Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Djembe Madness

Betcha these these people didn't walk down to the Alter Rebbe's Niggun.


As a public service, we are pleased to bring you this Kabbalah update!

Horsing Around!

I wonder what the band played forthis couple's entrance!

Via The Town Crier

On Singing Pesukim

Here's the post on J- music in halacha promised by Hirhurim.Here's his take on singing pesukim:
There is, yet, an additional consideration. The Gemara in Sanhedrin (101a) states that one may not sing verses from the biblical book Shir Ha-Shirim as a song because one is turning holy words into a song. The Ra'avyah extends this to all biblical verses. However, my impression (and I believe I heard this in the name of R. Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik) is that most posekim reject this extension and apply this statement only to Shir Ha-Shirim. It is very easy to take that particular book out of context and use it as a love song. This is obscene and sacrilegious (and I have seen it done, but that is another story). On this, see R. Reuven Margoliyot's Margoliyos Ha-Yam on Sanhedrin 101a.
I don't know where he gets the idea that most poskim reject the Ra'avyah's view. In fact, Rashi on the daf holds that the prohibition applies to all of Torah.

The distinction that "Simcha" makes with regard to there being a specific prohibition on turning parts of Shir Hashirim into songs was also made by Rav Moshe ZT"L (Iggeros Moshe Yoreh Deah2:142) where he suggests it as a justification for the common practice of singing pesukim at simchas (which he opposed), but he concludes "v'tzaruch iyun lamekeilim."

Despite this, though, the common practice is to permit the singing of pesukim and most of the music marketed to the Orthodox community does use pesukim as lyrics. I am curious as to sources that explicitly permit this, though, so if anyone has them and could pass them on...

With regard to using pesukim from Shir Hashirim...even though all seem to agree that the Gemara does prohibit this, there are still many Orthodox performers who compose, play, and record songs using texts from Shir Hashirim. Examples of such songs that are frequently played at weddings (or used to be played) include Hashmeini by Shlomo Carlebach, Kol Dodi by D'veykus (or MBD), and Dodi Li.

Classical vs. Country

The Shaigetz is comparing the music of Daniel Barenboim and Borat. Guess who comes out ahead!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The New York Times on German Klezmer

Klezmer's Final Frontier

Hirhurim Mutarim!

Hirhurim on "Contemporary Jewish Music":
Some of the best and nicest Jewish bloggers are the Jewish Music bloggers. Ever since I started following blogs I have seen the JM-bloggers railing against certain musicians who appear to be ruining Jewish music. As a consumer rather than a producer of Jewish music, allow me to respectfully voice a different opinion...
...I listen to music for two reasons - to inspire me and to entertain me. Inspiring music is of the Carlebach or Regesh variety (maybe even hazzanus) - frequently slow, the tune fits the words, everything comes together and uplifts the soul. Entertaining music is anything that entertains me. Many years ago, it would have been Billy Joel or the Police. Nowadays, it is only Jewish music but really anything that sounds good and does not have filthy or stupid lyrics. If the tune does not fit the lyrics, I don't care. I just want a decent song in my head to relax me. I'd pull out an old Billy Joel tape except his songs are almost all about peritzus or narrishkeit. I listen to this kind of music when I'm driving tired or am simply trying to relax after an exhausting week. I don't care if the melody is simple or anything like that. I would not even notice if the song is slightly off-key...
...Music that is fun and relaxing - and does not have filthy or idiotic lyrics - is OK in my book. Cultural biases about what kind of music is entirely unacceptable (as a child of the 70s and 80s, I find disco beats and electric guitar solos to be offensively "goyish," particularly at weddings) are just a way of old people like me being old-fuddy-duddies and complaining about kids today and their loud music.
The commentors on this post raise a number of potential halachik issues.

1) One person raises the issue of the prohibition against “shirei agavim.” (I think his classification of all rock music as such is mistaken). He also asserts that it’s “better to put J lyrics (but not pesukim) to classy Gospel tunes.” This is something that is more clearly problematic. Finally, he raises the issue of zecher l’mikdash and whether or not it is permissible to listen to music b’zman hazeh.

2) Another commenter raises the issue of "assuni banecha k'kinor".

3) A third party asks if there are any halachik restrictions on listening to Carlebach music.

In response, Simcha writes:
Posts on halakhah require more preparation than this one had. B"n sometime this weekend I'll address the halakhic issues (rightly) raised in these comments.
In the interest of helping out a fellow blogger, here are some sources on these issues.
With regard to Shirei Agavim:
Krach Shel Romi
Yechave Da’as (vol.2:5)
Tzitz Eliezer (vol.13:12)

With regard to listening to religious music:
Sefer Hachassidim (238) (There are varying versions of the text. It’s in the Mossad Rav Kook edition.)
Iggeros Moshe (Yoreh Deah 2:111)

On listening to music nowadays:
Sotah 48A
Gittin 7A
(See Rashi, Tosafos, and the Meiri there. Also see the Hagahos Rema on the Mordechai).

Rambam (Hilchos Ta’anis 5:14)
Note: There are three different ways to interpret Rambam’s position, Tur, Ma’aseh Rokeach, and Kneses Hagedola.

Shulchan Aruch (Hilchos Tisha B’av 560:3) (There’s a machlokes between the Mechaber and the Rema.)

Iggeros Moshe (Orach Chaim 166 and Orach Chayim vol. 3:87)
Az Nidberu (vol.8:58)

On singing pesukim:
Sanhedrin 101A
See Rashi and Iggeros Moshe (Yoreh Deah vol.2:142)

With regard to Carlebach music:
Iggeros Moshe Even Haezer 96 is alleged by some to have been about Carlebach, but it does not name him.. The teshuva is titled: “Bidvar Nigunim Sheasa Adam Kasher Sheachar Zman Niskalkel V’sani Shumaneih Im Yesh L’nagnam Al Chasunos."

Friday, August 27, 2004

No More Dirty Looks

Alice Cooper clarifies his position.

I find it ironic that the ads on the side of this article include include one for a Barry Manilow concert, one Night Live" and a performance of Cats.

I Want My J-TV

Psycho Toddler has Lenny Solomon's memories of the time Kesher appeared on the Joe Franklin Show.

Stay In Shape!

Aaron Alexander has posted his "Daily Warm Up" on his website.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rabbi, Your Speech Was Wonderful!

In reponse to our post, "The Bar Mitzvah Speech", Rhondda writes:
Hi Dm,
It's been my experience in a lot of different communities that Lubavitch rabbis, on the whole get it "right" more often than not. I asked our local one to do a class for the sunday school (this was back when we had a community sunday school; albeit with mostly reform/ not halachically jewish kids) when I was running it; he was fabulous. He explained chabad hassidut in understandable language in a really down-to-earth way. Most impressive. I think that b'c so many chabad families are sent out as "shlichim", they're trained as "salesmen" - and I mean that in a good way - they present the product well, honestly, and without insulting people. And they can do an enormous amount of good.
Sometimes traditional "yeshivish" rabbis, on the other hand, "preach to the choir", and miss opportunities to "sell" frumkeit. They also often lack people skills that are desperately needed in frum communities. As Deng Xiao-Ping once famously said: It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.

More Forthcoming Music

Drummer Aaron Alexander's album of original klezmer/punk/free jazz music, entitled "Midrash Mish Mosh" is out on Tzadik Records at the end of September. You can preview a few of the tracks on his website here. Interesting music by some great musicians!

The band's lineup is:
Merlin Shepherd - clarinet
Greg Wall - sax & clarinet
Frank London - trumpet
Curtis Hasselbring - trombone
Brad Shepik - guitar
Fima Ephron - bass
Mike Sarin - drums (R)
Aaron Alexander - drums (L)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

JM Chesed Stories cont.

We began a series on JM chesed a bit ago with these earlier posts. In this series, our focus is on chesed within the JM community that people aren't aware of. Many people are aware of the numerous performers who give of their time to perform for the sick and/or disabled. We're looking to highlight the areas people are not aware of.

A few more examples:

Some musicians have made themselves available to play for free or at significantly discounted rates in cases of need. One example: A divorced mother who was struggling financially needed to make a Bar Mitzvah for her twin boys. Her Rav spoke to a bandleader about the situation and he agreed to do the affair for very little money. After the bandleader was on board, the Rav recommended the band to this women. To this day, she is not aware that the bandleader and her rabbi had spoken prior to her call, and that she received a tremendously discounted rate.

Some musicians have made strong efforts to reach out to the "at-risk" kids in their communities. In one case that we know of, the bandleader hired one of them as his roadie, bringing him along on gigs and paying him for his help, even though many of those situation didn't require a roadie. I believe that the responsibilty and stability of "doing something" and the friendship and mentoring of the bandleader had a tremendous impact on stabilizing this young man's life.

Many musicians have volunteered their time to perform for free for various tzedaka events and at rallies in support of Israel. Much of the time, these contributions seem to go unnoticed.

There's more... perhaps later.

What's In A Name?

Found the source for the contemporary minhag of naming new kosher wedding halls in New York Ateres whatever." Its based on the bracha of Kiddush Levana where it says: "Shetischadesh ateres... sheheim asidim l'hischadesh k'mosah."

Seriously, why do people feel compelled to name every new hall Ateres??? In the last few years we've gotten Ateres Chaya, Ateres Shlomo, Ateres Avrohom, Ateres Charna, and Ateres Chynka. If it hasn't happened yet, then its only a matter of time before a lot of people show up at the wrong affair.

Incidentally, I know of instances where musicians got confused and went to the wrong hall. For example, several years back, I was playing at Le Chateau and a trumpet player who was supposed to be at El Caribe walked in and joined us for the badekin.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Jewish Music Blogosphere Expands Again

Today's newest:

Jewish Blogmeister

Rabbinic Condemnation

Recently, I spoke with a Rav who teaches Chassan classes and as a result attends weddings quite often. He wanted to know why there are no good new songs.

The Bar Mitzvah Speech

A while back, I posted posted about a speech a Chabad rabbi had given at a Bat Mitzvah I’d played. One reader wrote:
Although I'm somewhat biased being a Lubavitcher, I'd say that Chabad Rabbis like the one at the bas mitzvah "get paid" for not talking down to not so frum people.
I happened to have thought that the rabbi involved showed a much greater awareness of his audience then other rabbis in the same situation would have.

A recent Bar Mitzvah I was at illustrates the point. The Bar Mitzvah boy’s family includes a lot of non-Orthodox relatives from out-of-town. Some are not religious, and some are Conservative. One cousin, himself recently “Bar-Mitzvahed”, is considering attending the local pluralistic Jewish high school in his hometown. His concern, as his mom explained to me, was whether or not he was good enough at the Jewish stuff to attend. I sat next to this boy in shul and his Hebrew reading skills are fine.

When the rabbi got up to speak, he spoke in “Frumspeak, rather than English. The boy turned to me after the rabbi’s speech and said: “I didn’t understand a word he said. It was all conjunctions and “Chhh!” His mom was upset because she thinks that this negative experience could impact on whether or not he decides to go to the Jewish school next year. His confidence definitely took a hit.

I’m not blaming the rabbi for this; he had no way of knowing that aspect of the situation. However, the shiny colorful kippot and colorful prayer shawls at the otherwise Orthodox davening should have tipped him off that a large percentage of the guests would not understand him if he spoke “yeshivish.” As a result, he missed an opportunity to share some Torah and chizuk with people who were open to it. I don’t believe that rabbis necessarily need to dumb down their Divrei Torah for the sake of some less or non-observant relatives, but I do think that a little sensitivity in terms of their presentation can go a long way.

How To Be A Good Music Consumer

I've been meaning to write a guide to being a good music consumer for a while, but haven't had the time. In the meantime, here's one idea.

Recently, I received a call from a man who'd taken my card at a wedding our band played two years ago. He was calling because his son had recently gotten engaged and he wanted to book our band for the affair. He explained that he'd taken our card and made some notes on it at that event and that was why he was calling us. He then read us the notes he'd jotted down at that affair:
jazzy, talented, low volume, creative, leibidik
This is a great idea. I'd like to suggest that if you're at an affair and you're enjoying the music, then take the band's card and jot down what about their performance you liked. Keeping a file of these cards will help to ensure that you remember (and consider) them when you are planning your own simcha!

In the past, I've recommended that people take a note of bands that are playing too loudly and refrain from patronizing them. If you're at an event where the band is particularly bad -- and we've all been at such events -- by all means take note of that as well. In that case, though, it's unethical to ask the band for their card.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Gotta Love Those Faux Kasketlich!

Ben Chorin on the Safed Klezmer festival:
For all the Jewish music afficianados, I'll just say that the Klezmer thing reminded me of the San Gennaro festival I would occasionally stumble into in Little Italy in the olden days. Big crowds eating greasy and/or sugary food with the occasional musical performance. The only good news was that the Little One made it to the bathroom in the nick of time and I talked all the progeny out of cotton candy. And I did get to hear a fiddler on a roof play a medley from... Let's just forget the whole thing.

Under The Chupa

Baynonim is complaining about weddings including the singing under the chupa.
Singers who won't coordinate: A friend of the couple, usually, is chosen to sing the two boruch habas and, perhaps, an Im eshkochaich too Does the singer/friend ever meet with the band beforehand to discuss pacing and keys? Does he even let the band know the tune he'll use? No. Of course not. He just gets up and starts to sing; after a few chords the band picks it up and fills in a few weak background notes. How hard would it be to do it right? How hard could it be to make it look as if this wedding element was given some thought?
In my experience, some type of conversation about which melody is being used does frequently occur during the smorg, but the point still stands. Its better to let the band know in advance --meaning before the affair -- so that if it's a song they either don't know or haven't played in a while, they can review it and/or bring the sheet music.

Coming Soon

Top Gun! The Musical

No word on if Dedi will be joining the cast.

Album Preview

Here are audio clips from two albums scheduled to drop soon:
Yaakov Shwekey

Nose Hear

So that's how it's done!

Friday, August 20, 2004

The answer, my friend...

MOChassid asks his Rebbe why the music of so many of the folk-rocky post-Carlebach bands stinks. Here's what happened:
Expecting a very deep, Kabbalistic response, I was surprised by his simple answer: "Because they have no talent. You can have all the right motivations but if you have no talent you will not produce nice music."
Mo mentions the fact that the men with the biggest desire for the amud are the least talented. Every shul has a bunch of these guys. I think that they should be required to present a death certificate when claiming the amud for a yahrtzeit.

Himmelman Interview

YudelLine links to a Rocky Mountain News interview with singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman.
In fact, Himmelman - who has two kids' CDs out - says he's happiest writing, recording and playing for the younger set. "Kids' shows are the hardest and the most satisfying. You have to be on all the time because they really don't know who you are," he said.
Recording those albums are also a creative joy. "The new kids' CD is the best stuff I've ever written. It's so easy for me and the musicians to do. There's a total freedom from posturing. There's a freedom from thinking about radio airplay or what anyone is going to think about it," he said, noting that his heroes are Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger who wrote, Himmelman says, "songs for kids that adults loved."

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It's Camp!

For the secular music industry, there's Victor Wooten's Bass/Nature Camp. The JM wedding industry's version would be "Left-hand Bass Camp" for keyboard players.

More On Studio Musicians

Our recent post of reader's comments on Psycho Toddler's rant about studio musicians has generated responses from Psycho Toddler and Velvel.

Psycho also has visual aids to illustrate his point.

We Called It.

We shouldn't gloat, but we told you so!

I'm dreaming of a...

White Shabbos.

Via Velvel.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Guerilla Marketing/G'neivas Da'as

Here’s an interesting NY Times article: Warner's Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note.
In the week after the song was posted on Music for Robots, a message board on the site attracted some thoughtful commentary on Warner's move. But a few comments, posted under several different names, stood out because they looked like something one might read on a teen-pop fan site.
"I never heard these guys before, but theyre awesome," read a posting last Thursday under the name Ron. "I went to their website and you can listen to a lot of ther other stuff, very cool and very good!" Another post, sprinkled with casual profanity, asserted that big corporations could still release good music, and cited the Beatles as an example.
A check of site records by Mr. Willett revealed that all four of the suspect comments had been posted from the same Internet Protocol address, indicating that they came from the same computer or from a computer within the same company. That address was also the source of two e-mail messages that Ms. Bechtel sent to a reporter, as well as the original messages sent to the bloggers.
Some of the JM promoters and performers have been doing this too, particularly on the Yahoo Jewish Music Group,although it has appeared elsewhere. I think that it’s unethical. People ought to acknowledge when they have a financial or personal interest in a given artist or project and not pretend to be fans or impartial observers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Studio Musicians

Our recent link to Psycho Toddler's comments on session players is generating a lot of comments.

Abe Solomon writes:
Regarding the article you posted on Psycho Toddler’s article on Blue Fringe: I don’t disagree with most points but I do have a bone to pick on one point. First of all are you there when the musicians record the albums? Do you live in Israel and see that Singolda is just sitting there totally not into the music etc.? I disagree that at all times they are not emotionally involved and that it’s all about what’s on the sheet music and so that’s why it all sounds the same. What is certainly true (and I’ve heard this straight from session players such as the greatest Jewish bass player-Ari Volonitz) is the following: The arrangers tend to stifle the creativity of the session players. They don’t want things running rampant etc. too jazzy or creative so they make sure they read it exactly as it’s written with very little embellishment if any.
Jordan Hirsch writes:
When I checked out the link to Psycho Toddler you recommended, I found an entirely accurate description of Studio Musicians in the Jewish Music scene. It is not correct, however to characterize all studio playing as sterile or soulless. That is a specialty of the JM scene. The arrangements, to begin with, are usually pretty poor, by any standard. The players are very good, but the producers will take the first perfect take they can get, rather than look for the "best" take. I have been in the studio enough to know the difference between flawless playing and good playing. I do not doubt that many though not all the studio players in the JM scene could do a lot more in terms of feeling were they given the opportunity.
While we are at it, I also take note of Psycho's description of Moshav Band, Blue Fringe, Kabbalah etc. as the source of the new ideas in Jewish Music. He meant the ideas that Jewish Musicians are not already doing. The music of the current Folk Rock Guitar Band Singer Songwriter fad in Jewish music is just an alternative source for derivative Jewish Music. That does not mean it isn't good. Some of it is very good. But let's not kid ourselves about originality.
The fact that I've linked to something doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with it. In this case, I feel like the rabbi in the classic Jewish joke who tells both sides of a dispute that they are both right. When challenged by his wife as to how that is possible, he tells her that she’s right too. I think that Abe, Jordan, and Psycho Toddler’s points all have some validity. No time to 'splain right now, perhaps more on this later.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Sticky Song Topics

The New York Times reports:
Several days after Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995 by an assassin opposed to the peace process, the Israeli author David Grossman was driving through a forest preserve just outside this city. He noticed a car stopped on the shoulder of the road and slowed to see what might be the matter. The motorist, he saw, was scraping off a bumper sticker that said, 'Rabin Rotzeach'' ('Rabin is a Murderer').
At that moment Mr. Grossman, a novelist and essayist, fathomed the peculiar and intense importance of bumper stickers in Israel, where sometimes an entire car can be pasted with them, endorsing any cause from Palestinian statehood to the expulsion of Arabs to the coming of the Messiah. He began to scribble down examples, enlisted friends and family members to do the same, and ultimately collected 120 slogans, united only by their brevity and certitude.
Now he has transformed 54 of those phrases into the rhyming lyrics of a song, which has been recorded by one of Israel's leading rap groups, Hadag Nachash, and become the surprise pop-music hit of the season. Radio stations play it ubiquitously, and the album containing it has topped sales charts and sold 15,000 copies in only two months, the equivalent of 750,000 in the United States. To use another American equivalent: imagine the dazzling unlikeliness of Russell Banks having collaborated with Mos Def or Chuck D on a chart topper.
How long before we see a similar concept song using "heimish" bumper sticker slogans like "Drive away Lashon Hara" and "Hang in there, Shabbos is coming!"

Via Jewschool

V'rosho Magia Hashamayma

Stairway to Heaven - classical style (also Glen Miller style).

Shiru Lanu Mishir Tziyon

Andrew Silow-Carroll on politics and Israeli songs.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Klezmer With A Slice Of Wry

Bert Stratton and Yiddishe Cup are stand-up guys... in classic Borscht Belt style.
I've been listening to their latest release "Meshugene Mambo" courtesy of Mr. Stratton, and it's a hoot! If the late king of Klezmer Comedy, Mickey Katz and "Weird" Al Yankovic could have collaborated, the results might have sounded something like "Meshugene Mambo."

Album highlights include a version of "My Yiddishe Mama" with sneering vocals any punk rocker would be proud of and an arrangement that segues through the blues, "Goldfinger", "Little Darlin'", and the theme from the "Patty Duke Show!"

"Play, Klezmer Play!" could be the anthem of klezmer club-date musicians. Here's a taste:
The klezmer tunes of yesterday are replaced by "YMCA".... But then I hear the clarinet and it almost makes me forget the uncle from Detroit who wants to sing "Sunrise,Sunset."
Full of idiosyncratic characters, the klezmer complains about the "cerebral" guest who requests "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" (which segues into "Yesh!"), the videographer who misses the motzi, and of course, the “shmendrick” who must make a toast just as the band is about to begin a medley of freilachs by Dave Tarras.

In addition to covers of Katz’s classic parodies, the album is full of pop culture references -- like when the first few bars of "Tanz, Tanz Yiddelakh" are played on synth as the theme from "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" during a sketch on "Essen". On "Nudnik, the Flying Shissel", a theremin plays the "Theme from Star Trek" over a freilach groove as "Nudnik" seeks to discover new frontiers in kosher buffet lines and desert tables. And on “Knish Doctor” a chorus sings “aweem-oy-vey” as somewhere in the jungle the lion fresses Yankel tonight.

But it's not all comedy. The group’s instrumental versions of klezmer classics like Abe Ellstein's "Second Avenue Square Dance", "Trombonik Tanz", and "Li'l Gypsy" --which I know as "Khsidim Tants (Ben Mandelson's Honga Onga Mix) " recorded by the Klezmatics --are tighter than the vest on the head waiter at a Catskills hotel. (Ouch! I know, but who could help it?)

You can listen to sound clips and purchase the CD via CD Baby here.

Ethnic humor isn’t for everyone, and there are one or two jokes that aren’t for the yeshiva boys, but if you like “neo-Borscht Belt” style humor and klezmer, you'll enjoy "Meshugene Mambo."


Always remember to blow the candles out!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Khusen Kalleh, Mazel Tov (with the klezmer B section)

It's a klezmer shiddukh!
"If music is the food of love, then klezmer must be the schmaltz on the herring."

Name That Tune

A reader writes:
I enjoy your blog and hope that you can answer an burning question for me. I'm looking for the source of a tune that's been a popular nigun for the last 5-10 years. It's usually sung as "Ein Kelokeinu" or "Asher Bara". Unfortunately the best example I have at hand is "Time for Shabbos" on Uncle Moishy Vol. 9 (wish I had a better example but Uncle Moishy is pretty much all the kids will let me listen to these days :).
The reason I'm asking is that I'm pretty sure I once heard this tune on the "Thistle and Shamrock" Irish music show on NPR. Even if I'm inventing this memory, the tune sounds very Celtic to me, although it could just as easily be Chasidic in origin. Can you help me find the true origin of this tune?
Any Uncle Moishy experts out there??? Our taste in children's music runs more towards "Captain Dovid and the Rebbes of Rhythm", Neshoma Orchestra's "Let's Sing The Alef-Beis", and "Shlock Rock for Kids".

We Make Up For It In Volume

Here's a rant about the music volume at weddings.

Would that this is so:
Chances are that the members of the band think they are impressing their audience with their talent by equating earsplitting with "cool." In a misguided attempt to win over fans and potential bookings, they blast their music. But their reasoning is totally off. If anything, they are ruining their reputations and a chance to get hired by guests who are planning their own simchas.
The reality, unfortunately, is that people DO NOT appear to take this into consideration when booking a band for their own simcha.

In fact, we recently talked with one Chosson who had only one request for the music at his wedding: "It should be loud!" We didn't book the gig.

If bandleaders felt that they would pay a price for playing too loud, namely, in reduced bookings, the situation would improve dramatically. Sure, there would still be problems... but not like what's out there now.

All Yaron, All The Time!

... and the winner is Blue Fringe. Psycho Toddler on studio musicians.

Manchester Concert Update

David Holder, who promoted the MBD concert in Manchester this past June, 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.
(Blog in Dm's earlier posts on the subject are here and here.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

Radio Head

Benyamin Bresky emails:
I do a new music show called The Beat with Ben Bresky on
IsraelNationalRadio.com. I explore various music in Israel.
Thought you might be interested. I used to do Jewish Community Radio in
Cleveland, Ohio. Hopefully I'll hit the klezmer festival in Tzvat next week.
The Beat is one hour a week of interviews and music on
IsraelNationalRadio.com. We explore all aspects of the music of Israel
including classical, jazz, Carlebach, pop and more. There is a new show every
Sunday and the show is archived weekly on the web.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Wuthering... er... Washington Heights

Who'd a thunk this would be posted on Hashkafah.com. The times they are a changin'. Jason Caplan's been booking some serious musicians to play at the Bridge Shul. Next month, its John Zorn's Masada String Trio.

Rappin' Jewish

The New York Times reports on jailed rapper Jamaal "Shyne" Barrow:
With the performer behind bars in upstate New York, a concert tour is out of the question. So is the customary swing through radio station studios in the biggest markets. The New York State Department of Correctional Services has started to enforce rules limiting the number of reporters who can visit. And whatever modest publicity efforts Shyne can undertake will not take place on Friday nights or Saturdays - he recently began observing the Jewish Sabbath, a nod, he says, to his great-grandmother, an Ethiopian Jew."
There's no word as to whether Barrow's conversion was an attempt to enable the rest of his sentence to be served at Otisville Federal Penitentiary instead of the Clinton Correctional Facility where he is currently incarcerated. V'Dai L'chakima b'rimiza.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

But They're Not On The Bill!

The Jerusalem Post 'splains klezmer in an article titled Brave Old World.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

eBay Item

Own a piece of J-rock history!

It's Mincha Time

Margot Leverett and Marty Confurius play the soundtrack for Manhattan Mincha photo exhibit.

Here's the artist's statement by photographer Jaime Permuth which includes this:
In a recent issue of “Torah Times”-- the self-declared “largest Jewish weekly shoppers guide” -- I found eight pages of listings devoted to “The Manhattan Mincha Map.” Together, they provide a listing of all the places in Manhattan where professional Jewish men may come to pray among their fellows. Some of the locales are synagogues or houses of study. However, most of them are actual workplaces, such as pizza parlors, shipping offices, printing shops, jewelry shops, and so on. I will produce a photographic document of these places, and the people who pray there, exploring this unique convergence of the sacred and the mundane.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

From The Parody Websites to the Greedy Companies...

Mixolydian Mode quotes 2 Cents Worth:
This Land Isn't Your Land
JibJab is now being threatened with a copyright lawsuit by the rights holders of "This Land is Your Land." The song, written by renowned leftist folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940, is apparently still under copyright. And the copyright is now in the hands of Ludlow Music Inc. Guthrie, incidentally, often put this copyright notice on his songs: "This song is Copyrighted in U.S. for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." The song was part of a book of songs that Guthrie himself privately published and dedicated to the public domain. After Guthrie became famous (and thus his songs worth money) Ludlow Music unleashed its lawyers to have them withdrawn from the public domain. Aside from the assault on Fair Use, this episode provides further proof that copyrights last too long. If the original 28-year copyright maximum still existed, "This Land is Your Land" would have been in the public domain where it belongs long ago. Woody Guthrie is dead. He cannot be encouraged to keep creating through copyright protection.
I'd say its Fair Use.

Here's a CNN Money article on the dispute.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Organic Halacha

Hirhurim quotes R' David Zvi Hoffman, Rav Kook, and R' Yekhiel Yaakov Weinberg (Seridei Aish) on the matter of playing organ in shul.

No Punk Music During The Three Weeks!

Rabbi Avi Shafran and the anonymous "neo-punk rocker."