Tuesday, October 03, 2006

From the mailbag...

Hezy Levy writes:
My name is Hezy Levy and I'm a professional Tenorino (High, light Tenor) and guitarist. I sing classical songs while accompanying myself on a classical guitar.

I am very much interested in doing concerts in your area as well as finding manager or agent for this rare art of singing while playing classical songs.

Click here http://www.puremuzik.co.il/Video/classical/Las%20Mujeres%20Y%20Cuerdas-%20F.%20Sor-partial-low.wmv to see a video clip in which I'm singing and playing the 19th century guitar. You can also see and hear more about me in: www.puremuzik.co.il/hezy.htm

As an artist I'm continuing in the tradition of troubadours from the old times. My repertoire varies from Renaissance and Classical songs which were originally meant to be played on a guitar (or on other early music planked instruments) to the 20th century. My style is a fusion of cultures: Western (baroque, Renaissance and Classical) Eastern (Ladino and Yemenite) and modern Israeli (as a composer and performer).
If you can be of assistance, you can reach Hezi through his website, or send me the info and I'll be glad to pass it along.

Zal Schreiber writes:
Some Jewish artists have the interesting practice of putting Jewish words or ideas together with previously released secular tunes, those NOT written (specifically) for the Jewish audience. What spiritual usefulness this may serve is up to conjecture. However, the halachic considerations may be considerable.

Copying (a CD/cassette/LP of) an artist's material (for gelt) is unquestionably prohibited, according to secular and Jewish law (what if the product is no longer available for purchase elsewhere? Or in the same format? Or that version? These are some of the questions I have concerning these issues. I have a few more...)

I recently spoke with an artist who said he was going to have 3 songs from a prominent Jewish composer on his next album, and that the cost of each of his songs is $2500 apiece...I was surprised...that's pretty intense...(Hey folks, I have a few songs for sale...anybody out there interested??)

Now, in the secular music field, I believe, you can pick any songs you choose from any artist/composer you want and include your version of his/her composition on your album FOR FREE......BUT, any royalties received from sales (and maybe airplay) will go the writer(s)...That's what copyright laws dictate. But there are NO royalties or payment for airplay for Jewish music (I don't believe).

Now, back to the borrowing of secular songs, words and/or music...What happens is that artists pay composers for songs on Jewish albums..Now, are the secular composers paid as well? And since the Jewish albums do not get paid for airplay or sales...only the artist gets his album sold, no payment is going to the original writers...and yet,many of  these tune borrowers are the people complaining about their product's unauthorized copying (read NO GELT GAINED) sales? It doesn't sound quite fair...or legal, does it?

It's an interesting can or worms, is it not??
An anonymous keyboardist writes:
I discovered your blog while searching for the words to MBD's Yidden (which I never found... There are a few words which I have never figured out). I enjoyed it so much that I went back and read every archive. As a performing keyboard player for the last 17 years both with a band and solo, many of your observations hit home. I am sure that you would agree with me that after playing so often, the weddings begin to all run together so that by the next morning you have already forgotten last nights wedding. However, there are three that I will never forget.
1. Our band was booked for a November wedding in a midwestern city. That morning, a huge storm dumped 24 inches of snow in a few hours. The choson (an only child) had come in the day before but his parents were supposed to fly in that day. They missed the wedding. We heard at about 10:00 pm that they finally caught a flight and would arive after 12:00 am, so three guys from the band stayed (for free) with a few guests until 1:00 am to give the parents a chance to dance at their son's wedding.
2. I was playing solo for a choson who was not frum but had frum parents and the kala and her parents had been frum but were not anymore and hated frum people. The deal was that after benching, I would leave and a DJ would spin some tunes. However, the choson and kala were actually enjoying the simcha dancing and asked for a dance set after benching. After about 25 minutes, the kalla's father came over and demanded that I stop. I said OK and switched to Yerushalayim. He did not understand that this was an ending song and thought I was ignoring him. He grabbed my mic stand, swung it aroung and whacked me in the head. On the second swing I caught the mic stand and pulled it out of his hand. I managed to finish the song! I had a headache for a day and a bump for a week.
3. Remember the night the whole N.E. USA lost power? I had a wedding that night in a midwestern city. The hotel finally got the emergency generator running at about 6:00 pm, but that only powered one small light per room. I own a battery (Galaxy Far Outlet) that I use for Shmorg and Chupa. I cut down my system to my keyboard, one powered speaker, and a mic, and the battery gave me over 1.5 hours of dance music. It was extremeley hot as there were no windows in the ballroom and the tables were all lit by candels. However, no guests went home early and it was the most lebidig chasuna I had seen in a long time. Afterwards, I had to shlep my stuff down the steps (no elevators) one piece at a time with no air conditioning. I really felt bad for the Kalla however, as the room she had changed in before the power went out was on the 17th floor! She and the choson trudged all the way up and back down before they could leave. The hotel staff found them a room in a hotel with power about 45 minutes away.
Bert Stratton emails a link to a radio interview he did on INR.
Click to hear Yiddishe Cup on Israel National Radio, The Beat with Ben Bresky, Oct. 1, 2006


"Bert Stratton, clarinetist of the Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band, performs live in the studio and discusses the band's new neo-Borscht Belt klezmer comedy album. An in-depth discussion on Israeli versus American-style klezmer and its significance to Jewish musicians. Plus, the fine line between cheesy, inspirational and just plain stupid." -- Ben Bresky
Dan T. writes
i have a son who just turned 13, and is heavily into the classic rock genre (no objections from me), and constantly blasts pink floyd, guns & roses, ac/dc, led zep, etc.

years ago, probably late 70's, i had an album (vinyl) which i'm pretty sure was a stanley miller band album, which had some traditional hebrew/israeli songs re-done to what i remember thinking was amazing rock music. i think the words were actually in english, and i think 2 of the songs covered were: kol haolam kulo & uvau ha'ovdim. i don't remember the name of the album. the 2nd side was instrumental, and i think i remember a version of erev shel shoshanim.

am i hallucinating? things are fuzzy from those days, but i seem to recall putting on headphones and playing it as loud as possible quite often, and i'm wondering if it's available anywhere, even on record or tape, cuz i'd love to get into it with my kid.

any info. will be appreciated!