One year ago today, the world lost Ben Zion Shenker, a rabbi, cantor and composer who had been dubbed "the greatest living figure of Hassidic music." Shenker devoted his life to niggunim--spiritual melodies used in Hassidic worship--in the Polish Modzitzer Hassidic tradition, starting with the melodies of Rabbi Saul Taub.
A new video from Milken's oral history project features Shenker's insights about the styles, inspirations and significance of niggunim in his own life, and in the various Hassidic traditions of Eastern Europe.
On a rock, on a rock, sit a turnip and a horseradish. I beg of you, says the horseradish: Why is the sky is so clear? Performance by Khave Rosenblatt, commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at CTMD's Yiddish Song of the Week!
The Yiddish Song of the Week is presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture.
All the children have to go to school. The "micro" (bus) takes us and brings us back. What a joy for the children! School, oy, oy, oy school…. A song for school performed by Ester Szulman, commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at CTMD's Yiddish Song of the Week.
Edited by Itzik Gottesman, the Yiddish Song of the Week is presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and the Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture.
As a working person who gets no vacation and is paid by the hour, I haven't been able to take time off for the Yiddish Book Center's "Yidstock" festival, curated by Seth Rogovoy these past half dozen years. I may have to figure out a way to rethink. This year I missed Frank London's "A night in the old market," which I have yearned to see for years. I missed Hankus Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer (okay, I get the opportunity to see them almost often enough here in Boston—and same for Ezekiel's Wheels). I missed Frank, again, this time with the fabulous Eleanor Reissa and the Klezmer Brass AllStars. I missed Frank, this time with Lorin Sklamberg and Rob Schwimmer in the Nigunim Trio.
I did, however, see Alicia Svigals and Lauren Brody in their first Yidstock appearance, reprising material from Mikveh, their late-1990s/early 2000s supergroup, and surprising us with amazing new material—not just klezmer, but also new-to-us Yiddish poetry, often with sharp, germane, and obvious addressing of women's issues, reminding us why the Yiddish revival isn't just a linguistic tic, but for many, represents fighting for social justice.
The day ended with Andy Statman, also in his first Yidstock appearance. It has been a rough, tired day after breaking my rule about never staying for the last Yidstock show, but we were well-rewarded. The last few years, wherever I have seen Statman, he never fails to deliver klezmer, nign, bluegrass, and "Statman-music." Last night, though, he was just on fire, delivering almost two hours of nearly non-stop music, punctuated only by occasional intros to special nigunim. He was backed by his usual trio: Larry Eagle on drums, and Jim Whitney on bass. An old friend, Bob Weiner (sp?) joined on percussion for several numbers.
Kudos to the Yiddish Book Center for another excellent festival. 2018 has already been scheduled: July 12–15, 2018. Put it on your calendar now.
Just a quick note a propos of nothing. Was hanging out with spouse at a performance of Mahler's 8th out in Tanglewood this past weekend. One of the singers in the mammoth choir was talking about music that she loved. "Hassidic New Wave!" she enthused. "Been in my car for years. The kids got tired of it, but I still love it."
The KlezmerShack notes that this is one more reason why Sir Frank earned the "Knight's Cross" Order of Merit from the Hungarian government last year. Not bad for a Jewish kid from NYC. And we regret that we have once again missed the opportunity to hear/see a performance of his "A night at the old market" which appeared at Yidstock this weekend. Mahler. What can we say? Joey Baron, or anyone else from Boston's Jewish Arts Collaborative, can you make this a bit easier for me and just bring the production to Boston already?
From Jim Rebhan this morning comes this sad news:
One of the warmest human beings, and warmest voices in Yiddish song, passed away May 22, 2017. More on Facebook, search for "Recording Arkady Gendler", and from Tablet magazine: Arkady Gendler, a Paragon of the Yiddish Revival Movement, Dead at 95
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
Michael Winograd spotted this one:
From Leonard Koenick on the Jewish-Music list:
We Can't Make This Up: Yiddish Song Performed On Mongolia's American Idol May 1, 2017, by Jordan Kutzik
This may be the first time since Jews with Horns or Di Krenitse (The Well), their collaboration with Chava Alberstein (who also has a song on this recording), that the focus is on Yiddish and Klezmer—not a single waltz or bit of Americana. No collaborations with english-authoring song-writers (at least, not writing english-language songs here). Lots of old-world themes and very current perspectives. Lots of contemporary Yiddish poetry—even an old Catalan song now translated into Yiddish. We may not have changed the world as much as we might have hoped, except for the music, which is still, very much, the Klezmatics very own blend of powerfully good. The Klezmatics / אַפיקורסים Apikorsim (Heretics)
From flautist extraordinaire, Adrianne Greenbaum, on the Jewish-Music list:
A student of mine in the Mount Holyoke College klezmer band just finished this project:ww.pioneervalleysoundscapes.org/building-klez-munity-the-diverse-klezmer-music-scene-in-the-pioneer-valley-2017
Register now at klezkanada.org/registration
Scholarship Application Deadline now extended to May 15!
Apply at klezkanada.org/scholarships
KlezKanada's Laurentian Retreat - Monday, August 21 - Sunday, August 27, 2017.
Applications for the 2017 KlezKanada Scholarship Program are online and are due very soon! Our scholarship students come to KlezKanada to study and then take art, confidence, and community back out into their world, where they shine year after year. We have extended our deadline to May 15th. Don't miss it.
Find out more at klezkanada.org
Adriane Greenbaum is the most amazing flute player I know. Pete Rushefsky posted this video on facebook: "Some of the amazing Edward Alpern's hi-def footage of Fleytmuzik's show at Museum at Eldridge Street this past Sunday. Ed's making a documentary film about our Poyln project called www.miracleofthemusic.com and contributions are welcome. Congrats to Adrianne Greenbaum on putting the musical parts of this wide-ranging project together."
Pete Rushefsky is a leading revivalist of the tsimbl--a Yiddish instrument in the same family as the hammered dulcimer. Neil visited Pete at his apartment in Brooklyn to learn about a part of the Klezmer music tradition that was nearly lost to the world. Pete shares the his approach to European Klezmer traditions--simultaneously historic/academic and freshly creative--and reflects on a musical journey that began with a blues band at a Bar Mitzvah in Rochester, NY and has led most recently to performances with Itzhak Perlman and the most iconic musicians of the Klezmer revival.
Posted by Alan Bern on Facebook: "A short, beautiful documentary video about the Bobe Mayses project created during Yiddish Summer Weimar 2016, directed by Jenny Romaine with a wonderful team of artists (see the credits for a complete list). Thanks again to all who helped make this possible, from concept through grant application through administration through realization and presentation! It was an amazing and enriching experience!"
More about Yiddish Summer Weimar
From Eva Broman on the Jewish-Music mailing list:
To return to one of my favourite themes, here is a lovely video with Greek songstress Katerina Stanisi, whose 1986 hit "Den axizi ton kopo" ("It's not worth the effort/pain") become a huge hit in Israel it's Hebrew-language version "Ha-kolot shel Pireus" with Haim Moshe. Here she appears in an Israeli "taverna" show, sometime in the late 80's, together with Haim Moshe:
Katerina is what you'd call a "skiladiko"/heavy laika singer, but she has IMHO a fine voice, and "Den axizi ton kopo" is a really nice tune. She also recorded a duet with Stelios Kazantzidis that was covered by Itzik Kalah and Etti Levi.... I personally like both versions a lot:
Trees are chopped down in the woods. Stars fall and are extinguished. And hard is the path through the sand; But how good we feel when we're together.
Performance by Zelig Schnadover, commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now at CTMD's Yiddish Song of the Week! yiddishsong.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/beymer-hakt-men-fun-veldl-aroys-performed-by-zelig-schnadover/
The Yiddish Song of the Week is a project of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance's An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture.
Registration and Scholarship Applications now open
KlezKanada's Laurentian Retreat - Monday, August 21 - Sunday, August 27, 2017.
Register Now for KlezKanada 2017
"Girls in Trouble" is a cycle of indie-folk/art-pop songs about women in Torah created by musician and writer Alicia Jo Rabins. This two-minute trailer is a great introduction to the project including live footage, Alicia's personal story about how she started writing songs about Biblical women, and an introduction to the Girls in Trouble study guides!
With a modern revival 100 years after Pepi Littman donned Hasidic garb, the irreverent, nearly forgotten performer is even more relevant
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
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.
From Andrea Pancur on Facebook:
Are you 26 or younger? Were you born after August 10, 1990? Do play an instrument? If so, come join the young Israeli Jewish and Arab musicians on an exciting journey of discovery... Haven't you always wanted to go to Haifa? Do you have some free time between the July 23 and August 10 to travel, rehearse and meet new people? Then apply for the Yiddish Summer CARAVAN ORCHESTRA Project until March 31: yiddishsummer.eu/special/caravan.html
More on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/346286172119179/
Posted by Andrea Pancur on Facebook:
The Foward says so, and the whole Yiddish Summer Team is delighted: The most important festival for Jewish music is Yiddish Summer Weimar. If you, too, want to indulge into the sublime festival atmosphere for a week or even a whole month (July 15 - Aug 12) you can register right away for one or more workshops about song, instrumental music, badkhones, hasidic music, middle eastern music, yiddish language, story-telling, dance and dance orchestra.
Do so until March 31 and benefit from the Early Bird discount. Here's the link to the registration: yiddishsummer.eu/main/workshops/registration.html
NEW Yiddish CD!
From Holocaust to Life = Fun khurbn tsum lebn
Internationally acclaimed singers Lisa Willson, John Packard and Ian DeNolfo join forces in this exquisite collection of 15 Yiddish Art Songs, with 2 bonus songs performed by world-renowned tenor Louis Danto. All the music is by Montreal-based composer David Botwinik (born 1920, Vilna), with lyrics by various poets.
"For me a ship, for you a canoe..." performance of a short Yiddish song by Zelig Schnadover. Commentary by Itzik Gottesman. Now on CTMD's Yiddish Song of the Week.
The program is announced. Get ready.
"Every summer, people of all ages from near and far come to Weimar to experience our inspiring program of workshops, concerts, dances, jam sessions and much, much more. You can come for a brief visit to hear a concert, join a jam session, dance or mini-workshop, or stay for as long as a month and immerse yourself in our unique, interdisciplinary program."
"Yiddish culture is world culture. It has many deep and surprising connections to other cultures of Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and beyond. Each year, we explore some of these connections. In 2017, our special topic is "The Other Israel: Seeing Unseen Diasporas." Israel today is home to a kaleidoscope of cultures from around the world. Yiddish culture is only one of these, alongside Iraqi, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Russian, and many others. This year, we will be introduced to this amazing and complex intercultural matrix, guided by some of the renowned artists and teachers who live inside it."
North American Jewish Choir Festival
July 16–20, 2017
Hudson Valley Resort and Spa,
400 Granite Road
Kerhonkson NY 12446
* Instant Choirs for All Singers
* Daily Community Sings
* Workshops Galore
* Outstanding Performers
This Summer Also Features a
SPECIAL TRACK FOR
SYNAGOGUE CHORAL SINGERS
* Learn Contemporary and Traditional Synagogue Classics
* Improve Your Skills
* Bring New Inspiration to Next Year's Holidays
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]