(2003-2004 Archived Page)
Welcome to the Jewish Music Page of Rainlore's World of Music. Here, you will find all manner of news and information, including articles, Jewish music reviews, information on artists, and more, concerning all types and aspects of any kind of music that is even vaguely Jewish.
A total of seven album reviews have made it onto the site, however, due to time constraints and in order to not delay the current update any further it had to be curtailed somewhat, leaving some artists' profiles and an illustrated review of the phenomenal Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho, London, to be added ASAP.
However, the current crop of albums reviewed is a veritable treasure trove! Back in 1984, a remarkable performance of Shostakovich's song cycle "From Jewish Folk Poetry", Opus 79, took place in London as part of the first London Festival of Jewish Music. What was so remarkable about this performance was that the songs had been translated back into Yiddish from Russian. Fortunately, this performance in Yiddish was recorded shortly afterwards with the same performers and released on audio cassette by B'nai B'rith Recordings. The performers were Helen Lawrence, soprano (now mezzo), Carole Rosen, mezzo, Louis Garb, tenor, Louis Berkman, baritone, and Antony Saunders, piano. In addition to the Shostakovich cycle, the recording included extracts from Samuel Alman's Yiddish opera "King Ahaz", with piano accompaniment. This historical release is still available in limited quantities and is now reviewed, along with another historical B'nai B'rith Recordings release from the same year, featuring Sybil Michelow, soprano (now alto) and the late Master of the Queen's Music Malcolm Williamson, "In Recital". This features an outstanding selection of songs covering the period from the late Romantic to the late 20th century, all by Jewish composers or on Jewish themes. Both of these historic releases are available from Jewish Music Distribution UK, and CD re-issues are being contemplated by the JMI, who own the rights.
If you're even vaguely into chansons and cabaret song, don't miss the fabulous Alexandra Yaron's stunning album, "Irgendwo Auf Der Welt...", and most of all, don't miss this incredible performer! Alexandra Yaron will already be familiar to regular visitors through the review here of her recent cabaret date at The Spitz. The zany Aussie band Monsieur Camembert who won their second ARIA Award for Best World Music Album for their 2003 release "Absynthe" provide a super taster of their live performances on the 2002 ARIA Award-winning "Live On Stage". One-time keyboardist/sideman for Tom Waits, Willy Schwarz is an incredibly versatile multi-instrumentalist as well as an accomplished singer who takes us on a musical travelogue to explore most major traditions of Jewish music throughout the diaspora with his album "Jewish Music Around The World", distributed in the US by Hatikvah Music. One of the best aspects of this album is also that it presents Ashkenazi as well as Sephardi and Mizrakhi traditions together and all mixed up nicely. It also highlights the fact that sadly at present, Sephardi and Mizrakhi traditions are seriously under-represented in reviews on this site. This is by no means by design or any kind of bias or preference but simply because artists/bands (and/or their distributors/labels etc.) have been somewhat backward in coming forward. A very regrettable state of affairs in my opinion.
Asaf Sirkis, more familiar perhaps as the drum genius at the heart of the rhythm section of Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble, can be heard with his own trio, Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise on their recent outstanding album "Inner Noise". A kind of fusion for the 21st century, "Inner Noise" goes far beyond the fusion familiar from Miles Davis and John McLaughlin and followers, combining elements of jazz, progressive rock, classical and Middle Eastern music and influences as diverse as Olivier Messiaen and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The trio comprises in addition to Sirkis on drums, organist Steve Lodder on church organ and guitarist Mike Outram. The work was recorded at St. Michael's Church, Highgate, North London. While perhaps not falling under the umbrella of Jewish music, this album is nonetheless of interest here as not only is Sirkis Israeli and the work was originally partly commissioned by the City of Tel Aviv's Art Department, but also because of the Middle Eastern elements of the music. Last but not least, there's more from clawhammer banjo klezmer extraordinaire Andy Rubin, with his regular band The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band and their 1998 debut album "The Flower of Berezin", a joyful blend of klezmer, American Old Time Dance music, Irish music and more. This stuff is highly infectious!
Finally, with the next (partial) site update it is about time to move
some of the news content of this page to the archives.
No less than five album reviews this time, with lots more in preparation. Be sure not to miss the extraordinary Wolf Krakowski's albums, Transmigrations - Gilgul and Goyrl: Destiny. Krakowski re-intepretes traditional Yiddish songs in a modern blues based idiom that blends blues, R&B, folk-rock, country-rock, reggae and Latin flavours in his own inimitable style while fully preserving the Yiddish essence of the songs. At the height of her career, Yaffa Yarkoni was probably Israel's most popular singer. Thanks to the endeavours of Simon Rutberg and his Hatikvah Music label, a collection of her singing Yiddish songs is for the first time available on CD in the form of Yaffa Yarkoni Sings Yiddish - Rumania, Rumania. Whether you're into "Early Jewish Music" period style performances, tsimbl, or you just like klezmer duets, Pete Rushefsky and Elie Rosenblatt's Tsimbl un Fidl: Klezmer Music For Hammered Dulcimer And Violin is guaranteed to offer everybody something. Finally, the recently released Shalom Ireland by CeiliZemer is the soundtrack of the documentary movie of the same name and there simply aren't enough superlatives to describe this fantastic album - it's a real blast! CeiliZemer of course features among others Andy Rubin and David Kidron of The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band, of whom more next time.
Coming soon is a live review of a recent Gilad
Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble date at the Pizza Express
Jazz Club, Soho. It's easy to see why they're fast acquiring the status
Rainlore's World of Music
A Happy C.E. New Year!
Also up, a full six album reviews. While not strictly speaking falling under the umbrella of any kind of Jewish music, The Amazing Assaf's "Explicit Lifestyles" and "Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't" are nevertheless relevant here. For starters, they are fine music, period. Moreover, they are very rare beasts in the present day and age - popular music, in this particular case, Hip Hop, that actually qualifies as original, inventive, creative and even accessible and eminently listenable-to. Even if Hip Hop is not your usual "bag", I'd urge you to give The Amazing Assaf's albums a listen. This Hip Hop and percussion genius takes the genre and turns it upside down and inside out with very interesting results. And there isn't even a loop in sight. Last not least of course, The Amazing Assaf will already be familiar to regular visitors of these pages as the percussion wizard of the all-star supergroup Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers. For more on The Amazing Assaf and his albums also check here.
Then there are two more albums from Stewart Curtis, the multi-woodwind phenomenon also already familiar through his association with Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers as well as his previously reviewed debut album with Stewart Curtis' K-Groove. "Smoked Salmon Salsa" is K-Groove's most recent album, and Curtis faces the trio trial on "Saracubana - The Stewart Curtis Trio Plays B.B. Cooper"; extraordinary albums both. Equally extraordinary are two more albums from Dutch duo Mariejan van Oort and Jacques Verheijen, their debut album "Brikele - A Concert of Yiddsh Songs", and their latest release, "Mayn Fayfele - Songs of Gebirtig", a tribute to Mordekhay Gebirtig that includes material only recently discovered.
Several new musical categories and links to them are starting to appear on these pages. There is a lot of material that is relevant to more than one sphere of interest, e.g., a lot of klezmer and other Jewish music involves fusion with jazz and it would therefore be of interest to general jazz afficionados. Adding other categories and cross-referencing material is aimed at broadening the appeal of such material. Also of course, there will always be other material that I find of interest but that doesn't really fit into the previous limited categories. However, rest assured that the primary focus of this site will firmly remain all forms of Jewish music, and a bit of steel pan (which will finally come along real soon now). The first of the new categories to become "active" are Jazz and Other Music. The latter will cover all forms/genres of music not already encompassed by a seperate category.
Finally, a "silent" update of the Jewish
Music UK Calendar page will follow, it is hoped, in the next few days.
A Happy Chanukah To All!
Chanukah or not, no rest for the wicked here due to this update once again having gotten delayed. Not easy typing and editing photos etc. with one hand only (the other one "sprung a leak" and gushed "nearly an armful"). At least the latkes keep cheering me up in my (vain) attempts to gain weight! Still on the subject of Chanukah, it gave me great pleasure to notice that the Lubavitch shul in not too far off Ilford this year wished everybody a Happy Chanukah by erecting a giant menorah on the Gants Hill roundabout. Nice gesture, and nice to see a bit of pride in Jewish culture also.
Up at last: reviews of Alexandra Yaron's fabulous Berlin & Paris Cabaret evening at The Spitz last month, and of the final two concerts in the Klezmer Beats on Upper Street series by the World Quintet and Budapest Klezmer Band respectively. And a couple of CD reviews that really couldn't wait - the superb Stewart Curtis' Klezmer Groove's (now better known as Stewart Curtis' K-Groove) debut album "Too Loud For Dinner" that's as fresh as ever, and outstanding Dutch Yiddish song duo Mariejan van Oort and Jacques Verheijen's gorgeous "Benkshaft - Yiddishe Lider" song collection. More albums from both Stewart Curtis and Mariejan van Oort and Jacques Verheijen, including the latter's recently released "Mayn Fayfele - Songs of Gebirtig" to follow with the next site update, as well as some truly amazing Hip Hop (yes, Hip Hop!) from Amazing Assaf, whose leader of the same name may be more familiar to regular visitors to this site as percussionist Assaf Seewi in Daphna Sadeh's new all-star Voyagers line-up.
to the topic of the recent outstanding Klezmer Beats on Upper Street series of concerts at Union Chapel in Islington, North London for a moment, Geraldine Auerbach MBE (photo left, here introducing the Budapest Klezmer Band's Union Chapel concert on November 29th), head and dynamic engine of the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, University of London, will be familiar to members of the Jewish-music
mailing list already. A warm and charming lady, Geraldine has devoted
the last twenty-odd years to championing the cause of Jewish music in the
UK and continues to do so unceasingly. It is her utter dedication and sheer
hard work that has brought about the Jewish music renaissance in the UK
almost single-handedly. Klezmer Beats on Upper Street (all
four concerts in the series are reviewed here with
lavish illustrations) was a wonderful and highly successful series giving
a broad "taster" of the many forms of klezmer and klezmer related music
thriving today, yet this was only one small part of the huge number of
wonderfully varied musical and related events, numbering some sixty in
total, that the JMI presented this past autumn season. From Klezmer Jams
at Lauderdale House in Highgate, North London, to South Bank concerts,
from musical workshops to co-sponsored guided walks through Jewish London,
the breadth of the programme presented was simply breathtaking. For thus
enriching us all immeasurably both this past autumn season and throughout
the past twenty-odd years, all friends of Jewish music and Jewish culture
in general in the UK and beyond owe Geraldine Auerbach, and of course her
co-workers at the JMI, a huge debt of gratitude, admiration, appreciation
and affection - so, a little toast seems in order. Three cheers for Geraldine!
May she long continue with her tireless efforts!
Some months ago, the subject of "J4J" (Jews for Jesus) hiring Jewish
musicians under false pretenses came up on the Jewish-music
mailing list. It would appear that this organisation is now expanding
its operations in the UK, having recently opened a new centre in Kentish
Town Road, Kentish Town, North London. So, if you are a UK based musician
and take exception to being hired under false pretenses, look out!
While in the normal run of things, politics have no place on this site,
when racism and religious persecution raise their ugly twin heads, particularly
in the form of proposed legislation, it is my firm conviction that everybody
has an absolute duty to stand up and be counted, no matter where or when.
Sadly, such an occasion has now arisen. For the first time since the Nationalist
government of South Africa and the Nazis of Germany, a sovereign government
is proposing to institutionalise racism and religious persecution through
legislation. The French government is proposing to outlaw the wearing or
display of "prominent religious symbols" in schools, most particularly
aimed at the wearing of Islamic head scarves by girls but also including
the wearing of kipot (note also that only "excessively prominent" crosses are included!). Any such legislation will doubtlessly be only the thin end of the wedge. Perhaps one shouldn't be too surprised
given that the French are certainly among the most xenophobic of Western
European nations, nonetheless, I am utterly shocked and appalled and feel
duty-bound to express my strongest objections and utmost condemnation of
this act of outright racism and religious persecution. One would have thought
that by the beginning of the 21st century (C.E.) the American model of
the "melting pod" through near-forced assimilation would be totally and
utterly discredited and the multicultural societal model (at least aspired
to by, for example, the United Kingdom and indeed largely enshrined in
its legislation) of universal tolerance and mutual respect would have become
the aim of any remotely enlightened nation. Instead, France reveals herself
utterly benighted and attempts to turn back the clock! The legislation
she proposes is a very dark blotch on the face of humanity, a cancerous
lesion even. "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" indeed! Flushed down the proverbial toilet. The stench is nauseating.
Back to the normal business of this site.
Alas, been falling a bit further behind still, but it's been in a good cause, damsels in distress, that sort of thing. Without further ado, latest updates include three new reviews. Lloica Czackis and the Tangele Ensemble were at Union Chapel, Islington, North London recently, while Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers were bringing the first Brighton Festival of Jewish Music to a triumphant close at Komedia in Brighton. Both events were simply awe inspiring. Also, there's a long delayed, long overdue book review. It's not everyday that a musician has a novel published, let alone a Jewish musician, and when that musician happens to be of the international stature of the controversial Gilad Atzmon, this is certainly of interest to this site. A Guide To The Perplexed is a nuclear furnace of a satire, very dark and very funny and with a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Geraldine Auerbach of the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS, University of London, has announced next summer's Yiddish language and culture course and KlezFest. The former is slated for Sunday 1st to Friday 6th August 2004, while the latter will take place Sunday 8th to Thursday 12th August 2004. Full details and registration form will soon be available on the JMI website. KlezFest London is fast developing into a tradition that even attracts the attention of the British mainstream media. Time and circumstances permitting, I hope to report on KlezFest in 2004 on these pages.
Yet again, apologies to anybody who is still owed email. However, I
am finally getting there and have almost caught up!
More catching up as soon as can be done, including more live reviews.
Among these, the outstanding Alexandra
Yaron's cabaret evening at London's The Spitz last month. Alas,
illustrated reviews of live events are very labour intensive and time consuming,
mainly in editing and layout design and turning into html, hence the fairly
long delay between an event and its review actually making it onto site.
(This is also not helped by logistics such as film processing and high
res scanning, plus the need for "batching" this for maximum economy.)
Rainlore's World of Music
At last the reviews of Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers at Momo in London's Mayfair and world-renown maestro Giora Feidman and his quartet at Union Chapel, Islington are up! If you missed these fabulous dates, here's your chance to discover what you missed. (A lot! An awsome lot!) A whole bunch of further illustrated reviews of live events is in hand and will be trickling onto the site as fast as I can make it (along with a long overdue book review), and I'm also desperately trying to catch up on a whole stack of CD reviews, and more.
Henry Sapoznik of Kapelye fame, The Jewish Radio Project fame, acclaimed author and last but not least the father of KlezKamp in the US, invites "each and every one of you to join us at KlezKamp19 and celebrate our return to the Catskills with more innovative classes, great teachers and the finest schedule of Yiddish culture programs in the
And while I have (dare I hope!) everybody's attention, may I please
draw it to a new(-ish) magazine that I consider would be of interest to
visitors to this site. Jewish Renaissance is a quarterly magazine that started publication in
2002 and is devoted to all aspects of Jewish culture, including of course
Jewish music. I was fortunate in acquiring a complimentary copy of the
Summer 2003 issue that was being generously handed out at the recent Giora
Feidman recital at Union Chapel, and I was utterly delighted with it. Jewish
Renaissance is extremey well written and presented, beautifully
produced and printed, on excellent quality paper, and its coverage of Jewish
culture is very comprehensive indeed and simply wonderful. Informative,
stimulating, and often thought-provoking, Jewish Renaissance is
something that ought to have been around in the UK for much, much longer.
Its mission statement is a fine and noble one. It's also very competitively
priced and currently available by subscription only, at a mere £18.00
for 4 issues in the UK (now that really isn't bad at all for such a quality
publication, compared to general price levels of magazines these days).
So what are you waiting for? Go on, treat yourself or a friend or loved
one (the perfect gift for Chanukah!) to a subscription. You can subscribe
online via their web site,
or by calling (within the UK) 020 8876 1891, and they can also be contacted
by email. Advertising
is minimal (and unobtrusive and contextual), and Jewish Renaissance deserves support and really should not be allowed to fail.
And finally... As of this site update, this page has now moved so if
you had its old location bookmarked, don't forget to change it. New email
addresses have also been provided on the Contact page. Again, if I owe you email and you still haven't heard from me, please
accept my apologies, I am slowly getting there and hope to get through
with catching up with at least the substantial majority of outstanding
mails over the next couple of weeks.
(Written after the end of Shabbat.)
Apologies for the long break, due to complete computer (hardware) failure (once again!) shortly after the last update, fixing of which was further delayed by health issues. Anyway, system's back up and running, most of my essential software's restored to health, and so back to business as usual.
The Jewish Music UK Calendar of Rainlore's World of Music has been fully updated, much thanks to Geraldine Auerbach of the Jewish Music Institute, SOAS. And what treats there are in store! If you're able to get to London and have any interest in Jewish music and Jewish culture in general, you're bound to find some event that would interest you in the run-up to Chanukah, from concerts and recitals to workshops and guided walks.
Further updates to the site are to come over the coming weeks and beyond. For starters, illustrated reviews of Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers at Momo in London's Mayfair and world-renown maestro Giora Feidman and his quartet at Union Chapel, Islington. A possibly somewhat unusual book review. More illustrated reviews of live concerts/recitals, including mezzo-soprano Lloica Czackis at Union Chapel, Islington, and Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers at the Brighton Festival of Jewish Music. An awful number of CD reviews are also waiting to be completed or rather transformed into web pages, as well as to be written - apologies to all artists that I haven't been able to get around to yet. More artists' profiles are also awaiting completion, as is an introduction to the subject of Jewish music.
Some technicalities. I have been having problems with email for the
last couple of months - an awesome amount of messages simply got stuck
on the mail server (due to spam - some very awkward "zero-byte" messages
that apparently can be very tricky to get rid of and prevent other mail
coming down). While this issue now appears to be resolved, it hasn't been
helped by the system failure and being offline for some six weeks, and
now I'm having to struggle with catching up with some 1,000 messages (not
to mention having to delete thousands of spam messages and similar junk
that got past the filters!). So if you have emailed me in the last two
or three months and still haven't heard from me, please accept my apologies
and be assured that I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can. Also, the
email addresses on this site for contacting me will be changed with the
next update as my old email account has simply become a nightmare due to
large-scale spamming (it's a 10 year old account - in those days, spam
wasn't anything like the kind of problem it is now, and nobody bothered
to withhold their email address from their web browsers and the like...).
(Written after the end of Shabbat.)
The new Jewish Music UK Calendar of Rainlore's World of Music is finally up. There were a few more dates to enter but rather than wait for the full info I decided I'd get this feature up and running as is. It will be updated frequently.
Staying with the calendar, if you're in London or within easy reach this coming week, don't miss Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers at Chatspalace in Hackney on Wednesday night, 17th September!
There's also a little memorial page to legendary klezmer reedist Howie Leess (z"l) who sadly passed away in August. Affectionate tributes by some of those who knew him and worked with him also give an insight into the wonderful human side of this great musician.
Maria del Mar of YaD Agency kindly sent me their richly varied sampler CD of some of the artists on their roster, a mix of styles from klezmer to Radical Jewish Culture and the avantgarde, from world music and ethno-jazz to global electronica and classical. There's something for (nearly) every musical preference there. For more, check out the Links page. YaD Agency is part of the non-profit YaD Arts organisation, who describe themselves as "radical diaspora culture in the present tense: live music, dance, visual and performance art, film production and educational programmes representing the best artists from across ethnic Britain."
And finally... If you have this page bookmarked, please note that I'm
having to change its address (for administrative reasons) at some point
in the next few weeks.
(These lines are being written well before the start of Shabbat, and I'll try and have this update online before then, but if I can't make it, it'll be up just after Shabbat.)
Having had to escape from the intolerable heat in our apartment (over 110 degrees - the old-fashioned Fahrenheit variety, the C variety doesn't do much for me so don't ask) during the recent heatwave, I have now been back a couple of days and have been trying to do some more catching up.
A new Jewish music UK gig calendar page is also more or less ready to
go up as soon as I can get a few more data (and dates) finalised. If you're
an organiser, promoter, or artist and have an upcoming live event, secular
or liturgical, please get in touch and let
me know as much detail as possible as early as possible.
Two recent(-ish) sad events to note. The Gentle Giant of jazz flute, Herbie Mann (z"l) sadly passed away on July 2nd aged 73, following a long struggle with prostate cancer. A man of insatiable musical curiosity, Herbie Mann probably explored more different musical styles and cultures than any other musician before him, and did so with great sensitivity and artistry. Credited with raising the status of the flute as a solo instrument in jazz more than any other artist, it is often overlooked that Herbie Mann was also a brilliant bass clarinetist. His last album, released earlier this year, Eastern European Roots, finally saw him returning to his roots musically speaking. Sadly, we can now only imagine the delights he might yet have given us had he been able to explore this direction further. Herbie Mann will be deeply missed.
On August 24th, klezmer tenor sax/clarinet legend Howie Leess (z"l) passed away at his home in Rochester, NY, aged 83. Howie Leess, whose career peaked in the 1940s and 50s, was still active well into the 1990s, when he was part of Eve Sicular's original Greater Metropolitan Klezmer Band, precursor to the present Metropolitan Klezmer, and as recently as last year still took part in a tour of The Yiddish Radio Project. A recording from his time with The Greater Metropolitan Klezmer Band featuring the memorable, sophisticated sound of Howie Leess' clarinet was only earlier this year featured on Metropolitan Klezmer's current album, Surprising Finds. Howie Leess will be deeply missed.
Heartfelt condolences to both these outstanding artists' families.
And now, for something completely different...
To come back to Jack Massarik's review of the BBC Jazz Awards in Wednesday, 30th July's Evening Standard London newspaper, referred
to last time, for one last and brief time. It has been suggested, and the
thought had indeed occurred here, too, that Jack Massarik might possibly
be Jewish himself and a committed zionist, and took exception to Gilad
Atzmon's politics. If that is indeed the case, then Massarik's "review"
is even more inexcusable and un-professional. If indeed he has a problem
with Atzmon's politics, then fair enough, I'm sure anybody could at the
very least understand that. However, in that case, Massarik should attack
Atzmon's politics fair and square. By making a veiled attack by taking
the cheapest pot shots imaginable at the man's art, Massarik
isn't doing himself any favours, nor the cause of zionism. As a reviewer,
it only makes him appear completely unprofessional. Now I'm sure Jack Massarik
isn't some young hot-head upstart, so he really ought to know better. What
makes the whole thing all the more mystifying is the fact that Massarik
also wrote a fairly positive review of Atzmon's previous album, Nostalgico, only a year or so ago. Go figure...
At least the review of Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers' recital at Leo Baeck College on 3rd July is finally up now. I know, the html's absolute poo, I'm not happy with it and the resultant layout at all but right now it's the best I can do. I'll try to improve it as and when I get a chance and can figure out a better way.
There's also a new and long overdue link to Irwin Oppenheim's fabulous and fascinating Chazzanut Online site on the links page. It's the most comprehensive web site devoted to Jewish liturgical music I've seen.
Some brief news, again much delayed, mainly for those interested in
traditional Jewish and Middle Eastern instruments.
Last time (2003/07/31), I celebrated Gilad Atzmon's winning the BBC Jazz Award for Best CD in this column. A friend in London has since kindly sent me a clipping from Wednesday, 30th July's Evening Standard London newspaper, of a review of the BBC Jazz Awards by Jack Massarik titled "Errant saxman calls the shots" (p36). (Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate an online version of this article.) Ordinarily, I would never comment on or respond to anyone's review, but in this case I feel moved strongly to make an exception.
Jack Massarik writes, "The third year of this annual event was hijacked by Gilad Atzmon, an off-message Israeli saxophonist who managed to pocket a British award... The laxity of the BBC panel in naming his Palestinian folk album, Exile, as jazz CD of the year was matched only by his chutzpah in accepting it."
Woa! What is Massarik's agenda here? Is it anti-semitic? Anti-Israeli? Where is his problem with an Israeli musician winning a British award, specifically, a BBC Jazz Award which, last time I looked, were still called the "BBC Jazz Awards", not the "BBC British Jazz Awards"? (Besides which, Atzmon's being a resident of the United Kingdom would certainly qualify him even on that score anyway.) Is this yet another voice in the ever shriller British media chorus of hysteric xenophobia? The latter certainly seems to ring true here. Massarik certainly doesn't seem to have the same problem with George Shearing, who although British born has lived in the US for some 50-odd years and whose presence on the British jazz scene has at best been sporadic in that time, winning the Lifetime Achievement Award.
To try and dismiss a jazz album that contains one track (out of nine)
that is based on a Palestinian song, as a "Palestinian folk album" as Jack Massarik does, is either a new peak in ignorance or the cheapest
shot yet (and as such wholly unworthy of anybody claiming to be a music
critic, although goodness knows that seems a pretty abysmal profession
generally), and conceivably a combination of both. Massarik, as a freelance
jazz writer, clearly and surely ought to know better. Sadly he doesn't
seem to and instead chooses to spew out diatribe.
That date was meant to be 4th July still, but alas, it was not to be. My CPU finally expired that day, and having a by now rather elderly system (three years is an eternity in computer terms!) and limited financial resources meant it took quite a while to get hold of a suitable secondhand replacement processor. In addition, health issues didn't help either. But anyway, after much delay, for which sincere apologies to one and all, here's a bit of catching up at least.
Reviews (still completed just before the system died!) of the long awaited solo debut album by The Isle of Klezbos, Greetings From... The Isle Of Klezbos, and the equally eagerly awaited latest album by Metropolitan Klezmer, Surprising Finds, are up at last. They're sensational! (The albums that is, of course!)
The equally long-delayed review of Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers' 3rd July recital at Leo Baeck College in London will be up in the next few days also. Not having had a computer in a usable state meant I can only now edit the photos.
This week also saw the presentation of the prestigeous BBC
JAZZ AWARDS at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's South Bank
on Tuesday, 29th July. It's wonderful to see that an outstanding Jewish
artist, Israeli born Gilad
Atzmon, walked away with the more than well deserved award for Best
CD for Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble's "Exile", far and away the most exciting jazz album in decades. Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble were also nominated for the award
for Best Band. The prominent mainstream exposure that Jewish music receives
through this certainly has to be most welcome. So I'd like to say not only,
warmest congratulations on winning the Best CD award Gilad and the (extended)
Orient House Ensemble, but also, thank you.
Rainlore's World of Music
Newsflash - Having just got back from Daphna Sadeh and the Voyager's gig at the shul of Leo Baeck College in London, I'm pleased to be able to convey some good news to all friends of Jewish music on the US East Coast. Daphna Sadeh will be in Albany, NY with Eve's Women next week - be sure not to miss this fabulous young lady and her ensemble if you possibly can, it's sure to be a rewarding experience. Tonight's gig was outstanding, and the audience hugely appreciative and enthusiastic, filling the shul with applause every bit as thunderous as the wonderful music. Watch out for a full, illustrated review of this marvellous performance soon.
Also, I propose to add some sort of events diary to this site soon, focused specifically on (all and any) live Jewish music events in the UK. If you're an artist, band, ensemble, artist's agent, promoter, gig organiser or whatever with forthcoming Jewish music events, please contact me and let me have as much detail as possible, i.e., who, what, where, when, cost of admission, etc. Please do bear in mind I need a little notice, so try and let me know as early as possible but at the very least two weeks ahead.
Just an interim update to present a review of Daphna Sadeh's latest album, "Out of Border". It's something real special, so don't just read the review, listen to the music. Daphna may be more familiar to many as a long time member of Israel's East West Ensemble and the founder/leader of Eve's Women. If you hurry, you can also catch her live on Thursday, 3rd July, at Leo Baeck College, 80 East End Rd., Finchley, London N3 2SY, nearest tube Finchley Central (Northern Line/Barnet Branch). Featured with Daphna Sadeh on electric double bass will be Tigran Aleksanyan on duduk, clarinet and flutes, and Koby Israelite on accordion and percussion. An illustrated review of this performance should be up here in around a fortnight's time.
More updates over the coming week, including reviews of exciting new
albums from The Isle of Klezbos and Metropolitan Klezmer, just being released in the UK, and also a whole backlog of other reviews, plus additions to the links page including to Irwin Oppenheim's wonderful Chazzanut Online site. Also shortly, a profile of Daphna Sadeh.
Rainlore's World of Music
Yet again, I'm getting way behind. There's a bunch of other reviews ready and awaiting posting here, hopefully I'll get the pages into shape for the next site update. Also, some fascinating new releases are on their way to me, as well as some perhaps not so new but new to me albums.
Koby Israelite's profile is also up, and the one of Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble has been updated.
Rainlore's World of Music
The following (excerpted) press release announcing the release of Koby Israelite's new album, "Dance of the Idiots", arrived here the other day:
At long last the release of my album ‘Dance of the Idiots’ due out on April the 22nd. But, if you can’t wait (and why should you?) you can order it direct from www.tzadik.com. Just go to recent releases and look out for the cover above. Check out a couple of reviews below, it will give you a good idea about the album.
“Koby is a young Israeli musician living in London who enjoys smashing genres together and grinding them into dust. Koby has absorbed an astounding array of musics, and blends them together here in a dynamic and colorful musical world of his own. As complex and finely crafted as Naked City, Frank Zappa or Mr. Bungle at their best, the music on Dance Of The Idiots, Koby’s debut recording, is a passionate exploration of the Jewish experience. Cantorial Death Metal, Nino Rota Klezmer, Balkan Surf, Catskills free improvisation. You’ve never heard such sounds.” (John Zorn)
Needless to say, the review of this outstanding album's now up. A profile of Koby Israelite will be available with the next site update.
A few more reviews - one of these days I'll really catch up, I'm sure. More new stuff to come shortly, as time permits. Work is in hand on an introduction to Jewish music (what does one leave out? This could grow into a book without a lot of cutting and leaving out!), and also on a sort of gallery feature covering Jewish music in art. Apologies in advance if the quality of pictures won't always be too great and the size often smaller than one might wish, but bandwidth for this site is limited...
Rainlore's World of Music
Jewish Music Distribution UK's spiffing new web site is finally up and running, do go and have a look. In addition to CDs and cassettes, sheet music, books and more are also available. To go with the new site, there's a new email addy also. More details on JMD UK can also be found here.
Profound thanks to everybody for helpful info etc. concerning Jewish music in art, in particular to the ever helpful Helen Winkler, Yiddish dance expert and allround treasure on the Jewish-music mailing list.
A couple more reviews - there are loads more lined up, and I'm really trying hard to catch up, honest! Likewise, I'm trying very hard to also catch up on artists' profiles, at the same time trying to juggle getting more general content into shape on pages like this one.
An idea for a new feature has also cropped up. I'm considering adding
a sort of "gallery" page of works of art of interest in the context of
Jewish music, i.e., depictions of Jewish musicians in art, Jewish artists'
works of musical themes, and the like. The subject popped up on the Jewish
Music mailing list some time ago, and the idea kept going through my
mind ever since. Not long after, I vaguely recalled having once seen a
picture of a musician by a well-known Polish born South African Jewish
artist, Wolf Kibel, whose subjects prominently included Jewish themes. This image turned out to be The Bass Player, a monotype that had remained in the family until the mid-1960s when it was sold. The artist's son kindly made a copy of the image available to me to get things started, and there we are..
Rainlore's World of Music
This week's site update is getting terribly delayed, but on the other hand, the Guzikow Archives are finally getting off the ground with a first instalment. Who is or was this Guzikow then, you ask? You can find the answer to this in a brief intoduction and biographical and career overview written by yours truly. And with that, Alex Jacobowitz's Michael Joseph Guzikow Archives, to use their full title, are well and truly open!
Also, I've optimised the site a fair bit, resulting in substantial savings of space.
Rainlore's World of Music
This page should also see some more content coming along soon.
Work on the Guzikow Archives is in hand - at the moment, all the material is being gathered and indexed. Shouldn't be too long before something's up there.
Rainlore's World of Music
Latest reviews as of 2004/02/04:
Helen Lawrence et al : Shostakovitch - Song Cycle: From Jewish Folk Poetry / Alman - King Ahaz - Opera Excerpts (2004/01/27) (Audio Cassette)
Sybil Michelow & Malcolm Williamson : In Recital (2004/01/27) (Audio Cassette)
Alexandra Yaron : Irgendwo Auf Der Welt... (2004/01/22)
Monsieur Camembert : Live On Stage (2004/01/21)
Willy Schwarz : Jewish Music Around The World (2004/01/19)
Asaf Sirkis & The Inner Noise : Inner Noise (2004/01/18)
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band : The Flower Of Berezin (2004/01/18)
Latest reviews as of 2004/01/17:
CeiliZemer : Shalom Ireland (2004/01/14)
Pete Rushefsky & Elie Rosenblatt : Tsimbl un Fidl: Klezmer Music For Hammered Dulcimer And Violin (2004/01/11)
Yaffa Yarkoni : Yaffa Yarkoni Sings Yiddish - Rumania, Rumania (2004/01/09)
Wolf Krakowski : Goyrl: Destiny (2004/01/09)
Wolf Krakowski : Transmigrations - Gilgul (2004/01/07)
Latest reviews as of 2004/01/01:
Mariejan van Oort & Jacques Verheijen : Mayn Fayfele - Songs of Gebirtig (2003/12/31)
The Stewart Curtis Trio : Saracubana - The Stewart Curtis Trio Plays B.B. Cooper (2003/12/30)
Stewart Curtis' K-Groove : Smoked Salmon Salsa (2003/12/29)
Mariejan van Oort & Jacques Verheijen : Brikele - A Concert Of Yiddish Songs (2003/12/29)
Latest reviews as of 2003/12/23:
Stewart Curtis' Klezmer Groove : Too Loud For Dinner (2003/12/17)
Mariejan van Oort & Jacques Verheijen : Benkshaft - Yiddishe Lider (2003/12/17)
Budapest Klezmer Band : Live at Union Chapel, Islington, London, 29th November 2003 (2003/12/01)
Alexandra Yaron : Berlin & Paris Cabaret, at The Spitz, London, 25th November 2003 (2003/11/26)
The World Quintet (formerly known as Kol Simcha) : Live
at Union Chapel, Islington, London, 20th November 2003 (2003/11/26)
Latest reviews as of 2003/12/09:
Gilad Atzmon : A Guide To The Perplexed (book review) (2003/09/20)
Lloica Czackis and Tangele : Tangele - The Pulse of Yiddish Tango at Union Chapel, Islington, London, 9th November 2003 (2003/11/12)
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers : Brighton
Festival of Jewish Music, Komedia, Brighton, 10th November 2003 (2003/11/12)
Latest reviews as of 2003/11/17:
The Giora Feidman Quartet : TangoKlezmer: Giora Feidman Quartet at Union Chapel, Islington, London, 23rd October 2003 (2003/10/24)
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers : Live at Momo, Mayfair, London, 14th October 2003 (2003/10/20)
Daphna Sadeh And The Voyagers : Live
at Leo Baeck College, London, 3rd July 2003 (2003/07/04)
Latest reviews as of 2003/08/29:
Monsieur Camembert : Absynthe (2003/08/26)
Latest reviews as of 2003/08/03:
Daphna Sadeh And
The Voyagers - Live at Leo Back College, London, 3rd July 2003 (2003/07/04)
Latest reviews as of 2003/07/31:
Latest reviews as of 2003/06/30:
Daphna Sadeh : Out of Border (2003/06/30)
Latest reviews as of 2003/05/18:
Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble, Feat. Reem Kelani & Dhafer Youssef : Exile (2003/05/16)
Koby Israelite : Dance
of the Idiots (2003/05/02)
Latest reviews as of 2003/04/24:
Francoise Atlan : Sephardic
Songs: Romances Sefardies (2003/04/16)
Reviews of Jewish music available here as of 2003/04/05 are, in order of date reviewed (i.e., newest reviews first):
Shirim Klezmer Orchestra : Klezmer
Another major feature, the artists'
pages consist of brief profiles, complete with discographies, contact/booking
and other useful information, for artists whose work has been reviewed
on Rainlore's World of Music, or that have been given a special
feature or profile. Additionally, in some cases, these pages may be styled
to serve as the artist's or band's home page if they don't have a web site/page
of their own yet; these are identified accordingly.
Latest profiles of Jewish music artists as of 2004/01/01:
Latest profiles of Jewish music artists as of 2003/08/29:
Latest profiles of Jewish music artists as of 2003/05/18:
Profiles of Jewish music artists available here as of 2003/04/05 are, in alphabetical order:
An index of both formal and informal articles, both on as well as off
site, on all manner of topics relating to Jewish music. Titles are accompanied
by brief descriptions of the content.
Articles on aspects of Jewish music by various authors, off-site
The Main Klezmer Modes by Joshua Horowitz is an extract from an unpublished paper by Horowitz on the modes or shteygers commonly in use in klezmer music, which derive from the modes of the Ashkenazi chazzanut. It is both fascinating and practically required reading for anybody with an interest in the theory of Jewish music.
Tsimbls and Their Kin by Joshua Horowitz is a riveting article by this eminent musicologist and of course one of the most outstanding contemporary tsimblists himself, on this wonderful instrument - the tsimbl, the Eastern European Jewish hammered dulcimer or cimbalom.
KLEZCALIFORNIA is an annual five day celebration of Klezmer Music,
Yiddish Language, Literature, Dance and Folk Arts, with evening events
and a full children's program, held every summer in San Francisco, California.
Course offerings, teachers, registration instructions and other details
are available from the KlezCalifornia web
site as well as by email or phone on (+1) 415-789-7679. The 2004 event takes place from June 20th
to 25th 2004.
KlezFest is the UK's annual five day celebration of Yiddish and
klezmer music and culture with a full programme of courses, workshops,
concerts and more. Held in London based at the Jewish
Music Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
of the University of London every summer, KlezFest is usually preceded
by a week long Yiddish language and culture course. Full details and online
registration forms are usually available in the early part of each year
at the JMI website. The 2004 Yiddish
language and culture course is slated for Sunday 1st to Friday 6th August
2004, while KlezFest will take place Sunday 8th to Thursday 12th August 2004.
KlezKamp is the grandaddy of all klezmer and Yiddish culture
fests. The brainchild of Henry Sapoznik of Kapelye and The Jewish Radio Project fame, and acclaimed author of one of the modern standard texts on klezmer and the klezmer renaissance of the late 20th century, Klezmer! Jewish Music from Old World to Our World, KlezKamp was first held in 1984 and takes place annually in December in the Catskills of New York State. Now also known as the Yiddish Folk Arts Festival, KlezKamp features "innovative classes, great teachers and the finest schedule of Yiddish culture programs in the world", to quote the official blurb. Full details of each year's event and online registration are usually available on the official KlezKamp web site in the autumn, or you can email for a printed brochure.
Your local HMV, Tower, Virgin or whatever CD mega store is extremely unlikely to carry any sort of Jewish music recordings. Amazon and Barnes & Noble and similar online outlets have the odd few releases in their catalogues, but you'd have to be very lucky to find everything you want there.
However, there are very much better sources from which to obtain CDs (and/or audio cassettes etc.) - for a start, two wonderful specialist Judaica outlets, one in the USA and the other in the UK. Both are run at least as much as a labour of love as as a business, and are certainly deserving of every Jewish music connoisseur's support and patronage. Their respective owners are not only extremely knowledgeable in the field of Jewish music and recordings, but are also extraordinarily helpful and will go the extra mile to try all they reasonably can to track down an obscure recording that they might not have in stock (and their range of stock is nothing short of amazing anyway!) - if it's out there and at all obtainable, these dedicated people are your best hope of getting it!
Specialist outlets like this are always at best marginal and often struggling
to survive, while providing an invaluable service, so if you love Jewish
music and are looking to buy, may I urge you to please take your custom
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