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September 28, 2014
New releases for the Days of Awe

I want to take time out for a few minutes to note the current season and mention a few recent releases that may help get you in the mood for t'shuvah.

CD coverI'll first mention a new instrumental release by Tzadik saxophonist Paul Shapiro / Shofarot Verses. His 2003 "Midnight Minyan" put the daven into jazz. Here he continues that tradition, with some of my favorite Tzadik musicians, including Captain Beefheart alum Marc Ribot on guitar, Brad Jones on bass, and Tony Lewis on drums. From the opening moments of the very season-appropriate "Hashivenu" through the closing "With Reed and Skins" Shapiro manages to combine jazz and a sense of nusach (Ashkenazic Jewish cantorial modes) in ways that seek out that still small voice within us. At the same time, as on "Daven Dance," he reminds us that joy can physically move us. The shofar-like soprano sax impulsion on "Halil," with Ribot's answering guitar is one standout, followed by an actual shofar on "Ashamnu," which takes the familiar Yom Kippur melody to a new place of grace. The album's ethos is perhaps best expressed in the description of "Search your soul," "Finding solace in the house of b-flat." More info at Paul's website. The music is available from Tzadik and the usual disk and MP3 vendors online.

CD coverComing from another place, entirely, (and perhaps exemplifying the difference between the gritty downtown New York scene vs. the spiritual secularism of California's Bay Area) singer/cantor Linda Hirschhorn's voice and words speak directly to those parts of us that aspire to heal and to help a world in need of healing. Her 2013 recording, "Amazed" is also an album with beautiful personal love songs. With an all-star cast, including Holly Near on the backing vocals of the opening hymn, "Amazed," this is just a wonderful album, balm for a "verbissener velt." Tunes range from the folkie to the blues, as on "Some Love," to the hum along inspirational and aspirational, as "Give it all you have." You can listen to samples and purchase the CD from Linda Hirschhorn's website and the usual online vendors.

cd coverSiach Hasadeh is a Montreal-based duo, clarinet and bass, exploring Jewish niggun. Since they also appeared at Ashkenaz 2014, I can also link this set of reviews to my continuing coverage of the standout artists at that festival. Although the music is sweet, the duo explores the rougher sides of harmony as well. There is a delightful tone poem/art song/modern classical dissonance that weaves in and out of these tunes, from the opening "R' Levi Yitzchak Berditchever's Niggun" to "Niggun firn di tsaddikim in gay eyden" or "Rabbeinu's Niggun" featuring Shtreiml masters Jason Rosenblatt on harmonica and Ismail Fencioğlu on oud. For those who enjoy digging deeper and letter ways of niggun wash over them, this is a rich recording. You can read more about the recording on the band's website or purchase it directly from CDBaby.com.

cd coverThe standout voice, the woman everyone wanted to hear at this year's Ashkenaz Festival was Polina Shepherd. Readers of these pages over the years will not be surprised—you have read reviews of her singing with choirs, with brass bands, with just her husband, Merlin Shepherd, and friends. She plays an amazing piano, but it is her voice that you notice. Amazing range. Beauty, and a force of nature. Born in the former Soviet Union, this recording is a tribute to the intertwined folk music of both Russian and Yiddish cultures. Introducing less familiar songs from both, she sings of love and longing, universal yearnings, whether, say, in the Russian "Silver Birch" or the more modern Yiddish of "Birch Tree;" from the folk song, to Eastern European "scat," here a wordless prayer in "Ay Yay Yay;" whether the text comes from the Song of Songs, "Place me like a seal," or evokes life, itself, in the Yom Kippur plea, "Avinu Malkeinu" (Our Father, Our King). Shepherd's voice is transformative. More information, and CD purchases from the artist's website.

cd coverThere has been an evolution as Basya Schechter has gone from writing Middle Eastern-inflected folksongs, to someone more involved with rethinking religious poetry. He most recent CD was a recording of her settings of love poems, both to women, and to God (and sometimes, like "Song of Songs," as easily to read as expressing love for both) written in Yiddish by Rabbi A. J. Heschel. This latest recording by Pharaoh's Daughter consists entirely of settings of traditional prayer and piyyut. The music, though, comes from around the world. The opening "Adon Olam" conveys echoes of electronica. The familiar "Maoz Tzur" is rethought with celesta-like keyboard pinpoints, as though to highlight falling snow; in the simplicity of the melody you can hear echoes of a family lighting Hanukkah candles. Likewise, "Ha-nerot Halaluh" contains elements of electronica and metallic percussion and a lively sing-along melody. The title song, for instance, "Dumiya," echoes all of the above, with hints of African rhythm and Middle Eastern flow. The closing "Shebishlifleynu" has a driving, somewhat psychedelic beat. The current season is evoked with light glissando's of sound setting "Zikaron," a poem conveying the awe of standing in front of G-d on Yom Kippur, with a quieter new melody for "P'tach lanu sha'ar" (open a gate for us). If the music of Shlomo Carlebach and Debbie Friedman simplified melodies and invited congregational participation in davenning in new ways, the music of Basya Schechter and Pharaoh's Daughter fuses Sephardic, Ashkenazic, and indeed, world music traditions for a new generation of prayers. It is good to hear such eloquent settings for songs of renewal in this season of awe. Liner notes and more info available on the Pharaoh's Daughter website. You can purchase a copy from Amazon.com.

Posted by adavidow at 06:05 PM | Permalink
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 CDBaby.com, 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.

Posted by adavidow at 10:53 AM | Permalink
September 21, 2014
David Buchbinder's Odessa/Havana, "Walk to the Sea"

another faux deep tzadik coverOne of the highlights of the Saturday evening concerts at this year's Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto was the appearance of David Buchbinder's Odessa/Havana. Showcasing their 2013 release on Tzadik, "Walk to the sea," the music was exhilarating. The fusion of Cuban, klezmer, and jazz, and much more was seamless. Buchbinder and his bands are always excellent, but watching pianist Hilario Durán was magic. Listening to vocalist Maryem Hassan Tollar live was a revelation. I have a short review of the CD now on the KlezmerShack. Enjoy. You can get your own copy via the band's website.

Posted by adavidow at 12:57 PM | Permalink
Save the date! Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish SAVE THE DATE!! December 30 honoring genius, writer, Yiddishist, and brave buddy of Adrienne, (drum roll) Michael Wex! More on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AdrienneCooperFundForDreamingInYiddish
Posted by adavidow at 10:55 AM | Permalink
September 20, 2014
Marin Bunea video

Posted to Facebook by Pete Rushefsky

These musicians are from Republic of Moldova, Chisinau. Marin Bunea - violin, Mihai Sorocan - accordeon, Valeriu Cascaval - cimbalom, Ion Croitoru - double bass.

Posted by adavidow at 05:47 PM | Permalink
September 17, 2014
KlezKanada - 2014 student concert - Dave Tarras Ensemble
Posted by adavidow at 06:55 AM | Permalink
"Talk Dirty," the Yiddish version

Postmodern Jukebox presents "Talk Dirty"—Vintage Klezmer Jason Derulo Cover (with 2 Chainz Rap in Yiddish)

Posted by adavidow at 06:47 AM | Permalink
September 09, 2014
Klezmatics in studio, interview, on Voice of Israel

From Eitan of the "Voice of Israel." The Klezmatics are in town for a sacred music festival:

Musicians Frank London and David Licht of the Grammy award-winning band The Klezmatics perform live in-studio on VOI's Yishai Fleisher Show. Tune in for a fun conversation about culture, sacred music, and 'Jewy' pride.

soundcloud.com/voiceofisrael/klezmatics-sep9-2014

Posted by adavidow at 10:52 AM | Permalink
September 08, 2014
Join campaign for Litvakus CD @ Indiegogo Litvakus: The Lost Jewish Music of Belarus CD Help release our first full-length album Dear Friends, Litvakus is recording its first full-length album, Raysn (a Yiddish name for Belarus) that includes incredibly beautiful and endangered Belarusian Jewish music discovered and revived after 70 years of oblivion, as well original songs to the poetry of Moyshe Kulbak and Zisl Slepovitch. We are asking our friends for support that would make this project happen. Please check out the Litvakus' Raysn Indiegogo page for the full story of this record and consider supporting us through that page.
Posted by adavidow at 07:07 AM | Permalink
September 01, 2014
A few special things seen at the Ashkenaz Festival

The problem with writing about a festival whilst attending, is that one feels some obligation to hear music every waking minutes. So, this will be a brief list.

We drove in from the States late and missed Geoff Berner's set on Saturday, which had been one of our goals. I did get a chance to catch him at an interview about his just-released book (which sounds good, but has nothing to do with Jewish Culture, new or otherwise) with SoCalled, and that was fun, if not musical. On his recordings, Berner has a political and somewhat satiric bent that reminds me of Daniel Kahn, except that Berner sings in English. You can catch him on his most recent recording, Victory Party.

David Buchbinder's Odessa/Havana show was a highlight. It isn't just that the band was tight, or that the singer, Maryem Hassan Tollar is exceptional, but pianist Hilario Duran is a treasure. If you saw the performance, you already have the new CD. If you weren't there, let me assure you that the CD is exceptional.

We were exhausted, but stayed for the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, a delightful street band that has been on tour for the last couple of months. Extraordinary energy and much fun in a sort of Eastern European mix. Huge orchestra! I hope they come to my neighborhood's "Honk!" festival this year and soon. David Buchbinder came out to join the band in one number, as did members of Forshpil, and the incomparable Polina Shepherd. Readers of these pages already know that Shepherd is an extraordinary singer. Here at Ashkenaz, she and husband Merlin Shepherd blew audiences away. If there were justice, they would have been booked for several more shows here. Several of her recordings have been reviewed in raves on these pages. Live, she is even better.

One special moment at the festival so far was the appearance of Steve Greenman with Chinese pipa player Gao Hong. They were right. The two musical traditions, as well as fiddle and pipa, were made to play together.

Michael Winograd's new project, "Sandaraa" was billed as a fusion. In truth, it is Pakistani music, mostly from Baluchistan, and I love it. (Yes, it is a Jewish music festival, but ...) Played by Winograd's ensemble, and featuring the voice of Zebunnisa (Zeb) Bangash, with a touch of "jam band" feel, this was just plain fun. Of special note, along with Winograd's clarinet, was Richie Barshay's amazingly fluent drumming and percussion.

We ended last night with Zion80, a relatively new project by Tzadik recording artist Jon Madof. The band has just released a new CD of Zorn's music, following their initial release of Carlebach tunes. The fusion of Jewish avant garde jazz and Fela Kuti's African beat is phenomenal. We danced our way home. In a few minutes, the Ashkenaz parade will come by, then I'll go listen to Shtreiml, see the new Veretski Pass theatrical piece, "Lilith" (Likely to write more about that later), and then, sadly, but with great fun, the Festival Finale.

Posted by adavidow at 03:17 PM | Permalink
Lenka Lichtenberg, "Breathing Walls," new CD review for the Ashkenaz Fest Note: Lenka and Yair Dalal actually premiered their new children's CD, Lullabies from Exile at this year's Ashkenaz. Review of that recording, pending.

CD coverCzeck-born Lenka Lichtenberg has been exploring Jewish, Israeli, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern music since before I met her back at one of the first Ashkenaz Festivals. Her voice is exquisite. The recordings keep getting better. Her imagination is even bigger. At the same time, with musical interests around the world, she has remained uncategorizable. That's probably a good thing. This latest recording, Breathing Walls is an excellent example, and an exquisite take on Jewish sacred music.

Breathing Walls came about after a concert series back in her native Czech Republic. After listening to the sound of performing in synagogues in Plzen and Liberec in 2009, she returned a year later to record Jewish liturgical poems in twelve synagogues. The melodies range from traditional Eastern European, to newer settings by contemporary composers such as Shlomo Carlebach and Shirona. Working with musicians as diverse as Israeli's Yair Dalal ("Maoz Tsur" and "Adon Olam," for instance) and klezmer clarinetist Christian Dawid ("Esa Eyney"), and an array of musicians from around the world, Lichtenberg fuses all of these influences and melodies into a new, tender world Jewish music.

This is a very special recording. Unlike her earlier CDs, where she focuses on Jewish folk music, often re-imagined with Middle-Eastern-sounding settings (partly influenced, I imagine, by the side of her family that hails from Iraq, and partly influenced by her friendship and musical partnership with Iraqi-Israeli musician Yair Dalal), these are sacred tunes. Again, they are often re-imagined and reset, but the result, with a beautiful accompanying CD case and booklet, is an explicitly spiritual journey. Our blessing is that she has chosen to record these pieces and present them. You can get your copy of "Breathing Walls" directly from Lichtenberg's website.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, sitting in the delicious sunshine of the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto, ahead of a performance by the artist later this afternoon, 1 Sep 2014.

Posted by adavidow at 03:06 PM | Permalink
new CD review, just in time for Ashkenaz Fest, Shtreiml's "Eastern Hora"

CD coverWhen you need a pick-me-up, sometimes nothing but a festive Shtreiml will do. On their latest outing, Eastern Hora, the band continues its celebration with Turkish musician Ismail Fenicoglu, blending klezmer seamlessly with Turkish music and coming up with a result that makes the klezmer sound fresh, with energy and life. The result is something not just Jewish or Turkish, but also, as in the case of "A Saturday Evening Blues," as Jason's plaintive harmonica melds with Ismail's soulful our and with the band, the result is something unique.

What is surprising to me is that fewer klezmer bands have made the Turkish connection. After all, klezmer itself grew up in the borderlands between the Ottomans and Europe. To take a full-on North American klezmer sound, with Thierry Arsenault's progressive drumming, Jason Rosenblatt's harmonica and keyboards, nth-generation Philly klezmer Rachel Lemisch's trombone (take a good listen to her riffs on "Rayrus Spielt" and throughout the CD), and the dance-friendly bass-lines of Joel Kerr, and then re-merge it with Fenicoglu's fluent oud and you have a match made in heaven. From the opening, full-steam "Grand Theft Stutinki" and onward into "Chassidl pour les batards" on through the closing, gentle "Lullaby for Halleli" the band is a cure for a world in need of healing dance and soothing music. It is not only clear why this is one of the best wedding bands around, but, here, in concert mode, we get the band exploring a broader dimension of joy and music than would normally come through at a simkhe, with the bonus lightning oud strikes.

Like 2006's "Fenci's Blues," this CD exemplifies what is most exciting about modern klezmer. The playing of traditional music is fluid and celebratory, but the renewal that comes from the encounter with new Turkish music creates a magic that will please not only klezmer fanatics, but fans of Turkish music as well. You can get your own copy, as well as copies for your friends via iTunes or CDBaby.com

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 1 Sep 2014, from the Ashkenaz Festival where Shtreiml are featured performers.

Posted by adavidow at 02:37 PM | Permalink
August 19, 2014
Ashkenaz 2014, Toronto, Canada, starts August 26, 2014

Ashkenaz appYes, our favorite North American festival of new Jewish music starts next week, and this year it joins the current century by enabling an actual iPhone "app." Search for it in the Apple Store. That's the minor reason to go. The major reason is new music, ranging from a new music from Veretski Pass, "Lillith, the Night Demon," to music inspired by the Sarajevo Hagaddah, Yiddish "New Wave" from Eastgern Europe, Dudu Tassa from Israel, and more. See you at the Ashkenaz Festival!

Posted by adavidow at 07:58 AM | Permalink
May 31, 2014
Yaela Hertz, z"l

Yaela Hertz, by Alan LankinKnown to the rest of the world as a master violinist, teacher, mentor, Yaela Hertz was also a critical faculty member at KlezKanada where I was fortunate to meet her. She had that rare combination of extraordinary ability, insight, and human warmth that will be heard for generations as her students teach their students. Deborah Strauss posted on Facebook yesterday that she had passed away May 30, 2014. You can get a brief sense of who she was professionally from her entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia, or from this 1963 article in the Montreal Gazette.

Posted by adavidow at 04:23 PM | Permalink
Who writes for us secular Jews

There was a great piece by Ezra Glinter in last week's Forward about the growing fictional genre for people who have left the ultra-Orthodox community. It inspired me to read a new-to-me Tova Mirvis (which I enjoyed as much as her first book, a best-seller).

It also made me reflect that I rarely encounter fictional characters who resemble myself: a former Orthodox Jew who is generally quite religiously secular. Esther Broner captured a community in Israel (albeit, primarily only from the women's side) 30 or 40 years ago in A Weave of Women that was possibly the only time that I read a book and felt as though I could almost identity each character and its real-life inspiration—many of them friends. Since then, the closest I have come is, perhaps, Peter Mansur's Song of the Butcher's Daughter, which, centered at the Yiddish Book Center, at least centered around an institution that is important in my life.

It may be that I am sufficiently unusual—both knowledgeable about Jewish life, but distant from it—that I shouldn't expect to see people who look familiar. Michael Chabon's recent Telegraph Avenue at least featured some types, some even Jewish, that I knew from my years in the Bay Area, although their lack of connection to "Jewish" beyond some vague childhood culture points was disappointingly tenuous (if also quite common). What have you read that resonates? Who is writing about the American Jewish experience that resonates for you? Email me.

Posted by adavidow at 01:34 PM | Permalink
May 30, 2014
The things one learns from fund-raising mailers

It was in the today's mail. Kvell from the Yiddish Book Center. It contained an interview with donor Monty Hall. Who knew that the long-time "Let's Make a Deal" host was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and had such great memories of the Jewish community there.

You want to be on the Yiddish Center's mailing list (which includes the benefit of kvelling about being a donor to same), go to www.yiddishbookcenter.org/giving. Tell them that the KlezmerShack sent you.

While you're there, take a look at their new translation program. Pretty nifty! Might be worth whispering in someone's ear, "don't forget the women!"

Posted by adavidow at 09:58 PM | Permalink
May 25, 2014
Frank London's "Glass House Project" debuts "The Glass House Project" Three concerts in NY & DC recreate the musical culture of Hungarian Jewish communities destroyed by the Holocaust Grammy Award-winning trumpeter FRANK LONDON (of The Klezmatics) brings together a supergroup of jazz/world/folk virtuosi from Hungary & NYC Working from meticulously reconstructed scores & archival records of long forgotten folk songs, performances range from the reverential to the decidedly experimental THE GLASS HOUSE ENSEMBLE: from Hungary MIKLÓS LUKÁCS, cimbalon BÉLA ÁGOSTON, winds SZIRTES EDINA MÓKUS, singer ÁRON SZÉKELY, kontra KATA HARSÁCZKI, singer from NYC FRANK LONDON, trumpet PABLO ASLAN, bass RICHIE BARSHAY, drums ARAM BAJAKIAN, guitar JAKE SHULMAN-MENT, violin Tuesday, May 27, 7:00 pm Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Pl, New York City Free Admission Wednesday, May 28, 6:00 pm John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Theater 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC Free Admission
Posted by adavidow at 03:13 PM | Permalink
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.

Posted by adavidow at 09:18 AM | Permalink
May 20, 2014
Hankus Netsky to speak at TheRetreat, Palmer, MA, Jun 12, 2014

Kind of neat that Jewish music makes it to an event of this type. Clearly klezmer is no longer avant garde ;-) (but that's been true for decades). Stephen Baum writes:

"Hankus Netsky is speaking at TheRetreat—a three day experience in Jewish learning, fellowship, davening, and sports at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Massachusetts. His subject is Klezmer music, and its migration from Europe to America—a migration that each of you has been a part of."

Info: www.theretreatfjmc.com/
tel: 781-724-2551

"The lecture itself is on Thursday, June 12th, beginning at 8:00 PM. Afterwards there will be some unstructured hospitality at the camp, but I'd really like to see that evolve into a Klezmer jam session.

"TheRetreat itself opens at 3:00 PM that day, with dinner at 5:45, and Ma'ariv at 7:15. It can be a wonderful weekend, and we expect around a hundred Jewish men from the New England, Hudson Valley, and Connecticut regions to attend. The first timer fee for the full weekend, including 4 Days and 3 Nights of a shared room in Camp Ramah's bunks, kosher meals & snacks, plus all lectures and activities is $250 for first timers, $315 for those who have been before.

"You are also, of course, welcome to just come for the evening itself, and that is free. It is a little over an hour from the Weston tolls at the I-90/128 intersection. If you'd like to, you could join us for dinner, and if you'd rather stay the night and join us for breakfast, that would be great too. The full weekend is a Men's Club regional event, but there are enough available bunk houses that it would be no problem to accommodate women who would prefer to stay over to Friday. Coming just for the lecture and jam session would be free, but if you'd like to come for full evening and following morning, it would be $75. Again, check the web site specified above for further information."

Posted by adavidow at 09:28 AM | Permalink
May 17, 2014
Elaine Hoffman Watts to be honored by PFP June 7, 2014

Folk Arts and Social Change Awardees Nana Korantema Ayeboafo and Elaine Hoffman Watts will be honored on June 7th at the Philadelphia Folklore Project annual bash.

The party runs from 6 PM - 9 PM at the Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, in Philadelphia. Expect food, fun, engaging activities, a wonderful crowd of people, and an all-around joyful evening! This year's Birthday Bash marks big changes at PFP, includes great performances (with your participation), and it honors amazing women who are inspiring models in folk arts and change. Support the Philadelphia Folklore Project and honor people in our region whose work in folk arts and social change is inspiring.

More info: www.folkloreproject.org/about/news/PFP27thBirthdayBash.php

Posted by adavidow at 03:14 PM | Permalink
Jewish Music Week in Toronto, May 18 - 25

Too many events to list, and it's not even Ashkenaz week yet!

Jewish Music Week in Toronto

Posted by adavidow at 03:11 PM | Permalink
Great new resource: YIVO Digital Archive on Jewish Life in Poland

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

polishjews.yivoarchives.org

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.

Posted by adavidow at 02:58 PM | Permalink
Aaron Lansky honored by White House

So, did I mention that this week Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center, was honored at the White House? The Tablet used it to write a couple of great articles, including a short interview with Peter Manseau, whose Song of the Butcher's Daughter is one of my favorite recent novels, and perhaps the first to feature the Yiddish Book Center as a location:

Michelle Obama Celebrates Yiddish Literature: Awards Yiddish Book Center nation's highest honor for museums and libraries, by Hannah Dreyfus, May 8, 2014

The Irish Catholic Promoting Yiddish Literature Peter Manseau on accepting Yiddish Book Center honor from the First Lady, by Hannah Dreyfus, May 16, 2014

Yiddish Book Center blog: 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Posted by adavidow at 02:34 PM | Permalink
di bostoner klezmer, Jewish Heritage Night @ Fenway, Boston, May 29

Wondering when to catch your next Boston Red Sox game? Thursday, May 29 is "Jewish Heritage Night" at Fenway Park. di bostoner klezmer is thrilled to have been invited to play before the game on Yawkey Way as fans go into the stadium to see the Red Sox playing. We play from 5:40 P.M. for 50 minutes. Come say hello. It will be fun.

Thursday, May 29at 5:40pm - 6:30pm
1 Yawkey Place,
Boston, MA

Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/1404376956514491/

Posted by adavidow at 01:26 PM | Permalink
Jozef Jankowski, z"l

From Roberta Levine, to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Renowned Polish musician, instrument maker, teacher, and Holocaust survivor Jozef Jankowski passed away on May 7th. He played Polish, Russian, and Jewish repertoire on pre-War Polish radio. He impacted many comtemporary klezmer musicians and once attended KlezKamp in Cherry Hill.

Josef Jankowski: Businessman, instrument maker

Thanks to Pete Rushefsky, we listed Mr. Jankowski on the KlezmerShack's "vendor" page for many years, with a testimony from Josh Horowitz.

Posted by adavidow at 12:37 PM | Permalink
New Klezmer class, Derbyshire, UK, 29-31 Aug 2014

From The London Klezmer Quartet:

I'm very excited to let you know that we're planning a klezmer course in Derbyshire for the end of August. Following on from the wildly popular KlezNorth spring weekend, a special course with the London Klezmer Quartet will be held 29-31 August in the same picturesque Peak District village. This one is for those who would like to delve deeper into the instrumental side of things. Course numbers will be capped at 30.

Venue

Youlgrave Village Hall, Holywell Lane, Youlgrave, Derbyshire DE45 1UT

Outline of activities

Jam: Friday 8.30pm til late at the Farmyard Inn
Course runs Saturday 11am to Sunday 1pm
LKQ in concert Saturday 8pm followed by session with optional dancing

Tickets

  • Weekend: £45 (£40 early bird & concs). Includes Friday session and Saturday concert
  • Friday session only: £5
  • Saturday concert only: £10
  • Click here to book tickets

    Posted by adavidow at 12:23 PM | Permalink
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: www.tabletmag.com/podcasts/172178/golem-tanz

Posted by adavidow at 10:50 AM | Permalink
May 15, 2014
JewJamSouth, Aug 10-13, 2014

From our friends Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss:

festival logoJEWJAM SOUTH!
THIS AUGUST 10-13!
AN EXCITING BRAND-NEW PROGRAM.

Join us for JewJamSouth, a four-day celebration of Jewish choral music, Yiddish song and klezmer music this August in Clayton, GA!

JewJamSouth will take place on August 10–13, 2014, at Ramah Darom's campus in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. The event is designed for passionate Jewish choral singers, klezmer instrumentalists, Hebrew and Yiddish singers and their families. Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a newcomer, this four-day festival will offer a feast of musical inspiration, ideas and fun.

JewJamSouth is open to people of all levels and backgrounds, and no previous experience is needed. Beginners are welcome.

Throughout the four days, you'll have a chance to participate in a hands-on ensemble program and study, perform and be mentored by world-renowned faculty:

Hazzan David Tilman, Program Director
"Hazzan David Tilman is Adjunct Associate Professor at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the choral director at Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He also serves as Hazzan Emeritus of Beth Sholom Congregation, where he created a nationally recognized five choir program.Hazzan Tilman is an award-winning, life-long conductor who has traveled around the world and received numerous awards, including the first Moshe Nathanson Award in conducting and the the Samual Rosenbaum Award for lifelong achievement from the Cantor's Assembly. His travels have included trips to Germany, Havana and Chile, but he is also well-loved right here at home, as he has been the music director of Camp Ramah in Wingdale and Nyack, as well as at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.
Jeff Warschauer, Co-Director
Jeff Warschauer is a Founding Artistic Director and Senior Artistic Advisor of the KlezKanada Institute for Yiddish/Jewish Culture and the Arts, is on the faculty of Columbia University in New York, and is a graduate student in Cantorial Music and Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Deborah Strauss, Co-Director
Deborah Strauss is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist, an award-winning children's educator and a highly-regarded Yiddish dancer and dance leader.
The Strauss/Warschauer Duo
For over 25 years, Deborah Strauss (violin, accordion, vocals, dance) and Jeff Warschauer (guitar, mandolin, vocals) have been at the forefront of the international klezmer and Yiddish music scene. They were both long-time members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival, and have performed with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman on film and in concert. They are renowned worldwide for their depth of experience and knowledge, and for their innovative performances, residencies and workshops.

The event will culminate in a one-of-a-kind joint choral/klezmer gala performance.

  • Come enjoy a breathtaking view and gourmet Kosher cuisine among new friends;
  • Experience formal and informal Hebrew, Yiddish and Israeli singing and dancing;
  • Participate in choral and klezmer ensembles formed by JewJamSouth participants;
  • Enjoy a full klezmer concert and dance party with the world-famous Strauss/Warschauer duo, pioneering performers of the klezmer revival; and
  • Learn new musical skills and repertoire to bring back home with you.
  • Email Bennie Cohen with any questions, and register now, as spots are filling up quickly!

    ramahdarom.org/programs/jewjamsouth/

    Posted by adavidow at 04:41 PM | Permalink
May 06, 2014
From the Shtreiml CD release party cd cover

From the CD release concert for the new Shtreiml recording, "Eastern Hora," featuring Ismail Fencioglu. The band also features famed Philadelphia trombonist Rachel Lemish, composer/keyboardist/harmonica player Jason Rosenblatt, the incomparable Thierry Arsenault on drums, and Joel Kerr on bass. This is the band's second release fusing Turkish and klezmer music into something delicious. Find out more at www.shtreiml.com/shtreiml.php:

Posted by adavidow at 04:32 PM | Permalink
Composition Prize: Reimagining the American Klezmer Jazz Band CALL FOR SCORES • KCO COMPOSITION PRIZE 2015 Reimagining the American Klezmer Jazz Band COMPOSITION PRIZE 2015 Open to composers and arrangers ages 30 and under First Prize receives $1,000, performance of work, and live recording Multiple 2nd and 3rd prize awards available Deadline: December 19, 2014 (for best consideration, December 5, 2014) For guidelines, application, sheet music: www.klezmercompany.com/education.
Posted by adavidow at 02:42 PM | Permalink
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About Klezmer Music

The Klezmer revival (article revised 9/97) sparked a renaissance in Jewish music and culture. Nowadays, the revival is over--klezmer is a popular music form that is no longer exclusively Jewish, and other forms of Jewish music are also gaining in popularity. And no one questions the place of klezmer in both Jewish and popular cultures. Well, no one we care about. Meanwhile, the edges of musical and cultural boundaries continue to change, expand, and morph onward, fueled by the imperatives to explore new music on the one hand, and by the shifting sense of Jewish identity on another, not always related, hand. So I find myself, in these pages, moving both directions at once: trying to expand access to all Jewish music materials, and happily exploring musical edges, some of which have nothing to do with Jewish music.

Klezmer is the music that speaks to me. It's balkans and blues, ancient Jewish culture and prayer and history, spirit and jazz all mixed together. Good klezmer, and the music inspired by it, demands that one dance. In the words immortalized by Emma Goldman: "If your revolution doesn't include klezmer, I don't want it." I sometimes envision the Holy One, Blessed Be Whatever He/She/It May Be, who knows all history before its time, sitting on the throne in heaven, watching new music and cultural excitement unfold, turning and declaring to the assembled angels and saints and sinners, "ahhhh, now I can hear it live."

KlezmerShack FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

We have klezmer news and the latest reviews. For new musicians, we've added a FAQ on "Essential klezmer repertoire" culled from the Jewish-music mailing list.

If you want to be listed here, or to get advice on putting together your own web page or CD, read this short "how-to" page.

If you are looking for sources of sheet music, several online vendors carry books and music. If you are looking for album recommendations, browse the reviews and try what sounds like you. Be aware that I don't know which , and will never recommend any band for your simkha--contact your local Jewish community newspaper, book store, or federation--or any of the bands from your area. And, mazel tov! Oh, and don't forget to browse the "klezcontacts" page. The Klezclassified's is the place to check to advertise, find other's ads, jamming partners, whatever. If you'd like to be listed, on any of these pages (or more than one) just send me e-mail, or use the semi-convenient form, telling me a bit about yourself. (Don't send me a web URL and expect me to extract info. Don't even get me started about incoherent web pages--look over my notes on designing a usable web page, and then, still, send me a paragraph of text about yourself, your band, or just to say 'hello'.)

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Note that the latest stuff may not yet be indexed.

As I said, I never make any recommendations beyond what is listed here. For recommendations of any sort, or for gossip, discussion, or even to ask about stuff that I clearly don't know about, the best place to ask is the jewish-music mailing list. I specifically never make recommendations or suggestions about bands for your wedding or bar mitzvah (see above for similar rant). To repeat, you always want to be consulting local Jewish newspapers, federations, and other community organizations and services. They survive only because you use them. Please do.

If you have a klez story to tell, comments, reviews to add, or just want to let people know about your band, or have something else to say that I haven't already mentioned (and especially about bad links or other mistakes)--send me e-mail. I'll get it all online as I have time. It's a pleasure!