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"Creating 'New' Jewish Sounds," Josh Kun at the Jewish Music Forum, NYC, Feb 22, 2008

Dear friends of the Jewish Music Forum,

Our next presentation will be held on
February 22, 2008
10:30 am - 12 pm

at the Center for Jewish History, Forchheimer Auditorium
15 W. 16th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves., north side of the street)
New York, NY 10011
This event is FREE and open to the public

"Creating 'New' Jewish Sounds"
Presentations and a roundtable with
Dr. Josh Kun, University of Southern California
Dr. Judah M. Cohen, Indiana University
Daniel Saks, member of the NYC bands DeLeon and The LeeVees


In the last fifteen years, numerous new organizations, companies, and artists have attempted to reassess the meaning of "Jewish" sound, largely for audiences described as young, hip, and independent. Yet under what conditions did these sounds emerge, and how do they address the concerns of the Jewish philanthropic foundations that support many of them? The three speakers in this session will explore what it means to produce "Jewish" music in a cultural milieu that relies heavily on a combination of philanthropic, organizational, and journalistic attention, as well as "tangibles" such as CDs and intangibles such as "hipness."

Josh Kun is a professor in the Annenberg School of Communication and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, where he also directs The Popular Music Project at The Norman Lear Center. He is the author of "Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America" (UC Press), which won a 2006 American Book Award. In 2005, he co-founded the non-profit record label Reboot Stereophonic, which is dedicated to excavating lost treasures of Jewish-American music. He is co-author (with Roger Bennett) of "And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Our Vinyl: Jewish History As Told By The Records We Have Loved and Lost," to be published later this year by Random House.

Judah M. Cohen is the Lou and Sybil Mervis Professor of Jewish Culture and Assistant Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, at Indiana University. He has authored the books "Through the Sands of Time: a History of the Jewish Community of St. Thomas, USVI" (Brandeis University Press, 2004), and the forthcoming "The Making of a Reform Jewish Cantor: Musical Authority, Cultural Investment" (Indiana University Press, expected 2009). As a Dorot Fellow in NYU's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies (2003-2006), Cohen studied the "new" Jewish music & culture scene, resulting in a collaborative "Heebster" entry for the modiya.nyu.edu website and a forthcoming essay on Jews and hip-hop.

Daniel Saks, is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and banjoist. He currently leads the band DeLeon, dedicated to fresh interpretations of Sephardic songs. He is also currently a member of The LeeVees. Both bands are affiliated with JDub Records, a non-profit dedicated to new and innovative Jewish music and cross cultural musical dialogue. Saks, the son of a rabbi, was born and raised in the DC area.

"Creating 'New' Jewish Sounds" is presented by the American Society for Jewish Music, the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Working Group on Jews, Media, and Religion at NYU's Center for Religion and Media.


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