Thursday, September 29, 2005

9/30/05 Link Dump

Shira Salamone as written a powerful post inspired by Blue Fringe's "Hineni" lyrics:
"Would take your only son?
Would you lay your answer down?
Would you bind him to the stone?
Would you take your only son?"
Be sure to read the comments as well.

A Simple Jew has written a sweet post about his daughter singing Yom Tov songs.

Heichal HaNegina posts about the Modzitzer Rebbes Yom Tov compositions.

LIFE-of-RUBIN has some thoughts on new Jewish music.

Here's a Jerusalem Post article about pianist Yaron Gottfried.

Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein has written a post for Cross-Currents:
And the words of the prophet they are written on the subway walls… – Paul Simon

So many of those seers came forth after Katrina, that the walls of the 34th St Station could have run out of room fairly quickly. Some of the reverse prognostications even came, to the embarrassment of some of us, from pretty well placed persons within the Torah community. (My favorite, however, comes from outside of it. It is the one that holds George Bush personally responsible, since he refused to sign on to Kyoto. That, of course, directly produced enough global warming to cause the current spate of tropical storms.)

Many of us skeptics suffered in silence, as we listened to a march of authorities tell us what everyone else was doing wrong. My son Peysi reminded me of two levels of irony in the rush to judgment.

The first concerned the suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv. Some holy figure told the world that the reason for the tragedy was undoubtedly Divine retribution for the Shabbos desecration of the patrons of that disco. A few months later, a bomber struck at the entrance to Emmanuel, a haredi town with no Shabbos desecration to speak of. A writer in Haaretz couldn’t resist the opportunity to announce that the tragedy certainly was Divine retribution for the sin of being haredi.

The more serious error in the spate of finger-pointing, observed my son, was that it run completely counter to the way Gedolim always reacted in the past, pointing the finger of guilt back at ourselves, rather than towards others. Our leaders used to offer no reason as to why the victims of cataclysmic events were swallowed up by them; they did, however, point out that if we were doing a better job of things, the world would be a more perfect place, and tragedies would not strike in the same way. Horrifying headlines became platforms upon which to deliver mussar talks that urged us to take stock of our own houses, rather than burn down those of others.
Read the whole thing!

From the mailbag...

Yosef writes:
Thanks so much for your blog. I'm stuck down in Australia and am getting a real kick out of checking your blog and when I'm lucky finding free music. Usually it's even good. The tunes you linked to from Sparklifters were great.
"Shmu Bru" forwards an ad for an "affordable Chasuna plan" that appears in this week's Hamodia on page A50:
Attention: Mechutanim

We are pleased to announce the introduction of the first phase of the AFFORDABLE CHASUNA PLAN

You can now book your chasuna in the newly renovated MENORAH HALL with the renowned ROTTENBERG CATERERS

Our package includes the following:
Wedding Hall
Meal (for one hundred couples)
Refreshments (for 400 guests)
Music with vocals (MP3)
Badchan (Kabolas Panim and Mitzvah Tantz. Only grandparents, mechutonim and chosson kallah will be called up)
Flowers (silk)

All of the above is included in the unbelievably low price of $5,998


The chasuna will take place according to the following schedule:
Kabolas Ponim: 6:30 PM
Chupa: 7:15 PM
Washing Netilas Yodayim: 8:00 PM
Simchas Chosson V'Kallah: 9:15 PM
Bircas Hamozon: 10:45 PM
Finish Mitzvah Tantz: 12:00 AM
The ad has two contact numbers; one for hall reservations and one for "comments and lectures."

Kabbalistic Pop

Fox Madonna likes to think of herself as being on the cutting edge, so she probably thinks a song called "Isaac" on her new album, about the founder of Kabalah, is just the ticket.

This new song, from "Confessions on a Dance Floor," is a paean to Luria. The 16th-century religious leader is suddenly hip, I guess.

"Isaac” (I guess we should be glad it’s not called “Ike”) also includes a spoken word interlude from a member of the London Kabalah Center named Yitzhak Sinwani.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MP3 Blogging

PT has posted an electric version of his "Song for Katrina."

Here are links to two tracks off of Yerachmiel Ziegler's new wedding-themed album Ahava V'achva."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Offensive Jewsapalooza Review

Over at Jewschool, David Kelsey has penned a snide partial review of yesterday's Jewsapalooza event.

Here's his opening 'graph:
The final day of the Jewish Music and Heritage Festival was different than the others in that it was held during the daytime and admission was free, which might help explain a much stronger Orthodox presence than at other events.
This is gratuitously nasty. The event was held on a Sunday on the Upper West Side, the home turf of the largest Orthodox singles community. It featured bands like Blue Fringe and Soulfarm (in addition to some edgier Jewish bands whom Kelsey declines to even mention) that appeal to that demographic and it also had an associated donor drive by Gift of Life at the event --to benefit Michael Brecker-- that was promoted to the Orthodox community. But that wouldn't have anything to do with it, of course. Those Orthodox Jews could only have been there, David suggests, because it was free and they wouldn't have to be out to late. Nice.

Yo, Wazzup Wit Dat Song?

NY's Funniest Rabbi wonders about Yo-Ya.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Reminder: Get Tested at Jewsapalooza On Sunday!!!


The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry will have a table at Sunday's free Jewsapalooza event in Riverside Park in NYC.

I strongly urge anyone who has not yet been tested as a possible stem cell donor to do so. You may be a match for Jewish jazz saxophonist, Michael Brecker, who urgently needs a transplant, or one of the many other members of our community who need transplants.

For more information, check out Arkady's Michael Brecker page.

Help save a life and catch a free concert or two at the same time!

Sibelius Rock and Pop Collection

This is too funny. I just got an email from Sibelius about their new Rock and Pop Collection soundset.
One of the sounds listed is titled "Keyboard Naïve & French."

Pey Dalid Blogger

My Yichud Room is a new blog written by Barry Seff of Pey Dalid.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Haftora Music

Ben Perowsky did it on this album:

Greg Wall does it on this album:

Now Psycho Toddler sets a haftora melody to music. In this case, it's acoustic guitar rock, rather than jazz. Check it out!

9/22/05 Link Dump

Jewschool has a post about Michael Brecker's need for a transplant and the relevant Jewsapalooza info. The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation will be testing volunteers to join its registry at the free Jewsapalooza concert this Sunday.If you have not yet been tested, please do so. You may be able to save a life!

Yudi Silber remembers Naomi Shemer's Yahrzeit in a letter to this week's Jewish Press.

Alexander Gelfand writes up Rashanim's collaboration with John Zorn in this week's Forward.

Krum as a Bagel comments on Uncle Moishy.

Speakin of the good uncle, Mystical Paths has some more video.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

In Which Pey Dalid and Dm make the J-Post

We got mentioned in today's Jerusalem Post positive review of the new Pey Dalid disc.
The leading Jewish music blogs seem as interested in the divide between schmaltzy straight-edge dos-pop and new-school Carlebach-y jam bands as this column is.

A few months ago, a particularly vicious debate raged, and a contributing reader to the Velvel blog and Blog in D Minor cited the band Pey Dalid to illustrate his point. The unidentified "Blog in D Minor" reader argued that bands like Pey Dalid and Soulfarm are sloppy and inferior to "shiny-shoe" ensembles with polished horn sections. Velvel, a Chicago-area Jewish rocker, rebutted with, "You know what? A lot of people prefer to hire a crappy, Carlebach-y, jam-band with loads of spirit over an uptight, cheesy band." Zing.
Ben Jacobson is referring to a reader's email we posted here. Velvel's response can be found here. (Our other Pey Dalid related posts are here and here.)

Hat tip, LIFE-of-RUBIN

Zamir Review

Tani Palefski reviews Danny Zamir's recent performance at John Zorn's "The Stone."

Some Observations On Working With Popular Singers

Over the last few weeks, I've played with a number of popular performers in both the "Yeshivish music" and "Carlebach/J folk-rock" communities.

Both communities have their own conventions in terms of repertoire, chord changes,and aproach. For example, all of the J-folk rockers called "Oz V'hadar" and "Ivdu" (Diaspora) while all of the Yeshivish/Chassidish singers called "Ben Bag Bag" and "Zochreini Na". All of then J-rockers also play an instrument, usually guitar, while none of the "suits" do (although some of them do know a few guitar or piano chords and have been known to "play" on occasion.)

There are also some performance techniques I'm noticing. For example, almost all of the Yeshivish/Chassidish singers do the following:
1) Splice the low part of Zochreini Na with the high part of Hinei Ma Tov (MBD).
2) Slow down the tempo drastically on the C section of one of the Lubavitcher Nigunim and the B section of Ein Od Milvado going rather abruptly from freilach to disco and back. Incidentally, while the bochurim all start jumping up and down at this point, it totally kills the dancing on the women's side until the tempo picks up again.
3) End the last song by medleying the high part of "Someday" with the high parts of various Yerusholayim songs (slow and fast) like Carlebach and/or Shwekey version of "Im Eshkacheich", "Yerusholayim Ora Shel Olam", and the like (so long as they're in the same key).
4) They don't bring sheet music, even for the original songs off of their own albums. (There was one exception this go-round.)

The J-Rocker approach is the following:
1) They all play "Oz V'hadar" with a similar rock groove.
2) Play "Ivdu" in a heavier rock style than the original.
3) Choose Carlebach songs that have been recorded by the Moshav Band and Soulfarm. Particular favorites seem to be the tunes off of Moshav Band's album, "Return Again."
4) Dress down for the gig, no matter the venue.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Reader email...

Naftali writes in response to this post:
I'm surprised you bring that up in the context that you should get paid more. Of course! I always pay my musicians extra for extra work. How about the musicians should charge more if the leader doesn't understand that by himself?
Obviously, if the bandleader is aware of issues in advance, he can price accordingly. I was thinking of situations where these scenarios were discovered at the gig. The post was inspired by a recent gig where I encountered the dumbwaiter/garbage load-in AND an unhelpful caterer. I think that it's unfair to spring hidden charges on a client or band after the fact, as it were. If there were a clearly understood policy though...

On the same subject, here's Psachya Septimus:
Congratulations - you've hit my pet peeve.
It's not so much the "obnoxious caterers" (ratings system, anyone?) or not feeding the band (you mean bands actually get fed sometimes?). It's the shlepping. And the shlepping. And the shlepping.

Look, I've been in this business almost 20 years. I'm used to the whole "go through the kitchen, past the garbage dump, wait 20 minutes for a freight elevator" routine. I don't even get upset at halls like La Perville (may it rest in peace), where there simply wasn't any elevator, even for the guests. No, what really frosts me is when a hall goes out of its way to make life as difficult as possible for the musicians. The ultimate example - a hall on the Queens bank of the East River. For the guests - an elevator that goes straight up to the bandstand. For the musicians - go two flights up the fire escape over the river - I'm not making this up - and then through a broom closet, with all the brooms intact. This place is one of the very few halls on my "never, ever put me there" list.

I do have a possible solution. Whenever there's a hall that involves extra shleppage (or moving from room to room to room), figure out what a top-notch roadie would charge for the service, and add it to the bill. This, at least, gives us the option of hiring a roadie for specific halls, or at least being compensated for the hassle. Make it very specific: 1) any hall that involves stairs and/or inadequate ramps; 2) any hall that makes you move more than twice; 3) any hall where, because of logistics, you can't set up the sound system until the middle of the affair (AARGH!!); 4) any hall that requires you to ever move the entire sound system during the gig. I would add that any hall that is punitively difficult for musicians (see above example), charge twice the roadie rate. (Anyone from Local 802 reading this?)

There - I'm done. Sorry for the long e-mail, but you hit a nerve.
This is in line with my thoughts. The problem is when this is only discovered at the gig, when it's too late to hire the roadie.

Alan Watsky writes:
Not surprising that Dorf (knit guy} or the Heeb staff know nothing about JM. More alarming that the "average" Jew knows nothing about it ! If the folks at my schule are any indication ignorance is the rule. Even the frum crowds taste and knowledge is questionable. Where can we start ? Jewish Grammy ? Sure OK. That's a nice thought. We don't even recognize (for the most part) the contributions of the elder statesman of the JM world. Some how the culture has under valued the musicians. If you're not a member of the Philharmonic you're a beggar. If you're not Pearlman; why bother. That seems to be the general attitude. Since the second temple, no music, no gigs for the Levites, and you'll get no respect, dor vador, for an infinity of generations. Its an uphill climb.
Rachel writes:
I just found out about your music blog! Wow! Is there a way for you to put a directory of free sheet music more prominently? I teach music and am looking for arrangements and leadsheets for the kids. I am despirately looking for contemporary things...Reva L'Sheva, Lev Tahor, Matisyahu,etc. because when I mention "doing music for a school assembly"...I am swamped with pleas of.."Don't make us do Jewish music like the Rabbi wants." Please any help would be great. I am trying to teach instrumentalists and vocalists that "our music" is COOL.

Zorn Award

Jewschool reports on the JM awards event. The bit about John Zorn is funny.

Monday, September 19, 2005

9/19/05 Link Dump

Ari Davidow takes on Heeb's First Annual Jewish Music Award at the KlezmerShack.
As much as I have complained about Heeb ignoring Sephardic music as a category, there is another, even more popular category which they have ignored, and that also accounts for some odd pigeon-holing: music coming out of the Orthodox community. In addition to his hip hop cred, Matisyahu, along with a host of interesting bands playing styles ranging from bluegrass to rock to all other forms of pop music, represents an assimilation of popular music into distinctly religious culture. It isn't an area that I understand well—I don't know enough to spot the 5% worth listening to in a community in which I spend minimal time. But, surely when acknowledging what is new and noteworthy in Jewish music there is room to consider Orthodox music on its own terms, rather than to notice the occasional Orthodox artists such as Juez or Matisyahu by trying to ignore their main inspiration and pigeonhole them elsewhere.

If I sound exasperated, let me point out one very important fact. Heeb may be clueless on the specifics, but there isn't any one else thinking to recognize new Jewish music. It sure as hell isn't coming from the Jewish mainstream. So, congrats to Heeb on honoring Jewish music! Now, if next year, and in coming years, they start from some understanding of Jewish music and culture, imagine! (And even at that, I find it easier to believe that someone at Heeb will get a clue than the idea that there will be Jewish music—or other Jewish cultural honors—from other Jewish publications or institutions.
yeshiva orthodoxy informs about a soon to be released Hannukah album.

Here's a fascinating article on the recording of a country song, complete with audio clips of various instrumental parts.

I intend to post my thoughts on Sibelius 4 sometime soon. Meanwhile, to spur debate, here's an anti-Sibelius post by Jeffery Cotton.

Finally, here's Uncle Moshie, Live!

They Can't Give It Away!

Among the New Orleans devastation, country music fans got some good news.
The Wal-Mart store in uptown New Orleans, built within the last year, survived the storm but was destroyed by looters.

"They took everything - all the electronics, the food, the bikes," said John Stonaker, a Wal-Mart security officer. "People left their old clothes on the floor when they took new ones. The only thing left are the country-and-western CDs. You can still get a Shania Twain album."

Extra Pay for Musicians

I think that musicians deserve additional compensation when playing gigs where one of the following applies:
1) Obnoxious caterer (I'm opening the floor on this one. Call it "Blog Your Caterer.")
2) Difficult load-in (i.e. basement gig in a venue with no elevator, or in one where the only elevator is really a dumbwaiter into the kitchen which requires navigating around garbage to enter/exit.)
3) Venues where the band has to move the PA/backline setup more than twice (i.e. different setups for cocktails, smorg, chupa, dinner, and desert.)
4) Gigs where the band doesn't get fed.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rotzeh V'shov

The Renegade Rebbetzin asks:
What in God's name does "Yamamai" mean??? Anyone? Chaim Dovid? Bueller?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bring Back The Chazzan

This week's Jewish Press has two letters calling for the return of Chazanim in the Orthodox world.

Reminds us of an older gentleman we know who went on a cantorial cruise. When he got back and was asked about his trip, he replied: "It was wonderful, but the davening shlepped on forever!"

PSA - Shidduch Connection

It's Make a Shidduch Day here at Blog in Dm. Here's a woman who is looking for a specific JM fan she noticed in Israel.
That last friday of the Z'man, i saw you in Gal Paz on Malchei Yisroel. You and i were listening to the same CD, i had the blue stereo, yours was black. You were shuckeling to the music, and to the beat of my heart. Your eyes had such a twinkle in them as you scanned the shelves of 1000's of CDs.

You were wearing a white shirt that was semi untucked in the back, and black pants. You were carrying your garment bag and hat box. One of your kenneth cole reaction shoes was untied.

Matisyahu JCC Concert Review


Via LoR.

Klezmer Komments - Updated

Here are some comments on our Klezmer Notation Question.

Alan Watsky writes:
I think most people like the standard sig. with the accidentals as they occur. Ethnomusicologists have their own problems and use those "compound" sigs. for their own reasons. If you need guys to sight read , just use the standard sig. and accidentals as needed. In fact there is one book that never gets used cause its author used the compound sigs. Nobody on the scene uses that book, even one of the people who helped edit it. Really no one should be chained to a Klezmer chart. Its sorta antithetical to the style. Heterophony rules. IMO
Aryeh Steiner writes:
Technically, the Freygish scale is really the harmonic minor scale. Is there any way to indicate harmonic minor in the key signature?
The Freygish scale is the equivalent of a harmonic minor scale beginning on the fifth. (IOW, D Freygish = G harmonic minor.) There's no key sig for the harmonic minor scale either, though. Plus, you'd have the same disadvantage of the key signature not indicating the mode (although it would accurately indicate the notes used.)

Update: Jordan Hirsch writes:
I advocate using the Standard Key Signatures, but also noting in the
upper left hand corner that the tune is in Freygish, so that the reader will be ready for the accidentals where they occur. But I also agree with Dr. Watsky that really, it's about the aural, and oral tradition.
Adding the "Freygish" instruction is a good idea.

Klezmer Notation Question

There are two common approaches to notating music in the klezmer scales. One approach is to use the standard Western key signatures and indicate accidentals as they occur in the melody. For example, a tune in D Freygish would be notated in Gm with accidentals indicating the F# as it occurs throughout the score.

Another approach, used by many ethnomusicologists, is to indicate all of the accidentals in the key signature which results in non-standard key signatures.

Personally, I find the second method more efficient in terms of conveying the scale of the piece. By glancing at the key sig, I know that the tune will have a modal sound. However, I've found that many musicians do not read these key signatures accurately in situations where they are reading lead sheets on the band stand without prior rehearsal. So, I generally notate the Freygish tunes in standard key for club dates.

I'm interested in hearing from musicians as to which method they prefer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sounds Like Fragility

Saxophonist Brian Sacawa writes about the fragility of life.

Would You Like Some Reggae With That DVD?

Would you like that HASC concert DVD with or without Matisyahu?

Musical Hurrican Relief

Instapundit has the details.

From the mailbag...

Arkady emails the following two items:

GIFT OF LIFE will have Test Booths set up at JEWZAPALOOZA It's a Free $$, All Day Concerts Event, on Sunday, September 25, 2005, 11AM-9 PM, at 72nd Street and Riverside Park on West Side in Manhattan. You can find out more about Jewsapalooza here.

Nachum Segal interviewed Michael Brecker's wife, Susan, on his morning show yesterday. You can listen to the interview at theJM in the AM archives.

Eden manager Yehuda Schupper emails that Eden, Blue Fringe, and Seth Nadel will be performing a benefit concert for hurricane relief this Sunday, September 18th at 8PM at the West Side Institutional Synagogue in NYC which is at 120 West 76th Street (bet. Columbus and Amsterdam). Tickets are $15 and the bands are donating their performances. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go the the UJA's fund for hurricane Katerina relief.

Itzhak Nissim wants y'all to know about his new Chouva Rap CD fusing Torah raps with hip hop.
Jewish rap, today is almost non-existent and not taken seriously due to the number of parody acts that has plagued. Itzchak Nissim is taking Jewish rap to another level with catchy chorus lines and captavating beats. Jewish rap or Chouva rap as Itzchak's termed it is more then rap or hip hop, its about Jews expressing themselves using the medium of hip hop or any other mass appealing means to promote a common message.
Nic emails:
I have Finale and have been using it for about a year. I have never tried Sibelius before, but have been thinking about it. Finale is still a little bit difficult for me and can be tedious to use sometimes. About the question on zionism, i saw that you have a jewish music blog and I was wondering how you felt about the idea of a political movement concerned with the establishment of a state in Palestine to be controlled by and for Jews. I have done research and found that some Orthodox Jews do not believe in the idea. I was just wondering how you felt. I like the idea and support it very much.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Jewish Blues-Rock

Sparklifter Avi Teitz emails that he's uploade some new tunes to his website. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

NY Jewish Music and Heritage Festival

Here's the Forward with an overview of the upcoming JM festival in NY.

And The Winner Is... Joey Ramone

The Jewish Week has the details about the award for lifetime achievement in Jewish music.

No Comment

Here's a letter to the editor from this week's Jewish Press.
Eerie Choice

As the anniversary of 9/11 is upon us, I cannot help but think back to the days leading up to that terrible day. I flew from New York to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Thursday, September 6, and planned to stay over Shabbos visiting friends before continuing on to Tampa to visit my grandfather. On Friday night, September 7, I davened in a shul in Ft. Lauderdale. The rabbi appointed a Sephardic man in his 20s, who was visiting his family from New York, to be the cantor for the evening service.

The man had a beautifully sweet voice. The service was sung to all the traditional melodies, which were very comforting. However, as the cantor started singing the last Kaddish of the service, I started to get chills. He sang it to the love theme of the movie Titanic — “My Heart Will Go On.” By the end of the Kaddish I had tears in my eyes.

After the service, a few congregants gathered around the bimah and said to one another, “Wasn`t that the tune from Titanic?”

As our sages told us long ago, sometimes a person can prophesy without knowing that he is prophesying. Four days later, the Twin Towers came crashing down.

Chaim Newfield
Southampton, NY

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Zen Answer of the Day

Drummer Christopher Sherer answers the famous Zen question thusly:
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, it does make a sound and you should find that tree, carve it into a log drum and drum on it!

Conservative Kosher

PT blogs a gig he played with Ruby Harris at a Conservative synagogue and writes about a misunderstanding with regard to whether the food was kosher by Orthodox standards (There is a range among among Orthodox certifications that is not relevant for this discussion.) or Conservative kosher.

I was once hired by a fellow musician to sing at a Shabbos Bar Mitzvah in South Jersey. There were four vocalists hired for this event which turned out to be in a Conservative shul. The arrangements were for us to eat at the homes of Orthodox people in the community on Friday night, daven Shabbos AM in the Orthodox shul, and then walk over to the Conservative shul to sing at lunch. We were told that the clients had made special arrangements for us to have "Orthodox kosher" food at lunch. The rest of the affair was "Conservative kosher."

When we got to the hall we ran into two issues. The first was when the Maitre D' announced that he doesn't seat the band. Nice. At a four hour Shabbos lunch. Eventually he consented to give us a table with four glasses and a pitcher of water in the corner near the kitchen.

We also discovered an issue when we went into the kitchen partway throught he affair to find out about the meals we'd been promised. The caterer proudly hauled out some frozen Meal Mart tv dinners and told us to give him approx. ten minutes notice before we were ready to eat so that he could heat them up for us. Ouch!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dm interviews Ruby Harris

So we did an email mini-interview with Ruby Harris. Best known in the Jewish market for his work with the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, Harris is a multi-instrumentalist who plays smoking Chicago-style Blues violin, Celtic music, Klezmer, and much more. His Electric Violin Blues Review CD, "Almost Home" features legendary musicians "Pinetop" Perkins, Sugar Blue, Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport, and Hamid Drake. We've had the pleasure of playing with Ruby several times and it's always been fun.

Here it is:

Dm: What do you consider to be Jewish music?

RH: Music from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 Tribes, Moshe, David, etc, music from the Levites in both Temples, music from Jewish communities in all the Diaspora such as Babylon, Spain, Sephardic and Ashkenazic areas, Chassidic music, and, since 1900, Klezmer, Yiddish, Israeli, Catskills, Yeshivish, Shlomo Carlebach, Jewish Rock, and now Jewish hip hop, and any music that mentions the word “Chopped Liver” or “Halvah”.

Dm: How do you approach creating/playing Jewish music?

RH:I take all of the above, and start jamming on it. Plus, I try to let some spiritual thoughts inspire me when I see a Torah thought or some Jewish current events that I’d like to express musically. Then with the help of an instrument, tape recorder, computer, ruach hakodesh, and pen and paper, I start the process rolling to completion and publication.

Dm: Can you share some contemporary Jewish music artists whose work you like? Who would you consider to be some of the most creative Jewish music artists working today?

RH: Chaim David, Moshav Band, Klezmatics, Shlomo & Eitan Katz, Soulfarm, Klezmer Conservatory, Blue Fringe, Shelly Lang, Pey Dalid, Peter Himmelman, Yitz Rosenberg, Oneg Shemesh, Haim Moshe, Ofra Haza (A’hs), Neil Sedaka, and any offshoot of the DYB.

Dm: What Jewish music projects are you currently involved in?

RH: Many: almost finished with my upcoming CD “The Wind and the Rain”, the Nigunnim of Ruby Harris, many other recordings in progress, plus work on many artists’ CDs, plus a constant performance schedule of concerts and simchas.

Dm: Will there be a Diaspora reunion?

RH: Yes, there are plans for most of us to get together for concerts, such as myself, Rabbi Moshe Shur, Chaim David and Ben Tzion Solomon, but no definite plans at the moment. I did a show in New York recently and Simcha Abramson showed up and jammed with us. Great to see him! I also played a few events with Rabbi Shimon Green, who is better than ever. Everybody is so busy with their own projects. However, we could be persuaded...

Save A Life!

Arkady has updated his website to include his recent emails and lots of links. If you have not yet volunteered to be tested as a potential donor, please do so! You may help save a life!

Ask and Ye Shall Be Answered

This should answer Jothar's question.

While we're visiting the Town Crier, check out this link to a NY Times article on Catskills nightlife. Here's the setup:
KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y., Aug. 27 - The streets of Woodbourne are ghostly, clerks at ShopRite outnumber shoppers two to one, and the Kiamesha Lanes bowling alley is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. It is a Catskill Saturday night at 10 o'clock, and everyone - at least everyone observing the Jewish Sabbath - knows where their children are.

An hour from now, however, and all bets will be off.

With the sun safely beneath the horizon, Yudi Kaufman and Yoel Hillelsohn put on their long-sleeve Oxford shirts, jumped into Mr. Kaufman's Toyota Scion and cranked up the Yeshiva Boys Choir. By midnight, having picked up three friends at far-flung bungalow colonies, they headed to Wal-Mart in Monticello, its parking lot already crammed with baby carriages, camp vans and packs of teenagers practicing blowing smoke rings in the amber glare of the overhead lights. For many people, however, shopping was not on the agenda.
The Yeshiva Boys Choir -- road music for repressed teens!

Incidentally, check out the caption on the last photo: "Rabbi Mordechai Jungreis, at left, joined David Walker and Moishe Kishmich, at right, in a dance at a kosher pizza parlor last Saturday night." Reminds us of those crank calls regularly made to Moe's Bar on the Simpsons.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Missing In New Orleans - Updated

FOX News is reporting that influential boogie-woogie pianist "Fats" Domino is missing in the New Orleans flooding. Meanwhile, Allen Toussaint has been holed up at the New Orleans Superdome.

Update: CNN is reporting that "Fats" Domino was safely evacuated.

Job Prep

Led a job for one of the big offices the other night. The job prep packet contained the chupa list and the following clearly detailed instructions:
1st: standard
2nd: standard
Dinner: standard

Nachamu Update

Jordan Hirsch responds to Michael:
I performed at the Avrohom Fried show. Attendance there was not as big as last year, but there were still over 1500 people there.

From the mailbag...

Michael writes:
I've heard first- and third-hand that the Shabbos Nachamu events in the Catskills - namely - MBD and Yeedle, AF and his cast of obscure unknowns, and Yidstock - were all relative failures. MBD drew only a few hundred, AF had, in the words of one observer, "A lot of empty seats," and Yidstock was summed up in that brief paragraph that's online everywhere. Have you heard anything more substantive?

Jothar writes:
Did anyone kasher numa numa yet by turning it into Yiddish (MBD, Lipa, Dedi, etc?)
We're not aware of anyone covering it, but it was big at at least one camp we played this summer.

Chaim writes:
A friend just e-mailed me that he bought the new Michoel Shnitzler CD, and inside was a 24 page cd booklet. Each page had on one side credits/songs lyrics/thank you's and the the opposite side was an ad. One was a bakery, one was a glasses store, a restaurant, furniture store, mostly in Boro Park. I think that's a very disturbing trend. I really hope it doesn't catch on. It's a good way to raise money to make your cd, but talk about selling your soul.
Menachem Herman emails a link to the Menachem Herman Orchestra Official Site.

Finally, Arkady has been working hard to raise awareness of an important issue by sending numerous emails about the importance of being tested as a potential stem cell donor. The impetus here is Jazz saxophonist Michael Brecker's urgent need for a transplant, but it has ramifications for the community as a whole. See our post on this here. I've asked Arkady to post the text of his emails on his site so that anyone interested in finding out more can easily do so.

9/1/05 Link Dump

The YU Commentator has an article on secular music and Chassidic camps. A taste:
Apparently, all Lubavitch camps have similar policy. This year in Gan Israel Detroit I came across similar circumstances. Deli Braffman and Berky Berkowitz, a couple of teen campers who visited my infirmary, informed me of an even stricter criterion.

"We are allowed to listen to any Jewish music on personal headsets, but public music on a boom box in a bunk house is limited. The artists that they listed as banned are Blue Fringe, Matisyahu (a self proclaimed Lubavitcher himself) and Kinderlach," they explained to me.
L-o-R is calling out Mostly Music again!

Speaking of... here's a Mostly Music promo via the Yahoo JM group. It's a blurb for "Special Moments", a wedding album featuring Shloime Dachs and Mendy Wald. The copy:
Lakewood and MIR are out if the freezer. GEAR UP for wedding season with this album for the special moments.
M.B. on M.B.D.

Finally, Mazal Tov to Matisyahu on the bris of his new son and to Yahoo JM Group founder M!ndy on the birth of a baby boy!