Menachem Butler is Williger blogging.
Here are some things you should know about music critics. (Via Chromatic Musings.)
World Music Central interviews Frank London.
What is the present condition of Jewish music in the United States?Breslov vs. Carlebach
There is more Jewish music of more variety being created and marketed at this point in the USA than ever before. The music ranges from great to execrable, but that is the sign of a living vibrant culture (Baruch HaShem.) What is interesting and perversely annoying is the way unlike musics are compared simply because of the label Jewish Music, which is too large or too general to have any meaning. Thus the subtitle of the new CD: "In the Marketplace All is Subterfuge." Via the KlezmerShack.
The Carlebach Shul's Rabbi Naftali Citron responds to Rabbi Dovid Sears. It started with a JP column by Rabbi Citron:
There is a lot of joy in both movements, which is perceived in the music of Breslov and Chabad. With some exceptions, Chabad niggunim have a very contemplative aspect while it is easier to access joy in a Breslov niggun. Tanya, Chabad's primary text, describes its form of praying as a "long shorter way." In Breslov and other Chassidic schools, the distance from G-d creates a call of extreme yearning. It emphasizes the value of emotions over intellectual understanding.Rabbi Sears responds:
It is true that Chabad possesses a rich musical legacy, which includes many contemplative works of a deeply stirring nature. And it is also true that many Breslover niggunim are extremely joyous (as anyone who has ever attended a "Simply Tsfat" concert will attest). However, from Rabbi Citron’s description, one might conclude that Breslover niggunim are little more than happy ditties, the musical equivalent of those pictures of dancing Chassidim that adorn so many Jewish dining room walls. This is easily refuted by anyone who has heard a group of "real life" Breslover Chassidim sing deveykus niggunim, such as those composed by Rabbi Nachman, or the powerful melodies of third-generation Breslover Reb Meir Leib Blecher, or the many bittersweet lyrical gems of anonymous Breslover composers.An NPR report helps promote Jewish music.