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November 20, 2017
Milken Archive - Ben Zion Shenker oral history project

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.

Posted by adavidow at 06:38 PM | Permalink
Yiddish song of the week: About a turnip and a horseradish

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.

Posted by adavidow at 06:35 PM | Permalink
November 10, 2017
Yiddish Song of the Week: School song

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.

Posted by adavidow at 06:59 PM | Permalink
July 17, 2017
Yet another amazing Yidstock

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.

Posted by adavidow at 06:39 PM | Permalink
"Hassidic New Wave" continues to delight

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?

Posted by adavidow at 06:29 PM | Permalink
May 24, 2017
Arkady Gendler, z"l

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

Posted by adavidow at 06:45 AM | Permalink
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

Posted by adavidow at 06:27 PM | Permalink
May 14, 2017
Frank London and students of Seoul National University

Michael Winograd spotted this one:

Posted by adavidow at 06:47 PM | Permalink
May 08, 2017
Yiddish song on Mongolia's American Idol

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

Posted by adavidow at 06:42 PM | Permalink
May 07, 2017
Review: Klezmatics / אַפיקורסים Apikorsim (Heretics)

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)

Posted by adavidow at 05:38 PM | Permalink
May 03, 2017
Video: Klezmer in MA's Pioneer Valley

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

Posted by adavidow at 07:08 AM | Permalink
April 30, 2017
Mark Rubin, "Songs for the Hangman's Daughter," now, GoFundIt! Friends. Do you like bluegrass? (What sort of person doesn't like bluegrass?) Do you like damn good bluegrass? Do you like damn good bluegrass songs with attitude? Jewish, no less? I suggest you try Mark Rubin's recent "Songs for the Hangman's Daughter" as reviewed herein. Spread the word@mdash;and then hit his GoFundMe campaign to help get the word out further.

Posted by adavidow at 05:50 PM | Permalink
April 25, 2017
KlezKanada 2017, Aug 21-27: Scholarship deadline. Register Now!

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

Posted by adavidow at 07:46 AM | Permalink
April 16, 2017
Fleytmuzik, 26-Apr-2017, NYC

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."

Posted by adavidow at 01:23 PM | Permalink
Pete Rushefsky interview

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 adavidow at 01:14 PM | Permalink
Yiddish Summer Weimar: The Bobe Mayses Project video

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!"

The Bobe Mayses project

More about Yiddish Summer Weimar

Posted by adavidow at 12:54 PM | Permalink
April 02, 2017
Greek songstress, Katerina Stanisi

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:

Posted by adavidow at 05:46 PM | Permalink
March 25, 2017
Yiddish song of the week: Beymer hakt men fun veldl aroys

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.

Posted by adavidow at 05:28 PM | Permalink
KlezKanada registration now open

Registration and Scholarship Applications now open

KlezKanada's Laurentian Retreat - Monday, August 21 - Sunday, August 27, 2017.

Register Now for KlezKanada 2017

Click here to open the KlezKanada 2017 registration form.

Posted by adavidow at 05:21 PM | Permalink
"Girls in Trouble" trailer

"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!


Posted by adavidow at 05:17 PM | Permalink
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

Posted by adavidow at 06:05 PM | Permalink
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.

Posted by adavidow at 03:57 PM | Permalink
March 18, 2017
Yiddish Summer Caravan Orchestra to Haifa!

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 adavidow at 11:10 AM | Permalink
March 13, 2017
Yiddish Summer Weimar: "most important festival for Jewish music"

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

Posted by adavidow at 06:54 AM | Permalink
March 12, 2017
Yiddish Teacher summer program, Brussels, Jun 17-28, 2017 Yiddish Teacher at the Institute of Jewish Studies (Brussels) Yiddish on the Continent The Institute of Jewish Studies (Free University of Brussels - Belgium) The summer programme offers students intensive language courses catering to elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. Language classes are predominantly conducted in Yiddish. The morning classes are complemented with a broad range of language enrichment activities including :
  • Singing workshop with Shura Lipovsky
  • Theater workshop with Tal Hever-Chybowski
  • Lectures on specialised subjects
  • Yiddish film
  • Visits to Jewish sites (museum, synagogues, monuments).
  • More information: www.ulb.ac.be/facs/philo/judaisme/
    Posted by adavidow at 03:29 PM | Permalink
New Yiddish CD of Botwinik songs

cd coverNEW 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.

More information about the CD (and book) available online

Posted by adavidow at 02:31 PM | Permalink
Yiddish Song of the Week: "A Boat for Me, a Canoe for You"

"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.

Posted by adavidow at 12:04 PM | Permalink
January 28, 2017
Yiddish Summer Weimar July 15–Aug 12

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."


Posted by adavidow at 04:06 PM | Permalink
January 24, 2017
Registration open for 28th North American Jewish Choir Festival, to be held July 16-20, 2017, Catskills, NY

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
* Opportunities

This Summer Also Features a

* Learn Contemporary and Traditional Synagogue Classics
* Improve Your Skills
* Bring New Inspiration to Next Year's Holidays

More information
Fellowship applications

Posted by adavidow at 04:41 PM | Permalink
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]

Posted by adavidow at 02:37 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."

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    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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    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!