Friday, April 26, 2013

Abdul the Rabbi

The  4th Ward AfroKlezmer Orchestra emails about their new release, "Abdul the Rabbi". The title track sounds like Hasidic New Wave meets Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars.

The blurb says it all...

"Abdul the Rabbi on his way to correct a great mistake by an assistant runs into trouble when his liberated 1978 mercedes 300 has broken down. While on the road waiting for help, a series of temptations and horrors pass, Rabbi Abdul looks deep inside himself to find a place amongst the memoried ebb and flow."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Review: Milken Archive - "Legend of Toil and Celebration: Songs of Solidarity, Social Awareness and Yiddish Americana"

The past few days in the car, I’ve been listening to "Legend of Toil and Celebration: Songs of Solidarity, Social Awareness, and Yiddish Americana" which is Volume 12 in  Lowell Milken's Milken Archive collection.

This two CD set is a valuable collection of American Yiddish music, and it includes both folk music and concert works.

The entire collection is quite fascinating. Of particular interest is the Arbiter Ring seder, which makes up 12 of the 18 tracks on disc one of the collection. It includes numerous intriguing choices including settings of Hasidic Nigunim and American Jewish melodies with Yiddish lyrics; for example, a popular Israeli “Hinei Ma Tov”, the Breslov waltz melody, “A Gute Vokh” , sung  as “A Gut Yontef”,  and Seymour Rockoff’s well-known melody for Am Yisrael Chai is sung with the lyric “Gut yontef aykh”. The Peysakh Seder ties in perfectly with the collection’s themes of toil and celebration of freedom, and the Arbeter Ring in particular, is a perfect choice to illustrate these themes through the prism of the Hagada.

Another Egyptian slavery reference can be found in "In Dem Land Fun Pyramidn".

I found the section of patriotic American songs, most of which I’d not heard before, to be quite inspiring.  It includes Berlin’s “Give Me You Tired, Your Poor”, Gebirtig’s “Amerike, Mayn Vunderland”  and Weissner’s “Ikh Hob Dikh Lib, Amerike”. Weissner’s piece in particular, captures the feel and aesthetic of patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful”, while retaining a Yiddishe ta’am. Love for the New Country in the language of the old.

Fave tracks in this collection include Gozinsky’s “Yismakh Moshe” with piano accompaniment, Rosenfeld’s “Mayn Yingele” presented in a vocal chorus setting, Weissner's “Ikh Hob Dikh Lib, Amerike” with its very American piano part, and the entire Arbeter Ring Seder; especially – in addition to the above mentioned selections/adaptations --  the rousing “Tayere Malke” and the lively “Dayenu” in Yiddish.

There are also nice versions of Rosenfield's "Mayn Rue Platz"and  Low's "Viglid" here

This is a nicely curated collection that will expose you to an excellent cross-section of Jewish/Yiddish music related to the value of hard, honest labor and a celebration of the opportunity America offered to European Jewish immigrants.

Amazon has the collection here:

Album 1:

Album 2:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

J-Blog Music related links

Over at Daat Torah, "What is music?"

I don't agree with all of the questions, and the sources suggested are a bit odd -- how about looking at the definition of "rikudim u'mcholos" or the Gemara about Zimra D'mana/Zimra d'puma -- for instance. In any event, a conversation starter.

Meanwhile, at Modern Uberdox: "Why aren't books like these being written for Jews?" Here's a musical 'graph:
It's exactly the same reason punk music isn't popular in the Jewish music world. Any BT with a punk music background or FFB who is into punk would rather use their talent towards more "mainstream" music, rather than create any frum punk rock. Once you create something that sounds clearly like non-Jewish music, the odds are that those nice boys (and girls) who listen to it will want to check out the original sources of the music. So, in essence, the frum musician would be indirectly responsible for frum kids listening to non-Jewish music and no one wants to deal with that on Yom Kippur.
I dunno about this sevara. Why is it any worse for a kid to check out say Hüsker Dü or any other punk band, over checking out the pop tripe they'll otherwise be inspired to look into, applying the same logic to the music being released by frum pop musicians? Lady Gaga's that much better from a religious standpoint? I don't see it.

Monday, April 08, 2013

BDE - Mutty Parnes Z"L

Guitarist/Composer Mutty Parness has died. BD'E.

The funeral is today at noon at Shomrei Hadas Chapel, 3803 14th Ave. in Boro Park.

There's some info about him and a clip of his most famous composition here.