Monday, February 29, 2016

From the mailbag...

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg writes:
Do you have any ideas where I might be able to find CDs from the Stanley Miller Band? He was popular in the 70s, and I loved his stuff. They had a live album, and there was another one called "American Simcha." 
If you have any ideas, please let me know. Thanks!

This has been asked here before... I think if Stanley Miller released digital downloads of his albums, people would buy them. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

PSA Baby Banz Gemach

This looks silly, but is actually a good idea, if you are a close relative and need your away to be in the room at one of those loud weddings. Of course, the best option would be to hire a lower-volume band (I'm available), and next best would be for the baby to not be in the room.

But, if you need to have the baby there, or if you're one of those people who feels compelled to park your infant right in front of the speaker during the dance set, these are a good b'dieved option.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Drunk Homosexual Sex and Shabbos Zemiros

I recently read Marc Shapiro's recently published book "Changing the Immutable. It's a fantastic read, especially if you're interested in how history is often "shaded" in the Orthodox community.

In the section dealing with sex and modesty related censorship, he includes the following:
Let me conclude this chapter by returning to the subject of sex and pointing out that had it not been for an act of censorship, Israel Najara's (c.1555-c.1625) Ya-h ribon, would probably never have achieved popularity. R. Hayim Vital (1543-1620), in his Sefer hahezyonot, records that while drunk Najara engaged in homosexual acts. He also mentions that Najara had sexual relations with a non-Jewish woman. Because of this, Vital wrote that "the hymns that he has composed are in themselves good, but whoever speaks to him and whatever leaves his mouth is forbidden, because he always used foul language and was a drunkard his whole life."

In early editions of the book, Najara's name was deleted, and it is possible that it was even deleted from the manuscript used for the first edition. It was only with the 1954 publication of Sefer hahezyonot, from Vital's own autograph manuscript, that the report about Najara became known. Had this information been public knowledge in earlier years, it is unlikely that Najara's hymn would ever have been adopted, even though, as we have seen, Vital asserted that his hymns are without objection. Yet even after the publication of the uncensored Sefer hahezyonot, we should not be surprised that a 2002 edition of the work published by a Jerusalem yeshiva continues to omit Najara's name. To do so is a lot easier than explaining to people why such a man's hymns should still be sung.
The book is not really about music, but it's a fascinating read.

Amazon has it here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


"The Break-Dancing Photographer"
This peep comes running over at a yeshivish wedding and asks us to break down "Keitzad Merakdin" into Hip Hop, because he wants to get into the middle and "really bust some moves!"

Um, you're hired as the second photographer, not featured club dancer. I'm pretty sure the clients will want pictures of their other guests dancing "Keitzad Merakdin".

"'Mahapecha Shel Simcha' Guy"
This peep wants the bandleader to DJ a song during the dance set. Again. And again. And again. The same song. And, when the band takes a break after the set, again. And while we're packing up, yet again. It's a fun song, but really now...

Tuesday, February 09, 2016