Monday, July 31, 2006

Some links

The Bet Shemesh community is raising funds. Their project introduces a Hesder Soldier from our neighborhood, Elie Deutsch. It presents him to you as a son, a soldier, and a musician. We are selling a downloadable album of his music combined with audio clips (recorded from the phone) of him and his comrades from the Northern front. All proceeds of the sale go to various charitable efforts, to help soldiers, people in shelters in the North, and people displaced from the North. Visit the American Chayal Home Page to participate.

Rabbi Avi Weiss spent last week in Israel. He kept a diary of his trip.
As we left the hospital and started to climb the Carmel to Jesse’s home, I felt overwhelmed by all the pain I had seen. Jesse turned to me and said it looks like you need a psychiatrist. He pulled out a CD of my dear friend, Elli Kranzler, a professional psychiatrist and brilliant soul singer at our Bayit in Riverdale. Elli and his daughter, Ravital were singing the haunting words of the Psalm, Gam Ki Elech-“Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for You are with me.” On the right side of the car, I could see the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Above our heads, the heavens sprinkled with fluffed white clouds, and on our left, the Carmel housing projects neatly tucked into the mountains, beautifully built by the people of Israel. It all seemed so peaceful, and yet we were walking in the valley of darkness. For the first time during this visit, tears came to my eyes.
Bagel Blogger has posted an anti-Nasrallah music video.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yihyeh Tov

In today's Jerusalem Post, Barry Davis writes about "Braving the North with David Broza".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

There's A War On...

... and I'm not feeling like posting the usual at the moment. Back soon. Hopefully. Et litschok v'et livkot; et milchama v'et shalom.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

From the mailbag...

Ron Benvenisti writes:
I carry a sound pressure meter (fits in my pocket) to Simchas. When I see people getting uncomfortable about the db level, especially the elderly and children (who start to cover their ears) I show the management the reading in real-time when it's above the safe threshold and have the photographer shoot it with a date-timestamp. This is very effective, especially when you give him your lawyer's business card.

Check out my Torah Music (that's what it is) at:

You will not be disappointed - Mamish -

Thanks for the air-time,


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Psycho Toddler has been on a V-blogging binge, posting video clips of his band opening for Foreigner.

While we're talking video, here's a Scottish take on Piamenta's Turkish Kiss knock-off, Kol Hamesameach.These guys clearly have way to much free time.

Welcome Back, Ben!

Ben Jaconson is writing again at the Jerusalem Post. Here's a Shlomo Katz profile.

Friday, July 07, 2006

From the mailbag...

Jordan writes:
Menagenet writes about song parodies. The fact that a song is a parody is what makes it permissible to use on recordings such as Schlock Rock. What is not acceptable is the lifting of rock tunes or movie scores and placing them wholesale into arrangements or melodies of Jewish recording with no parodic intent. At least that is how it was explained to me. Lenny Solomon actually made extensive inquiries into what his legal obligations were and this is what was told to him AFAIK.

The Pischu Li that's been going around on the web I believe is from one of those Theodore Bikel/Hankus Netsky concerts on PBS featuring the Klezmer ensemble from NEC and a local gospel choir in Boston.
I think that part of the issue is determining what constitutes a parody. Taking a melody and setting pesukim or lyrics to it doesn't implicitly make it one. I believe the law is unsettled to some extent with regard to whether the parody lyrics need to be spoofing the original version.

Dov Levine writes:
The clip is from a Theodore Bikel Passover special that aired on PBS some years ago. The audio CD is here:

My favorite segment was the Matzoh Ball demonstration by Chasia Segal, clip among these:
A Simple Jew forwards a link: Anshel's Wife: I can't get no satisfaction

Thursday, July 06, 2006

From the mailbag...

Rafi G. forwards a link to the Simchat Yechiel - Kol Berama Choir - CD preview page as well as some mp3's. His wife composed two of the songs.

Menagenet writes:
I came across your blog while Googling for "lo talin pe'ulat sachir itcha ad boker". I was surprised that my transliterated spelling actually matched someone else's.

You cited where it was from, and I wanted to tell a friend..a musician who had not been paid promptly by one of the club date offices. I have a background of both Orthodox Judaism and the club date world.

I came across your posts about song parodies, and about how outside the traditional style(s) much of today's recorded Jewish music is.

I couldn't agree more with most of what you said. Jewish music as played at contemporary simchot does not come across from the folk music traditions (Eastern European and Middle Eastern) out of which it arose. It's true that all styles evolve over hundreds of years....But many of my friends acknowledge that if they had to play I IV V all night long, every night, with no fun substitutions and reharmonizations/variations, they'd go NUTS..They reharmonize out of try and make the music more interesting to THEM.

There is some "shtick" that is for the audience.....breaks, a capella bits, and so forth. That's very nice. I must admit, guiltily, that I love what the really good ones do when they transcend stylistic boundaries with "cool" chord changes and other such rearrangements...But it's still not the traditional style...

Frankly, I don't think most guests at a wedding would notice all that much if the keyboard player substituted the occasional Dmin7 with a Bmin7(b5), and resolve downward to A7 to Dmin7....Carlebach was a folk composer. Like his music or not, he didn't hire fancy arrangers to reharmonize his stuff to make it sound like Kenny G outtakes with busy string counterlines which get in the way of the vocal, and horn hits out of 1980s pop records.

Bob Dylan didn't need fancy tensions in his chords to write what is often cited as the greatest rock and roll song of all time˜"Like A Rolling Stone".

One other point: Almost no one in the Orthodox world seems to get that recording and /or selling (which includes live performance) song parodies without obtaining permission (when necessary) paying appropriate mechanical royalties, and performance royalties to the original composers/publishers, is stealing in the name of God. If there's any mitzvah involved in bringing rock and roll with a Jewish message to kids, isn't it a mitzvah ha'ba'ah b'aveirah? I brought this up to a few of the parodists in the Jewish world. One told me that the owners of the original songs would have to catch him first, and they never would because his albums are too small time. Real good stuff, huh? :) ..I'm sure God's very impressed. Another had the nerve to tell me (in more vulgar language) that stealing from someone who's not Jewish isn't the same as stealing from a Jew. How disgusting.

It's really funny to watch these Orthodox Jews (and others too, of course) invoke God to promote their political or personal agendas, but who go on to steal in His name, in violation of Torah Law AND Copyright Law. Cute, huh? They send their kids to yeshiva, and give "charity" with money they should be paying to music publishers and composers. Enough ranting.
Welcome aboard, sister!

Richard R. writes:
Have you any information on the source of the gospel Pischu Li -- the date and location of its performance and the soloists and choir? It is dated 5/30 and comes from Shmuel.
Anyone know the source?

Monday, July 03, 2006

From the mailbag...

E writes:
Speaking of simcha hall anomalies, does anyone remember "La Mer" overlooking the cemetary on Ocean Parkway?
Yet another anon writes:
I'm still in the thick of the June season, and will address the hall anomalies in a future letter. Just one quick story to share. I was setting up in the White Shul a few years ago, when a guest approached Meir the maitre-d' and said, "Why the heck is your guy setting up shnapps & cake in the bathroom?" I never saw Meir run so fast. "NOT THE MEN'S- ROOM!" he shouted. "THE MEN'S ROOM! THE CHOSSON TISCH!"


I've gotten several emails from J-musicians with links to their Myspace pages. So far, I haven't posted any of them. Here's why.

I'm conflicted about linking to MySpace. in general, I try to avoid links that are inappropriate for segments of my regular readership. As I see it, Myspace has some real issues in that reagrd. I do know that they've made an effort to clean up, since being bought, but there's still a ways to go.

For example, one young frum musician has links on his page to/from er, adult entertainment models. I'm reasonably sure that this resulted from his naivette about how Myspace works and his willingness to "add" friends to up his own visibility. In many other cases, I've seen posts/comments that either have pics or link to the kinds of images I make a conscious effort to avoid.

On the other hand, there are some interesting Jewish musicians out there whose only web presence is on Myspace, and who don't have anything offensive or inappropriate on their pages...

I suppose I should figure out a clear linking policy, but my current approach seems to be working fine, for the most part. I'll give this topic some more thought and perhaps write more later.