Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Screamin' Review

Here's the Jewish Press profile of Blue Fringe and Soulfarm by Menachem Wecker.

Mirror Images

Steven I. notes a NY Times correction.
Because of a production error, a picture last Sunday showing Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, leader of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement, whose death 10 years ago was being commemorated, appeared in mirror image. The picture, made in 1992, showed him during worship with tefillin, a small leather box housing Scriptural passages, strapped to his left arm, not his right.
In his defense, the Times photo editor was probably using Shloime Dach's last album, Avinu, as a reference. The cover photo there was also printed in mirror image, resulting in the tefillin appearing to be worn on the wrong hand. (He's not a lefty.)

From the Source

MO Chassid, in a follow up post on the subject of badekin songs writes:
Shaina points out that the Taame Haminhagim says that one should be somber and, in fact, sobbing until after the Chupah. COOP is thankful that many have moved away from universally adopting that minhag. One of the points I tried to make in my original post is that those (like COOP) who are uncomfortable with the minhag of crying or shuckling under the chupah should not be so critical because, as Shaina notes, such a mehalech has a very strong basis in our mesorah.
Something about the way this was phrased irked me so I loooked it up. In Siman 955, the Taamei Haminhagim gives the reason for the minhag to cry BEFORE the chuppa with "bechiya and hissorerus" UNTIL they stand under the chuppa ("ad hisyatzvam tachas hachuppa"), and immediately after the chuppa, to break a glass and be joyful ("v'teykef achar hacuppa shovrin hakos v'naasas rina ditza v'chedva"). So, even for those who follow this minhag -- and as COOP,another commenter, pointed out, it isn't universally accepted -- the "forced" crying under the chuppa seems to be a stretch.

Incidentally, if anyone can explain the reason the Taamei Haminhagim gives... I don't get it. He quotes from "Shearis Yisroel" that it has to do with the nitzotzos from the cheit of Odom Harishon, and that the time prior to the chupa is in the "bechina" of "haloch yelech u'bacho noseh meshech hazora" while the time after the chupa (where the breaking of the glass represents "sheviras haklipos") is in the "bechina" of "bo yavo b'rina nose alumosav." I don't understand the connections between Odom Harishon's cheit and the klipos created thereby to the pesukim of Shir Hama'alos, or why they are both tied to chupa.

Speaking of Slow Chuppa Songs...

Can we all agree that the absolute worst choice is -- and this really was a request -- Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad?"

The chorus is:

"I want you - I want you
I need you - I need you
But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad - don't be sad
'Cause two out of three ain't bad"

Not Written By Odom Harishon

Chaim Gottesman writes:
Go to What the world calls Odom Harishon's niggun is an old modzitz chassan's niggun. So I guess the sh'or yahshuv minhag has some chassidic roots.
I hadn't known that this was a Modzitzer nigun. According to the website, the melody was composed by the Divrei Yisroel in 1899.

Anyone know where the name Odom Harishon's Nigun comes from?

The other tune they sing, Keili Ato, is a Chabad melody. I've heard that the melody has evolved/simplified over the years, but the recordings and notation I've seen of it all have the melody as it is commonly sung today. If anyone has info on this, please forward it this way. Thanks!

First Gig Stories cont...

Shmuel Klaver writes:
I remember the first time I played one of those weddings. The bandleader cued the badekin and we started to play. After about 20 seconds two older chassidic men rushed into the room. I was still looking at the door to see the chosson enter, when the leader ended the music after about 90 seconds. I assumed it was because there had been a miscommunication and they weren't yet ready for the badekin, but the chassidic bandleader explained that this is the way it is done in this comunity. That was the fastest badekin I've ever seen!


This guy is playing Van Halem's "Eruption" on the violin!

Rock on, dude!

Move Over, Chevra!

Here come The George W Bush Singers.

Unfair, but funny nonetheless.

Printing Music

When engineers have too much free time!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Have you been wondering what Roger Daltrey's new project is?

Monday, June 28, 2004

Dancin' To The Huppah!

MOChassid writes:
Finally, a word about the badekin. The badekin is a time of incredible hissorurus. It is said that the neshamas of the departed relatives and ancestors of the chassan and kallah come down from shamayim to join them for this holy moment. That is why it is actually more appropriate to play a slow niggun of hissorurus during the badekin rather than the more common upbeat 'Od Yishamah'. I'm not sure how the custom of playing upbeat music at this time evolved. If anyone knows I'd be interesed in hearing it.
According to "Bach" (Rav Yoel Sirkis), the badekin constutes chupa. By this logic, the badekin and chupa should have the same tone.

I'm not convinced that the music needs to be slow. Different communities have their own customs with regard to the music sung/played at a badekin. Lubavitcher Chassidim sing the “Alter Rebbe’s Nigun”. Many other Chassidim use the spirited “Vayehi Vishurun Melech” which is also frequently played when the kalla enters the kabbolas panim. The Sheor Yashuv crowd sings “Adam Harishon’s Nigun” on the way in to the badekin and “Keili Ato” on the way out. And, of course, as MO Chassid notes, many people use “Od Yishoma.”

I’ve also seen a variation wherein the walk into the badekin is to a slow melody while the chassan’s exit is accompanied by a fast, upbeat tune. Sometimes, instead of following a set minhag, some people choose a favorite tune. I played one badekin where the crowd sang Carlebach’s “Hashem Oz.”

People are different and find inspiration in different ways. Some people may be feeling more introspective and want the music to amplify that aspect of the badekin while other may be bursting with simcha and wish the music to emphasize that part of it. I can’t agree with MO Chassid’s assertion that a slower nigun is neccesarily more appropriate. People can either follow the minhag of their own community, or else choose the approach that best works for them.

I've actually found that, in many cases, the families and/or guests (and sometimes the kallah too) find the Sheor Yashuv approach underwhelming, to say the least. The guys may be into it... but they should bear in mind that it takes two to marry and that Kibud Av v'Em is a D'Oraysa.

Incidentally, I've played an out-of-town wedding or two where the guests escorted the chassan to the chuppa while singing the traditional Od Yishoma. The simcha was palpable and the moment was every bit as spiritually charged, albeit differently, as the slow walk to the chuppa we are accustomed to here.

Crown Heights Rocks!

While we're on the subject of Lubavitch rock... here's David Lazzar. His album cover includes the disclaimer "Warning: Not for Chassidish Bucherim."

eBay item


Sunday, June 27, 2004

Fender Bender

Forbes reports that Fender is attempting to trademark the guitar body shapes for the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and P-Bass.

Interesting 'graph:
At Sam Ash, the second-biggest guitar retailer in the U.S. and a major Fender dealer, Chief Operating Officer David Ash said he doubted small shops would fold without use of the designs in question. "I find that hard to believe," he said. "It's not like there aren't plenty of shapes."
...demonstrating yet another reason why Sam Ash isn't taken seriously by musicans.

A Dag Is A Fish!

Imshin has a couple of interesting posts. (scroll down) One is on Naomi Shemer and a few are on "Shir L'Shalom" composer Yankele Rotblit's new song "Eretz Yisrael.
So much –
Jews hating Jews
I’m throwing away my yarmulka, I’m no longer a ‘doss’
Fire up the bulldozer Arik
Let’s start demolishing
An audio clip of Rotblit's song can be found here!

Imshin doesn't like the music, but I think it has charm.


Naomi Chana on Kol Isha.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Farbreng All Night, Sleep All Day

Here's Goin' Chassidish. The website notes:
The music on this album is completely original and no tunes or lyrics have been “stolen” from secular musical sources.
Sample lyric: "Do The Mikvah Dip"

Update: Here's the band's response to people who find their music troubling.

Baruch Dayan Emet

Naomi Shemer Z"L

Friday, June 25, 2004

I Write The Songs That Make The Whole World Cringe

MOChassid on chupa music:
Finally, if done properly and with thought and preparation, the music at the chupah can be the deepest and can change the whole nature of the wedding. Caveats: A. If you are having a friend or relative sing under the chupah, make sure he can hold a tune and that the band is playing the same key as he is singing, and B. Don't write your own music. Sorry to break it to you but you're not as good as Reb Shlomo.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Klezmatics of London

Rachel Lasserson, kleznerds, and A Weekend with the Klezmatics!

A. C. Jobimsky:
This is just a simple klez piece, built upon a single tune.
Other tunes are bound to follow, but the source is still that tune.
Now this new one is the consequence, of the one we've just been through.
Don't find yourself with no show, play the klez you know!

MBD in the J-Press

Here's a Jewish Press article modestly titled Mordechai Ben David: ‘I Think We’re Going To Get The Best Sound In History'.

Some 'graphs:
MBD had only praise for Ken’s studio: “I worked in the biggest studios in New York and have been waiting for years to finally come to a studio which was the real thing and thank G-d my brother had the honor of building such a studio. I am doing my first major project in this studio and I believe that the results will be very positive.
“It has the highest quality in equipment, acoustics are incredible, and the sound is magnificent. One can see that it was made by a British head. Even in America, which has the biggest studios in the world, it’s not as good as here.”
“But I think we’re going to get the best sound in history because of the quality of the studio.

More J-Post Reviews

This time, the Jerusalem Post writes about Yaniv's "new" album "Bahkol" as well as Mizrach's eponymous release.

Ben Jacobson appears to be regularly reviewing albums a year or more after they've been released. What's up with that

He's got another term for "Shiny Shoe music"...
Hassidic pop (or dos-pop, as it is refered to by detractors) is a marketing force to be reckoned with...
"Dos-pop"... "Abba, nihyeti dos-pop!

Thanks, E!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Country Music Favorites For Your Wedding"

Hey, they forgot about Acheinu!

One Man Band Update

We picked up a copy of the "Torah Times" advertising circular found in many restaurants and stores in the Flatbush/Boro Park area. The music advertising section consists primarily of ads for one-man-bands. One of these ads, Mendy Wax's, is offering a "free kumzits at every simcha." The competition broadens.

Vatican: Not A Lady, Madonna

The Jerusalem Postreports that the Vatican has condemned "kabbala as espoused by Madonna."

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Keepin' It Kosher, Reggae Style

Here's an interestingarticle on Lubavitch reggae singer Matisyahu.

And another...

Ari Davidow also reviews Frank London's soundtrack from Divan.

But Is He Garcia???

The KlezmerShackreviews the Piamenta Live NYC album.

It was about 30 years ago when I first heard Yossi Piamenta in Israel. He was an outstanding guitarist doing amazing jazz-rock fusion music. Then he found God, and his music seemed less interesting.
This is not the music I remember. It is mediocre heavy metal accompanied by flat (if religiously derived) vocals and a mundane backup band. The faux Hendrix album closer—a reworked "Red House" doesn't do it for me, although here the guitar is skillfully imitative—wish the vocals were up to snuff. This CD contains music for a particular type of hormonally-overwhelmed New York City Jewish male teenager, which is fine. But I think I'll give it a rest. If someone knows and loves this music and can speak to what makes it attractive to them, I'll appreciate the comment.

Monday, June 21, 2004


We are always ready to acknowledge mistakes here at Blog in Dm. Apparently, we've gotten a musical term wrong. The correct name for the rhythm commonly used for traditional songs like "Od Yishoma" is not "freilach" or "hora"; its "boom-boom yeshivah music." We apologize for the error.

The Jewish Michael Jackson

Bloghead is quoting a report that the Manchester rabbis removed a ban on today's Manchester concert.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports on the ban in an article titled "He's the Jewish Michael Jackson - so why does a group of rabbis want to ban his concert?"Here's a doozy of a quote:
David Holder, the concert organiser, called the protesters "basically unhinged" and insisted that tonight's event at the 1,800-seat Lowry Theatre would be a sellout.
Here's a list of the Manchester rabbis who had called for a boycott of the concert.

Rabbis in the MBD boycott:
Manchester Beth Din dayanim
1)Rabbi Osher Westheim
2)Rabbi Gabriel Krausz
3)Rabbi M M Schneebalg of Machzikei Hadass
4)Rabbi Simcha Bamberger of Daf Hayomi
5)Rabbi Y Wreschner of Adass Yeshurun Synagogue
6)Rabbi Y Horwitz of Satmar
7)Rabbi Leibish Rabinowitz of Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue
8)Rabbi Sammy Goldberg of Damesek Eliezer Synagogue

Does this mean that Shmuley Boteach will be appearing on TV to discuss the issue???

(Thanks to all who emailed with links to the Daily Telegraph article.)

Updated 8/11/04:
David Holder, who promoted the recent MBD concert in Manchester writes:
It's been a while but during the last couple of weeks the Press Complaints Commission in the UK has obtained transcripts of my interview with the Sunday Telegraph. The commission adjudicated last week and found that the interviewer had indeed distorted my words and placed comments out of context in order to sensationalise her story.
They instructed the Sunday Telegraph to print a clarification in a prominent area of the newspaper and this happened on page 2 of the issue of Sunday 8th.
It can be found here: Telegraph | News | News in brief
The text reads:
Further to our article of June 20 headlined "He's the Jewish Michael Jackson - so why does a group of rabbis want to ban his concert?", we would like to clarify that remarks made by the concert organiser, Mr David Holder, about troublemakers in the Jewish community, were aimed at a Right-wing religious group in Israel rather than a separate group of eight Manchester rabbis.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Nine Years After

The Jerusalem Post finally gets around to reviewing Piamenta's "The Way You Like It" album -- released in 1995.

The reviewer, Ben Jacobson, naively believes that he is the first person ever to compare Avi P. to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. I’ve been hearing this comparison for decades.

He also writes:
Unfortunately, Piamenta's work on albums is recorded in the fashionable esthetic of Hassidic pop (straight verse-chorus-verse structures, with machine drumming, cheesy keyboard effects, horn punches and the like), rather than letting it rip as they do on stage.
This is a common criticism of Piamenta's commercial recordings like "1990","The Way You Like It", and "Big Time."

We recommend Piamenta’s earlier albums which better capture their sound, energy, and creativity.

Check out "Ozreini", 1981’s "Let's Dance With The Piamentas", -- one of our fave’s --and "Mitzvah." Note: Mitzvah was re-mastered and re-released a few years back.

Via The Town Crier


It's Accordion Appreciation Month!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Production Tip

Attention producers: Please don't use this technique on your Hassidisco vocal tracks. It's annoying.

Incidentally, althou this is listed as a Pro Tools tip, there's no reason why it can't also be done in Nuendo, Digital Performer, or other computer-based recording systems.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Upcoming in The Jewish Press

Menachem Wecker's next review for the Jewish Press will be on Soulfarm and Blue Fringe. He's requesting input. Help him out ya'll.

Penny Lane

The Jerusalem Post reports:
For the past two summers, the One Shekel Festival (Festival Beshekel) has brought some of Israel's top musicians to cities on the periphery to play for a symbolic one-shekel entrance fee.


The Chicago Sun-Times interviews singer Rick Recht:
'There are certain things about Jewish music we feel are very unique, but there are also other parts of it that sound like music we hear every day on the radio,' he says. 'The difference is that concerts are performed with interaction in mind. That's very important. We don't expect everyone in the audience to know the words to a song sung in Hebrew, but we perform it in such a way that they'll be able to sing along with us.
'At secular shows, the artist is the star. At Jewish shows, the person on stage is the liaison. The music is educational and encompasses a tradition. My job is to present it to the audience and let them lead themselves.'

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Speaking of Country!

Here's an L.A. Daily News report on Temple Aliyah's upcoming Shabbat service.
So Friday's "Down Home Shabbat" service at Temple Aliyah will have a definite country feel, complete with the words of the traditional song "Lecha Dodi" sung to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain."

Like Father, Like Daughter

The Globe and Mail on Neshama Carlebach.

JM PR Watch

From the current edition of Jewish Lifestyles Magazine cover article on Acheinu (The Shapiro Brothers):
Acheinu's uniqueness is comprised of various components. For starters, all the music on the album was recorded in the music capital of the world - Nashville, Tennesee - by world famous musicians - the crème de la crème of the industry. Recording an album in Nashville is a first in Jewish music history! You hear the difference immediately. The songs breath, they soar, they echo with yearning, hope, and happiness on the wings of the extraordinary music.
Here are some Nashville based Jewish music recording artists.
Karen Daniel
Stacy Beyer

Also, mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman has recorded an unreleased album of Jewish country music called "Shabbos in Nashville."

Friday, June 11, 2004

Tune This!

World's Smallest Guitar

Red Glare Setting

The Village Idiots has a letter to the New York Times about a California Town council's resolution to lower the key of the National Anthem from Bb to G Major, to make it easier to sing.

To the Editor:
I think it is completely appropriate to lower the key of the national anthem. We've lowered every other standard in America; why not this one?
Portland, Ore., June 5, 2004

Congregants Should Be Seen and Not Heard

Velvel complains:
K'dushah, in cantorial circles, has become the Superbowl halftime show. Except the audience has to stand in place, with their feet together, concentrating on the holiness of the moment without talking for the duration.

More on the Manchester Concert

The Jewish Telegraph reports on the boycott. Read the whole thing!

Here's promoter David Holder on MBD:
''Mordechai Ben David, whom I know personally, is a very spiritual, Chassidic man.
"He is always learning Talmud and hardly speaks lest he talk lashon hora (slander). He is such a holy man that he makes a point of eating meat only on Shabbat."

And Now.... A Word From The Promoter

Yossi Fraenkel, who produced last night's Fried concert in London thanks those who participated.
I would personally like to thank everyone that came to the concert last night even after what the rabonim said about it. With your help we were able to support an organisation well needed in the community.
He's also urging Londoners to attend the upcoming Manchester concert.

Banning Concerts

Miriam has more on the banning by Rabbonim in England of "immodest concerts" by those "wild and crazy guys" -- Avraham Fried and Mordechai Ben David.

The ban on the Avraham Fried show is by the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (the Adass).

The MBD event was banned by 14 rabbis from "representatives of both the Manchester Beth Din and the strictly Orthodox Machzikei Hadass umbrella organisation."

Thursday, June 10, 2004

No Guitars

Lots of rock and heavy-metal Japanese acapella here! (along with a smattering of other genres.)

I checked out Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and 'Round Midnight.

Better than Carlebach???

Miriam comments on the new monthly disco for religious women in Ramat Bet Shemesh.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Jewish Week Reviews

George Robinson reviews a bunch of albums including David Krakauer's collaberation with DJ So-called as well as Elli and Ravital Kranzler's self-distributed release.

Jewish Musings on Jewish Music

Barry Katz wants to know: When did Jewish music start going South?

To tip, or not to tip: that is the question.

Over the many years I’ve been performing at Jewish affairs, I’ve found that there is a wide discrepancy as to whether the musicians are tipped or not. In my experience, some communities tip more than others, and some tip not at all. In the cases where I have been tipped, the amounts have ranged from ten to two hundred dollars. I don’t expect to be tipped, so I’m always appreciative when I am.

The following tip story will always stand out in my mind. We were playing at a party that we’d been referred for by another bandleader. It was an engagement party for his cousin’s daughter, and he wasn’t able to do it himself because he had another gig. He did show up at the end though, and was quite pleased with the music. The client also kept coming over throughout the course of the affair to compliment us on our volume level, song selection, dance sets, etc.

At the end of the evening, the client came over to settle up and said: “You were good. I should tip you – you’ve earned it. But, no one ever tipped me when I was doing this (apparently he’d moonlighted in the biz years earlier), so I’m not going to tip you either.”

I’ll never forget standing there speechless! Talk about chutzpah!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Interesting Refers

In the interest of being a good citizen, here are our tips for some searchers who have happened across this blog.

The person who searched for "treif guitar" might want to try this!

The person who searched for "chosson kallah fanfare" might consider the riff from the J. Geils Band’s “Centerfold” or, in a jazzier vein, the A section to Thelonius Monk’s “In Walked Bud.” Note: We’re basing our suggestions on the apparent minhag hamakom here in the tri-state area that the melody used for the fanfare must be derived from a secular tune. However, be aware that some who hold by this minhag are of the opinion that the intro fanfare MUST be either the riff from Baker Street, Final Countdown, Eye of the Tiger, or some combination of the above.

We have no idea where to refer the person who searched for "Cleveland+Lakewood+yeshiva+blog

Ditto the person who searched for Abish Brodt's career. Sorry.

First Gig Stories cont...

Moshe Skier writes:
I'll never forget my first gig. It was for the first annual Queens Purim Parade, in 1984. My first band before Shlock Rock, Tohu Vavohu (it's real! ) got on the gig, and we rehearsed like crazy. We'd only played in basements prior to this, and had never used a PA system!
It was a surreal experience, to say the least. 10,000 people walked by. Martin Davidson was on the stage, bumping into us. Bar-Mitzvah Benji was throwing out frisbees with his name on it.
And there we were, the worlds loudest Jewish Rock Band, going through our set of Led-Zepplin inspired Umpah. There were no stage monitors, which at first didn't bother me, because I didn't know what they were anyway or why I should want them. But if you've ever played on an outdoor stage in front of 10,000 people, and the main speakers are 20 feet to either side of you, facing away, you quickly realize why you want monitors.
I could not hear myself sing at all! At first I thought the PA was off. So I kept yelling into the mic and asking the sound guy to turn it up. He kept making really ugly faces at me, and the people in the audience, who could hear everything I said, were covering their ears. Finally they talked me into singing anyway, so I started up, kinda guessing where the notes should be. I was probably way off key. (you could argue that that's never changed). But hey, the guitar solos were alright (thanks to Moshe Kaufman). Anyway after that, I could get up in front of anyone and sing or play anything without stage fright (the one exception: singing "Those were the days my friend" in front of all my relatives for my Dad's 80th birthday...woo...tough crowd).Here's a pic.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Sing A Song of Jihad

lgf has posted the lyrics to a "cheery little campfire tune for budding jihadis" printed in a songbook for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth's U.S.A. summer camp for Muslim kids.
Bring back the glory to its lions
And restore the zeal to its soldiers
Flatten evil in its cradle
And unsheath the swords
And don’t be concerned here with difficulties.
Ask the kuffaar [infidels]: who repelled their tyrants?
And ask the mushrikeen [infidels]: who terrified their supporters?
...Ask the blood which reddened the face of the earth
[snip] Alas, we have forgotten our position here (now)
And we’ve abandoned the shariah and our role
Error has built in our territory whatever it has
And it has built nothing but weakness and ruin.
And it has built nothing but weakness and ruin.
And we nurture nothing but desires and falsehoods!
Hail! Hail! O sacrificing soldiers!
To us! To us! So we may defend the flag
On this Day of Jihad, are you miserly with your blood?!
And has life become dearer to you? And staying behind sweeter?
Is staying in this world of torment more pleasing to us?

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Culture Clash

A tale of misinterpreted text messaging.
The guitarist in a rock tribute act was quizzed as a terror suspect after sending a text message containing lyrics from a song by punk rock act the Clash to the wrong person.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Jazz In Shul

Kenny Werner is appearing with his trio at the Bridge Street Shul in Washington Heights (179th and Pinehurst on June 6th. Admission is $12 and the set starts at 7:30.

The event is the second in a series curated by jazz guitarist Jason Caplan.

I heard Kenny Werner speak and perform in a master class at Manhattan School of Music a few years back. He's excellent!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

First Gig Stories cont...

Jordan Hirsch writes:
My first outside gig was Ari Weisbrot's Bar Mitzvah in the old gym at Frisch, also with Jonathan and Mark. Ari's mother was our English teacher at Frisch, and I am unclear whether we actually had a clue as to what to do or not.
The only other thing I remember about that gig was that the caterer, Al Amsel, fed us himself. He set a table and brought over fried chicken, which was delicous.Little did he know that the caterer is supposed to be abusive and obnoxious to musicians.
In my experience, there is usually, but not always, an inverse relationship between the quality of the hall and the rudeness of the caterer. I've gotten more attitude from the caterers at some of the low-rent Brooklyn venues than from the staff at the Pierre, Waldorf-Astoria, Plaza, or Metropolitan Club.

Dan Smith writes:
I put my band together in college and we practiced a few times, just kinda fooling around. A friend who had a well established klezmer band accidentally overbooked, and one day called me to say that my band had a bar mitzvah to play the next Sunday morning. We didn't even have a good sound system. Needless to say, we were tremendously nervous. We were plowing our way through the first dance set, everyone seemed happy, dancing, there was lots of ruach. then a middle aged lady came up to me, face red, shvitzing, and said" could you... puff puff... please.... puff puff... play a little.... puff puff... slower?" At least there were no injuries or heart attacks.
Dave Bogner writes:
My first professional gig was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of High School. I played trombone with a band doing mostly Chicago, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Average White Band covers in the teen lounge at the Tamarack Lodge (alav hasholom) in the Catskills.
I was the only HS kid in the band... and it was one of those life experiences (of which there have been soooo many) that I look back and say, "If I only knew then what I know now..."

Shake, Shuckel, and Rock!

Menachem Butler over at The Village Idiots posts a link to Menachem Wecker's post "Great music, but not so Jewish", on a recent Blue Fringe/Soulfarm concert.

Wecker comments:
Blue Fringe played some new songs, and put on a great performance. I thought that it was interesting how they seemed to be jamming in time with Talmudic shuckling, whereas Soulfarm seemed to have a much more energetic bounce to them, and much more cyclical motion than Blue Fringe's jerky activity.
Also, Blue Fringe was best not when it was cracking poor attempts at humor and singing psukim, but when it was jamming between attempts at being Jewish. The music was amazing when it was not trying to do anything so much as to just happen. Soulfarm, on the other hand, used the verbal components in a much more compelling and organic fashion, and the music and words appeared wed fairly happily.
The question is: can Blue Fringe be considered Jewish given its failure at successfully integrating text?
Butler quotes Blue Fringe vocalist Dov Rosenblatt at a recent concert:
"Doesn't it stink to be the guy still crowd surfing as the song ends?"

The Truth Is Out!

The most influential person at a wedding is... the caterer.

Incidentally, many people aren't aware that in most of the "Jewish" venues in this area, the caterer -- not the band -- decides when to start and end the dance sets.

Concert Update

The Manchester concert draws Rabbinic condemnation.
And even if they give an excuse that the proceeds are going to charity, and that there will be complete separation by a mechitzoh between the men and women, it is still included in the warning to stay far away from such things.
Update: Velvel emails to note that the concert they're referring to is next week's Shwekey/Fried concert in London.

First Gig Stories

The first gig I did (outside of yeshiva) was in high school. One of the Kollel guy's wives was working as the director of activities in the local nursing home and asked the yeshiva band if we would come down and accompany a class from the day school as they sang Jewish songs for the residents. She got a list of songs the class was going to sing from the teacher and we practiced them all week. When we got there, the teacher told us which songs they were going to sing and only one of them was on the list we'd been given. It turned out that the music teacher had given her the song list for a different class. These kids didn't know any of those songs. So, we stood around as they sang... played the one song we --and they --knew together with them, and then played a set by ourselves. Granted, nursing home residents aren't exactly the toughest crowd, but still... I remember feeling so nervous before the performance.

Yonah Lloyd writes:
My very first ever professional (defined as getting paid for it) gig was for an NCSY shabbaton in Long Beach...our band was supposed to play some ruach music after havdala. So we get there and set up, and then the kids come rushing in from upstairs and it turns out to be an NCSY Our Way shabbaton - that's a special division just for deaf kids. I couldn't believe it!!! We had rehearsed for days and days to be ready, and they wouldn't hear any of it. Then, to pour more salt in, while we're playing, some smart-ass kid comes over and writes us a note: "you're the best band I never heard!" damn if we weren't cracking up - and in the end, the advisors said the kids do really feel the sound, and they actually did dance a ton, and we had a good time. Thus my introduction to the world of Dm.
Anyone else have any?

Trash Talking!

Madonna and Shmuely Boteach diss each other.

Big Wedding

Takanos, anyone?

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Toolbox Classics

Lending new meaning to the term "power ballad!"

Check out "Thus Spake Zarathustra" which uses a large drill press motor, table saw, hand saw, 50 gallon drum, pipes, and a vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004