Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2/28/06 Link Dump

Meet Y-Love.
Y-Love (Yitz Jordan) is an MC unlike any other. He is a black convert into the Bostener sect of chassidus (the mystical branch of Orthodox Judaism). He is among the most innovative freestylers on the scene, weaving seamless polyglot rhymes in English, Arabic, Yiddish, and Hebrew. Most unique is Y-Love's revival of Aramaic, the ancient language used to discuss Jewish Law. With each word he spits in the tongue of the Talmud, Y-Love breathes new life into Hasidism, and hip-hop, one beat at a time.
Check out the mp3's. Via Jewschool.

David Lavon: He's Bad! Via Orthomom.

Steven I. has the details of one wedding I'm glad I didn't book.

How not to promote a new JM release here.

Finally, Chaim writes:
I was hoping you'd post this article. This is from Rolling Stone (their 4th article on him now) and I think it would be great for frum people to read this article. It's not just another article on Matisyahu but it's Matisyahu speaking about what he deals with while maintaining his frumkeit. It also reminds us that this guy is a very recent baal teshuvah and how he found Judaism in Reggae.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From the mailbag...

Naftali writes:
Regarding your strange requests; A Kalla walked down recently to Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". The Chasan was not as bad, He walked down to "Bittersweet Melody" from The Verve.
Yosef writes:
I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying reading it. i was wondering if you would post on the following subject - some sort of top-5 or top-10 "must haves" for anyone's jewish music collection. i'd be interested to know what albums you would include on these lists.
That's a great question. No time right now, but I've been meaning to write a related post for a long time, and just haven't had the time. I'll try to get to it soon. Meanwhile, if anyone else wants to send in their answers, I'll post them.

Today's J-Music Mini Link Dump

Cantor Wars, Not! Yeah, sure!

Alexander Gelfand writes up the Secunda concert in "From a Popular Composer, More Than Meets the Ear."

Air Time has posted The Eilat Duo - Behind the Music.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lame Sales Pitches 2.0

Michael writes in response to "Lame Sales Pitches:"
I got a lot of flack from _______ when I announced my engagement.

I am from New York, but I got married “out of town” in Chicago. There were basically three ‘Jewish’ bands in the Chicago area, and my brother-in-law, himself a wedding singer, suggested one. We were able to get a great deal on a nice-sized orchestra – I think we had five or six musicians and two vocalists.

Then _______ called me, urging me to fly out any five of ‘his guys’ instead of going with local talent. “They don’t do Jewish weddings every weekend. They’re not as familiar with the arrangements and the music. They’re just playing off the sheet music. They’re not leibedig,” he explained. He actually sang a few bars of “Od Yishama” in a very bland and formulaic arrangement to demonstrate what the band there would sound like.

“Any five of my guys would sound better than any ten Chicago guys,” he told me. “And besides, we’re friends. We know each other for a long time. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.”

Now, to go with _______’s plan, I’d need to pay airfare for the five guys, plus pay them for the gig, and have fewer players on the stage. Needless to say, we went with the Chicago band. Were they perfect? No. Were they leibedig? Absolutely. Did they stay strong through four dance sets? Yep. Everyone had a blast.

I am also a fairly demanding customer. I had the chuppa processional music planned out down to the last song, and some of the tunes were unfamiliar (obscure Carlebach ballads – long story short – I promised Shlomo I’d invite him to my wedding, but then he passed away, so I ‘had’ him at my chuppa). I sent the band a tape of each tune I wanted, and they did a nice job of the Chupa. They did mess up one thing, though: I wanted to start the first set with the INTRO of Cream’s “White Room.” I even sent them a tape of the intro, just the intro. They played the first section of the melody instead. And they announced my name wrong. But other than that, it was really fabulous.

Here’s a separate thread I’d like to see covered – what are some of the strangest or most unique or original requests you’ve gotten from a choson/kalla? I’m not talking about starting the set with ‘final countdown.’ That’s so 80s. Have you ever been impressed with a request? Horrified?
Anyone else want to share?

Lead Us Not?

Mike Rubin profiles Matisyahu forNextbook. His article includes quotes from material on several J-blogs, including this one.

Lame Sales Pitches

So, we recently found out that this band has been aggressively marketing themselves to a client of ours. Nevermind that he's a repeat customer and that we've confirmed the gig. These guys just won't take no. Their latest pitch upon being told that we had the gig: "book the band through us and we'll have Dm lead it." As the client said: "I don't know why he thought that option would appeal to you or would be better for me." The bandleader made the same offer to us personally, and it was hard to keep a straight face while turning it down.

In a related story involving the same band, friends of ours were looking to hire the Moshav Band for their wedding. When this leader contacted them, they told him this. He then tried to convince them to book his band because they "could also play Moshav Band style."

One more. Many years ago, this band was trying to book a Purim gig that we were ultimately hired for. They hadn't been contacted by the bochurim running the event, as we were, but were trying a hard sell. This included offering to let us play part of the time. After losing the job to us, they tried to argue that we should at least put their sign up on the bandstand because "they'd worked so hard on this job."

What's the lamest sales pitch you've heard?

Monday, February 20, 2006

From the mailbag...

Yitchak Halevi (and band) comments on "Psachya Septimus Plugged!":
Psachya, is my musical hero. He is a man whose star can not burn bright enough, to light our musical world. I have had the fortune to share the stage with Psachya many times over the years. He always keeps me on my toes, and is always right in the pocket when I take off. To see him out front doing his own thing has made my year. His CD should out sell anything out there. Bottom line. He's da man!!!

Avi Jaman. Killer guitar player....what more needs to be said. (He is family)
I think a lot of musicians are interested to hear Psachya's album.

Heshy Maryles writes in response to "Valentine's Day Bar Mitzvah Massacred":
I think you weren't fair to my cousin (and sort-of-name-sake) Harry Maryles. He admits that he doesn't know whether or not the girl is Jewish, and his main point is totally unrelated to whether or not she was Jewish. His point is that Chabad was obviously and shamelessly capitalizing on the situation to get some tear-jerker PR, whether or not it was meaningful or important for the "recipient."

If you want to disagree with that point, then do so. But don't pretend that Mr. Maryles was all worked up about giving a Bar Mitzvah to an intermarried Jew.
My impression reading Maryles' post was that he was quite worked up about it being an intermarriage. I can't imagine why I'd have gotten that impression from this:
First of all there is the question of how this young girl was able to feed this little boy apples from across the fence. The only way this could have happened is she wasn’t Jewish. That means he intermarried. (Unless she was Jewish and passed for being not Jewish during the holocaust... or that she converted before she married him. But these factors are too significant not to be mentioned.) So Chabad celebrates this man’s life of intermarriage by throwing him a Party?
The next part of his argument/rant was that even if one grants the benefit of the doubt re: intermarriage, it was still a dishonest event because "Bar Mitzvah" happens automatically at thirteen, whether or not it is celebrated. It felt to me (still does, actually) that absent the intermarriage angle, there wouldn't be a whole lot of there, there.

The bottom line is, Chabad (of Mineola, LI not North Miami Beach), gave Mr. Rosenblat his first talis and tefillin and aliyah.These are things that one typically receives at the time of their Bar Mitzvah. Is it a marketing stretch to call the event a Bar Mitzvah? Perhaps. But, having been there, and having heard Rosenblat speak, I can say it was meaningful and important to him. And, that's the point that Maryles seems to be missing. Even if this all happened because a media savvy Chabad rabbi saw an opportunity to get some good press, the fact is that Chabad created a meaningful Jewish experience for a man who, until then, hadn't had had one.

Today's Musical Linkage

Psycho Toddler is, well, psyched to be playing with Aron Razel.

Blog Hamincha comments on the increasing trend of seperate dancing cirles at weddings for different families/social groups. We've noticed this too and concur that there's something about the practice that feels off. People who've married their children to Chaim Berlin guys will definitely relate.

mentalblog brings more negative Matisyahu reviews.

Here's an interesting NY Times article, "When Rappers Keep Their Mouths Shut Tight."

Valentine's Day Bar Mitzvah Massacred

Harry Maryles is taking Chabad to task over a "Bar Mitzvah" for a Holocaust survivor that has received a lot of media attention.

You can find several variations of the story through this link.

In short, the story is that one day, while in a concentration camp, a teenaged Herman Rosenblat has a dream in which his late mother, who was murdered by the Nazis, tells him that she's sending him an angel. The next day, and every day thereafter, a young girl shows up at the fence and brings him bread and apples. One day, he tells her not to come anymore because he's ging to be transferred elsewhere.

Flash forward to the US after the war. Rosenblat goes out on a blind date, discovers that the girl he's been set up with is that very girl, and marries her.

Maryles assumes that this is an intermarriage because otherwise the article would have mentioned the salient fact that the girl was also Jewish. He takes issue with Chabad making a Bar Mitzvah for an intermarried Jew.

Logical, perhaps. But also incorrect. He's got a way too optimistic expectation of media coverage of a religious issue. To most of the reporters there, many of whom were obviously not Jewish, the question of whether or not she was Jewish was not one that would even cross their minds, IMO.

Harry is off-base here. The girl, Roma, was Jewish, but was hiding under Catholic identity papers.

I know. I was told so at the event. I played the gig.

More Carlebach Controversy

The rabbi of the Messianic Two-Testament synagogue where Neshama Carlebach was booked to perform is challenging her account and threatening a libel and breach of contract suit.

These comments are from the On The Main Line post we'd previously linked.

Irony is...

...a meshichist "death metal" band named "Schneersohn"

Friday, February 17, 2006

From the mailbag...

Michael writes:
Here’s my response, also posted in the comments section of “On the Main Line.”

If you do any research into 'messianic' congregations, you'll find that their goal is to convert Jews to full-blown Christianity. The 'congregation' is just a middle step to make the transition more palatable.

These places are funded primarily by Southern Baptist organizations who take very literally Jesus' exhortation to spread the gospel, "first, to the Jew."

And although there may be messianic congregants who are comfortable with benign coexistence, messianic leaders are all wholly dedicated to converting as many Jews as possible. And they'll employ viral tactics (recruit one person who brings a sibling, who brings a significant other, who brings a friend, etc.) or any other tactic that brings more Jews into the fold.

Back when Russian immigrants were arriving in droves, J4J missionaries were often there to greet them before any other Jewish agency, welcoming them, helping them with settling in the US, giving them a supportive environment, and slowly co-opting their Judaism.

One anti-missionary described it thusly: "When you walk into a messianic congregation, they welcome you, they care for you, and they make you feel at home. When you walk into an Orthodox shul, someone will come over and say, 'Can you move? You're in my seat.'"

So, long story even longer, Neshama did exactly the right thing, and Shlomo wouldn't have played this venue, either. It doesn't pay to attack their entire belief system on their turf. I think he would have invited everyone from Beth El to his shul, where he would have shown them an authentic Jewish celebration, and then work one-on-one with the folks who were turned on by the experience.
Anon writes:
Down on the corner? Wow. This kind of thing continues to undermine the brilliance of the people who have been honest about their parodies who were unfortunatly chastized by the establishment. Why wasn't it ok for Lenny Solomon who used his honest "rip offs" were used to educate and be mikarev kids? Why wasn't it ok for Martin Davidson whose honest parodies brought us brilliant entertainment, only to have his original stuff ripped off by the establishment? Even Gershon Veroba's attempt to use parody for entertainment and Kiruv was not met with acceptance. And yet, Turkish Kiss and the like are sanctified with such hislahavus at weddings.

The double standard in jewish entertainment is truly mind boggling and those that know better continue to proliferate it despite their personal convictions. Will the Chussen/Kallah really notice or care that the band didn't play Turkish Kiss? Even at weddings now, the nice dinner music, often an obscure mix of Classical pieces, Opera and an occasional Yossi Green Ballad, are now interspliced with tunes from movie soundtracks such as Titanic, Jurassic Park and Shrek. Who wants to think of man-eating dinosaurs at a friend's wedding, much less while gnawing on greasy chicken before the Bag Bag dance?

What Would Shlomo Do?

Following up on the Neshama Carlebach controversy, On the Main Line is asking "WWSD?"

Asked and Answered!

Got some responses to Michael's question.

Jordan writes:
Funny you brought this up. I just found out I had to perform this song on Sunday at a wedding, and was very spooked by the MP3 I head to learn it. The "artist" is Eli Chait.
"Eagle Eared Avi" writes:
Yesterday, a reader, Michael, asked about a song he heard yesterday on Nachum Segal; he recognized it as a rip-off of the Beatles, the Word. This new and hardly-improved song is 'Shomer Yisroel,' track 3 from Eli Chait's debut album.

It's a shame he didn't just rip off the song in its entirety, his improvised bridge and high part underscores the brilliance of the Beatles and Eli's own gaps as a songwriter.

Side point, track 1 is also a rip-off, lifted directly from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Down on the Corner.

I don't know if he gave credit for either.


Eagle Eared Avi

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ushpizin Soudtrack Songs

Andy writes:
I don't disagree with you at all.

However, specifically to Adi Ran & the music from Ushpizin ... I'd never heard of Adi Ran until I saw Ushpizin, loved the songs in the movie, and immediately went out to find the soundtrack to the movie. Turns out that there isn't one. I suspect that in this particular case, people really do want to just get their hands on the songs in the movie.

Not condoning downloading at all ... but that might explain the interest you've been seeing in those specific songs.
Although there is no "Ushpizin soundtrack" available, both Adi Ran songs are available on his first CD "Hacharon Sheba'am." These are the actual tracks used in the film.

Sameach music has it here: Ha'achron Sheba'am - Adi Ran

Neshama Carlebach Nixes Messianic Gig

The Forward has the details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

From the mailbag...

Michael emails:
I heard a song on Nachum Segal’s show this morning (the archives and playlist for the show aren’t posted yet). It sounded like three guys singing “Shomer Yisrael” to the tune of the Beatles’ “The Word.” The first section (‘low part’) of the song mirrors “The Word” identically, then they improvised a high part and bridge that, in my opinion, are fairly weak. They copied the bass line and harmony structure directly from the Beatles, so I wonder who the group is and whether they’ve credited the original composers.

Have you encountered this song anywhere?
Anyone know what song this is?

Chaim writes:
Hi, first of all, I don't think what your describing is bad for the Jewish Music industry, as much as it gives a bad name to the Jewish SIMCHA industry. Second, I don't think you can really blame Only Simchas for this. The actual service performed by only simchas is a noble one. People obviously love it because if there is one site that no matter if your Yeshivish or Lubavitch, Chaseedish or Modern Orthodox, everyone posts their simchas there and everyone goes there to view simchas. They have universal appeal and they are well received.

If blame should be placed anywhere, it should be at the doorstep of the simcha services that are acting like ambulance chasers and abusing the sites obvious source of potential clients. It's one thing to advertise your product on the site. It's another to call, email or harass them.

I think that if anything is bad here, its that simcha services that do abuse people are giving themselves a bad name. You said it must be working, because why otherwise would they keep doing it. I don't think that it is working for them in the long run. They may harass someone into going with them for flowers, photography or a band, but in the end they will get this bad reputation. Not to mention that if after they accosted these people and went so aggressively after them, if they don't perform well, they will get a worse reputation than if they had just been selected through a normal course of action.
Chaim is correct. This is not the fault of Only Simchas in any way. I used JM referring to the simcha band side of the JM industry. I've been hearing some interesting comments on these tactics, as well as some more dishonest angles to this approach. Developing...

2/15/06 JM Link Dump

Here's a pair of Lipa videos for ya'll: Hippopotamus Lipa and I Had A Dream

Rabbi Lazer Brody writes about "The Power of A Niggun.

The new Sameach Music Podcast is up.

Finally, on a more serious note, Michael Brecker's website has posted an update on his condition.
January 11th, 2006 - Michael was the recipient of an experimental haplo (half-matching) blood stem cell transplant in Minneapolis. His daughter was his donor. While Mike is seriously ill, every day out of the hospital is encouraging. We are hopeful, but there is a long and difficult road ahead. There will be future donor-type activities in which we could use your help and support. If you're interested, just send an email to info@michaelbrecker.com and in the subject line write "I want to help."
I'm going to take this opportunity to urge anyone who has not yet been tested as a potential stem cell donor to do so. You might save a life!

Is OnlySimchas.com Good for the JM Industry?

I'd like to call your attention to OnlySimchas.com, a free website dedicated to announcing simchas to the community at large. It's a great concept. Perhaps, inevitably though, it's also drawn the attention of some simcha services providers. A number of them have decided to advertise on the site, and that makes sense. Advertising simcha services to a population that is interested in simchas, whether their own or a friends, is a reasonable business move.

A more troubling development is that some in the industry have begun to use the information contained in the simcha postings to make unsolicited targeted sales calls directly to the engaged couple (in the case of an engagement announcement). I'm not talking about one band making a single polite sales call to introduce themselves to a potential lead. I've been hearing from clients for some time that they have been receiving multiple, aggressive, high-pressure sales calls from a number of bands as soon as their simcha was posted on the site. I imagine these bands must be achieving some level of success with these tactics, but it strikes me as foolish. They are alienating many potential clients and damaging their professional reputation. In many cases, these clients didn't even post their simcha info to the site; it was done without their knowledge by friends of the chosson and kallah.

One recent client, whom the band had played for in the past, and who is using us again, informed that he'd gotten many calls from a number of bands. He found them to be very aggressive and unpleasant to deal with. These bands would respond to a polite "no" by slashing their price and badmouthing their competitors. Very unpleasant.

At any rate, I have to wonder if this "get the job at all costs" mentality is good for these bands themselves. When bands set the bar for competition from a price standpoint at their cost, it makes their own long-term existence less likely. Rent, promotion, salaries, trade memberships, etc. cost money. No office can survive long-term booking jobs at scale. Such pricing tactics also affect their competitors. A good band deserves a premium, but some clients will use the prices they've been quoted by others as a benchmark. It lowers the rates for the industry as a whole. Now, I'm not talking about bands bringing prices down from an exorbitant rate to something more reasonable. I'm talking about bands pricing jobs at or just above the wages the musicians will be paid for playing the affair. I fail to see how they will survive, if the way they're booking their jobs is on price at those margins.

The customers lose out too when they book those bands in these situations, because, to save money, the bands are sending out B and C level musicians who will work for less, rather than the A list musicians who played on the band's demo. It's quite misleading and to my mind unethical. Every band has to substitute musicians on occasion. But, it's one thing to swap one A list drummer for another due to unforseen circumstances, and it's another thing entirely to play a client a demo of A list players when you know that the band they will be getting will have many B or C list musicians in it.

Also, these bands seem to be unaware of the cumulative effect of such calls. Even if they've only contacted the client two or three times, they ought to realize that other bands have been doing the same and that as a result, the client has been fielding many high-pressure sales calls. Not the most pleasant way to enjoy the "afterglow" of what should be a special time in this person's life.

In light of this, is "Only Simchas" good for the JM industry?

I'd be interested in hearing perspectives from simcha band clients and potential future clients as well as from bands engaging in this practices and others affected by it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Godzilla On The Roof

Yonah Lloyd forwards a link to a Japanese version of Fiddler.

Update: 2/16/06
Link was broken. It's fixed now.

Everyone's A Winner!

It's Jewish Idol! Where everyone who auditions gets a record deal!

Thanks, E!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Shameless Plug...

...for a performance of borrowed music.
Featuring the original versions of Jewish songs you *thought* you knew, including Basque folk, German pop, Andrew Lloyd Webber, hits by Men At Work, Chris De Burgh, Pet Shop Boys, and much, much more.

He Doesn't Like Penguins!

A reader emails:
Why is it that Jewish concert promotors insist on the musicians at concerts where Tuxedos? It's hardly a formal setting. What's wrong with all black?

2/13/06 Link Dump

Any Sara writes about an unpleasant customer service experience with a wedding cake. I've seen caterers (and bandleaders) act this way too, and in addition to being offensive, its also bad business.

RenReb writes:
In addition to the ability to create holiness, human beings also have a responsibility to be considerate of others; to behave in accordance with established societal norms; and to be aware, at the most basic level, of the presence and the immediate comfort levels of the people around them. These responsibilities do not cease to exist when you happen to be creating holiness. I don't understand why it happens so often that at a simcha, a group of men will start calling "Mincha!" or whatever, and then stop, wherever they happen to be at that moment, and start davening together, complete with Kaddish and Kedushah, as if they have just walked into a shul building instead of stopped in the middle of a catering hall. I have seen these impromptu minyanim block elevators. I have seen them block entrances to restrooms. I have seen them block pay phones, building exits, and stairways.
We mentioned this a while back in our Guide to Jewish Wedding Minhagim.

mentalblog doesn't like Matisyahu's new material.

Finally, here's Heichal HaNegina on Tu B'shvat.

Support Jewish Music, Don't Download Illegally!

Since its inception, this blog has been getting hits from people looking to download Jewish music. I've noted in the past that the searches for "Yeshivish" type music (Shwekey, Lipa, etc) go up during bein hazmanim (yeshiva vacation). Recently, I've been getting a lot of hits from people who've seen the film, "Ushpizin", searching for Adi Ran mp3's. Some of these folks have even sent emails asking if I could help.

Here are two examples:

K. writes:
I googled usphizin and adi ran and found your blog. I was trying to download both those songs. Do you know where I can download them? I tried the links you had in the blog, but it didn't work. Thanks.
Jeff writes:
I saw your blog and was trying to find the downloads from Adi Ran (Ushpizin). I went to the archive 10-31-05 but could not find it on the page. actually, the last blog on the page is 10-31. Can you tell me where I can hear the songs from the movie?
Folks, the market for Jewish music is not that big. I strongly urge everyone to support creative Jewish music by buying recordings. In addition to the fact that illegal downloading is stealing, it also reduces the ability of JM artists to pursue their art. Don't do it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Nachas Fun Kinder

More Tales of Crime and Treason on the High Seas reviews "Kabbalah"!

Speaking of GNO...

Speaking of Blog in Dm's GNO correspondent...

Lauren Posner sends in her self-titled CD and our GNO correspondent is impressed.
The CD has beautiful production values, both musically and visually. She has an interesting and non-traditional take on some classic melodies and texts. The instrumentation and vocals are reminiscent of Loreena McKennitt.
The album includes a mix of traditional and original Hebrew, French, and English tunes with the traditional tunes including Shalom Aleihem, an English version of Secunda's Dona, Dona; Sheharhoret, Hinei Ma Tov, and Miserlou. Check it out!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Blog in Dm's Girls' Night On! correspondent reports that Wednesday's edition was incredible with a SRO crowd. Shira was one of the performers and her performance got great reception, we're told. Not going to attempt to name 'em all, but if any of them blog about their performances, we'll be happy to update this one to include a link.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Still More J-Music Blogging

Rabbi Harry Maryles is J-music blogging!

It's Double-Dilbert Wednesday!

Here's some more Dilbert: The Modern History of Traditional Jewish Wedding Music(as I see it)

MoC is "shepping" 'bout the Shiny Shoes.

More J-Music Blogging

Hasidic Rebel(yes, that one) is Lipa blogging
The musaf prayer was coming to an end, the last kaddish after An’im Zemiros in its final verses, when my neighbor turned to me and asked, “Nu, did you get Lipa Schmeltzer’s new CD?”

“No, not yet. Is it any good?” I asked, with less than whole-hearted interest. I reached for my Shtreimel and paused to listen to the Kiddush announcements.

“Lipa’s always good,” said my neighbor. “But I hear some rabbonim issued an issur.”

Now the conversation turns interesting. “An issur? What for?”

“They say he uses goyish music.”

Well, I’ve heard that one before. Never bothered me.

In truth, although I admire Lipa for pushing the envelope in the world of Chasidic music, I can’t exactly call myself a fan. But hey, if the rabbonim made it high priority to warn people against it, the least I can do is find out what it’s about. Besides, my kids love him. I made a mental note to purchase the CD as soon as I get the chance.
Dilbert is Shwekey, Lev Tahor and Even Shesiya blogging.

Harry and Ziva debate whether Billy Joel is David Broza's American equivalent.

From the mailbag...

"YA" writes:
Matisyahu has said in interviews that he doesn't purposely sing with an accent, it just comes out that way when he sings reggae. I totally understand this because, while I daven and speak with an "o", I often find myself singing with an "oy", probably because this is how I'm used to hearing Jewish music sung. I bet I'm not the only one who does this.
Oh, or should that be Oy?

Ken Jaffe writes:
Hi. I am a cantor who is finishing up a comprehensive Jewish music bibliography doing my last push before I send it off to my publisher. I ran across your blogsite and figured it couldn't hurt to ask you if you don't know of any fairly obscure Jewish composers out there who have written stage works, or other larger works on Jewish themes (oratorios, cantatas, symphonic, chamber pieces, sacred services w/a decent size instrumentalcomplement). I've pretty much looked under every rock possible and I'm just checking the proverbial pebbles before I complete the book.
If anyone has any info, email me and I'll be glad to pass it along.

Reuven Halperin writes:
Hi Blog in D minor !

Thank you for your Blog , it is nice to see that there is a growing culture of Jewish "folk" music .

I spend over a decade a a guitar- singer type in the Village and environs, till i ran away to do yeshiva studies for several years. I am now getting back into recording again.

I now have a website of my original songs arrange in MP3 format that i would like to share with you.

You can read all about me and the music at : Reuven Halperin
Yitz Fuchs write:
I think Matisyahu is brilliant. Rather then trying to get a gig as a frum wedding singer, which I'm sure no one would give him, he decides to become the "Hassidic Bob Marley" and now his videos are in regular rotation on MTV, VH1 etc. Now, imagine a talented frum keyboard player who never gets booked due to Jewish Wedding band B.S., and he joins a secular rock band, but refuses to work on Shabbos, and by Fri. Night, has brought back some proper parnassah to his wife and kids for Shalom Bayis, and he goes right back out to a club on Sat. Night to gig again, just for the parnassah his family desperately needs. Get it? Matisyahu, contriversial as he is, has got the right idea.
(If not accepted in the Jewish music world, become a Jewish original. ... A Jewish Bob Marley.)
He also writes:
In the upcoming Psachya Septimus album, "Shattered Glass" Psachya brilliantly reinterpets and resucitates a klezmer classic from the 1930s called "Yaaleh V'yavoh" It's in D freigish, of course, and although originally written for and performed on clarined, Psachya briliantly and capably performs this piece on accordion. This album is worth buying for this song alone, not to mention the other 11 contemporary masterpieces.
If it's the tune I'm thinking of, the Brandwein Terkishe Yale V'yove (transcribed in The Compleat Klezmer and Stacy Phillips Klezmer book), the tune changes scales from section to section and most of the tune is not in "Freygish".

Here's how it breaks down:

A - D altered Dorian (D Dorian with a #4) also called Misheberakh
B - D Mixolydian also called Ad-noy Molokh
C - same as A
D - same as B
E - D Freygish (G harmonic minor)
F - same as E