Thursday, March 30, 2006

3/30/06 JM Link Dump - Updated w/Moshiach poster

The Town Crier reports: "JM Stars To Greet The Rebbe, King Moshiach." Yerachmiel Begun and the Miami Boys Choir and Yaakov Shwekey will be appearing at a concert in Israel in honor of the 104th B-day of the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach.

UPDATE: A picture really is worth 1000 words. Here's the poster for that event.
UPDATE II: Hirhurim comments.

Alexander Gelfand writes about Frank London's album "Carnival Conspiracy: In the Marketplace All Is Subterfuge."

LIFE-of-RUBIN posts about a ten year-old from Alaska who has composed a new niggun for the "Rebbe's kapitel." Follow the links for an mp3 clip of the melody.

Chaptzem Blog! has posted a Jewish music challenge.

The Jewish Week writes about klez violinist Alicia Svigals new Klez for kids project.

Steven I. Weiss asks "What's the Orthodox Bar for Matisyahu?"

Over at The Hall of the Goblin King, the artist known as Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) has posted his original melody for the zemer Yah Ribon, inspired partially by Bette Midler's The Rose.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

3/28/06 JM Link Dump

Dilbert finds Matisyahu's liner notes disappointing.

Keep On Smile'n is critiquing Shwekey's Oorah video.

Shira Salamone is "calling all Jewish musicians."

Jewish Blogmeister has posted questions for Eli Gerstner in advance of his Thursday morning interview on JM in the AM.

Jewish Music Blog reviews Dovid Gabay's latest.

Hershel Tzig calls for some Breslov pride!

MoC has posted a Davening for the Amud Friday Night Tutorial.

MBD Interviewed

Here are some excerpts from an MBD interview in the new JE magazine:
JE: We were told that most of the songs were composed by you.

MBD: Baruch Hashem. Yes, that is no different than any other time!

JE: What do you think about Jewish music nowadays? Where do you see it heading?

MBD: I don't know much about Jewish music. I only know about my albums. Even with my albums, I keep it simple. My son has been chasing me for three days now to listen to the final mix, and I haven't had the time to do it yet. I don't know what is out on the market. I hope it is going in the right direction. My objective in Jewish music is to highlight the neshama. Whether it is a song of joy and happiness or a song of emotion or seriousness, the tachlis is to reach the heart. Music is a medium to connect to the Ribono Shel Olam on a higher level. It is a ruchnius zach (thing), not a gashmiyus zach. Sometimes, music is used for narishkaiten (trivial things). We have to keep our eyes on the goal, that music is meant as a channel for kedusha.

JE: Over the past 30 years, do you feel that anything had changed in the Jewish market?

MBD: Sure. The technical qualities have drastically changed. It has become much more sophisticated. Additionally, the capabilities and possibilities are endless nowadays. The geshmak, the feeling, always comes back to the roots of Yidishkeit. That is what people really want to hear. The proof of that is Reb. Shlomo Carlebach ZT"L. He had simple and geshmake songs that connected people to the Rebono Shel Olam. You will notice in my new album that I took that derech as well.

JE: What message do you want to impart to your fans, to the Jewish community, who listens to your music?

MBD: I call them family. They are an extended family that has been listening to my music for years. It is all up to us to get to the goal. That goal is to bring Moshiach. In order to get to that goal we need Ahavas Yisroel, closeness to one another. In fact, one of the songs on the album is titles Ahavas Yisroel. It was written by Lipa Shmeltzer, who is very talented in his own right. I am amazed by him. The message is that without Ahavas Yisroel, we will never get anywhere. We have to break down all the barriers of nonsense. Everyone thinks, "It's my Rebbe, my Rosh Yeshiva, my chassidus..." We have to realize that we have one Reboinoi Shel Olam, Who is our Father, Who loves us, cares for us, and is waiting for us to realize the truth.
Some JE pieces can be found online here, but to read the rest of the MBD interview, you'll need to snag a copy of the mag.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rochelle Maruch Miller Phones It In

Here's the lede from this month's Coutry Yossi Magazine ad, er, cover article on Eli Gerstner's Chassidish Accapella release:
Eli Gerstner. Composer, performer, conductor, arranger and producer extraordinaire, he has raised the bar in Jewish music. As the creative force who brought us the Chevra, Menucha, Tek-noy and the Yeshiva Boys Choir, Eli has established himself as a musical genius, whose compositions have become an integral part of our simchas, enriching our lives immeasurably. With his finger on the pulse of Jewish music, he is considered to be one of the industry's most influential voices. Indeed, virtually every one of his albums has been a sellout success, and his musical compositions are requested time and again. That each new release is an eagerly anticipated event attests to Eli's keen musical acumen and his impeccable standards of professionalism and quality.
Let's see...

composer/producer extraordinaire - check
musical genius - check
every album a sellout success - check (anybody else see the irony in sellout success?)
finger on the pulse of Jewish music - check
compositions requested time and again - check
bar raised in Jewish music - check
enriched our lives immeasurably - check
new release eagerly anticipated - check

At this point, Miller's just phoning it in.

For more glorious flattery, you'll have to pick up the dead tree edition.

Boiangiu, Katz, and Razel in Concert

MoC emails some concert info for this Motsei Shabbos.
"Aish Kodesh Presents:

Aron Razel, Shlomo Katz and Ari Boiangiu in concert.

The concert will take place this Motsai Shabbos, April 1st, at 9 p.m. at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst (corner of Broadway and Spruce Street in Lawrence).

Admission is $20/$15 for students, at the door.

Separate Seating.

We look forward to seeing you there."

Friday, March 24, 2006

From the mailbag... Updated

Michael writes:
Why doesn’t the guy who wrote you the niggun syllables (nana, nuh nuh, ah ah, oh oh, ee, ee, oooooooof) just grab the mic that came with his PC and hum it into Windows sound recorder? He can save it as a WAV file and e-mail it to you. Or me. Or whomever. Posting it in syllabic breakdown is ridiculous, in my opinion, and I even tried to figure out which niggun he was talking about!

If he needs instructions, I can e-mail them to him.
Shmuel refers Rui S. to JEWISHJUKEBOX.COM and notes that they ship internationally.

Update: Daniel Falik writes:
Rav Hershel Schachter, shlit”a, tells a story of a Chassidic rebbe who was walking down the street. Through a window, he overheard someone singing a niggun. He walked over, knocked on the door and told the fellow the right way to sing the niggun. The rebbi explained that he had a duty of “hashavas aveidah”.

With that in mind, I’d like to take a stab at the niggun that RL inquired about. It seems that his accented “lyrics” may fit the high part of Niggun Neshoma (“Um-dee-dee-do-oh”). It also fits some parts of his description (i.e., jumpy tune, relatively new niggun, now popular at weddings, etc). Hope that helps.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

From the mailbag...

Rui S. writes:
I am jewish and I am from Brazil, I love hassidic songs and would like to know if you have ani suggestion for me. I want to listen “adi ran” but here in Brazil we don’t have the Cd to buy. Thank you very much. Toda Raba.
GE Studios writes in response to RL's question::
I'm not so familiar with Carlebach songs, also I can't really make out the song your are trying to describe.
I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. responds as well:
To the reader who wants you to find the tune 'na na na na na'-- here's a musical encyclopedia that'll name a tune that you sing into it-- 'query by humming'.

Musipedia: The Open Music Encyclopedia

I doubt it has jewish tunes classified yet, but it still is a pretty cool link. Someone should try it.

Lev Tahor Don't Know Squat!

It appears as though a Chabad out in LA now has possesion of, the recently launched url of the singing group Lev Tahor. The singing group's site was in the works for some time and went live only a short while ago, but evidently, the domain name had preivously been purchased and is now again owned by Chabad of Compton.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

From the mailbag...

GE Studios writes:
Shimon Kugel has released a new CD which can be previewed at: and
RL writes:
You're an accessible expert on Jewish Music, I have a question that's been itching me. I'm trying to get hold of a Carlebach Nigun, that has no words and hence the difficulty. I know that Yisrael Williger has popularized the tune and does a pretty good job at it. It's a very jumpy tune and it just has sounds no na, na, na's. actually, it has a few. I went to mostly music's website and can't find a track on any of his albums that would seem to be associated with the nigun.
Chaim Dovid sings it too, very well, but I can't locate it on his CD's in my collection (I mentally reviewed them I haven't actually listened through them, if it's there, it would be on the newer ones).

The nigun is a great concert one and used for weddings too.

I'll try to describe it....

"Uh, uh, ah-ha, uh, uh, ah-ha, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh na, NA, na, NA, na, NA, na, NA, na, NA, na, nana, nana, na."

ahhh, does that help?! The "uh-hu's" fluctuate in key....and sound...

I wish I could describe keys or scales or chords in more details, I forgot my music training, aside from the fact that I can't decipher that stuff by ear.......

Can you help me? Have I sufficiently described my intangible quest?

It is really important as I need it for an event, not to mention it's driving me nuts....

I hope we can solve this mystery....
I haven't the foggiest!

OOchusidOO writes:
I was just wondering if you could help me. Do you remember Zohar from Tzlil V'zemer fame. He did 3 solo albums that are all out of print. I am looking specifically for the first 2: "The Wonder Boy" and "I Am Back." Do you have any idea where i might be able to obtain the CDs or mp3 of these albums? Also, what ever happened to the guy? He just disappeared from the music scene. Thanks for your help. And keep up your bloging. It's great!!!
Were those first two even released on CD?

Today's Linkage

Judeopundit has a "Question for J-Blogosphere Music Mavens."

The group's name is Ein Od Milvado. I have another recording of theirs, Hayoshevet Baganim, with the following songs on it:

Baruch She'amar
Bara Oti
Einai Tamid
Lo Nira
Hoyshevet Baganim

I believe one of their songs, Tchadesh P'nei Adama, is popular among the Kiryat Arba crowd. I think I once heard that the band is from there, but I'm not sure. I transcribed a tune by that name a few years back off of Shirim Shelazar Ahav, an album released in memory of Sergeant Elazar Liebowitz Z"L who was murdered by terrorists. I don't have the recording Judeopundit is asking about, but I'd guess that its the same song. It's in the same style. The song was sung at the levaya.

The album I have has absolutely no information as to who the musicians/songwriters are either. If anyone knows, please pass the info along.

Sruly Meyer has posted his "14 Songs That Changed the World of Jewish Music.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

From the mailbag...

Zvi Lampert writes:
Hey, this is from an email I sent to a jewish music yahoo group on the topic, and I though it might be an appropriate response to that numbskull zealot who wants to bring mashgichim into Jewish recording studios or some crap like that.

What is it that makes Jewish music Jewish?

I hear lots of talk about "this sounds goyish" or "that's too rocky". Well, what does sound Jewish? What most of us mean when they say something sounds Jewish is that it sounds like the music the Jews of Europe developed over many centuries of living there (I.e. Klezmer, niggunim, chasidishe marches, chazunnis, and their more recent American offshoots). Ironically, those stereotypical Jewish styles (which are legitimate styles of music) sound a lot like the 'goyish' music of those locales. If you listen to traditional Sephardic pizmonim, it sounds a lot like the local goyish music of those Middle Eastern or North African countries from which many Sephardim hail. And so it is and has been with the music of Jews anywhere in the world. We borrow (not only in music) from the culture and styles of our host countries, and we incorporate elements of it into our own culture. This is not assimilation, it is adaptation.

Why should it be any different for American Jews to adopt our music to the styles of our host country (rock, jazz, R&B, hip hop, blues, just to name a few)? We have been living in America, many of us since WWII, many of us far longer, but certainly long enough to consider our communities here well established. Why was it OK for some rebbe in Hungary 200 years ago to take a local beer anthem and apply it to lecha dodi or keil adon, thus 'creating' a permanent niggun, but if a current Jewish artist uses something even resembling a back beat, or, Hashem yeracheim, takes a rock tune and puts in Jewish lyrics (i.e..Schlock Rock, or MBD's Yidden), somehow its judged as tainted? It's a major double standard, based on a false impression of Jewish history, and in many cases, stemming from self riteousness and ignorance. In my opinion the only purely Jewish music is what Dovid Hamelech composed for the Leviim, and those songs have been lost to us (although there is an obscure theory that the Gregorian monks adopted some of those melodies for their famous chants, which would make even those original Jewish composition possul.)

I believe that Jewish music, like any other art form, if not allowed to evolve, grows stagnant. So many new albums are flooding the market that all sound the same, the same composer, same arranger, same musicians, many singers are clones of Avraham Fried (a true professional who I love, and with whom I've worked many times, but only he is the original). It's getting stale. We've gone as far as we can go with this idea that Jewish music has to sound like the ancient folk songs of the European countryside (hot rhythm section from Israel and overblown, disruptive horn arrangements notwithstanding). It's time to start opening our minds to some growth and freshness in new Jewish music. I'm not trying to knock mainstream Jewish artists, I'm just trying to say don't be so quick to knock the new school guys.
Shalom Septimus writes:
quoted from yer blog:

E writes: "I just reminded myself of another wedding where they played during the procession (not for the bride or groom) but during the procession they played the theme music from the tv soap opera the young and the restless."

I should point out, in the interest of historical accuracy, that this piece didn't originate with the soap opera: it was originally titled "Cotton's Dream" from the soundtrack of the movie "Bless The Beasts And Children". I have that LP somewhere.

(O yeah, and "Turkish Kiss" is actually titled "Simarek", which means "spoiled" (as in brat). Wrong titles bother me. Unfortunately if you use the correct ones, nobody knows what the heck you're talking about.)
Yeah, try requesting Nigun Ratza Vashov one day and see what happens.

A reader writes:
it just hit me the tune of the bagpipe intro on legabay is the intro to the back to the future soundtrack probably unintentional but ...
Jeremy Gimbel writes:
Are you bored with Passover songs? Do you wish Hanukkah wasn't the only holiday with new songs like Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," or "Hanukkah Hey Ya"? Do you wish there was a Passover parody that wasn't written to a melody that was popular before you were born? Are you tired of reading rhetorical questions? Well, here's a question that actually has an answer: What do you get when you take the "k" out of Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi"? That's right: "S8er Boi". Check it out at and liven up your s8er!
Yosef writes:
Check out the following blog on jewish music, particularly the last 2 posts relating to "the 14 songs that changed the world of Jewish music" -- it's not directly on point with respect to the "must have" albums, but it's a good talking point. here's the link, let me know what you think (feel free to post about it): JEWISH MUSIC REVIEW
I haven't seen the article, so I don't know what the thought process is behind this list, but it doesn't resonate with me.

Yosef's also been asking for the Top 5 or 10 Jewish albums:
I guess if you're having a hard time narrowing it down, you can expand the list to include the top-20 or something like that -- or maybe something like the top 10 for separate decades (i.e. 2000 -- present, 1990 -- 1999, etc.) As for me, I'm really a novice and wouldn't know where to begin in identifying the albums that would answer my question -- that's exactly why I asked the question to you (and your readers).
I find it difficult to answer these kinds of questions. I did list of *some* of my favorite albums for my J-Blogger interview.

3/19/06 JM Link Dump

Hey, we've been interviewed!

Liel Liebovitz writes on Matisyahu and race in "Black Like Me" for the Jewish Week. Here's a clunker we noticed over Shabbos:
To be sure, other artists who have begun as marketing schemes have since risen to prominence. Eminem, to cite the best example, got his first break for being the first white rapper, became successful for appealing to a large white audience otherwise indifferent to hip-hop and went on to become one of the genre’s most esteemed musicians, regardless of skin color.
First white rapper??? Um, that would arguably be the Beastie Boys, who Liebovitz mentions earlier in the article. Vanilla Ice also definitely preceded ol' M&M. Word!

Those racist Israelis demonstrate their intolerance yet again by choosing a Black Hebrew to represent them at Eurovision.

Next Year's Man writes about his Purim tish:
For me one highlight of the evening was Treppenwitz playing Miserlou on the trombone -- and not the Pulp Fiction version, but rather a slow shmaltzy Jewish wedding version that I gamely tried to get 50 drunken men to do the moves to in their seats. I think you had to be there. Or not.
T, tell me you didn't play Zemer Atik next!

I want a Trash Kat!

Prince is doing teshuva! Word is he'll soon be guest posting over at Beyond BT.

Chaim is thanking MBD!
That's all for now, but in all honesty I wanted to thank MBD and company for supplying me with so much material over the last week. I owe your whole crew a big yashar koach.
Here's a review of Ari Boiangiu's Rosh Ashmurot.

Romach on chazzanus: "Take it Outside!"

Here's Billboard:"Matisyahu Parts Ways With Longtime Management."

Jason Brzoska has some interesting comments on Matisyahu.


Moving on after Matisyahu... JDub Records is growing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

3/15/06 Link Dump pokes fun at MBD.

Pianist Jeremy Denk has posted a touring quiz.

Look Out! MC Hammer's got a blog!

The Jewish Standard writes on Jorma Kaukonen's searches for his Jewish soul. Via Tzvee.

INR's Ben Bresky has created a MySpace page with a blog. He's posted reviews of Arkady's "The Other Side" album, interviews with the Klezmatics, Shuly Nathan, King Django, Yossi Piamenta, and more.

Canonist takes on Slate's Jody Rosen. I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. thinks Rosen's article was lifted... from her. DovBear comments.

Pair 'o music posts over at Beyond BT: "Led Zeppelin & Frum Culture" and " Bob Dylan and Me."

Heichal HaNegina has posted part two of his Purim nigunim roundup.

Yesterday, the NY Times reported"Hasidic Reggae Singer Surprises His Managers." Mobius comments here.

Speaking of Matisyahu, here's an interview.

AVC: There is some Jewish pop music, though.

M: Within Orthodox circles, there are Jewish artists. They're not very popular, but there is a little niche there.

AVC: Do you ever listen to any of that?

M: I've never been into it. I've tried to listen to it, but I've never felt it was of quality.
Hirhurim is apologizing to Matisyahu.

Finally, those of you who have never been to a Mitzvah Tanz might be interested in seeing this video clip of the Bobover Rebbe dancing a Mitzvah Tanz.

Shushan Purim Humor, News, and Comments

A bit late, here's Jewschool's JBloggers Purim Spiel '66 which we collaborated on. A big shout out to all who helped. It was fun to bounce ideas back and forth, and many funny ideas that didn't make it in were discussed.

The footnotes aren't showing up for some reason in the Matisyahu letter as posted, so we're posting the document (obtained by Dm's crack investigative staff) here.

Here's some other material that didn't make the cut for one reason or another. Not all is JM related.


Feminists protest "Jewish Women Watching"; "Jewish Women Doing" protest passive name.

Matisyahu releases new album of Reggae versions of Yiddish Classics. Musical arrangements by Suki Berry and Bill Laswell.


Op-ed writer wanted for North Bergen Jewish publication. Contact the Jewish Voice and Opinion. Ask for S.A. Halevi. Confidentiality guaranteed.

Orthodox Jewish singer needed for concert at Hebrew Messianic "Temple" in NYC. Female preferred. Must be well-known. We promise not to missionize during the concert. Contact "Rabbi" Bruce.

Lubavitch Reggae singer seeks band and management. Influences: Matisyahu, Matisyahu, and Matisyahu. No phonies or poseurs. Major Label interest.

News from the future:

Birthright America sponsors trips to the USA so teenage Nefesh B'nefesh descendants can get closer to their heritage through visiting their ancestral homelands.

Cafe Press ideas:
Matisyahu wearing a Carlebach hoodie with a speech bubble “Lord, get me high!”
How about a “Besamim yes, weed no!” logo?

Cartoon editorial:

Movie description:

Truman Capote, during his research for his book, "In Cold Blood"; an account of the Agribusiness/PETA controversy, during which the writer develops a close relationship with Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Friday, March 10, 2006

Purim JM News

In the spirit of the season, here are some JM news headlines the J-media will not be bringing you. Besides, Zev Brenner needs some more material for his Purim show. (Hi, Zev!)

Lipa Shmeltzer Banned; Yashar Books Picks Up Distribution

New Album "Mostly Reggae" A Hit In Yeshiva Dorms

"Guy's Night On" Event At Makor A Success

Nordstrom Recruiting Klezmer Pianists

Wedding Band Covers Original Version of "Ya Ma Mai"; Plays Melody Without Any Anticipations or Reharms.

Lipa releases New Album Titled "Jezzy Rock and Roll"

Eli Gerstner Signed To JDub Records

German Pop Group Scores Smash Hit with "Borrowed" MBD Tune Decides To Increase Coverage of Bk'lyn JM

MBD Apologizes for Yidden; Pays Royalties To German Popsters Dschingis Khan.

Aish, Nafshenu, and Shloime Dachs Orchestras Merge; Sign Agreement To Book All Gigs At Below Cost; Will Make Up Losses Through Sales Volume

YU Hires non-Neginah Band for Upcoming School Year.

Chevra Reunites!

Heeb Magazine Reviews MBD's Efshar Letaken; Gives It Five Stars

Matisyahu Renounces Chabad; Joins Breslov

Chabad Hosts Bar Mitzvah For Osama Bin Ladin On Long Island

Not Reviewing Matisyahu

Jeremiah Tucker is not reviewing Matisyahu:
I recently realized that aside from a few snide asides, I rarely spend much time discussing music that I loathe and therefore a good portion of popular music never enters this column, which is a disservice to the young and impressionable.

With that in mind, this week I listened to the Hot Topic house band Hawthorne Heights. I briefly considered listening to Hasidic Jew and popular reggae star (two descriptors that have probably never been used in conjunction before) Matisyahu, but then I realized Matisyahu is what people with bad taste listen to when they go to college and "expand their cultural horizons."

Eeee Efshar!

J forwards a link to B flat who doesn't like the video clip included on MBD's new CD, Efshar Letaken. Aryeh S. concurs. As we noted earlier, LIFE-of-RUBIN doesn't like the included anti-piracy video clip. He's got more here.

Oholei Tzadikim (further up in the B flat thread) is impressed with the album. (His comments are in Yiddish.)

JMR doesn't like the album art.

Surprisingly, there has been virtually no comment on the album on the Yahoo Jewish Music Group since its release.

Sameach's Podcast Reviewed

LIFE-of-RUBIN reviews the Sameach Music Podcast. This week's show includes an interview with guitarist Ari Boiangiu, and it's refreshing to hear a JM artist talk about his music in an intelligent, intellectual, and honest manner. Yasher Koach!

I'm Just Sayin'

IMO, if you "owe" a musician a gig for whatever reason (due to last minute cancellation or whatever), calling them last minute for a Purim gig does not constitute making it up to them!

Great Band Name

For our Northern New Jersey area readers:
Congregation Keter Torah at 600 Roemer Avenue is sponsoring a free concert with THE MIAMI BEACH BOYS BAND! There will be free food and fun for the whole family with a lot of audience participation. This live band will not only knock your socks off but keep you in stitches throughout their one hour concert!!!

The concert is set to begin at 8:30pm Monday night but everyone is invited to daven Ma'ariv at 6:30pm followed by Megilah at approximately 6:45pm.
Sounds like something we could have thought of.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

All In All, Another Trip To The Wall

The Jerusalem Post reports that legendary British rock musician Roger Waters has rejected requests from Palestinian artists to cancel his upcoming concert in Israel.

3/9/06 Link Dump

Chaim Rubin writes: "Oh the Sweet Irony ....MBD on Stealing Music!"

Jewschool posts "SF City Beat Reams Matis On Shomer Negiah."

Steven I. writes for the Forward: "Hasidic Rapper Strives To Stay Atop the Charts."

Steven is also reporting that dance magazine "Dance Europe" has been boycotting Israel.
We don’t allow advertisements or stories from Israel but if we are going to run something, it’s with a statement from the source denouncing the occupation she replies.
So what do you need? I ask. A disclaimer from the artistic director?
I want to know where they get their funding
she tells me. If it’s from Israel or from the Israeli government then I can’t run anything on them.
This is outrageous and their US-based advertisers should be made aware of this.

UPDATE: Steven has more here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

From Blog to Blog

Matisyahu has been all over the J-blogosphere lately.

Here are some more links:

Hirhurim comments.

jewishfringe is raising some questions.


Aryeh reviews "Youth."

Piling On!

Here's the NY Times on Matisyahu's Monday night performance. Color them unimpressed.

Via Jewschool.

From the mailbag...

Michael writes:
Per the “hashgacha for music” discussion – I think that would pose a very interesting problem. For Kashrus, the mashgiach or machshir has to know halacha. He doesn’t have to taste the tarfus; he just has to be able to ensure that a certain set of conditions is met. For putting a hechsher on music, the machshir has to be familiar with ‘goyish’ music, doesn’t he? Or should we just rely on his innate sensitivity to “know treifene music when he hears it?” And what happens if a catchy-but-goyish song gets stuck in his head and he hums it while he’s sitting over a sefer at home? Either way, the treife influence permeates the pure, holy, Yiddishe home! How insidious this evil music is!!

Per the unusual music choices at weddings – I have a cousin who ‘walked in’ to “Can’t turn you loose” – more commonly known as the Blues Brothers Theme. Fun song. Bass-line intro gets people jumping, then the horns come in – it was really quite enjoyable.

I have to give a lot of thought to the “five or ten defining albums of JM” discussion. I’m not ready to post on that yet.
Jordan writes:
I email you my response to lab rabbi's post:

One of the reasons for the faux Chaisdic accent in the song "Yodi" is for the same reason we sing Oovinee Malkynee. We are not faking Chassidut, but emulating the original recordings. On occasions where we MO performers try to pronounce the lyrics the way we might normally, the crowd often urges us to go back to the recorded style. Also, since a number fo thje songs are written with the Chasidic pronunciation in mind, there are often problems with getting the words to fit the rhythms of the melodies. This is also true in a number of Carlebach tunes. When I try to sing with correct grammar, the words end up on the wrong parts of the melody.
Shmuel writes:
In response to your post on weird songs by weddings, I recently played a Mitzva Tantz, where by the fathers dance with the Kallah the requested song was "Can you hear me" from Yentl.
Yosef writes:
Well, I noticed you posted my question about the top-5 or top-10 "must haves" for any jewish music collection, but none of your readers have chimed in yet. What gives? This should be something right up your alley (and theirs). Please don't take offense to my words, I'm only being sarcastic, but I'm keeping an eye out for feedback. Keep up the good work.
E writes:
Speaking of strange requests, how about the theme song from the TV show Angel? Its not the kind of song you would think to hear at a chuppah for a bridesmaid but the specific request was to drop all the music except for the slow violin melody in the backround of the song. Alone it is a nice piece.

Matis-heavy Link Dump

It's time to Matis-blog!

Tzemach Atlas links to a negative Boston Globe review of "Youth."

Judeopundit comments.

Jewishfringe asks: Matisyawn?

Steven I. asks "Is Matisyahu a Lubavitch Messianist? He's got audio. also links to the audio. Steven also interviews Hebrew-Christian apostate rapper 50 Shekel about Matisyahu's messianism.

LIFE-of-RUBIN is upset. Here's a related Jewschool post.

Menachem Butler comments.

"Tony Montana" comments on mentalblog.

Aryeh Steiner takes another look at Lev Tahor 4. Hafoch ba v'hafoch ba d'kulo ba!

Chaptzem Blog reports:
CRC has printed a letter condemning Lipa Schmeltzer and his albums. The letter states that anyone that already owns any of his albums must get rid of them right away. Also the letter states that they are planning to print a full list of albums that they fell are inappropriate for a Yiddishe Shtieb.
You may be glad to hear that Yanni was arrested.

MOChassid is celebrating his two year blogoversary.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

3/5/06 Link Dump

Aryeh is calling out Lev Tahor for ripping off Michael W. Smith.

The Lab Rabbi has some JM peeves:
For one example of shameless grammatical butchering, please hum for a second the traditional tune od yishama as it is traditionally sung.

You would probably pronounce it something like this (caps on emphasized syllable):

Od Yi-SHO-ma be-O-rei Ye-HU-da u've-CHU-tzos Ye-ru-sha-la-YIM, kol SAS-son vekol SIM-cha, kol CHOS-son vekol kal-LOH. [In Israel add here: ay yay yay yay. :) ]

Of the nine multisyllabic words in the previous sentence, no fewer than eight (!!!!) have a misplaced accent. The only word that is correctly pronounced is the last one, kal-LOH. Stunning.

But I'm OK with that, since it's a traditional tune and all, and we aren't reciting it in the context of prayer, so as long as the person reciting the final sheva brochos says it correctly, it's fine with me.

No, here's what really raises my hackles: FAUX CHASSIDIC PRONUNCIATIONS!!!!!!

You know who you are. Typical American, MO singers, who feel a need to impress the audience, or create a certain mood with a song, so they pretend just for that song to be chassidic themselves.
Orthomom reports:
Jailed rapper Shyne is legally changing his name to Moses Michael Leviy - and he's taking out a classified ad in The Post tomorrow to make it official.
Fudge is Matis-blogging: The Matisyahu Phenomenon: Good for the Jews or Bad?

Finally, Menachem Butler has posted a great promo poster for the YU Purim Chagiga.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

When Chaim Comes Marching Home - mp3 Blogging

Check out a sweet tune, Hodu, by Chaim Linn over at Beyond BT.

On the Main Line has posted a link to a Leadbelly version of "Mishenichnas Adar."

I'm Haaretz, Ph.D. has also posted links to some spirituals.

From the mailbag...

E writes:
I just reminded myself of another wedding where they played during the procession (not for the bride or groom) but during the procession they played the theme music from the tv soap opera the young and the restless.
"Lizard one" writes:
I think you blog is quite funny and I enjoy checking into it occasionally.

My rant is plagairism.... Why do we have to borrow songs all the time..can't we just make up our own. Did you realize that the song Mama Rochel is partially plagiarized from the Disney Movie Hercules. The song is "go the distance"

Thanks for listening.
Shmuel writes about "Letter To The Trusted Peg":
People are so bored these days, they will write anything. Probably some Lakewood yenta who probably got turned off by listening to LIPA. These same people have no prob with the NY Times.

3/2/06 JM Link Dump

Jameel on why Carlebach-style davning works.
The key to why a Carlebach minyan "works", comes from Shlomo Carlebach himself. He didn't have a great voice, but he understood that the collective voices of people davening in song together could sound great and make up for not everyone having a great voice.
Ari Boiangiu has set up a little website with audio clips to promote his new release.

KAAB has posted Hilchos iPod

A Simple Jew on Simply Tsfat.

Letter To The Trusted Peg

This letter appeared in this past week's Yated Ne'eman:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing such a wonderful paper. I would like to bring an important issue to the fore.

Unfortunately, much of our hartzige Jewish music is being transformed into goyishe rock-and-roll songs. Some people don't realize how powerful music is. There are countless "Jewish" songs that come from goyishe songs and people don't realize how they are becoming connected to the secular world more and more. If our music is the same as theirs, another barrier bein Yisroel l'amim will have been destroyed.

May I suggest that we need a hashgacha on music? Just like food needs a hashgacha and treif food is mitamtum the lev, so, too, non-Jewish-sounding music also has a treife ta'am that can cause timtum halev.

Why is music different?

May we all be zoche to see the geulah b'karov.

Where to begin?