Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Dschingis!

Rokhl Kafrissen writes about Dan Kahn for the Forvitz in "Partisan or Parasite?". Check it out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From the mailbag... (New Blog edition)

Bert Stratton's got a blog. He'll be posting daily; at least until Yiddish Cup's new CD. "Klezmer Guy" drops on June 28th. He writes:

You’re not looking at the blog right now.
You’re looking at an announcement,
which is screaming:


The blog is “Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate.” It’s similar to Yiddishe Cup’s previous “gossip” emails, but to the 10th power.

Here are some sample post headings:

SHARP SALAMI . . . My clarinet teacher used to eat salami sandwiches during my lessons.

THE THING I DO WITH MY HANDS . . . Play clarinet.

BOUNCED CHECK . . . I've never gotten a bounced check at a gig in 20 years. Why?

SOFT SEATS . . . That's what bookers call college auditoriums. Cushy gigs.

A SLICE FROM THE KLEZ PIE . . . The klez scene is slightly bigger than a 12-inch pizza. Inbred? Rye.

BAGGIES ARE USEFUL . . . To pocket smoked fish.

ACCORDING TO THE TALMUD . . . Pay your musicians after every gig. How to be a bandleader.

THE LOWEST NUMBER STICKS . . . When you say "$6,500-$6,800," the client only hears the "$6,500" part. Negotiating for arts majors.

BERT STRATTON, a.k.a. Klezmer Guy, was a Sun Newspapers reporter. His articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Downbeat and The World. He won two Hopwood Awards.

The blog will be updated daily through June 28 –
the day Yiddishe Cup's new CD, KLEZMER GUY, comes out.
Yosef Sukenik writes:
After doing my best to help the cause I'd like to ask your readers to take a few minutes to help improve the Wikipedia article on Contemporary Jewish music.  Today Wikipedia is a major info source and it would help us all to have a clear unbiased history and summary.

Please contribute your knowledge: Contemporary Jewish religious music - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Please keep in mind:
Try for a neutral point of view.  We are informing.  We are not promoting specific artists.
Please source as much as you can.  Newspaper articles, album liner notes, anything.
Don't worry if you don't use the correct code formatting.  Someone else will fix it.

Much love and thanks,
Adam Andersen writes:
So this isn't jewish music, but it does relate to your email address
quite nicely.


Thanks for fighting the good fight & keeping music blogs not-lame!

Letter To The Hamodia Editor (More Rabbi Wolfson Content)

The following letter and response appeared in Hamodia on May 6th.

Yochonon Donn's response demonstrates clearly that he and Rav Wolfson both lack comprehension of some of the music terminology and history used in the original article and that Donn doesn't understand some of the points made in H. Meyer's letter. There are errors of fact and logic in this response. This is simply embarrassing!

A question for Rabbi Wolfson... (one of many that can be asked)...

According to your expressed view, what is the date at which the accepted rules of music were finalized? Since music and music theory has been in a continuous state of evolution, any assertion that certain popular styles of music "are not composed according to the accepted rules of music" implies that the rules must have been finalized at some earlier point, to the exclusion of current practice. So, lishitascha, when did this take place?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Upcoming Jew-Mu Gigs

There are a bunch of creative Jewish music gigs coming up over the next bit.

Here's some info cut/pasted from the promo emails...

Sunday 5/10 at 11 AM: Klook! at City Winery

Introducing... Klook!

Eleonore Weill (Paris) - Baroque Recorder, Accordion
Madeline Solomon (London) - Flute
Jake Shulman-Ment (New York) - Violin, Accordion
Pete Rushefsky (New York) - Tsimbl

at the City Winery Klezmer Brunch this Sunday, 11AM - 1:30PM! Bring Mamele!

$10 cover

City Winery
155 Varick Street
New York, NY
curated by Michael Dorf
City Winery
Monday 5/11 at 9 PM: Eitan Katz, Nochi Krohn, and Avi Feinberg at Aish Kodeh's Lag BaOmer Hilula

Eitan Katz and Nochi Krohn will be performing at the annual Aish Kodesh Lag B'Omer Hilula at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 11th at the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst (corner of Spruce and Broadway in Lawrence). Rav Moshe Weinberger will be delivering words of hisorerus. Suggested donation, $10. Separate seating.
Tuesday 5/12 at 7 PM: Breslov Bar Band at the Carlebach Shul

Breslov Bar Band - Lag Baomer Concert @ Carlebach Shul

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
305 West 79th Street
$15 cover

From melancholy midnight meditations to funky/punky affirmations of the One, the Breslov Bar Band explores musical expressions of the Breslov Chassidim from the traditional to the contemporary... Rock, Middle-Eastern, Punk, Jazz... it's all there!

The group's repertoire includes old dveykus melodies and ecstatic nigunim, as well as contemporary Breslov folk and rock music. The band members combine their passion for Jewish music with their strong roots in rock, jazz, and world music.
Tuesday 5/12 at 9 PM: Yoshie Fruchter's Pitom and Michael Winograd's Infection at Zebulon.

I and my erstwhile Pitom collaberators are super psyched to be coming back to our fave joint Zebulon this Tuesday evening to play some music from our new record, some new music that is not on the record, and just have fun and make some glorious noise! Joining us will be Michael Winograd's Infection (and his army of swine flu fighters).. a seriously killer band - you will not be let down. It also happens to be the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer - so come celebrate with us, have a beer, do a dance, shave your beard.

WHERE: Zebulon, 258 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L Train to Bedford)
WHEN: Tuesday, May 12th 9pm
Sunday 5/17 at 11AM, Klezmerfest CD Release Party at City Winery

I am pleased and proud to announce the release of Klezmerfest's second CD, "Life of the Party," featuring Jordan Hirsch, Greg Wall, Aaron Alexander, Zev ZIons, and Brian Glassman. We will be performing in celebration on May 17th, with sets starting at 11:00, at:

City Winery
155 Varick Street
New York, NY

There is a $10.00 cover charge.

Check out our first release, "Party Music" at CD Baby: KLEZMERFEST!: Party Music. Ari Davidow of Klezmershack had this to say about it: "this album is simply a delight. Many are the medleys as the band puts traditional tunes in a simkha context. Like I said, the sound is smooth as silk and the feet can't stop moving. For a change, here is a band guilty only of absolute truth in advertising: This is perfect "Party Music". Enjoy!"
Wednesday 5/20 at & PM: Joey Weisenberg's Niggunim Unplugged at the Eldridge Street Synagogue

Please join me for a special concert of Jewish music at the Eldridge Street Synagogue in New York City on Wednesday, May 20th, 7:00 pm.  I'll be performing with a wonderful ensemble, including:

Benjy Fox Rosen -- Bass
Llova Zhurbin -- Viola
Jake Shulman-Ment -- Violin, accordion
Joey Weisenberg -- vocals, mandolin, clarinet, percussion

Please reserve a seat at:

New York Events at The Museum at Eldridge Street

If you know people who would enjoy this show, please let them know about it.

I'll look forward to seeing you there!

From the mailbag...

Rabbi Moshe Yeres writes:
you link to
Here's a video of an attempt to revive old Jewish wedding traditions. I'm not convinced the soundtrack music is authentic period music. [/sarcasm]
It seems to me that this post is of messianic judaism
there are alot of signs for that in teh video including but not limited to how they phonetically pronounce teh name of G-D , plus shofar usage, plus new moon.
i am sure if you will research teh group you will find them not to be a jewsih grouop but messianic judism toye who believe in jesus
Moshe Yeres
I don't think these are messianic Jews (aka Christians). There's no mention of Jesus/Yeshua in the entire ceremony. They're historical revivalists who attempted to recreate old Jewish wedding traditions. Obviously, they are not Orthodox, but it doesn't appear from this that they are Christian.

Mindy writes;
I do not know who translated the lyrics, but this was performed in Satmar camp in 1993, it was beautiful. The chorus goes:

און דער רבי האט מיך צו זיין הארץ צוגעדריקט
זיינע ווערטער האט יעדן דערקוויקט
געזאגט "קיין חילוק צו מען איז זייער יונג אדער עלטער מען איז
די רייד פון די תורה אפהיטן מען מוז"

I don't remember all the lyrics by heart, it's ages ago, and I also don't know the source, but it was performed in camp, I wonder if it was translated by the camp heads or something.
If anyone knows who translated it, or of a recording, please let me know.

Sruly shares a link: "Auto-Tune the News: Obama Flashback."

Joel Shares another: "In Praise of Auto-Tune." It's an Auto-tune link-fest!

"Rotzeh B'ilum Shemo" writes:
On Vocalist Shea Rubinstein's offer to perform for free: "Music Star Offers Free Performances to Charities and Nonprofit Organizations: “I Want to Give Back to Those Who Give to Many.”

Here is my personal opinion. For this one, you can leave my name out of it.

Why Should other singers follow in his footsteps?

If he wants to perform for free - then let him, but don't tell people in the music business where to give their Tzedaka to.
Maybe the Hall, Caterer, Photographer, Printer, and all the other vendors should be donating their ENTIRE services as well?

Many singers rely on these events to support their families. I'm not against giving a good deal, but to donate all your services and hope that everyone else will do that is simply crazy.

I personally believe that this is just a well disguised ploy to get publicity.  If it is, congratulations - you got a gig, Shea!
I'd be interested to hear what others think too. I think this offer deserves a post of its own, as time permits.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

5/7/09 Link Dump

The Cool Jew asked a bunch of boys' choir leaders about whether they use pre-recorded tracks in concert.
Do you think that it's ok to use a pre-recorded song during a concert performance? If yes how often are you doing it and why do you feel it necessary?
The answers are revealing and in some cases, one might say, deliberately misleading.

The Life-Of-Rubin Blog had two posts on the topic that I was going to link, but he has apparently deleted them.

Klez clarinetist Michael Winograd makes the Forward 36 under 36. So did Girls' Night On! founder Leslie Ginsparg, Anat Cohen, Y-LOVE (Yitz Jordan), Gilad Hekselman, and Michelle Citrin.

Avraham Fried has released an a-capella album to benefed Yad L'shliach.

The Klezmer Shack posts"Yid Vicious: Car-less Klezmer in Madison."

Teruah posts "Death of a JDub Saleman."

Here's a great clip - "Breslov Books vs. Mendy Pellin."

Here's a video of an attempt to revive old Jewish wedding traditions. I'm not convinced the soundtrack music is authentic period music. [/sarcasm]

Finally, it's time for wedding photos.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Yiddish Lyrics Question

Asya writes:
In my fieldwork, I came across a lyric sheet with an unattributed Yiddish translation of Abie Rotenberg's "The Place Where I Belong" from the Journeys, Volume 1 album. It begins thus:

Toyre hakdoyshe, azoy ikh heys
Ikh bin geshribn gevorn in yor tov resh hey
Durkh yankele der soyfer an oyved hashem
Dos gantse khiyus nor geleygt in dem.

Does anybody know where this translation comes from? Is it on a recording anywhere? Wikipedia says that Rotenberg has collaborated with Mordechai ben David, Avraham Fried, Yehuda Schechter, and Yaakov Shwekey, but I could not find the song on any of their albums.

It is possible that the translation was done by a Hasidic woman and has never been recorded, but I want to make sure I can't find it somewhere before assuming this.
Anyone have any info about this?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mic Check This... Orthodox Female Rapper Rinat Guttman

This is too cool...

Who says tznius women can't bring it?

Hat tip: The Curious Jew, who posted a link to a YU Observer interview with Breslov-influenced Ortho-rapper Rinat Guttman.

From the mailbag... (More Rabbi Wolfson Content)

S. writes:
I really appreciated your post on R. Wolfson's article.

I see in your explanation you explained the novelty of black and white keys, but didn't really mention that the equally tempered scale of twelve notes itself is recent (late 16th century)! Possibly R. Wolfson simply meant to speak of major and minor, which are not recent, but he used an idiom that would be comprehensible to readers (everyone knows what black and white keys on a keyboard look like), however he did not mean to suggest that the keyboard goes back to Yuval. However, he is still embarassingly wrong about the antiquity of the various modes current in Western music!

I thought you might be interested in seeing an example of a rabbi who understood music, back when rabbis were not Charedim or modern, just the most learned segments of the nation, who therefore were most likely to know things and therefore wrote treatises on numerous subjects outside of the yeshivishe massechtos.

Rav Saadyah Gaon:

Chazak ve-ametz!

E. forwards a link to vocalist Shea Rubinstein's offer to perform for free: "Music Star Offers Free Performances to Charities and Nonprofit Organizations: “I Want to Give Back to Those Who Give to Many.” I'd be interested to hear what people think of this.

Yerachmiel Altizio writes:
Please promote our upcoming show on your site/blog:

Merkavah - The Hasidic Funky Jam Band w/ Shalom Pasternak's Kabbalah Dream Orchestra

Sunday, May 31 7pm, at Puppets Jazz Bar - 481 5th Avenue, Park Slope, NY 11215

$10 per set, $15 for both bands!

KDO - 7pm, and Merkavah - 8:30pm.
I'm getting to this late, but Greg Wall emails a link to a free download of Am Yisrael Chai at the Pioneers for a Cure website.

Aaron Alexander writes:
I humbly announce that May 17th shall be the day of the CD Release Concert for the new recording by the great New York klezmer band, Klezmerfest! 
The new CD will be entitled "Life of the Party!" and features great traditional klezmer standards and a couple originals by band members.
It's our sophomore release. The first one was called "Party Music", here's a little of what Ari Davidov of Klezmershack had to say about it: 
"It's solid, delightful, entirely danceable klezmer music as it has been played for generations, by musicians who are very, very good at playing it."-Ari Davidow, Klezmershack
This one features the same working band, all a little bit older and wiser (except me - I'm just a little loopier and more tired from lack of sleep!) 
Liner notes were written by the legendary Pete Sokolow!

The band is:
Aaron Alexander - drums,
Brian Glassman - bass,
Zev Zions - accordion,
Jordan Hirsch - trumpet, 
Greg Wall -  clarinet

The festivities will begin at 11am at City Winery and we'll play 'til around 2:30 or so.
KIDS are welcome! Please bring them!

City Winery 155 Varick Street (between Spring and Vandam Streets)New York, New York 10013
By Subway: 1 / 9 to Houston Street or Canal Street; C / E to Spring Street
By Bus: M20 downtown or uptown, M6 uptown, M21 crosstown
Customer Service: 212.608.0555

We hope you can make it out!
I've heard this disc and it's well-worth checking out.

There are a lot of Jewish music events upcoming in the area. Time permitting, I'll try to post a roundup. If you have a local show in the next two weeks or so, please let me know.