Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Geetar So-low!

חדש ששוני performed by Nadav Bachar on guitar. It's a 'pay what you want' download.

Kumzits Mad-Libs

The past number of years, there's been a trend among many frum simcha singers on the NY circuit, in which they sing the choruses of various slow songs over a rock beat at tempo, when ending the last dance set with a Yerusholayim song. So, you might hear the singer segue from "Yerusholayim" into the chorus of "Anovim" or "V'zakeini" or Shwekey's "Im Eshkocheich" or all of those and more, before going back into the tune. There needs to be a name for this. A listener described it to me at one recent event as sounding like "Kumzits Mad-Libs", and I think that's the perfect name.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Review: Siach Hasadeh

Off the (virtual) review stack...

Yoni Kaston and Joel Kerr's new album, Siach Hasadeh -- Song of the Grasses, features their moving arrangements of old Chasidic nigunim which they perform on clarinet  and bass, often in conjunction with oud, harmonica, or string quartet.

A friend, thinking I'd enjoy this project, had sent me a link to the band's music page, just before Yoni emailed a review link. He was right. I found this recording interesting both in terms of song selection as well as musical approach.

This is rich, introspective music, beautifully arranged and performed. The melodies are largely Breslover nigunim, including both well-known and lesser-known melodies. There is one nigun each from Karlin, Lubavitch, Modzitz, Radishitz, and Tolne, as well as one Sephardic tune, "Agadelcha."

The liner notes include a little bit of background information about the source for each song, which is always nice.

Kaston's sensitive clarinet playing is soulful and tasteful, and the musicianship on the album is excellent. The musicians all communicate nicely throughout,maintaining the spiritual focus of the melodies while at the same time adding their own personal expression. The tracks feature various configurations of the musicians, which makes for nice timbral shifts from track to track. 

Fave tracks include "Niggun Firn Di Tsadikkim In Gan Eyden", which features Jason Rosenblatt's soulful harmonica upfront and some tasteful improvisation mid-way through, Kaston and Kerr's duo version of "Tfilas Tal", and "Tolner Niggun" on which Ismael Fencioglu's oud joins the duo. I transcribed that one to play with the band at the wedding of a member of the Tolner Rebbe's family last week.

"Siach Hasadeh - Song of the Grasses" is a very worthwhile album. Definitely check this one out.

The band's website is here. 

 Amazon has the album here:

Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein: Concert Reviewer

Over at Cross-Currents, Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein (who happens to also be pretty much the only consistently worthwhile read there, reviews the Helfgott-Perlman Hollywood Bowl concert in "Angels At The Hollywood Bowl."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Get Out of Hell Free!

Rebbe Nachman will haul you out by your payes. Details here.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Upon A Star

Over at Tablet... "Orthodox Singing Show --Men Only!"

Recent Peeps

"I'm The Ba(n)dleader"
This peep will hire you t play a family event. He will spend the entire evening micro-managing the music, telling you exactly what songs to play, and when.

He's not concerned with the niceties/conventions of finishing a song before tarting the next one, which songs will work well for dancing, etc. He won't let that stop him. You'll do what he says, when he says it.  Now. Not in three more measures at the end of the tune.

"Sneak Photographer"
This peep will stand near you and snap pictures, but only when she thinks you're not looking. Whenever you look at her, she'll avoid eye contact, and pretend to be checking her phone as she lurks.

"Sheet Music Thief"
This peep wants some sheet music. What better way to get it than to remove an entire dance section from one of the band's binders while the band is on break? Stay classy Mr/Ms thief.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Are eBay and PayPal Evil?

It seems so.

eBay has definitely gone downhill over the past few years.

Thursday, August 01, 2013