Monday, April 30, 2012

Ki Lo Noa!

Achinoam Nini under fire for comments on Israel.

From the mailbag....

Psachya writes:
I enjoyed the video you posted on Joey Weisenberg's "table-top rhythms" for Shabbos singing. The guy is obviously a wonderful musician. At the same time, the video got me thinking: When does a tabletop cease being a tabletop and become a musical instrument - halachically speaking? And what's the difference between playing intricate rhythms on a shtender or on, say, a djembe?

Now I know the answer people will give me for my second question - because a djembe is specifically made as a musical instrument, whereas a table-top is more of a "found object". (I believe Mr. Weisenberg even used that term in the video.) However, I think the idea of something being a "found object" does not necessarily preclude it from being a musical instrument. Lots of fine music has been performed on, and composed for, found objects. Just ask Harry Partch. Or the cast of "Stomp".

Some might say that, to be a musical instrument, it needs to have the ability to be tuned. Two problems. One - there are plenty of indisputably musical instruments - a tamborine, say, or cymbals - that are not particularly tunable. On the other hand, as we saw in the video, it's possible to alter the sound of a shtender by putting pieces of paper on it, or putting things inside. How is that not tuning?

Another possible answer is that it has to be specifically set aside (muktzah) for the purpose of making music. Again, it seems to me that by sound-testing the "found objects" in advance (as he did in the video), perhaps Mr. Weisenberg is, essentially, "preparing" his found objects, thus making them "mezuman" to be musical instruments on Shabbos.

Again, I enjoyed the video - it was quite entertaining, and I hope I'm wrong in my speculations. But we're talking potential chilul Shabbos here, and we have to be careful. And as a habitual zemiros table-tapper myself, I may find myself sitting on my hands this Friday night.

Just some food for thought.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Shabbos Music

Just because... Yedid Nefesh with the original text.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Funny, That's Not How Chassidim Do It!

Over at On the Main Line: A description of the 'Mitzvah Tanz' circa 1600.

Credit Where Credit's Due

It's neat how Cole Porter deftly quotes Miami Boys Choir's "To Live A Life of Torah" in "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"from "Leave It To Me." [/sarcasm] No, I don't think Begun ripped it. It's just one of those coincidences like "Blue Bossa" and the A section of Avraham Fried's "Livinyomin Omar."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oh, Lipa!

So the first song preview of Lipa's forthcoming album is out... I imagine this tune will be popular on the Brooklyn simcha circuit, and so I'll wind up having to learn it and play it. Lipa is so frustrating... so much talent... and then he produces this drek... but it'll sell... I love his approach, his creativity, his energy, the depth of some of his Yiddish lyrics... but this stuff... it just leaves me cold.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kiss My Klezmer!

Here's a Klezmer suite in tribute to Chaim Witz... Chaim: The Music-Maker - The Rise of Gene Simmons The clarinet soloist is David Krakauer.

Drake: Good for the Jews?

Ronn Torossian says yes. Check out the comment by A. E. Anderson for an opposing take.