Monday, December 01, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shema Yisrael!

You can make a Kiddush Hashem anywhere... even on a pop TV show! Really!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Sing, Sing, Sing

Over at Cross-Currents... Aaron White pens "TheThree Cardinal Sins of Singing".

With regard to Sin One - I agree with him about the song "Zochreini Na". In fact, I wrote about it in 2003 here. However, it is not Mordechai Ben David's song. It is Dov Shurin's. Credit/blame where it is due.

With regard to Sin Two... Mr. White judges people based on superficialities, ironic given his intended point about moving past superficialities in choosing music. One can be sitting in a hotel in the "lap of luxury", seemingly jovially,  while still having serious personal issues on one's mind, whether health, financial, or faith based, any of which would well connect to those lyrics.

I think the underlying issue is not only, as the author notes, that singing is vertical rather than horizontal. I think it is also connected to the fact that so many are Jewishly illiterate, and even after years of Day school, cannot translate the words to many popular songs, and certainly can't identify the textual source. I can't even estimate how many times frum singers have asked for the source of lyrics to a new (or rediscovered) "in" song like "Mareh Cohen" (from the high point of the Yom Kippur musaf).

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Time for Atunement

In the Forward: Ring In the New Year: Top Tunes to Atone To

David Schlusselberg- I Miss Her

David Schlusselberg, 27, lost his mother to breast cancer when he was a child. Today, he launched his first single, "I Miss Her," in order to raise awareness about the illness. "Through the hard times, music has always been my way of coping," he said.

Via The Jewish Week

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lazer Lloyd-Talk

Talk to the Lord! Let Him know what's on your mind!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Itzik Eshel - El Ukraina אל אוקראינה - איציק אשל

So Sephardic Breslov Rosh Hashana in Uman dance trax... it's a thing.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

‫קמתי באשמורת - רועי אמיר ועידו פורטל - Kamti Beashmoret‬‎

Roee Amir writes:

As Rosh Hashana approaches, I would like to share with you a new rendition for the Piyyut "Kamti BeAshmoret", which is usually said right before Selichot.

A part of the music is loosely based on a traditional Moroccan-Jewish chant, and the other is original.
In order to achieve the special sound and feeling of the song, the production process incorporated talented musicians from all over the world.

Your feedback and/or sharing of the song would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vayidom Aharon, Not!

Satmar Rebbe speaks about ALS ice bucket challenge and Niggun Hastara

 Here's it is isYiddish:

דברות קודש מ'מהר"א מסאטמאר היום אצל דינור לטובת המוסדות במאנסי בשילוב עם יארצייט טיש של היטב לב זצ"ל: איך האב געוואלט זאגן אזא נקדה, יעצט איז די עולם אויף מיט א נייע ניגן וואס הייסט ואפילו בהסתרה, איך בון נאכגעגאנגען די ניגן און דער ניגן שטאמט פון מקורות זרים נאך פון די דייטשן ימח שמם, אויך דער נייע פירצה פון זיך אנגיסן מיט וואסער וואס מיר האבן דאס נישט געזען ביי אינזער אבות הקדושים, איבערהויפט וועם פרויען מאכן דאס, און דאס איז זייער נישט איידל הן הגשמיות והן ברחניות צוליב וואס די קלייד הייבט זיך אויף ווען מען טאנצט פון קעלט און אסאך טון אויס די בגדים ברבים צוליב וואס עס איז נאס געווארן, און עס האט שוין פארדארבט גאר אסאך בחורים, און איך וועל עס מסביר זיין באריכות אן צווייטן מאל, וועגן דעם בעט איך במר נפשי און איך פאדער שטרענג פון די הנהלה פון די בית רחל עס איז אסור פאר א תלמידה זיך אנציגיסן מיט קאלט וואסער נאר און שויער איז עס ערלויבט, און בשום אופן דאס נישט אפ כאפען, און אויב בדיעבד האט מען יא, זאל מען דאס ח״ו נישט צושפרייטן אויף וואטסעפ, און פאר די מענער וויל איך בעטן מען זאל נישט מער זינגען דעם ניגן, ווייל לויט ווי די מחנכים געבן איבער ברענגט איינס צום צווייטען.
Doesn't sound any more compelling. He's either saying "I make stuff up" or 'I accept made up #$%@ as fact'. I don't believe Nigun Hastore is a secular German song.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

How Embarrassing!

The article title that is, Cutest Maccabeat Goes Solo, not the story itself.

Best line:

“I was in an orthodox all male a cappella group for God’s sake,” he exclaimed with a laugh, “I better have thick skin!”

New U2 Album "Songs of Innocence" Is Now Free

Here's a paradigm shift. U2 Gives Away New Album NOW, Skip Charts, And Who Cares? No Money in CD Sales.

The new U2 album is free on iTunes until Oct. 13th.

Check it out!

I wonder about how this strategy might be effectively used in the Jewish music world...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Dueling Bands - Shloimy Daskal Edition

A little dueling bandstands for you today... Shloimy Daskal vs. Shloimy Daskal.

Since it's become very common for people to hire a band and a separate featured vocalist, there are lots of times when name singers are performing the same songs/arrangements with different bands.

It can be interesting to contrast these versions. Here's one such 'battle of the bands".

The tune is an old Tzlil V'zemer number (off of Vol. 2), which was more recently covered by Dedi in the '90's, IIRC. This Latin arrangement is based on the Dedi version

To me, the Freilach version is much more interesting. (I don't think their arrangement works as well on the second tune they segue into.) Both versions are reasonable well-done, as it were. Freilach takes it out of wedding band cover territory, adding their own personality to it.

What do you think?

Freilach Orchestra version

Aaron Teitelbaum Orchestra & Productions version

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

No Playing Tkof Taaseh Biguim

Over at Life in Israel: Interesting Psak: no playing Tkof Taaseh Biguim

I disagree with this.... the lyrics are violent, but the tune isn't, and humor/parody serves an important function too.

Monday, August 11, 2014

But Does He Have Any Klezmer Records?

The Brazilian Bus Magnate Who’s Buying Up All the World’s Vinyl Records.

Bad Move, Givati!

In the J-Post: IDF commander nixes concert by female pop star for fear of offending religious troops.

This is a bad decision by the commander. He could have used the opportunity to build, instead of destroy, unity. Instead of refusing/canceling the show, he should have scheduled the show, and -- unlike the usual army MO which forces religious soldiers to be in attendance when there are female vocalists, against their religious beliefs --  simply exempted those soldiers who felt religiously uncomfortable from going to the show.

This wouldn't have damaged the religious secular unity, which has improved over the course of this water, and also would have set a precedent for religious cooperation about such things within the army structure, which would be a long-term improvement for the religious soldiers he claims he's protecting.

Really poor judgement here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Steal This Album!

... and play it on Shabbos!

Reverse psychology marketing with a helping of religious guilt. Nice.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Daniel In Babylon - "Give Me The Strength"

Lenny Solomon's latest project...

The Audience Better Buy Lots of Drinks

The Bulletproof Stockings play Arlene's Grocery: All-female Hasidic rock band bans men from show.

The audience better buy lots of drinks, otherwise, there's no point to the venue accommodating them (and other drum women's bands) in the future.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Peter Himmelman - The 1937 Game

Bob Dylan's eidim writes: "The 1937 Game".

Hamas Song Bombs!

So Hamas released a song about terrorizing Israel... and the Israeli's got to work recording covers and tributes.

Hamas Scare Clip Becomes Israel's Summer Hit

My fave is the Smurf one:

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Devil Went Down To Gaza

Charlie Daniels (yes, that Charlie Daniels) posts "Israel and Her Enemies."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

‫אורן צור - אור חוזר‬‎

Sweet! First single off Oren Tzur's new solo album.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More Peeps

"What Intro Are You Playing" Guy

This yeshiva bochur NEEDS to know what rock/pop song/riff you're going to play as a fanfare to introduce the chosson and kallah. No waiting for him; he abhors surprises.

"What's His Name"
This peep needs to know the names of every musician in the band. He's best friends with "Who's The Drummer" guy and "What Intro Are You Playing Tonight" guy. It's always guys.

"Where Are You Tomorrow"
This peep needs no explanation, just a helpful tip as to where he should go panhandle tomorrow.

"The Critic"
This fine peep comments on how you play, comparing your playing to previous occasions he's heard you. Sample quote: "Nice version of Hamalach you played tonight.  Very majestic!"

"The Pervy Mashgiach"
This kashrut supervisor hangs around with the event staff trading masturbation jokes and other such repartee....  then he moves on to making jokes about rabbis issuing lenient rulings for cash...

"Canada Dry Guy"
This wealthy peep is quite the character. Walking in to a gorgeously set room at an event he's hosting, he can only see imperfections, finding fault in all sorts of arbitrary ways. He was most disturbed by the fact that the caterer had suppled Seagrams ginger ale instead of  Canada Dry. The caterer says he has another brand on the truck. No sir, Schweppes is not acceptable either.

"K-Pop Fans"
These yeshivish peeps happen to love K-pop, so that's what they want for their wedding. A K-Pop fanfare to introduce the bride and groom. Betcha Jang Geun Suk never imagined their music at Ateres Avrohom!

"The Mixed Dancers"
A pumping band. A rocking young yeshivish singer, who has jumped of the bandstand and is dancing in front, interacting with the nearby men's circle as he sings right next to the potted plant mechitza at this MO affair. Two middle aged ladies, right on the other side of the foliage, watching him, commenting about how good he is, dancing right along with him, responding to his moves as he does his thing! They are dancing with him, even though he has no clue.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Good Shabbas!

Sam Glaser has produced a video for one of his early songs!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lesbianism Is Contagious!

Or so, one rabbi announced. Now he's got to pay $17,000 +. FM posts details in Orthodox Rabbi Warns Men To Keep Their Wives Away From Lesbian Dance Teacher.

She Cant, Matisyahu Can

Matisyahu to sing with female cantor 

“He’s evolved away from halacha and Orthodoxy. Singing with a female cantor is a big step for him,” Hutchings reflected.

Read more: Matisyahu to sing with female cantor | The Times of Israel
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

Acapella Concerts During Sefirat Haomer: A Curious Psak Halachah

Rabbi Reuven Spolter: Psak Detective in

The Case of A Curious Psak Halachah.

Monday, May 12, 2014

David Krakauer On 20 Years of Zorn

"Radical Jewish Culture and John Zorn: Remembrances of a 20-year Connection"

Gimme Some Horns!

Recently, I've been spending some time going through old cassette recordings of jewish wedding music, largely from the '80's, in a garage cleaning effort. Re-listening to these tracks, one thing in particular stands out, compared to today's Chasidic wedding recordings; the incredible nuances in the horn tracks on the albums I'm checking out. There is some seriously great horn playing here, especially the tightly phrased section work, which is well-harmonized, and articulated as a unit. So much richer than the typical arrangements heard today. I imagine a large part of this is due to the frequency of the gigs -- these guys worked together at weddings every night, not just in the studio -- and the emphasis on section harmony playing, which is somewhat of a lost art on simcha bandstands these days. Some really nice work here!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yofi Tofi Mucho Beseder

The Seder-Songwriter Project

Best Pesach project I've seen for this year was the Seder-Songwriter project. I'd love to do something like this!!!!

Here's a taste.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pesach Penguin Dance

Same Old Song


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Zumba Golly Golly!

Over at the Forward Sisterhood blog, it's Rabbis Gone Wild — About Modesty and (Gasp!) Zumba

Quoth Frimet Goldberger:

These rabbis speak the truth, ladies. I know this because when I walked into the aerobics studio at my gym the other week, and attempted to follow the Zumba instructor’s impossibly smooth animal moves, I was immediately and magically transported to the stage at Flashdancers NYC. Within five minutes, my husband filed for divorce and was granted full custody and I’m placing Craigslist ads in another open window. A prophecy fulfilled!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Secrets of Jazz Piano Explained

My favorite jazz piano teacher is back with the best explanation of Drop 2 ever!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

From the mailbag....

Dovid Kerner emails links to his Purim clips...
There Was a Rasha (original version) (Youtube)
Bob Zimmerman Purim Shpiel (Youtube)

Shake, Shake, Shake! Shake Your Grogger!

Michelle Citrin's new Purim song.

So, "What Does Haman Say?"

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Lema'an Ya'amdu Yamim Rabim

It's been deleted, but you can still find that offensive video here:  The 'official video' of Sunday's prayer rally - UPDATED.

Rationalist Rally

Rationalist Judaism: The "Official" Video of the Rally

The Rally Clip At Tzelem-Currents

Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein @ Tzelem-Currents comments on the video in "The Rally Clip".

It's good that he is taking issue with it too!

Not Going Over Well

Rabbi Reuven Spolter on the "nauseating" Chareidi music video we posted yesterday. I agree with him.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shame on Cinematic Strings

Cinematic Strings promises a student discount to a correspondent, but then reneges when they learn he lives in Israel, because they support BDS. The student's wife writes about it in  "A Sour note."

For shame!

Update: Attempted walk back. Standing up to bullies works!

Another update:

This new comment by Alex from Cinematic Strings (on the link above) on that page sounds sincere.

Just an update. We realised that our own stance had been discriminatory, and that was not something we meant to do. We have given the discount to the artist concerned and in fact we have emailed him today and he is happy to work with us. We have agreed to provide the discount to every student regardless of their location, and after several discussions and further research, we have withdrawn our support of the BDS. We have done this because, while we still support open dialogue aimed at achieving peace and equality, we now consider the aims of the BDS movement to be extreme and counterproductive. Thanks for your time. Kind regards, Alex

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sam Glaser Is Dancing in Jerusalem

Gear Review: Gruv Gear Muver 6 Multi Mode Longbed Cart

So a few months back, I ordered a Gruv Gear Muver 6 Multi Mode Longbed Cart. I'd been using the Rock N Roller R10 Cart for the last many years, like most in this end of the business, however, I was never really happy with it. So, when mine was stolen, I decided to try the the  Muver 6 instead.

There are very few options for folding carts that can haul serious gear, and also easily fit in a car. Since I couldn't find a local dealer who stocks these, after researching as best as possible on line, I took a chance and ordered one online. After using it for a few months, I can say that on the whole, I am very pleased with it. After a few weeks, of use I also ordered the optional table accessory, which allows me to turn it into a table, which has been quite handy on occasion.

A bit about my needs, cart-wise. I am often hauling either a keyboard setup (keyboard, amp, keyboard stand. mic stand, gear bag, book bag), a PA setup (speakers, mixer, stands, speaker poles), miscellaneous other musical instruments, or all of the above.

The Rock N Roller R10 Cart  I'd had was less than ideal for many of these functions. I had difficulty fitting a keyboard on it comfortably. If I stood the keyboard case up on its end, I'd need to strap it to the handle, and the handle would be flush against the keyboard case, meaning I couldn't use that side to pull/push the cart. Lying the keyboard flat on the cart required leaving one of the handles folded down, and piling all of the gear on top of the keyboard case. However, the lack of a bed meant that the plastic SKB flight cases wouldn't stay on the cart, and would slide off easily at the slightest incline or bump.

As well, in this fully extended position, the cart was difficult to maneuver around sharp turns, a situation that arises frequently, like when wheeling a cart full of gear through a busy kitchen load-in at a venue.

In addition, the cart felt less than solid in the fully extended position. As a result, I found myself putting a lot more stress on my back, than I ought to have needed to maneuver the cart.

I also found that the inflatable tires lost air frequently, and even had to replace the back tires several times. (It goes without saying that the front wheels needed frequent replacement.)

The Muver 6  avoids all of these issues. Its multiple configurations allow me to use it in either flat-bad or half-sizes, without having any of these issues. The fully-extended flat-bed version is secure, allowing me to lay the keyboard(s)flat on the bottom and pile all of my gear on top, taking one trip, without worrying about spillage. The large wheels in the middle (meaning six wheels on the ground) both help to support the gear, and make cornering a breeze. You can see how this works on the demo video on Gruv Gear's site.

In its smaller, partially folded mode, the handles curve slightly out. so that even when standing the keyboard case up on its end, I can still push/pull the cart from that side.

Its solid tires can't lose air. Time will tell about their durability, but so far, they seem to be holding up nicely.

Some examples of recent scenarios where the Muver 6 made things much easier for me compared to the Rock N Roller Cart ...

1) A gig in Brooklyn. I had to park several blocks away from the venue, and navigate my cart with a keyboard setup down several cobblestone streets and broken sidewalks in an industrial area. The  Muver 6  handled the trip easily, and using the table option instead of a separate keyboard stand made for a much simpler, balanced load. Had I had the Rock N Roller Cart, I would have had much more difficulty navigating the cobblestones, wouldn't have been able to easily push/pull from either side, which was necessary on several occasions, and in my experience, my gear would have fallen off the cart several times.

2) A gig at the Museum of Natural History. I parked in the museum lot, and entered the museum at the opposite end of the building from the "Whale Room" where the gig was. Using the cart, I was able to easily and smoothly pull it the entire length of the museum, (about one large city block), in no time, without the unpleasantness and exertion pulling the Rock N Roller Cart would have entailed. I know this because IIRC, the last time I played there, I used the Rock N Roller Cart. (Sometimes, I don't need to bring any gear to those sorts of gigs, as back line is rented.

In short, the Muver 6 stands out over the Rock N Roller Cart virtually every way. About the only points the Rock N Roller Cart has in its favor is weight (about half that of the Muver 6 ), and that it folds up more compactly that the Muver 6. I feel that this is a worthwhile trade-off. The Muver 6 is also more expensive, but the build quality is significantly better, and worth the premium.

I should note that Gruv Gear makes another cart, the  V-Cart Solo - Multi-Position Personal Utility Cart, that may be a good option for some of you, instead of the Muver 6. That cart folds up smaller, and also has a unique angle that lets you push it as a tilted back dolly. It's also about half the weight of the Muver 6. I opted for the Muver 6  due to its ability to corner easily when fully extended. For those with less gear to haul, or for whom this isn't an issue -- and for bassists/guitarists, who want to be able to move an amp stack around the room/use the cart as an amp stand -- this looks to be a great option. That cart also has an extension option, the Gruv Gear XL Frame Extension for the V-Cart Solo that seems like it would make it a good option for drummers and others with slightly more gear that the V-Cart Solo alone can hold. They also offer a Carpeted Deck option for it. And, there's a brace option, the Gruv Gear Stage Wedge for V-Cart Solo, that let's you use it as an amp stand for your guitar/bass amp.

For people with even less gear to haul, they offer the Solo Lite Multi-Position Personal Utility Cart.

Since no local retailers seem to carry these, I can't speak to the specifics of the other two Gruve Gear carts, but based on my experience with the  Muver 6, I would not hesitate to buy either of these as needed.

In short, these are solid, practical carts for the gigging musician, that can hold your gear in a variety of configurations, and reliably get you and your gear to the gig. You can find more info here: GRUV GEAR website.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Dancing Under Fire

‫המשטרה התיזה מים, המפגינים החרדים פרצו בריקוד‬‎

The Israeli police started s[raying water cannons to disperse rioting chassidim. They responded by dancing. The tune played, naturally, was Vechol Karnei Reshaim. Only in Israel!

Shreimel tip: Life in Israel.

Thursday, February 06, 2014


New organization: CRAAP: Chassidish Rebbes Against Apps!

Let's ban some more stuff! Bans work!

WhatsApp Spreads Fast Among Ultra-Orthodox — and Rabbis Cry Foul

From the mailbag...

Jason Pietruszka emails a link to a new music video with his band "3 Steps Closer. He describes his music as "undertones of religion, faith, and tradition."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Klezmatics Schnorring Again

The Klezmatics are looking to crowd fun their next album. Last time, they used Kickstarter. This time, they're doing it themselves through the  band website.

Interesting approach.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


The J-Post covers the big blowup over ACUM's honoring Ariel Zilber this year in "Pro-rightist singer Zilber gets downgraded award, touching off firestorm in Israel."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

So Someone Filmed A Music Video In Auschwitz.

Nice enough song, I suppose,  for the genre, but really... Auschwitz? Color me appalled!

Reb Lipa On Hsahkafa

In the Forward... "Lipa Schmeltzer Reaches For Broadway and Beyond".

So, you banned his big show a number of years ago. How's that working out?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

So This Exists!

A Klezmer bouzouki/bassoon duo.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Take That!

"Religious Singers Take Israeli Music Awards"

The Razel song, which I'm pretty sure I posted a while back, is gorgeous! There a clip at the link. Check it!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Take Note!

Over at deBreved, Tim Davies has an excellent presentation "Jazz Notation - The Default", that talks about the default assumptions jazz musicians will make when looking at sheet music. I've talked about some of this in the past, but Tim really nails it here, in an extensively developed presentation that --if you follow his links and examples -- is guaranteed to help you write clearer charts. Go and learn!

Monday, January 06, 2014