Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1/30/07 Link Dump

How long do you think it'll take until some shul tries this?

AddeRabbi is comparing Harry Chapin and Uncle Moishy.

Y-Love writes: "Matisyahu Being Accused of Missionary Activity With New CD?"

Ari Davidow posts some Klezmer Bartok.

From the NY Sun:"Facing the Wagner Question".

Here's a Jerusalem Post article about the Jewish bands up for Grammys.

The Town Crier reports that Matisyahu has settled with former label J-Dub.

Here are clips from the upcoming Shwekey album. He's covering "In A Vinkele". There's an English version and a Yiddish version. Other than that, it's more of the same.

Tamara Eden writes about a Chabad House inauguration. She's included aome video clips of Korean-American Johnny Yune singing in Hebrew and Yiddish. In the early '60's, Yune headlined at a nightclub in the city where he learned Yiddish. Check out the third clip. There's also a clip of, for lack of a better term, contemporary Chassidic Disco dancing.

Avakesh posts a video clip of the Nadvorna Tu Bishvat Tish.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

1/25/06 AM Links

Oh look! It's another multi-million dollar JM lawsuit. Disclaimer: No ex-Chevra members were harmed in the filing of this lawsuit!

The Jewish Week covers the new R' Shlomo musical. It's beginning workshop performances this weekend at the JCC in Mnahattan. Jason Alexander declined the project, but Elli Kranzler and Neshama Carlebach are in. So is Grammy-nominated jazz singer Carla Cook.

MOChassid comments on iPods and the state of Chareidi CD sales.

The J-Post reviews Y-Love. If true, this is probably not the kind of coverage you'd want in an international newspaper.
On "Devine Dress Code," Y-Love boasts about having little respect for intellectual property laws, which jives well with the disc's choice of sampled riffs and other elements. Chances are slim that DJ Handler went through the proper channels and obtained the rights to use Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman," JJ Fad's old-school "Supersonic," Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and Aphex Twin's breakbeat jungle "Windowlicker."
Of course, the writer might want to verify said assertion before publishing a statement like that. Another lawsuit, anyone?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From the mailbag...

Psachya contributes some more 'Peeps":
Okay, you got me started again. Here are a few of what I call "Invisible Peeps". You know they're there, but you never see them.

Invisible Peep #1 is the subject of the following announcement: "Will the owner of a black Lincoln Town Car (substitute any big, obnoxious set of wheels), NY licence plate IDIOT, please move your car. You're blocking about 700 cars from leaving the parking lot & are about to have your tires slashed." The car always gets moved, but no one ever sees the guy.

Invisible Peep #2 is the guy (or gal) who steals all the band chairs during a break. Actually, this Peep is sometimes visible. "Is anybody sitting there?" she (or he) will say regarding a chair very obviously right behind an instrument. (Best actual line: "Oh, he's a trumpet player - he doesn't actually need to sit, right?") Most often, however, no one sees the felony taking place.

Invisible Peep #3 are the kids who get hold of live house microphones and scream into them as loudly as they can. Somehow, they are the opposite of the childish ideal - they are heard and not seen. (And inevitably, everyone glares at the band.)

I apologize in advance for Invisible Peep #4, but it must be said. These are the guys who use the public bathrooms at simchas and, er, don't flush. You'd be surprised at how often that happens, from the cheapest hole-in-the-wall places to the Hiltons and Marriotts. Check the stalls & urinals at the end of a simcha, & you'll see that I'm right. C'mon, guys - were you born in a barn? (I obviously can't comment on the ladies' rooms - my guess is that it's not an issue there.)
Here are some more:

The "Shrink-wrap Boys"

The "Shrink-wrap Boys" are the Bukharian band who showed up to play a recent wedding with us. (The groom's family hired them seperately). These guys, two keyboardists and a vocalist, showed up with all of their equipment neatly gift-wrapped in clear plastic. There were holes cut out for the sliders and dials, and the plastic around the keyboard keys was cut away as well. It was an odd look, but all of their equipment which ranged from 15-10 years old or so was in mint condition.

The "I'm With Them" guy.

He comes along with the "Shrink-wrap Boys". Comes over with cables to help run them into our system. Introduces himself as part of their group. Etc. Then, he brings a CD player and asks to plug it in to the system. We oblige and he runs off to change into his stage clothes. Says he'll perform his "special" set right when he gets back. While this is happening, one of the other Bukharians notices the CD player and calls over the groom's parents. A heated interchange occurs and when "Sasha" returns in his stage outfit, he's quickly sent packing.

Turns out, he used to be in the band, but isn't anymore. He'd found out that they had a gig, so he tried to sneak himself a set, relying on the fact that we didn't know who was/wasn't in the Bukharian band. I assume he'd have demanded payment afterwards, had he been successful, but who knows.

The "Idiot Party Room Manager"

This is the guy who somehow manages to snag a really upscale crowd for a Sheva Brachos in his restaurant, a less than ideal venue that was chosen for it's convenient location as much as anything else. At any rate, he now has a chance at booking some more upcoming events from the moneyed, frequent party-making crowd.

So, naturally, the "Idiot Party Room Manager" does everything possible to annoy the guests like the following:

Stacking unused tables and chairs in the room. Check.
Sending waiters in to loudly deliver mains during a speech. Check.
Failing to order tablecloths as in the contract AND not letting the clients know until they arrive and see cheap paper on the tables. Check!
Loudly telling waitstaff that the client is unreasonable. Check.
Failing to repair stuck door between party room and restaurant, meaning restauraunt noise will be "bleeding in" throughout the event. Check.
And on and on...
Odds this place will book another event from that crowd. 0%

Mark asks:
Is it permissable to sing the word "Jesus" in a song? Let's say I want to sing James Taylor's "Fire and Rain", which has the line, "Won't you look down upon me Jesus"?

Is there some halacha I'd be traversing? Or is it just frowned upon? What if I want to sing this song for non-Jews? Do I have to skip the line?

1/24/07 Link Dump

Here's a video clip of Adi Ran participating an an upcoming wedding album release. Interesting concept.

Canonist posts about guitarist Jason Caplan and "Naqshon's Leap's" benefit concert for Darfur tonight in the city.

Life-of-Rubin comments on Avraham Fried's planned CD, his fourth, of Chabad niggunim. He offers this suggestion instead.

Personally, I thought his third CD of Chabad music, "Avinu Malkeinu", was some of his best work. The album featured several guest musicians from the klezmer side -- Frank London, Andy Statman, and Alicia Svigals. The arrangements, by Avremi G, featured these musicians and I think it qualitatively improved the album compared to his previous Chabad albums. The arrangements on those weren't as interesting. It's not just the names guesting on a recording that are important, but how much space the arranger gives them to express and contribute. At any rate, that album hinted at the potential if Fried would collaborate with a hip klez band, instead of doing the commercial thing again. "Avinu Malkeinu" tried to straddle the two worlds, and did so successfully, to an extent. But, I'd really like to hear Fried step out with a klez band for his next Chabad disc. Maybe a collab with the Klezmatics. I think it could have crossover appeal outside the frum community. It might even bring a deserved Chabad Grammy nomination.

Psycho Toddler writes about having many gigs.

Will Kaplowitz has posted some of his songs.

Hey, here's a beatbox cooking lesson

It's Battlestar Jew-lactica! We noted this project a while back.

In this clip, Ralfie sings MBD. He knows the words at least as well as some singers we've had to back up.

MoC forwards a link to an OpinionJournal article on Chazzan Helfgott.

E. emails a link to Srully W.'s website. You can hear a sampler of many of the songs on the album. The opening riff on the first tune is reminiscent of "I Shot The Sheriff". For fans of English JM songs, there's one of those on this as well.

Here's the sample lyric:
And as long as Klal Yisroel keeps the Shabbos/very soon Hashem will also keep his promise/and on that day/His candles cast their glow/we'll be on our way back home to Yerusholayim.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

1/18/07 Link Dump

Pitchfork reviews Matisyahu's latest effort.
Finally, the humorless scolds of the world have a reggae star to call their own.
Via "Ein Od Milvado!"

Attention Williger fan, you can check out "Al Tistakel" , a track off of his upcoming album here. It's the first track that loads automatically in the radio.blog player when you visit that site.

Here's a fun YouTube clip of Menachem Herman performing Shlomo's "M'heira". Not exactly the way R' Shlomo played it.

The Jewish Press covers some frum female performers. Via Jewish Blogmeister

Here's a setup line meant as a compliment to Nishmat Hatzafon: "the very bones of the group creak with originality and talent". Imagine if they didn't like them.

THE LIFE-OF-RUBIN BLOG posts a pic of a Dedi video clip shown at the HASC concert this past Sunday. In the clip, Dedi discusses his weight issues. The blurb at the bottom ID's Dedi as "Jewish Music's BIGGEST star". And you thought it couldn't get any worse.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

From the mailbag...

D. submits some more peeps.
1) Cell phone up to speaker guy. A new thing that I see a lot of, where a guest holds his phone up to a speaker to play the music to someone on the other end….I am sure it comes through crystal clear……

2) The “I need to get my husbands attention from behind the mechitza, at (Insert name of favorite hall here________), but my husband seems to not look in my direction the whole time.” I love when after a few minutes of trying in vain to get their husbands direction; they cross out of the “safety zone” provided by the mechitza and actually walk a few feet into the mens side, all the while looking like they are committing a MAJOR aveyra……

3) “Oh, my equipment doesn’t draw a lot of Amperage” video/photography guy…..who insists on plugging in to the same outlet that you have a sound system, keyboard, bass, and guitar amps running out of….

4) “I take Drum lessons” guy….who will try to tell the drummer “play a 16th note on the high hat, do a triplet on the kick and then play dotted ¼ notes on the toms”….and then come over to explain after the gig that he is a drummer and was just trying to help (he yells his instructions during a dance set….when you have no idea what he is saying of course).

5) “You don’t know anything HAND WAVE”. I only see this at more Chasidish jobs. Someone will come over and ask for something (make it louder/softer, play faster/slower, this rebbee is here, that rebbe is here, play this niggun, what do you mean you don’t know …….) and when the band leader does not respond fast enough or with the answer that said person is looking for, you get the HAND WAVE and a “FEH” at you as they walk away. (I wonder if that is their version of talk to the hand)
in response to the guy who didn't enjoy the hasc 20 show.

It's funny how two people could view a concert so differently. I couldn't disagree more with the person who wrote those comments.

I thought Avraham Fried was fantastic. Now if your not a fan of Fried then I don't think that qualifies you to judge him in this concert. I am a fan of Fried and every song he did (except the two karaoke ones) were really good. The last two years or so I really feel he has hit a new level in terms of quality and singing. I will agree though that the Orchestra not supplying the music for those two songs was dumb. But even with all that, he himself sounded great during those songs.

On Helfgot/Fried - Again, wow, I sooo disagree. I really think you misread that situation. There is a difference between showing humility and looking disappointed. I think Fried shows great humility when he sings with people like Helfgot or Ohad who can hit those notes that he just can't. He is the first one to admit that they are extremely talented and he gives them his dues. He is a huge Chazzanos fan and I felt that he looked privileged to be able to sing with such a big name in Chazanus.

... and I think they sounded out of this world good together, I think Fried kept up better then anyone would have expected. Oh, and that look on his face when he sat down after it was over, to me at least, seemed like sadness that it was over. I think that he loves Chazanos and if the consumers would allow, he would put more of that on his CD. I would admit that isn't his specialty, but overall I think he does it just fine.

As far as the Gabay/Levine comparisons, only someone who is "one of those people" who just constantly says "it all sounds the same" could make that observation. There are plenty of difference between the two. Boruch Levine, for better or for worse, has a very nasal voice, very high pitched, composes not just his own songs, but has been composing for many other singers too. He also plays an instrument, while Gabay only sings. They sound different, they have very different styles, as I mentioned in my review, track 11's Tamshich is a great example. You won't find a song like that anywhere near a Boruch Levine CD. It's a great rock song that could easily have been on any Jewish rock CD.

If you don't enjoy Fried/Gabay/Levine/Dedi type performers, why on earth would you even attend such a concert.

By the way, my wife thinks all the non Jewish rock bands I listen to all sound the same too. But anyone fan of rock/alt will tell you that Nirvana and The Strokes couldn't sound more different. When your not into a certain genre, then yes, it all sounds the same.

Reviewed -- Discs by Nochi Krohn Band and Yosef Karduner

In the mail... a pair of discs from Sameach Music. Yosef Karduner - "Breslever Melave Malka" and Nochi Krohn Band - "Ananim".

"Breslever Melave Malka"

Yosef Karduner's "Breslever Melave Malka" is an album featuring Karduner performing many traditional Breslover Melave Malka songs.

MoChassid and A Simple Jew have blogged about this disc.

I've been a Karduner fan since I heard his album, "Simanim Baderech". Something about his music really resonates, and I've tried to figure out exactly what it is. I think there are a number of elements that combine for the quintessential (to my ears )Karduner sound.

They include:

1) A warm nylon string guitar sound.
2) Strong nylon-string rhythm guitar as the main rhythm instrument.
3) Dumbek and shaker for percussion rather than trap drums.
4) Simple, but tasteful guitar fills, usually on acoustic, but occasionally on electric.
5) A sense that the songs were through-composed to the text.
6) Simple bass lines.
7) Odd phrasing, timing, and number of bars. (For example, "Hashivenu" on "Simanim Baderech" or "Ha'aleinu" on MoC's CD)
8) Searingly passionate vocals.
9) Effective use of subtle multi-tracking on guitars and vocals.
10) Effective occasional use of subtle keyboard pads.

As an aside, I saw Karduner live on his first trip here, and it was one of the most powerful musical experiences I've witnessed. The man has an incredible gift for expressing his spirituality through song.

This album is a good album for what it is, but it's not a quintessential Karduner album. Many of the tracks feature drum machine and prominent synth/keyboard playing. The lead guitar, mainly played by Menachem Herman, is not subtle when it appears. And, being that the songs are not original, there is an element of personal expressiveness missing from the vocals compared to his original music.

That said, despite missing many of these elements, this isn't a bad album and I've found much of it to be pleasant listening. To me, the music on this album is more effective on the tracks that eschew drum-machine and that feature more subtle keys work.

The two opening tracks, "B'motozei" and "Chadesh Sossoni" were both covered by Diaspora on "The Last Diaspora" which is where I know them from. Karduner sings the melody on "B'motzoei" slightly differently from Ben Zion Solomon's version. I wonder which is the original and which is a stylistic embellishment.

"Agil V'esmach" is an excellent track. The switches from tempo to rubato evoke the "rhythmic anomalies" that add charm to a Karduner performance. The synth accordion adds color without making the arrangement too busy.

Two of the tracks, "Elokim Yisadenu" and "Keli Chish Goali" share the same melody. On the first played as a freilach and on the second as a slow song. I prefer the faster version, but both are nice.

"Adir Ayom" features a guest turn on vocals by R' Abish the first time through which evokes the sound of some of the vocals on the Hebrew University release "The Hasidic Nigun As Sung By The Chassidim". Simple, but beautiful.

"Al Tira" evokes the groove of classic Karduner songs like "Mikimi", "L'inyan Hitchazkut", and "Kol Ha'olam".

Overall, this album is a nice collection of Breslover Melave Malka music. My favorite tracks on this album are "Agil V'esmach", "Al Tira", "Hamavdil", and "Elokim Yisadenu".


Nochi Krohn Band's "Ananim" is an excellent album featuring nice melodic songs with interesting, tasteful, and creative arrangements and lots of vocal harmonies. The musicianship is excellent, and the song selection is very good. Nochi did an outstanding job here.

Jewish Music Blog reviewed this album here.

Drummer Benny Koonyevsky and bassist Conrad Korsch anchor the tight rhythm section on the disc, which features Nochi's piano and Rhodes playing, tasteful acoustic and electric guitars by Marc Levine and Yoshi Fruchter, percussion by Shaya Lieber, alto sax by Yosaif Krohn, and nice lead vocals and vocal harmonies by the band members. A small horn section, flutes, saxaphone (often played by guest Dror Ben-Gur) and/or a small string section are used tastefully on some of the tracks.

The music evokes classic Jewish vocal bands like Ruach and Kesher, but with a more sophisticated edge. Leader Nochi Krohn has spent a lot of time backing up many of the Chareidi folk rockers out of Israel, like Chaim David and Shlomo Katz, and this disc evokes their influence, but with an American sound.

Most of the singing is simple, yet tasteful. On the thankfully few occasions that the vocalists attempt embelleshments typical of popular Chassidic "stars", the effort fails. The havarah is mainly standard American Jewish havarah, although the singers do occasionally lapse into yeshivish.

Notable tracks include "Hiney Keil" which closes with some pretty solo piano and "U'vney" which features tasteful bass and tremelo Rhodes solos. "Mah Rabu" is a nice opener that sets the tone for the disc.

The A section of "Kineret Niggun" sounds very much like Carlebach's "Re'ey Na". The opening groove is powerfully performed by Benny and Shaya.

The title track, "Ananim" doesn't do anything for me. Not musically and especially not lyrically. I'm very critical of original lyrics in general, and I'm not feeling this one. It just sounds simple; there's no interesting or evocative wordplay. Not that there's necessarily something wrong with tsimple -- it's possible to have beautiful simple lyrics like Naomi Shemer's "Al Kol Eleh", for example, or Diaspora's 'Kotel Song" or Woody Guthrie's "Get Through This World" off the latest Klezmatics album, for that matter-- but in this case it doesn't work that well.

I liked this album alot and I'd highly recommend checking out this disc.

Both of these discs are available at Sameach's website.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From the mailbag...

PT writes:
Shmuel Simenowitz:

That album was also very influential on Kabbalah. Izzy Botnick, our guitarist, was a huge fan, and we did a cover of "Hinay Ma Tov (Jewish Blues)" and also jammed to "Hino Adon Olam." Not surprising since Izzy andYonah were good friends.

It was one of those albums, along with DYB's Live from King David's Tomb and Gates of Return, that made us realize that Jewish Rock was viable.

I think before those albums, many of us with guitar chops were not in any way considering playing Jewish Music.
Psachya Septimus writes:
I wanted to let you and your readers know that I'm in a new band called The Bentchers. The band members are Yitzchak Halevi on guitar, myself on keys, Dave Hirsch on bass, Dave Leibowitz on drums, and all of us on vocals. Our music is a combination of classic-rock, blues, surf, spiritual & folk styles with a Jewish touch. I'm personally very excited about the band - we knew we had something special right from the very first rehearsal. Anyway, we'll be doing our first public performance at The Actors' Temple in Manhattan on Monday, January 22. More information is available at Black Box Entertainment: Midtown Showcase of New Jewish Rock and Comedy.We tentatively expect to go on about 9:30 PM, but please feel free to also check out some of the other acts on the bill, as they look very entertaining.
A dissatisfied HASC concert attendee writes:
I was at the HASC concert, too, and I have to say, Life of Rubin's review is more of a blow-by-blow than a critique. The concert sucked. I've seen larger bands at weddings. Where were the strings? Where were the tympani? Lamm phoned it in, without an ounce of originality or effort. The mikes weren't balanced correctly, the backup choir wasn't mixed correctly, nobody rehearsed sufficiently, and for a 20th anniversary show, this was an absolute disappointment.

Avraham Fried actually had to sing over a karaoke CD of "Simanei Yisrael" and "Father, don't cry" while the musicians sat quietly, twiddling their thumbs. He is so tired. So tired. He did his duet with Itche Meir Helfgott, and it was like watching some movie where the aging crooner tries to keep up with the rising star, and can't. Helfgott didn't even need a mike, and he was outclassing Fried in every respect - range, depth, tonal accuracy, even. So for the "kumzitz" finale, Fried sat down on a stool, shoulders slumped, head down, while Dedi and Ohad came out and patted him on the back, almost as though they were comforting him in mourning.

Earlier, Dedi sang "V'atah kadosh" to the tune of the Flashdance theme ("What a feeling!"). I mean, seriously.

Ohad shows some promise, however, in terms of stage presence and talent. Too bad he doesn't have any decent material.

Oh, and Dovid Gabay and Baruch Levine sang. I'll give $10 to anyone who can tell them apart from the tenth row and back.
I can't understand why someone with an apparent visceral dislike of this kind of musical entertainment would have attended. Although, the karaoke complaint is legitimate.

And here's a money quote overheard at the concert:
"The concert started at 7:30! You can't come in here at 9 and expect to have your seat! We came down from Tier 3, row BB. Go sit there!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Peeps in Da Hood -2007 Edition

A new year brings out some new peeps. Here are some folks we've met in the new year (l'misparam).

The "Door Guy"

The "Door Guy" is the guest who stand in the doorway the band needs to use to load out at the end of the night. He appears in venues with no elevator, where the band has to make multiple trips to carry out all their equipment. He's got to talk to various family members, the conversations must take place only after all the guests have left, and they must take place only in that doorway. "Excuse me", we say, lugging speakers through the door. He grudgingly moves. We return a moment later for some more equipment and, you guessed it, he's back in the doorway. "Pardon me", we say lugging a heavy mixer and get the same reaction. We must've made five trips and this guy was in the doorway the entire time. Heavin forbid that he notice you and move out of the way! Rather, each time, we have to ask him to move. Nice.

The "It must be a live band" party planner.
This Peep strongly believes that every event must have live music provided by band X. They will stick with their preferred method of entertainment no matter the musical needs of the party and/or the client's budget. This inevitably results in situations wherein a rock band is booked for a gig where the client wants "Big Band" music only or a duo is booked for a gig where the client wants the latest "club" hits. Of course, they don't tell the band any of this until they drop the request list on them the night before the gig.

This brings us to our next peep, the "Last Minute Requester." This client wants to hear lots of non-standard material and drops these requests on the band at the last minute, Then, they can't comprehend that the band might not actually know all of their favorite songs.

Here's an actual list we were hit with over the three days preceding a recent gig.

"1985" by Bowling for Soup
"Break Away" by Kelly Clarkson
"A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson
"It Ends Tonight" by The All American Rejects
"Move Along" by The All American Rejects
"Beautiful Soul" by Jesse Mcartney
"Pon the Replay" by Rihanna

Another recent request was DJ Sammy's remix of Chloe X's "Heaven". Yes, they did want a small acoustic ensemble to exactly duplicate that arrangement.

The "There's Somebody Famous here" guy.

This is the person who feels compelled to come over and tell you that "insert name of Jewish singer/entertainer" is a guest at the event. Hey, thanks for letting us know. Next time, let us know before we medley their most famous song with the theme from "Cheers". Mmmkay?

From the mailbag...

Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz responds to Kelsey Smollen
Kelsey - I understand several copies sold on e-basy for around $80 each! I should have kept a few cases - I could have retired! For those who remember, "Jewish Blues - Out of the Woods" was released circa 1980 - it featured myself, Moshe Antelis on bass, Barry Brenner on drums, a young Gershon Veroba doing a very strong vocal thing and none other than legendary blues guitarist Roy Buchanan on guitar for a couple of scorching duets. It got a tremendous amount of airplay on non-Jewish radio as a result of Roy's participation. It was fairly eclectic stylewise containing country, bluegrass, electric smokin' blues and even reggae (yes there was Jewish reggae before Mattisyahu!) Most of the songs were covers with a couple of strong originals - I ran into Yonah Lloyd (a former guitar student of mine) on a trip to Israel a couple of years ago and my kids were amazed when he sat down and played a very credible version of my "Hino Adol Olam". The vocals were unremarkable but the groove overall was way ahead of its time - I shoulda let Gershon do all the vocals!

By the way I reread her post - the "will pay top dollar" thing - kinda resonated with me. We should hook up - maybe there's a copy or two kicking around still in the shrink wrap. I became an entertainment lawyer, playing my way through college and law school, made it big as a music lawyer, walked away, got my semicha, bought a farm in Vermont, started making maple syrup and now, back on the road, playing and talking about making it big as a music lawyer, walking away, getting my semicha, buying a farm in Vermont, and making maple syrup ! It's good work if you can get it. The Freiliche Farmer - Songs, Stories, and Laughs for your Concert, Kumzits or Farbrengen
Jack Berger writes:
Would you know how to contact Isaac Honig?
Ron Benvenisti writes:
FYI. I gave up on Finale... never used Sibelius. Too many releases and bug fixes kept breaking. I switched to Overture about 3 years ago and never looked back. It has some quirks and a learning curve, but the responsiveness of the vendor has been great. The biggest bonus is that the latest release has VST support so that the latest sample libraries can be used right from the score, with appropriate instrument articulations supported by the score entries and VSTs. Even GenieSoft's low end ScoreWriter 4 is pretty darn good and has VST support for $59 bucks! When I look at the various score software forums, I think it was a good move.
Naftali writes:
At a wedding last week, the Kallah walked down to the chupa to "Tanya", because her name is Tanya. She wanted it with someone singing the words not instrumentally.
Al ta'am v'al re'ach...

PT sends a YouTube video of a recent gig.

1/15/07 Link Dump

THE LIFE-OF-RUBIN BLOG posts the first installment of his HASC concert review.

Teruah - Jewish Music is a new Jewish music blog written by a Conservative Jew living in a very Christian Michigan farm town. He asks: "Where's the good frum music?"

The Jerusalem Post reviews "Acharit Hayamim" and Dudu Fisher's latest.
Fisher's new CD, Standing Where You Are, is a collection of covers, almost all of them classic rock tunes from the Sixties and Seventies. He's backed by the Jerusalem Orchestra in a manner that is the stuff of crooners' dreams. The title track uses a choir to add a gospel feel that comes out a bit cheesy, while "Song for You" channels fellow cantor-gone-showman Neil Diamond.

Burt Bacharach territory is explored frequently here as well, while punchy bass lines and violin- and woodwind-heavy orchestration dominate versions of Randy Crawford's "I'll Fly Away" and Boz Scaggs' "We're All Alone."

The disc's only Hebrew song - and only overtly Jewish selection - is the closing "Shir Hamalot," presented as a medley of symphonic Grace after Meals sing-alongs.
Kallah Magazine nails one of the Jewish "magazines" that often publishes J-music "articles" in misrepresentation.

Arutz Sheva is having an 18th Anniversary celebratory concert in NY next month. You'd think they'd feature Israeli artists, but, with the exception of Chaim David, it's just more of the usual.

Finally, here's a James Brown update. He's still not buried and people are shoting each other in arguments over how tall the late singer was.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker 1949-2007

Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker died today of leukemia after a lengthy struggle with MDS.

An experimental blood stem cell treatment he underwent last spring unfortunately didn't work as had been hoped for.

May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

We'd posted about Michael's situation several times including this email from Arkady urging people to get tested as possible donors. It's too late for it to help Michael, but getting tested could help save someone's life. If you haven't been tested, I urge you to do so. You just might save a life!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Two Set Lists

Back in November, I mentioned that I'm considering running some "Name That Gig" posts, wherein I'd specify a list of actual song requests or a set list and ask readers to guess the type of gig played.

Here are the setlists from two gigs played this past week on Motzei Shabbos and Sunday. At least one's a gimme, so I'm posting these more in the interest of illustrating the contrast between two sets in a twenty-four hour period.

Sat. Night:
Shabbos Is Going Away - Uncle Moishy
Hiney Keil - D'veykus
Shavua Tov/Eliyahu Hanavi - Traditional
Torah Tziva
Hashem Is Here
David Melech Yisroel
Am Yisrael Chai - Seymour Rockoff
This Little Light of Mine (just the chorus)
Hamalach Hagoel - D'veykus

Sunday night:
Ha'aleinu - Yosef Karduner
Ata Kadosh - Adi Ran
L'ma'ancha - Eitan Katz
Melech Rachaman - R' Shlomo Carlebach
Lulei He'emanti - Diaspora Yeshiva Band
Shir Lama'alos - Yosef Karduner
Seven Shepherds - Chaim Dovid
Nigun for Yehoshua and Kalev - Chaim Dovid
Kumi Roni - Breslov
Mi Van Siach - Blue Fringe
Im Eshkacheich - Lev Tahor
Yehi Shalom - Carlebach
Melody - Simply Tsfat
Flatbush Waltz - Andy Statman

Note: I've omitted the tunes called by the featured performer at one of these. The original singer of at least one of the tunes was present on each night.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Finale vs. Sibelius Revisited

A little over a year ago, I wrote a series of posts about why I was switching from Finale to Sibelius. Those posts were

"Any Sibelius users out there?", "Sibelius vs. Finale (for A.G.)", "Sibelius Vs. Finale Part I", and "Blog in Dm: Sibelius Vs. Finale Part II".

Ever since I posted those, I've been getting lots of hits on searches comparing the two programs. I've also gotten emails and calls asking for help/advice. I'm pretty sure I've sold more than a few copies of Sibelius as a result. And to think that if Finale cared about customer service, I'd never have tried Sibelius.

At any rate, I recently needed to edit the layout on some Finale files for an upcoming CD's liner notes, and working with Finale's annoying GUI again made me appreciate Sibelius even more. The edits I needed to make -- mainly layout related, but some lyrics and music as well --would have taken much less time in Sibelius. I'm still quite happy with Sibelius and I'd recommend it highly. They have a nice competitive upgrade offer, so if you're a Finale user and are curious...

Amazon has it here:

1/10/07 link dump (Google fixed BlogThis! edition)

One of the reasons I've been posting less recently was that when I switched to the new Blogger, the "BlogThis!" function I'd been using to code links easily broke. Google has now fixed this. So, here's another link dump -- in no particular order -- of some stuff I bookmarked since the last one.

Jewschool links to a video of an interview Matisyahu did with Dutch magazine Revu.
In a May 2006 interview with Dutch magazine Revu, the Hasidic superstar whose real Hebrew name is Feivish Hershel, tells his interviewer that he’s not happy, that religion doesn’t make him happy, and that he “pretty much” stopped using drugs. Feivish abruptly ends the interview seemingly disdainful of having to answer the reporter’s questions.
Prior to watching the clip last week, I'd read comments on other sites (I don't remember where, so no links) defending M's responses and saying the interviewer was rude, etc. In my opinion, the questions were all fair and the tone doesn't seem disrespectful on her end. Matisyahu on the other hand was offensive and his answers are revealing. This video is a very good example of the dangers of promoting artists on the basis of religious belief and sincerity. It's a huge chillul Hashem.

L-o-R has linked to two video clips (here and here) of Matisyahu on late night shows. Underwhelming. At this point, this is just sad. He should take some time off.

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is carrying "Palestine Lives!: Songs from the Struggle of the People of Palestine". I wonder if they'll pick up Dov Shurin's "Nekama" album for balance!

Ben Jacobson reviews Lev Tahor 4 .
The Lev Tahor franchise is a successful one in the religious pop world, which only serves to highlight how desperately in need of originality and true inspiration the genre has become.
Here's an article about "Teaneck's Shomer Shabbos Blues Band".

Jewlicious writes about the Reboot Stereophonic release "Jewface".

Here's a nice Chazzan Pinchik Shavous Mussaf.

Speaking of Chazzanut, I'm Haaretz, Ph.D.writes about Chazzan Helfgott's performance at last month's concert.
At last month's Cantors World annual concert, Cantor Itche Meir Helfgot surprised the crowd with a beautiful rendition of "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's opera "Turandot". Helfgot stood in reckel and zukin and delivered one of the most beautiful arias every written, with all the right nuance and romance (see lyrics below). It was truly a sight. The crowd, made up largely of chassidim, went absolutely wild, screaming "Bravo" in their best Italian.
MOChassid comments on a fashion tren he's calling "Shiny Shoe Glasses".

Speaking of MoC, he's planning another CD.

*Cosmic X writes about guitarist Dani Maman.

Finally, I wants me a Box Bass!

Monday, January 01, 2007

1/1/07 Mega Link Dump

Still Wonderin' takes on MBD. Itzik S. also piles on too. Dag joins in as well

Canonist posts his "Jewish Dancing Video of the Day". Wonder who the band was.

Once a week, God throws a party and you're invited!

Heichal Haneginah writes about a new Modzitzer recording.

L-O-R posts a video clip of Tom Petty and Avraham Rosenblum in the Old City.

Here's Steve Albini on record deals.

"Uberimma" reviews "U'shmuel B'korei Sh'mo".

Dylan plays Hava Nagila.

It's a little late... but we couldn't pass up The Dreidel Song! It's in Dm, natch!

Mozart's music is now online.

Divrei Chaim (not the Sanzer) writes about when one should skip "Shalom Aleichem".

The Procol Harum organist wins his suit.

So, a few drummers invade a home...

A Simple Jew reviews Karduner's Breslov Melave Malka. I'm interested inhearing this one.

Be Good, Be Cool, Be Fake Jewish!

Tzig writes "Clueless Shluchim Make for BT Rappers".

Check out the new New Keith Jarret release.

Finally, some great moments in jewish video: Shwekey and some Amish guy!!! (Shwekey video via Aryeh.)

From the mailbag...

MoC writes:
I have put up a post about fosterboy. We are looking for a permanent placement for him. I would greatly appreciate a link. I will keep the post there for a month
If you, or anyone you know, would consider fostering, please contact him directly.

Now, on to the rest...

Marisa forwards a link to this Forward article on "Shuckle Rock".

Ron Benvenesti writes:
Under the auspices of the Lakewood Music Education Program, I recently gave a presentation at the Strand Theater in Lakewood on the Music derived from Torah & Tanach. Due to the very positive response, The Ocean County Center for the Arts, will be sponsoring the presentation again. The Ocean County Department of Public Affairs is also seeking other venues for the presentation.

The Lakewood Program is slowly gathering steam, B"H. The county and township are committed to providing the financial and physical resources for the program to serve Lakewood's 15,000 kids with kosher music education. Baruch Hashem, we know about the kids, but we need to find out more about who are the local musicians and especially those who can teach. If you live in Lakewood or Ocean County and play, please contact me at 917-709-1228 or via e-mail, ron@soundassets.com or my website, www.soundassets.com. We need to know who you are and how you might fit into the program, as performers, mentors or teachers. Many thanks to those who have contacted me already.
E. writes:
I'm looking for the exact lyrics of and possible translation and or story behind the song "Kar Bemoskva" which I have only heard sung by Dudu Fisher on the magnificent album entitled "Elokai Neshama" recorded in the late 80's.
Kelsey Smollen writes:
im real into the music and i wanted to know if u knew where i could find "Jewish Blues Out of the Woods"??? Will pay top dollar.
Shooly Goldwag writes:
My name is Shooly (Sol) and I Produce and host 2 Jewish TV Shows on TV (Time Warner 35 - NY), and online (www.mikshoo.com).

I came across your blog (I just started one on my own as well) and wanted to share with you and your readers my site, and my shows.
Eitan Katz writes:
hey, ive been mentioned on your website a few times, i put out a CD called L'maancha, my brother shlomo also has been on your website. anyways, im writing to let you know of a concert taking place on january 6th in flatbush, featuring me, my brother shlomo and ari boiangiu, im sure youve heard of him... anyways, if you could put the link for the as on your website that would be great. its at www.jan6concert.com
Yonah forwards a James Brown story that Treppenwitz has since blogged here.

Ruby Harris writes:
Recent legend has it that the last words of the great James Brown were “I don’t feel so good”.
Good night, Brother James.
MoC forwards a link to "Marc and Ligg's Hamish Music Buffet".

Mordy Shinefield forwads a link to his post, "Best Jewish Music 2006".

Shai Perelman of the group "Groyse Metsie" writes:
Hi, I am a member of Jewish Progressive Klezmer Band , and I thought that our music will be interesting for you

You can check our music at:http://music.download.com/groysemetsie (4 free downloads of full tracks from our new CD!)


or at our website http://www.groyse.com