topic to the EEFC mailing list (which can be searched from that same link) but Wikipedia more efficiently says:

[added 3/16/08] And I covered this in even more detail last year, with information supplied by Andy Tannenbaum. Take a look at The roots of the tune, Miserlu

Continue reading "Origins of "Miserlu," the melody" »

January 31, 2008

Y-Love and Afro-Semitic Ensemble on YouTube

David Chevan, currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Afro-Semitic Ensemble, writes to the Jewish-Music list:

Just wanted to let you know that there is now a video on YouTube of The Afro-Semitic Experience jamming this past Sunday night with Y-Love rapping!! It is pretty cool (though you can't see Baba and Alvin drumming) and the audio is decent enough that you can even hear when Y-Love switches to Aramaic. Hope you enjoy!

January 25, 2008

Not klezmer, but really neat, anyway

Rio Nido CD coverBack in 1978, newly returned from Israel, I settled in to Santa Cruz, California. A local record store had this amazing LP that captured my ears for ages. By a band called "Rio Nido" (is that a pun?), it was called "I like to riff." It's one of the few LPs still occasionally played in this house of mp3s and CDs. I have wanted this music on CD for many, many years. Now, it's here. Rio Nido's first two CDs (I'm more a fan of the first, which is more deeply rooted in that '20s and '30s jazz-blues territory now being mined so effectively by Saskatchewan's Little Miss Higgins; the second is more "Lambert, Hendricks and Ross," and maybe my own listening had changed by the time it came out) are finally available.

In addition to being wonderful music, it is important to note that the Tim Sparks who was a core member of that original trio, is the same Tim Sparks whose amazing, warm guitar work on Jewish melody has long been generating best-selling CDs on John Zorn's Tzadik label. He has also released a book, Neshamah of his guitar arrangements.

The guy has talent. What can I say.

Check out Rio Nido on Tim Sparks website, listen to some mp3s, and pick up your own copies of that, and of his Jewish music, too.

June 4, 2006

New reviews on the KlezmerShack start with Israel music

CD coverIt started with a new Rough Guide release, this time, the Rough Guide to the music of Israel. It is really good. I don't mention it very often, but I first began writing about Jewish music as a reviewer for the Jerusalem Post back in the late 1970s. By then I had spent years doing community theatre and hanging out with musicians in Israel. I didn't write for the Post long—it was difficult to focus on a gig writing for a newspaper that I shunned reading—but I have never lost my love for Israeli music and its diversity. This recording captures a good slice of that diversity, as updated and compiled just a couple of months ago. There is also an interview with the compiler on the CD, playable on a computer via webbrowser. Although a Jewish lad growing up in a Zionist home, the compiler seems ignorant of most details of modern Jewish history. But he has enough generalities generally right that this, too, forms a good introduction to Israeli music, overall. Those who let their ears get them into trouble will dig more deeply.

CD coverThe problem was that I got so wrapped up in the first CD, that I had to spend time with that Idan Raichel CD that I've been meaning to write about for years: 2002's Idan Raichel Project. I find this the most mind-blowing Israeli CD in years. In some ways, it reminds of of Ofra Haza's early work, an explosion of traditional sounds transformed for this time and place. It also reminds me of my favorite Israeli band of the '90s, the Ethnix. But it's also it's own original sound, building on Israeli and world music, with everything from reggae to hip hop, inflected by Raichel's Ethiopian roots. Wonderful.

CD coverBy now I was in trouble, so I also polished off a review of the relatively recent release of the final album by Israeli jazz masters, The Platina: Platina / Girl with the Flaxen Hair. Released back in 2003 as part of tributes to bandleader Roman Kunsman who had just passed away, this is material that was original recording in 1976 and then lost. The studio mangled most of the original tapes, then the band broke up. And we all moved on, remembering the concerts and the transformed Debussey of the title track. I have tried to begin to describe how good it sounds, even now, 30 years later. This is a must-have CD for anyone remotely interested in jazz or jazz-rock or Debussey.

CD coverThere is something about Philadelphia Jews. I've said this before, but with the release of Klingon Klezmer / Blue Suede Jews, it bears repeating. This is, after all, the home of Benny and the Vilda Chayas. But it's also Hankus Netsky's home turf. It's the city that gave us not only Anthony Coleman, but also nth generation straight-ahead klezmorim like Rachel Lemish and Susan Watts. This latest excursion by the Klingons is a delightful, zany, and damn fine exploriation of the psychedelic side of klezmer.

CD coverThe 10th Anniversary of the first Masada material has prompted a wonderful re-examination of that work by a wide variety of artists. I confess to being among the few who find Zorn's Masada okay, but don't have a great need to own each volume. On the other hand, listening to Jon Madof and his noisemakers, er, Rashanim, transform some of the material is entirely different. 2005's Rashanim / Masada Rock, Vol. 5 is going to be part of your essential Masada collection.

CD coverLadies and gentlemen, for another take on the extraordinary John Zorn/Masada material, may I offer you the totally flipped, amazing Koby Israelite / Orobas: Book of Angels Vol. 4, 2006.

CD coverAnd, finally, in a nod to everything that I didn't have time to listen to today, all of which is at least htis good, I offer one last fusion, the world music band Asefa, house band to Sam Thomas' Brooklyn-based "Jewish Awareness through Music" organization. Samuel Thomas / Asefa, 2005. Same bass-player, incidentally, as with Jon Madof's Rashanim. These folks get around!

I can't believe how many CDs are crying out for attention and didn't get any today. Stay tuned. I'll try to do this again, real soon now. I have to. The pile fell over last week. Everything is confused, and until I get some reviews written and some CDs put away, I've lost use of my favorite reading chair.

December 31, 2005

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 27, 2005

Bagels and Bongos rerelease

bagels and bongos album coverJewish-music mailing list member Michael Makiri caught this last summer. I'm just catching up. But when you're done reading the article, do check out the blog of the reissue folks. It's great!



Sure the Lomaxes searched the South for a dying breed of Delta Blues musicians. Sure Ry Cooder hit Havana in search of lst Cuban legends. But when's the last time a bunch of Jewish kids started raiding their grandparents' record collections and then set out to track down the musicians, in search of buried clues about their own culture? ... for more, follow up at Indiepulse

You can also go straight to the horse's mouth at Hippocampus

December 4, 2005

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.

March 24, 2004

On the road with Frank London and Boban Markovic

Mark Rubin, a Texas Jew held in even higher esteem in these parts than even Kinky Friedman, send the following from the road:

Hello Rubinchik List Folks,

Thought I'd share this with you all.

For the last 3 years, I've been travelling to Europe as a member of Frank London's Klezmer Brass All Stars, playing all over Central and even Eastern Europe.

Continue reading "On the road with Frank London and Boban Markovic" »

February 2, 2004

New KlezmerShack reviews

Four new reviews on the KlezmerShack:

album coverFreylach Time!, based in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina is a tradtional klezmer gem. It is also a community treasure. Now that the band has finally recorded, you can hear for yourself: Freylach Time! / The Klezmer Dance Band

album coverLondon's Oi Va Voi has been impressing audiences from the UK to KlezKamp and everywhere in between for years. Whatever they are playing, it isn't klezmer any more, except insofar as it gets people up to dance. This new album, "Laughter Through Tears" just made the New York Time's "10 Best" list for 2003. For a change, I agree!: Oi Va Voi / Laughter Through Tears

album coverCésar Lerner and Marcelo Moguilevsky are two amazing musicians from Argentina. I've seen them perform in the UK and Canada. Now you can year why audiences love them and their brand of passionate klezmer infused with South American jazz. The new album, Sobreviviente, is live: Lerner Moguilevsky Duo / Sobreviviente

album coverA year with a new release from the Klezmer Conservatory Band is a good year. This latest contains many new gems - more than a taste of paradise: Klezmer Conservatory Band / A Taste of Paradise

November 23, 2003

New KlezmerShack reviews

There never seems to be time to review everything I'd like to write about. When music this good arises, I find myself listening over and over and forgetting to move on. That's okay. That's why I listen and write in the first place. So, from Australia to Ireland via California and Salonika via NYC, here are the latest. If you are getting an early start on your Chanuka shopping this coming weekend, pay good attention - these are the new musics that folks will be wanting:

a ripe fig. deliciousThe Fig Tree, 2003
This is a delightful collection of Greek, Jewish, and other music, accompanying a book on immigrants to Australia by Arnold Zable. Don't let the distance from Australia stop you from listening to this, hearing the latest from our favorite Australian klezmer bands, and hearing some wonderful other music, as well.

the green of ireland seen through a deep stone windowCeiliZemer / Shalom Ireland, 2003
Continuing the international tour, this soundtrack to a documentary about Jews in Ireland fuses the two musics delightfully. Yes, indeed, think of what hasidic music (and klezmer) might have been like if the uillean pipes had been available in Eastern Europe. There's still time to add them here.

Helvetica. Sheesh. and bits of time and musicDavid Chevan / Days of Awe, 2003
Chevan has gathered his Afro-Semitic Experience, including guitar wizzard Stacy Phillips, and added Frank London. The result is exquisite jazz versions of music from the High Holy Days. If you like this sort of thing (I do), this is definitely the sort of thing that you will like.

The high lonesome wooden synagogueMargot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys, 2003
Today's theme seems to be fusion music. You got yer Greeks and Klezmers; you got yer Irish and Klezmers. And when you're especially lucky, you got your bluegrass klezmers. But, it's a Margot Leverett album, so you already knew that it would be on your "essential klezmer" list, anyway. I think of Leverett the way I think of Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss - if she's involved, it's not only amazing, but it's comfort music - the perfect accompaniment for when you feel great, and an even better accompaniment for when you need a lift.

  • interesting letter on desert backgroundSarah Aroeste / A la una, 2003
    Mobius, of my favorite Jewish weblog, Jew*School suggested that I write something about these new Sephardic artists. Some I knew. Aroeste's name was unfamiliar. It shouldn't be. This is extraordinary Ladino music, set with contemporary instrumentation and sounds by someone who has worked with good avant garde musicians and knows what good music should sound like. But the critical part is how seamlessly she has kept the feel of traditional Ladino song. This is one of our favorite albums this year. Who knew?

    interested hip hop khasene sceneSolomon & Socalled / HipHopKhasene, 2003
    As much fun as I had writing about everything else, this is my favorite of the bunch. Witty, brilliant, funny, and great music. The album features not only the amazing Socalled, but Oi Va Voi's Sophie Solomon. Guests include David Krakauer, Zev Feldman, Frank London, Michael Alpert, Elaine Hoffman-Watts and daughter Susan... even Jewish-music mailing list regular, Cantor Sam Weiss. Essential for all but the humor-impaired.

  • November 3, 2003

    New reviews by George Robinson

    George Robinson announces a slew of new music columns published almost all together in New York's Jewish Week:

    Five-Star Klez: From New Orleans and Odessa, fusion and traditional approaches.

    A Fall Sampler: From Solomon Rossi to Michael Strassfeld.

    Heard Around The World: From Turkey to London to the Lower East Side.

    June 8, 2003

    Lots of new reviews of almost everything

    the pied piper of desert bands - a long time since I've enjoyed a tzadik cover!I got carried away. CDs were falling off the shelf, so I sat down this weekend and stayed sat down until I got several reviewed. We've got some great new Jewish music, some avant garde and jazz, some klezmer (lots of klezmer), some Sephardic and Mizrahi music, more klezmer and Yiddish folk.... That's not the whole gamut, but odds are that something in this weekend's stack will be just what you were looking for:

    June 5, 2003

    Jewish Tango in Argentina

    Sandra Layman forwards this URL on tot he Jewish-music mailing list: Group of Jewish musicians honors tango's roots in Argentina By Florencia Arbiser

    May 26, 2003

    New reviews from all over

    It is nice to be at a point where the KlezmerShack can feature articles by people who listen to and are interested in music about which I know nothing. My goal is to ensure that people who love Jewish music can spread the word about things that may be worth listening to. The more voices, and the more diverse ways of considering the subject there are, the better.

    In that vein, Chicago writer Stewart Cherlin, who did a year end wrapup back in 1997 has recently contributed an article on Rabbi Joe Black

    And, stepping into the breach to write about related non-Jewish music that will be of interest to KlezmerShack readers, Roger Reid contributes a review of the new album by cymbalist Alexander Fedoriouk, "Crossing Paths." Fedoriouk is familiar to many klezmer aficionados for his work on recent albums by Sy Kushner and others. He is also a member of the Cleveland-based world music band, Harmonia, in which Khevrisa violinist Steve Greenman (as well as former Budowitz co-member Walt Mahalovich) also finds a home.

    I have been trying to dig myself out from under the accumulated mountain of incredible music, as well.

    One of my favorite "traditional" klezmer albums these past few months has been a delightful album from the Montreal-based band, Shtreiml. What makes this unusual, and causes me to put the word "traditional" in quotes is the use of the harmonica as the primary solo instrument. Once you hear the music, however, I trust that you, too, will be a Harmonica Galitzianer

    One of the latest releases from Tzadik is Jon Madof's first recording with his Jewish-derived jazz band, "Rashanim". Although the band is named for the noisemakers used on Purim to drown out the sound of Haman's name, the jazz is anything but. The mix of Jewish, as well as other music sources is well done and a joy to the ears.

    May 4, 2003

    Breakfast at Fezziwig's - A different dance tradition

    band coverAn old friend, Craig Johnson, was in town recently to attend NEFFA (New England Folk Festival Assocation) last week. It was a glorious NEFFA year--lots of Yiddish and Klezmer music and dancing and Jewish storytelling. The usual array of other folk traditions, Craig's included, were also represented in glorious profusion.

    As inevitably happens, and always to my shame, I was too frazzled with household and family chores to attend the festival. I got a bit of what I missed, however, when Craig dropped off a copy of his most recent English Country Dance CD. The band is called "Bangers and Mash," and the CD, "Breakfast at Fezziwig's," said name derived from the location wherefrom this delightful masterpiece was recorded.

    Since fans of English country dance abound locally as, well as abroad, and since this is one of the most pleasant examples of same to come by in a while, I wanted to mention that it is available online from Highly recommended. The variety of music ranges from "Zingara Mazurka" to the recently composed "Star of David." Lots of more traditionally-named music such as the ever-pleasant "Riding on a Load of Hay" in between. One number reminds me greatly of the Pachelbel Canon. The band takes a lovely formal dance tradition and plays so well, and covers such a variety of material that the feet are never quiet and the ears are always happy. Shall we dance?

    April 27, 2003

    New Flying Bulgars; Album Release May 10,11

    Flying Bulgars publicity shot w/instruments
    There are a very few new Jewish music bands: Brave Old World, say, or the Klezmatics, who consistently push the envelope and take my breath away like the Flying Bulgars. I have arranged work schedules so that I can stop off in Toronto to see them perform. It is therefore with great excitement that I present the following:

    The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band
    presents a CD Release Celebration Concert for their new recording,
    Sweet Return
    Saturday, May 10, 8:30pm; Sunday, May 11, 2pm
    Hugh's Room, 2261 Dundas St W, Toronto
    Tickets: Sat. $15/Sun. $12 BOX OFFICE: 416-531-6604

    Continue reading "New Flying Bulgars; Album Release May 10,11" »

    March 26, 2003

    Wolf Krakowski + Middle Eastern roots music w/Alicia Svigals

    most recent Krakowski album coverA most fascinating concert is coming up on Mar 26th at UConn/Storrs. Yiddish folk-rocker Wolf Krakowski headlines, backed with the Lonesome Brothers. Also on the bill is Mawwal, described as a "Middle Eastern roots music" with violin wizard Alicia Svigals making a guest appearance.

    The idea of bringing Yiddish music together with Middle Eastern music suggests not only a fascinating fusion (especially given Krakowski's country-rockish leanings), but makes it's own rather nice statement.

    More information is available on Krakowski's Kamea Media site,, and from an online PDF

    March 23, 2003

    New KlezmerShack Reviews

    The church at the end of the alley, decent punk typeIt's been a very fun week. There are new reviews up demonstrating, once again, the absurd bread of interesting music that is being sent to the KlezmerShack:

    Naftule's Dream / Live in Florence is a dream--this live recording catches the energy and interplay of this post-klezmer edge band as nothing yet.

    loud, cheesy benguiat with cliched drawing of chassidim drinking in violin caseDresder & Mayer / Sruli and Lisa's Klezmer Dance Party provides the answer to the question: "what two people are most responsible for people associating "party" and "klezmer".

    Nikolayev Kapeliah / Vodkazak features some of my favorite klezmer and jazz musicians (Alicia Svigals, Jeff Warschauer, Sy Kushner, Marty Confurious, Nicki Parrot) tearing up chasidic standards. Hot.

    Meshugga Beach Party. It's time to twist to those freilachs once again. Dick Dale meets "Hatikvah" and wins.

    March 22, 2003

    Review of Theresa Tova CD

    ho hum cabaet shot with trivial typographyThe new Theresa Tova CD, "Live at the Top o' the Senator" is a jazz singer's delight. The KlezmerShack review is up at". Enjoy!

    March 8, 2003

    "Kabbalah Music" CD Concert Art Exhibit, premiers Mar 9

    Looks like kabbalah to me

    "Kabbalah Music" CD Release Concert & Art Exhibit
    Sisters Explore Jewish Mysticism through Music and Painting

    Laura Wetzler in "Kabbalah Music: Songs of the Jewish Mystics" Sunday, March 9, 3pm at The Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W.67th St., NYC. Tickets $25. Call Box Office:(212) 501-3330, Special Guests: Alicia Svigals, violin (of the Klezmatics,) Amir Chehade & Robin Burdulis, mideast percussion; Scott Wilson, kanun; Maurice Chedid, oud. Set Design and Art Exhibit by Angela Milner.

    In conjunction, "Kabbalah Music: Encaustic Paintings by Angela Milner" The Merkin Concert Hall Gallery, 129 W.67th St. NYC. March 9-April 1. Post "Kabbalah Music" concert reception and art opening in gallery. Gallery hours by appointment thereafter: (212) 307-1385.

    Continue reading ""Kabbalah Music" CD Concert Art Exhibit, premiers Mar 9" »

    February 17, 2003

    Best of 2002, from George Robinson

    Every year, George Robinson pegs the best of the albums that he has reviewed. The Klezmershack is months behind, so I'm just getting this up now. Still, the choices are excellent, so any time is the right time to read them:

    September 29, 2002

    Sephardic Songbook, 2nd Edition released

    The Sephardic Songbook (2001 ISBN 3-87626-222-4) released 10 months ago by Aron Saltiel and Josh Horowitz is just entering the second edition (the first sold out).

    Continue reading "Sephardic Songbook, 2nd Edition released" »

    Kloset Klezmer Akkordeonists

    Find out the most excruciating details of klezmer accordion history in this scathing and exhaustive article, written by Josh Horowitz and just released IN ENGLISH, in the mammoth issue of: 'The Accordion in all its guises - an issue of Musical Performance' (Harwood Academic Press, imprint of Gordon and Breach Publishers, Taylor and Francis, UK)

    Continue reading "Kloset Klezmer Akkordeonists" »

    July 13, 2002

    Ashkenaz Fest, Aug 31 - Sep 2, Toronto, ON, CANADA

    The Ashkenaz festival dates are August 31st to Sept 02nd at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. Some of the featured performers are: Di Naye Kapelye Sat 10:00pm, Klezmer Buenos Aires Sat 9:30pm and Monday @ 5:00pm; The Cracow Klezmer Band Monday @ 2:00pm; PLUS: Frank London's Brass Band, Khevrisa, Flying Bulgars, Hebrew Artist Zoe B. Zak, Judith Cohen. There is a ton more. For further info:

    March 31, 2002

    Release party for the Afro-Semitic release recording, Middletown, CT, Apr 1

    8:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1 at the Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown, CT, (860) 347-4957. The new CD features Chevan and Byrd with the Afro-Semitic Experience playing an array of original pieces, sacred music, klezmer, and sacred music by jazz composers. The official release date for this recording is April 5, but we will have albums available at this event. Please join us if you are anywhere in the Connecticut area. Matzo will be served and a freylekhe down home time will be had by all!!

    December 7, 2001

    Years's Best Recordings by George Robinson

    George Robinson selects the years best, including albums by Bang on a Can, Klezamir, Klezperanto, David Lang, Frank London, Peter Salzman and the Revolution Ensemble, Shirona, Robert Starer, Josh Waletzky, Za'atar, Emil Zrihan, and recordings of Composers of the Holocaust, The Yemenite Jews, and The Music of the Mountain Jews.