Thursday, December 30, 2004

From the Jewish Papers...

Michael Wex reviews Yale Strom's new book "A Wandering Feast."
Strom's lust for the exotic occasionally moves him to lose respect for the day to day. When the sexton of the synagogue in Kosice, Slovakia, tells Strom that he won't be allowed to take pictures at [cap shaleshides, the third meal of the Sabbath, Strom hides a tape recorder on his person and tapes the shaleshides anyway. Let's ignore Hillel's unmusical Jewish dictum, "Don't do to others what you hate having done to you"; there is still a question of politeness, of respect for the culture of your hosts, whose songs are now being taken against their will. Time and again, Strom tells us that he is a vegetarian; would the discovery that his food had been laced with lard have elicited the same unconcern as his violation of the Sabbath in the Kosicer synagogue? More than 20 years after the incident, there's no sense of shame in the telling, no glimmer of awareness that this attitude of klezmer above everything, klezmer ├╝ber Alles, leads to fossils in a display case rather than a living, fully rounded culture.

The Forward also has Seth Rogovoy's 2005 CD recommendations. Unlike Rogovoy, I found the Klezmatics Guthrie CD less than compelling. The first tune, where they blend a Vishnitzer Nigun into the arrangement was the only part that worked for me.

On a roll, The Forward also has this review of Craig Taubman's Hip-Hop compilation and an interesting article on the old Russian tunes Natasha Hirschorn has been introducing at Conservative synagogue Anshe Chesed on the Upper West Side

The Jewish Week has this profile of David Amram and George Robinson's end of year CD round up.