Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gothamist: Why Are Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Trying To Destroy This Hasidic Pop Star?

The title of this Gothamist piece says it all... Why Are Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Trying To Destroy This Hasidic Pop Star?



Great article!

If I Were A Rich Man....

In the Jewish Week... Modern Orthodoxy Has Its Costs – Not Just Financial



Here's a taste:

In Israel, the head of a yeshiva is also a best-selling and award-winning novelist. In America, we get excited about holiday-themed a capella parodies, newly (and briefly) observant reggae artists, paint-the-parsha programs, and novelists who do not know the difference between Tosafot and the Tosefta but know and use a dozen Yiddish words for genitalia.
A reader might be tempted to ask: “So what?” As long as Modern Orthodoxy is producing rabbis, teachers, and enough big earners to support the community’s infrastructure and personnel, does it matter that it is not producing playwrights, poets, and pianists?
It does. Modern Orthodoxy is, or ought to be, a rich and challenging lifestyle that profoundly engages a broad range of thick Jewish experiences. It has a great deal to offer the Jewish world and the broader religious world. But without a vibrant creative class, there is no communal unpacking of that experience, no collective expression or catharsis, no mirror to show the community how it looks from the outside, no legacy of the community’s unique contributions.

Monday, February 16, 2015

More peeps

"The Idiot Photographer"

This peep has no self awareness or self control.

When I play smaller events, with just a keyboard/small system, I occasionally skip bringing a mixer, and simply plug my vocal mic into my keyboard and run the keyboard directly into my powered speaker setup. Up until today, this worked great.

However, when this peep is around, the system has a flaw. That is, when the Bat Mitzvah girls friends are singing their a cappella song about the Bat Mitzvah gilr on the mic, said peep will go over to the keyboard and start banging on it along with them. The few 'out of key' right handed flute notes were annoying, but when he triggered the full-on arrangement of "Te Pego" with his left hand, the presentation was done.

Since there's no way to have the volume of the keyboard off, when the mic is being used for presentations in this setup, musicians need to keep a sharp eye out when the "Idiot Photographer" is on the gig.

"The Hapless Videographer"
This peep, who is not connected in any way to the "Idiot Photographer" will show up at the gig and discover that his camera isn't working. Naturally, he won't have a backup. Also naturally, he won't tell the client or call a colleague for help. Instead, he'll walk around pretending to shoot the gig, only to tell the client at the end of the gig that something went wrong and the footage is gone.

"The  Clueless Booker"
This person will text you to ask if you're available. When asked what time/where the gig is, there will be no response. A few days later, they'll text again, asking about availability. The same exchange ensues and they drop the conversation again. A few days later... same thing. Just had three with one such peep, but had more with someone once.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An interview with Daniel Spreadbury

Over at Sibelius Blog An interview with Daniel Spreadbury

I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

From the mailbag....

Yosef Peysin writes: 

We are Rogers Park, a Chicago-based Hassidic Folk/Pop band that just released this video today as part of the national NPR "Tiny Desk Concert" competition. 



This song is based off of the old Russian Chabad niggun - "Nyet Nyet Nikavo", which is the concept of "Ain Oid Milvado", and this is how we interpret it in English.

The song is called "The Holy One" 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

"The Voice" finalist Eyal Cohen, who wouldn't perform with women during the program, and whom the producers graciously accommodated in this regard, and Ofir Ben Shetrit, the daati finalist from last year's season, released a political single in support of Naftali Bennet's "Bayit Yehudi."



‫ג'ינגל הבית היהודי 2015 - אנחנו אחים - אייל כהן ואופיר בן שטרית‬‎

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Peeps Are Out In Force Again!

Vafilu Behastore Guy
 No need to describe this peep. The name says it all. He needs to sing "Nigun Hastore". Many times. Doing the A section four times each time through. Then doing the B four times to end. Genug!

The Dinner Singer
This peep comes over with a laundry list of songs he wants to sing during dinner. Four-five at least. Wishes Chayil, Carlebach's Mimkomcha. Yes, the long one. Vezakeini. And more.Naturally, the chosson "wants" him to sing. For real. Also naturally, he wants to finish his set with "Nigun Hastore." Of course, with all the extra repeated bits, as his friend we just mentioned likes to do it. Oy!




Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shema Yisrael!

You can make a Kiddush Hashem anywhere... even on a pop TV show! Really!



Friday, November 07, 2014

Sing, Sing, Sing

Over at Cross-Currents... Aaron White pens "TheThree Cardinal Sins of Singing".



With regard to Sin One - I agree with him about the song "Zochreini Na". In fact, I wrote about it in 2003 here. However, it is not Mordechai Ben David's song. It is Dov Shurin's. Credit/blame where it is due.



With regard to Sin Two... Mr. White judges people based on superficialities, ironic given his intended point about moving past superficialities in choosing music. One can be sitting in a hotel in the "lap of luxury", seemingly jovially,  while still having serious personal issues on one's mind, whether health, financial, or faith based, any of which would well connect to those lyrics.



I think the underlying issue is not only, as the author notes, that singing is vertical rather than horizontal. I think it is also connected to the fact that so many are Jewishly illiterate, and even after years of Day school, cannot translate the words to many popular songs, and certainly can't identify the textual source. I can't even estimate how many times frum singers have asked for the source of lyrics to a new (or rediscovered) "in" song like "Mareh Cohen" (from the high point of the Yom Kippur musaf).