Monday, January 28, 2013

From the mailbag....

Benjamin Terrell writes: "If you are interested in checking out my music...We Have Been Waiting So Long by Benjamin Terrell on SoundCloud."

Suspended for Singing

The Forward's Sisterhood blog reports on a "Controversial Suspension For Contestant On Israel's 'The Voice'."

This is a must-see video. Watch it.

I disagree with Renee Ghert-Zand's spin on this. I think the school and the girl's family handled this correctly. I give Ophir and her family a lot of credit for being willing to do this. The school has rules and standards which students are expected to live up to, and while a parent may not agree with a specific rule, they do have to respect the schools policies and the effect public rule-breaking of this sort could have on the rest of the student body. Given this, a penalty that is "serious" enough to be pointed to as a deterrent is warranted. However, it does seem that the school and family negotiated a punishment that would both serve as a deterrent to others and would still allow for Ophir to compete on "The Voice" without expulsion from school, something that would be the expected response from a Chareidi school.

The challenge will be what/how to handle future televised appearances during the season. Hopefully, the school will subsume it into this penalty. Ophir made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem in her appearance, and has the potential to continue to do so.

Kol Isha is a complicated halachik issue. The only way it may change is from within, with examples like Ophir's, not with knee-jerk attacks from without.

Friday, January 25, 2013

BD'E - Shelly Gordon

I regret to inform all of you that the well-known trumpet player, Shelly Gordon, passed away yesterday, after many years of suffering with Parkinson's Disease.

The funeral will be held this Sunday at 2.30PM at  Sinai Chapels located at 16205 Horace Harding Exp. in Flushing.

Shiva will take place from Sunday to Wednesday at 53-46 Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside,Queens from 2:00 to 7:00 PM

Baruch Dayan Emes!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pop Mail

Jordan writes:
You forgot to add that every frum pop star has at least one MiVon Siach, preferably mispronounced MiBon Siach, one Mi Adir, and at least two fast wedding tunes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Peep Mail

J. writes:
Met a peep I havent encountered in a while. The guy who thinks its funny to stick his hand in front of the bell of a playing brass musician, and then gets offended when you put down the horn and tell him to cut it out, with extreme prejudice. I call him an asshole, but if you can think of a more family friendly peep name, thats ok too.

I'll call him a "Brasshole".

So You Wanna Be A Successful Frum Pop Star?

Here are some tips on what you'll need to do.

1) If you can find a pasuk/liturgical text with your last name referenced in it, you must record a setting of it. If the text has no significance or meaning, that's irrelevant. It can even be a sentence fragment, if you like. The main thing is that you will get to sing your name and that if the song hits, others will too.

2) If you can't find a text with your last name, your first one will also do. Audiences love to scour lyrics for hidden allusions. Throw 'em a bone. Maybe some of them will get it.

3) Record a song with a title that can also be a good wish/conversation closer. Use it as your answering message, the tag line to every post you make on Facebook, add it to many of your Tweets. Remember, you can never use it too much. Sample Facebook post: "Happy birthday, friend! Remember, Efshar L'taken!"

4) Always insist on singing "your" song, even if you're a guest at a wedding or other event, where it might not be the best call. Your song is your brand. Plug it!

5) Email is good. Send out many emails to your entire list. Frequently. Remember, the less info in the post the better. Your fans don't need to know the exact event info. The main thing is to pique their interest. They will find a way to track down the missing info.

6) YouTube is your friend. Your fans want to see the footage of fun events like you driving to the gig. Really. More videos are better. The quantity is more important than the content. You get extra points if there's something else going on in the video while you're singing. Guitarists chewing gum, horn players texting, etc. are all huge attention getters. Bonus points if you get on the mic at someone else's gig, and then post the footage all over.

7) Facebook is good for sharing informative posts like "on the way to the wedding". Your fans want to know this. Otherwise, they wouldn't "friend" you, right? Remember to follow up the post with "wedding went well, B'H" later, so your fans aren't left wondering. Rinse and repeat. Remember to Tweet the same thing too.

8) Since I mentioned YouTube... hit counters are important. You'll want to pay for hits so that your video shows more views then there are frum Jews in the USA. It adds to your credibility.

I'm not going to give away all my secrets in one post, but these helpful tips should put get you on your way nicely.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Peep Time!

"Harmony Guy"
We run into this peep a lot. He's always singing harmony. Usually a third, but sometimes another interval. He generally harmonizes fairly nicely until the end of the phrase, where he typically goes off the rails. He never seems to notice, though.

"The Beat-boxer"
This peep will hang out near the band during soft instrumental music, providing the rhythm for those times when there either is no drummer, or the drummer isn't "pumping" enough for him.

How Insensitive!

It's the closing minutes of a fundraising dinner. The guests are largely out of the ballroom, either at the Viennese table in the lobby, or else already on their way home. A handful of people sit chatting at two of the tables. I stop playing and grab a coffee.

That's when she approaches me. "Can you play some more music, please? I love to dance!" Dressed in a fancy party dress, she looks to be about six years old, and she's the youngest daughter of one of the honorees. I could tell her I'm done. Instead, we strike a deal. I'll finish my coffee and then play her one last song. She settles on a slow YBC number.

I get back on the bandstand and start playing as she loses herself in dance, pirouetting gracefully around in front of me, her dance steps becoming more and more elaborate as the music continues. The waitresses bussing the tables all smile as they pass by.

And then, the clod walks in. "There's nobody here! You're playing to nobody!", he declares. I nod my head at the dancer, her eyes closed as she moves to the music. Her face is shining! "She's listening", I say. Chastened, he quietly grabs the dinner journal he came in for and quickly leaves.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

BD'E - Rabbi Shalom Levine of Megama Duo

Rabbi Shalom Levine, the surviving member of the influential Jewish music duo, "Megama Duo" has died.  BD'E!

Here are a few clips of the Duo performing in concert.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Lipa Style!

It was inevitable, I suppose. Oy!