Sunday, October 30, 2005

From the mailbag...

Azriel forwards the following info:
The annual Hilula in honor of the Yahrzeit of the Aish Kodesh, HY'D, will take place on Motsai Shabbos Parshas Noach, November 5th, and will once again feature the Divrei Torah of Rav Moshe Weinberger and the music of Yosef Karduner.

The hilula will take place at 8:30 p.m. at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst on the corner of Spruce and Broadway in Lawrence. A $10 donation is suggested.
Miriam Hoffmann writes:
Shalom! My name is Miriam Hoffmann and I have a weekly column about Jewish music in the culture section of 'Makor Rishon' in Israel.

I'm searching all the time for new musicians for my column, and while googeling found your Blog ,and learn a lot about the JM scene while reading it from time to time. so first of all - thanks!!

Secondly- if you know about artists who would like a review in our newspaper, I'll be happy to listen to his/her music and review it.

Maybe you can post our address in your blog.

Makor Rishon
Menachem Begin road 116
Kalka House
Tel Aviv

The Rebbe's Ma'amar

Played a non-Lubavitch Bar Mitzvah tonight where the boy's rebbe, who is a Lubavitch chossid, taught the boy to recite the rebbe's ma'amar instead of a speech. As seems to be the custom, the Bar Mitzvah boy recited it at warp speed. I've seen this before and don't get it. What's the point? No appeared to be listening, and even if they were, there was no way that they could have followed it. It's especially frustrating because the crowd could have benefited from a nice simple, but meaningful dvar torah.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Goin' Legal

The 37th Tzaddik is recommending a solution/tikkun for those with pirated music tracks. Personally, we prefer models like itunes and emusic where you buy the tracks and get to keep them.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

For PA Area Readers - Get Tested This Sunday!

Arkady forwards the following email with information about a drive to find a stem cell donor for Michael Brecker in PA:
Please join us on

FROM 10 A.M. TO 3 P.M.

1000 kits have been ordered - with your donation of a little time, you may be the person that will help Michael or someone else in need for their lifetime!

For more info please go to

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Turning Two Links Into Six

Two from The Jerusalem Post:

Ben Jacobson reviews Yidcore's latest. I wouldn't call them "kids", but they're a lot of fun. I'd suggest checking out this one:

Barry Davis profiles jazz pianist Don Friedman. Here's his take on Jewish jazz:
Despite his Jewish origins Friedman says that didn't play much of a role in his personal or artistic development. "I wasn't really brought up in a Jewish atmosphere ,so I don't know if that comes into my music." Recently, however, he had a brief fling with a Jewish-flavored project. " I played in Florida in something called The Hassidic Jazz Project. But, it wasn't that great. I don't think I'll be doing that again."
Somebody needs to play the guy some real Jewish jazz!

Here are a few recommendations:

We've recommended some of these before. This is just a taste of what's out there. Many of these artists' other releases are also well worth checking out, and be sure to look at their other projects as well. The Coleman album is worth getting just for his treatment of the old Yiddish standard, "Belz."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Paul Pincus Z"L (1918-2005)

I was forwarded the following email written by Henry Sapoznik:
Our dear friend clarinetist/sax player Paul Pincus died last night in the wake of a stroke. He was about to be released to home care when his heart failed. He was 87.

I spoke to him a few days ago and he was his usually funny, upbeat and sweet dispositioned self. And despite his illness, terribly excited about coming to this year's KlezKamp.

They didn't get any greater than Paul Pincus.
The funeral is being held tomorrow. Monday, October 24 at 11 am at:

Bloomfield Cooper Jewish Funeral Chapel
44 Burke Street
Burke Street & Wilson Avenue (Rt. 527)
Manalapan, NJ 07726
The email included an address for condolences to Paul's family in care of his sister. I'm not going to post it here, but I'll be glad to forward it to those who would like.

Link Dump - Sukkos edition

The Jerusalem Post reviews Reva L'Sheva's newest disc.

Dilbert muses on Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur melodies and repeating words and Miriam has related peeves.

Mobius has posted a tri-lingual rap track by Nadav Samin aka Siah.

The credits are:
Nadav Samin (Rhymes)
Jonathan Adler (Co-production, Bass)
Eyal Marcovici (Drum Programming, Recording)
Brian Prunka (Oud)
Leanne Darling (Viola)
Inbal Samin (Vocals)
Sarra Abunamaelga (Vocals)
Rawan Abdelrazek (Lyrics)
Nimrod Levi (Lyrics)
Amiram Samin (Lyrics)

Finally, I nominate Yidden!

Koheles Musings

Listening to Koheles in shul yesterday made me wonder yet again what posseses so many Jewish artists to record fast, upbeat settings of the final words "sof davar hakol nishma...". Are they not aware of the meaning and the context?

Also, "Z'vuvei Maves" would be a great name for a Jewish death-metal band, no?

Friday, October 21, 2005

From the mailbag... Sukkos (/t) edition

Here are a number of emails that have come in recently. I haven't had the chance to reply personally, but since many of them are seeking information, I thought I'd put them up and see if any of our readers can help out.

Chag Sameach!

E writes about "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad":
Lucky for you! I am officially sick of the Lev Tahor Im Eshokachaich. I'm tired of everyone singing it every Shabbos for Kedusha. I davened Yom Kippur in a place with 5 different Baalei Tefila and they each used it once!
Serge Perelmutter writes:
I am trying to find sheet music for an old version of Shema Koleinu that I remember from when I was a kid (60 years ago)..Do you have any ideas who might have some arrangements of Shema Koleinu that I could check out to see if I can try and teach it to the choir of my shul? Thanks
Menachem (and others) forward a link to L'Cha by The Chevra - a Music Video by David Lavon.This one's been out there for a while.

Yosef writes:
After seeing 2 links scattered around the web a thought occurred to me:

Link #1:

Link #2:

(I'm sure you've seen these two links before)

Thought: I learnt to play guitar thanks to OLGA . In teaching guitar to friends in the years I've been playing the best advice I've given has always been "Get a bunch of songs you know and play them over and over and over." It really easy to do when your favorite songs are Metallica, it's harder when you listen to MBD, Mattisyahu, or Blue Fringe. I also remember asking a wedding band for some of the song sheets they had put together. I got a response of "Well, how do I know you're not going to just start your own wedding band?" Come on! I was a 15 year old kid who wanted a few guitar chords not Neshama's (super-secret) trumpet lines!

Anyway, to the point. What do you think the response would be to create (or turn yutopia's site) into a Jewish Music Chord Archive? I'm not asking for sheet music and set lists (though a few tabs would always be nice), just text files with words and chords. I doubt that any new bands will be created to be masig g'vul because of this project but even if there are, you know a wedding gig isn't built on 3 chord acoustic guitar songs.

As to link #2 above, it's an interesting effort by a new musician to get his songs played. Regardless of who plays them it will mean more publicity for him.

Those were my thoughts on the matter. Would you be interested in posting a note on your blog calling for opinions on the matter? Maybe calling for contributions? Lord knows there are enough of us out there who can sit for five mins and write up the chords to Ha'facta.
I'm pretty sure that Josh Yuter sees his OLGA as doing just what Yosef is envisioning. I'd suggest that anyone intersted in a Jewish OLGA should participate at Yuter's site. Incidentally, I had several similar experiences awith several bands as a kid when I asked for some sheet music.

David writes:
Hey- just stumbled on your blog, and was struck primarily by your interest in sincere, soulful, "authentic" Jewish music. I am a therapist, and live in Brooklyn, 28 years old. When I was in Yeshiva (primarily then- Ner Israel, Baltimore), I composed a number of songs, would probably still be composing stuff if I actually had the time to sit with my guitar these days. Most of them are slow, kumzitz style...I have them on tape, me singing and strumming guitar to them- musically and technically they're unsophisticated, but I (and friends) like to think they're soulful and singable!

Question: is this stuff worth sending to you for review? Truth is, I like how Yaakov Schweky sings; do you know how I can
get ahold of him and see if he's interested? All I want is to get a singer who I like, to sing these songs the style they were meant to be performed and sung in. What do you think?
Again, if anyone has any information for any of these people, please let us know and we'll be glad to pass it on.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

From the mailbag...

Alan Watsky writes about this:
People are on to the Moldavian tunes and style. German Goldenshteyn has been active on the Klezkamp scene with M. Alpert and Alex Kantorovitch teaching the songs and styles. Also Stas Ryko , whose name I just misspelled, has been doing Ukrainian field work and is a very fine fiddler in his own right. This is the "folk stream" and is what we're most excited about for the last few years.

Check out Di Neye Kapelye and Veretsky Pass. More folky/funky/rhythmic Jewish music.
There is soon to be an evolution and rebirth of a Jewish pan European folk style. A highly nuanced performance style that reintegrates Jewish/Yiddish Folk culture with the with its European roots. Its happening NOW. The happy result will be the reestablishment of Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe. Aftselakhis.

Also consider that there is and was a whole lot of Iron Curtain stuff that was recorded between the wars, that is available and interesting. More Stalinist and organized, but still Jewish. There is lots of interesting Eurocentric Jewish music that is very danceable and not nostalgia bound. Joyous musical culture.
Ron writes:
I am researching the old Jewish music record label Tikva Records. I wonder if any of your readers/contributors know anything about the label, its practices or its owners? Any anecdotes or information is welcomed. Thanks much!
If anyone has any information, we'll be glad to pass it on.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

So we made it through the Yomim Noraim without hitting the trifecta. First time in years. The trifecta consists of three semi-recent melodies that are invariably used by chazzanim (usually for kedusha); Machnisei Rachamim, Shiru Lamelech, and Ein Aroch.

Update: 12/23/05
Couldn't make it through the whole season, though. We got the third one at Musaf yesterday. (We'd gotten the other two on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pro Tools 7

Peter Kirn comments on Pro Tools 7. I agree that Digi should have added many of these features years ago.

The new instrument track should also have been included long ago. That being said, the upgrade looks good, and the bonus plug-in pricing is a smart idea.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

10/9/05 Link Dump

Rivka comments on "Palestinian Rap."


Aryeh reviews the BaRock Orchestra wedding album.

Coming soon: fake "KISS."

Esther kvetches:
The problem I have with Mattisyahu, the Lubavitch reggae superstar whose album recently went to number one on the Reggae charts, is that his success means that Jewish kids everywhere are going to think that they themselves can reggae-rap their way to superstardom. It's what, back in high school, I used to call the Beastie Boys Effect: as word spread that the three Boys had gone to yeshiva, the boys I went to high school with began to have delusions of rapping grandeur, if such a thing there be...and my concern is that the Effect will re-emerge, with a beat that's distinctly reggae. And copycat yeshiva reggae artists? We'll end up with rabbi/rap/reggae hybrids like RambEminem, Fat Joe-sephus and Jew-Z. The world does not need that.

From the mailbag...

E sends a link to "The Chupa Singer." No, it's not an Adam Sandler movie. He also forwards this Shidduch Music Video featuring Gavriel P. and the Lonely Hearts. This one is for J and T. Nachas!

Shane Solow writes:
I believe you might be interested in a recent recording from Lost Trails ( - If you could possibly add a link to us it would be greatly appreciated

We recorded musicians in northern Romania that play archaic melodies that we believe are a prototype for Klezmer music. They learned the melodies from Jewish musicians who lived in this region before the second world war. They are some of the last performers who know this tradition.

The musicians on the CD are:
Constantin Lupu - violin
Constantin Nege - cobza
Anton Mitica Stefan - drum

A link to the recording with some free downloads can be found here - Lost Trails: Roots of Klezmer.
Well, of course you hate spam! It's not kosher, is it? And neither is not paying you directly after the gig. You're correct to assert that a
musician is a day labourer and that it is a mitzva to pay immediately after the gig. Your assertion that it is against halakha is, however, incorrect. A mitzva is what H" wants us to do. Halakha is how the Rabbis want us to do it. Think of mitzvot as F Major and Halakha as D Minor. They are naturally related. But Halakha is up the scale, shall we say, from Mitzva.

If you are gigging once, you MUST be paid immediately after. This is so even if you are placed by an agency, BUT...

The halakha of paying a day labourer can modify the mitzva in two ways.

1. If you are employed by the agency, this can be seen as your steady gig; only your venue changes. Under these circumstances, it is certainly appropriate for the agency to pay you immediately. There is no obligation to do so if the agency adheres to a widely adopted professional or industrial standard for payment.

2. If your gig is long standing at the venue, you are not necessarily a day labourer, especially if you have accepted upon yourself to be paid other than daily.

I have never met a musician who wanted to apear at a venue only once. I have met many who BEHAVED this way, and the venue, of course, would oblige them. I assume they would be paid the same day if the furniture and fixtures have been left undamaged and the reputation of the club is unsullied.
I think this is in response to this post on Lo Talin. I think he may have missed this follow-up post though. Unless I'm misreading something, I don't see where we disagree.

Shmuel forwards this video clip of a NYC subway performer.

Arkady sends this link with pics and audio from a recent recording session he played on.