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Jewish Music page of Rainlore's World of Music

(2010 Archived Jewish Music Page)

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This week, a review of leading UK Jewish music band Shir's outstanding Ashk'Farad, an enchanting album that should be of interest to general world music aficionados as much as to Jewish music specialists. An outstanding blend of klezmer material and Ladino songs, Ashk'Farad was released earlier this year and should be considered one of those "must have" albums! Also, you can catch Shir live on 19th January, 2011 at Vortex Jazz Club in London and on 5th February in Oxford - for details, check Shir's web site.


Photo of Freilacmakers Klezmer String Band
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band at their launch for their Klezmer At The Confluence
album at The Center, Sacramento, Ca., on 1st December (Photo: Yona Golan)

News from leader Andy Rubin is that fabulous California-based Jewish music/world music band The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band held the launch for their Rainlore's World of Music Jewish Music Album of the Year, Klezmer At The Confluence, at The Center in Sacramento, Ca., on 1st December. Those who missed the fabulous gig will have to console themselves with the simply unmissable album!

Meanwhile in the realm of general world music, the campaign to save DJ Ritu's wonderful A World in London programme on BBC London 94.9 continues to gather pace, with more and more support also comig from various international world music organisations. Please help save London's - indeed, the UK's! - only comprehensive weekly two-hour radio programme devoted to world music by joining the campaign! Your world music show needs YOU! You can also find out how to help and keep up with the campaign on its blog as well as on twitter @saveawil. Don't be disheartened by the entrenched attitude of BBC London - the BBC had to cave in and change its mind before over BBC Radio 6! We can do it! Save AWiL! Bear in mind that this also affects Jewish music - there's hardly a week going by when Ritu doesn't give details of gigs by Jewish musicians, and she also features Jewish musicians on the show.

For more details, also see News for 2010/11/23.

Similarly, BBC Radio Derby's Folkwaves programme is also being axed. There would appear to be a concerted effort under way by the BBC to reduce cultural diversity on BBC Local Radio. From Ian Anderson, editor of fRoots magazine: "Here's what's happening in Derby, just announced today. These campaigns should join forces to some extent. It's all part of a bigger picture. But unity is power!" See Save 'Folkwaves' on BBC Radio Derby campaign on Facebook.

Don't forget you can now keep up with Rainlore's World of Music on Facebook. New releases and selected gigs all over the planet feature prominently.

A new feature will also see the light of day very shortly on Rainlore's World of Music. Planned for a long time, interviews with leading as well as new artists from all spheres will commence soon, with the first two exclusives in preparation. They're going to be sensational!

Hope everybody's been going easy on the latkes and otherwise had

a freylekhn khanikke!


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




There's a long way to go in the campaign to save DJ Ritu's most excellent A World in London Saturday evening show on BBC London 94.9 from the axeman, David Robey, head of the station who remains adamant that the show will end from the New Year. Please join the campaign to save this fantastic world music show on Facebook, or on its new blog. Ideally, both! Please help fight this appalling travesty, and don't be put off by the form letter sent out in reply by Robey's PA - keep arguing the case! The situation may not look good, but don't give up the fight. Dropping AWIL would be a double blow to world music on the BBC as Mark Cole's World Service World of Music show will also be dropped from next March.

For more details, also see News for 2010/11/23.

Stand up for your rights as a licence payer and don't give up!

As we're getting very near the end of the year, this is as good a time as any to pick Rainlore's World of Music's albums of the year, book of the year, and a few really outstanding albums from the past decade. So here goes.

Albums of the Year:

'Klez-Jazz' Album of The Year: Stewart Curtis' K-Groove - I Can't Hear U When U Shout

Jewish Music Album of the Year: Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band - Klezmer At The Confluence

Outstanding Albums of the Past Decade:

Jewish Music/Klezmer Album of the Noughties: Adrianne Greenbaum - Fleyt Muzik

That's it!

You can now also follow Rainlore's World of Music on Facebook!


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Special: BBC plans to axe DJ Ritu's A World in London Saturday evening world music show on BBC London 94.9FM

For a great many years now the schedule of the BBC's local London radio station, BBC London 94.9 FM, has included a Saturday early evening programme that, broadly speaking, covers the realm of world music. For many years, this was the late great Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City show, and when Charlie became too ill he passed on the reins to DJ Ritu and her A World in London show. In the nearly two years (if memory serves) that A World in London has now been running, it and indeed its superb presenter DJ Ritu have become something of a unique national institution and even national treasure, being heard far beyond the London area via the internet.

No other programme so well reflects London's - and indeed Britain's - hugely diverse multicultural population musically as AWIL. It brings the music of diverse culture to its audience, something that cannot be found elsewhere on British airwaves, and moreover all this is presented most excellently and entertainingly. Beyond that, AWIL is also highly educational and most decidedly helps broaden its audience's musical and cultural horizons. As such, DJ Ritu and her AWIL show make an invaluable contribution to not only the general culture of this country but to its multicultural society and to greater tolerance and understanding.

Now, the BBC plans to axe this most excellent programme at the end of December! This would be singular, shameful act of cultural vandalism and is simply beyond comprehension and belief.

Please support DJ Ritu and help save the wonderful programme that is A World in London. You can do so in a number of ways:

You can keep up with what is happening with Save DJ Ritu's A World in London show on BBC London on Facebook.

Please send emails of support to DJ Ritu to:

You can show your support by writing a personal email to cc'd to the Director General, also please cc to save just in case some messages get classed as spam and don't get through to the powers that be. Many thanks!

You can also lodge your complaints on the BBC Complaints - Homepage.

Emailing may also be useful.

Please help save A World in London! Unity is Power! Let's try to keep A World In London on the air and get this disgraceful decision overturned.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




At long last, there's a new album from Stewart Curtis' K-Groove. The review of I Can't Hear U When U Shout should have gone up last week, but alas a very peculiar computer problem resulted in files having been temporarily inaccessible and thus this review had to be held over for this week. Curtis continues with his happy blend of latin and klezmer grooves in a jazz context, and great grooves they certainly are!

Rainlore's World of Music is in the process of establishing a presence on Facebook, so you'll be able to keep up with all the latest from there as well soon. A presence on mySpace Music has also been planned for some time and should be implemented fairly soon.

Finally, as we are nearing the end of the year, another first for Rainlore's World of Music. For the first time, "Albums of the Year" will be selected in various categories and announced with the next update. (Only albums released during 2010 will qualify.) Also, some very special albums of the past decade (i.e., albums released during the "noughties").


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Over the past couple of weeks or so, two issues have disturbed me rather greatly. While the first is a music-related issue, the second is not and has, due to its horrifying nature, caused me to break my usual principle of keeping politics off this site. But there always comes a point where this becomes impossible. Even for a fairly non-political animal like myself.

Of course, YMMV - your mileage may vary - and you might feel otherwise about these two issues.


Jazz Jews And Ghettoisation?

[This item has now been extracted into a separate article, titled Will The Real Artie Fishel Please Stand Up.]


Welcome To The Dark Side...

[This item has now been extracted into a separate article, titled Welcome To The Dark Side... or, The Jazza Festival, A New Hope, And The Rabbi And The Gentiles.]


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




The A/V page for Yiddishe blues singer extraordinaire Wolf Krakowski has been updated with a video for Shabes, Shabes titled Shabat Shalom. Not a proper video "in performance" but a third-party montage of images for Shabes, but with such a great song it simply had to be there.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Poste haste, a review of The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band's recently released third album, Klezmer At The Confluence - Jewish Music From Sacramento. With its innovative blend of a miscellany of Jewish music and that distinctive southern Appalachian Old Time string band style and leader Andy Rubin's fabulous clawhammer banjo, it's good to see a new album from this great band after what seems like a very long five years. Here's hoping we won't have to wait another five years for the next Freilachmakers' album!


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




There's a new A/V page for the fabulous Wolf Krakowski, also featuring the equally fabulous Fraidy Katz. Not too many videos yet, but they're all in one place, on one page, saving hassling to find them on YouTube. Krakowski is best known for his sensational interpretations of Yiddish songs in a more contemporary idiom, principally blues, in which latter he's also had a long and distinguished career. Fraidy Katz, best known perhaps still from her Yiddish song interpretations with The Klezical Tradition, has latterly followed a similar path to Krakowski's with her superb recent album Di Alte Kashe / The Eternal Question.

Also, the A/V page for Koby Israelite has been updated. The Koby Israelite Band is a mesmerising fusion of klezmer, Balkans, and gypsy music with metal influences in a jazzy idiom, with Israelite's accordion as lead. Quite a melting pot!

May everybody be well inscribed for the coming year.

L'shanah tovah


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Not strictly speaking in the area of Jewish music as such, but an album from a leading, world-class Jewish musician and hence of interest here also. Having arrived here hot off the presses in the last couple of weeks from drum and jazz fusion titan Asaf Sirkis, the Asaf Sirkis Trio's long anticipated new album Letting Go, to be released on 23rd September, gets an early review. Advance copies are available now on Sirkis' web site and from Jazz CDs UK. Be sure not to miss the album's launch gig at The Spice of Life on 23rd September. Details are:
The Spice of Life, 6 Moor St, Cambridge Circus, London, W1D 5NA
Telephone: 020-7437-7013 Fax: 020-7437-7013 E-mail:

Admission is a bargain £10, or £8 for MU members and students.

It's bound to be a very special occasion, and if you go and buy the CD (and whip off the shrink wrap and bring along a permanent marker pen) and ask him nicely, I'm sure Asaf Sirkis will oblige and autograph your copy for you, time permitting - Asaf's really one of the nicest people you could possibly hope to ever meet, and so are Yaron and Tassos.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Just one quick review today, of Breslov Bar Band's outstanding and highly infectious newly released debut album Have No Fear. The band is Binyomin Ginzberg's latest project and explores the music, both traditional and contemporary, of the Breslov Chassidim, in a modern idiom and features, among others, guitarist Allen Watsky and Kleztraphobix bandleader and clarinetist Mike Cohen. Whether you're specifically into Chassidic music or not, this fabulous album is bound to appeal!

Extraordinary Yiddish blues artist Wolf Krakowski, whose albums are also reviewed on this site and are among the most popular reviews, can now also be seen on YouTube videos. As and when I get a chance, I might compile an A/V page, but in the meantime, here are a couple of links:


Regrettably won't be fully up-and-running again for a while yet.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Two reviews of albums, although not of Jewish music, ought to be of interest as the principal artist is Argentinean-Jewish Latin (among others) singer extraordinaire Guillermo Rozenthuler - a kind of modern day João Gilberto and Carlos Gardel in one! If you haven't heard him before you've really been missing something extra special. The albums reviewed are Guillermo's The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina (La Hora Azul), an outstanding collection of originals and traditional Argentine songs recorded in Buenos Aires and released in 2004 - basically, a singer-songwriter album - that will simply blow you away, and with his own band, formed ion 2003, Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses' A Route To The Roots, their live debut album released in 2008, a superb collection of Argentine and Uruguayan songs (given the inimitable Rioplatenses treatment), a journey of exploration that takes the listener beyond the better known tango and milonga (although a few of these are also included, of course) and introduce him to a variety of less well known regional rhythms and styles. You really don't want to miss these fabulous albums and tanguero maravillosa Rozenthuler.

Rozenthuler is already familiar on this site through his association with Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble through a gig review (at the Pizza, Soho) and a review of outstanding album Musik. Rozenthuler also regularly appears with all the UK's (and beyond) leading tango ensembles, most recently including classically-oriented El Tango Ultimo and the London Tango Orchestra.

I expect to likely have to take a break from updating the site for about six to eight weeks due to surgery shortly, but more will follow ASAP.

Chag Sameach


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




The 2008/09 version of this page has now been archived.

I may now be able (from about a week's time or so) to accept a limited number of new submissions for album reviews. Please check the Review form, accessible from the Contact page, in about 7-10 days' time.

Finally, it has come to our attention that there appear to be a few minor problems with our web forms, specifically with radio buttons and check boxes, with some browsers. This is continuing to be checked out, but as everything seems to work just fine in Internet Explorer, it seems likely that the problem lies with the other browsers in that they may not have fully implemented this aspect of forms. In which case there appears little that can be done about it other than to suggest you temporarily switch to Internet Explorer in order to use our forms, if you are affected. Flash based forms might be another option longer term.

Chag Sameach


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Of special interest here should be the review of Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis' album Elementary Dialogues, released last year. While the music is not based on Jewish music per se, nonetheless both players are strongly influenced by their roots. Guitar wizard Maoz should be familiar enough on the transatlantic side, having become a mainstay of the Downtown scene in NYC and leading several bands, among them the acoustic Jewish music ensemble Dimyon, as well as performing as a soloist. Sirkis is probably the most in-demand contemporary drummer principally in the jazz/jazz fusion worlds on both the UK and international scene and indeed has become an icon of the trap set of modern times. He also leads his Asaf Sirkis And The Inner Noise organ trio as well as the Asaf Sirkis Trio. Maoz and Sirkis have remained friends and occasional collaborators since their childhood days in Israel, and this is their second album together. Essentially improvised musical dialogues, this music is impossible to imprison in any particular genre. It vaguely fits under the broad umbrella of jazz, but just think of it as great guitar and drum music. A tasty sample track with the review will give you some idea and hopefully tempt you to explore this thrilling album further.

Meanwhile, Mark Weinstein's latest and hottest-ever album Timbasa, reviewed last time, is making big waves not only on this site but all over! Even on this side of the pond, it is already becoming available in UK supermarkets thanks to the Jazzhead label's excellent distribution and PR - kudos!


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




Of interest here also will be the review of Jewish jazz flute and Latin jazz / Afro-Cuban jazz giant Mark Weinstein's latest album Timbasa, hitting the streets from 9th February. Of interest particularly in that historically, there have been Arabic/Hebraic influences contributing to the make up of Afro-Cuban music. Timbasa is Afro-Cuban or Latin jazz at its very finest and Weinstein's hottest release yet. So hot, it's likely to set anything on fire. A sensational sizzler of a party album that needs to be heard to be believed. To help with this, the fiery Miles Davis classic Milestones serves as a mouth-watering sample track on the review page. For more news on Mark Weinstein, also see the Jazz page.


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.




A "catch-up" review of exquisite Yiddish singer Fraidy Katz's enterprising 2006 album, The Eternal Question - Di Alte Kashe. Katz should already be familiar here from her previous album with The Klezical Tradition, Family Portrait, and a solo album - or any new album! - has surely been long overdue. The Eternal Question has been well worth waiting for though and presents Yiddish song with a twist. Co-produced by the one and only Wolf Krakowski (with Jim Armenti), the album puts Yiddish song into more contemporary idioms. Delicious! And don't miss out on the very tasty sample track that goes with the review. If you don't have Flash Player 8 or later set up, what are you waiting for?


Rainlore's World of Music

© 2010 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.


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There is a full index of all reviews available on Rainlore's World of Music. Also, there is an index listing all CD reviews , which includes reviews of music from all genres, and another one listing all live music reviews.

Reviews added 2010/12/12:

Shir :  Ashk'Farad (2010/12/08)


Reviews added 2010/11/21:

Stewart Curtis' K-Groove :  I Can't Hear U When U Shout (2010/11/12)


Reviews added 2010/09/19:

The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band :  Klezmer At The Confluence (2010/09/15)


Reviews added 2010/07/21:

Asaf Sirkis Trio :  Letting Go (2010/07/18)


Reviews added 2010/07/04:

Breslov Bar Band :  Have No Fear (2010/06/24)


Reviews added 2010/05/02:

Guillermo :  The Blue Hour - Songs From Argentina (La Hora Azul) (2010/04/29)

Guillermo Rozenthuler & Rioplatenses :  A Route To The Roots (2010/04/29)


Reviews added 2010/02/28:

Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis :  Elementary Dialogues (2010/02/28)


Reviews added 2010/02/15:

Mark Weinstein :  Timbasa (2010/02/14)


Reviews added 2010/01/31:

Fraidy Katz :  The Eternal Question - Di Alte Kashe (2010/01/24)


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Artists' Profiles

Artists' profiles consist of brief profiles, complete with discographies, contact/booking and other useful information, for some of the artists whose work has been featured on Rainlore's World of Music.

Profiles added:


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Articles & Features

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. A full index of articles and features is also available.


On-site Features & Articles on aspects of Jewish music and anything vaguely related

Articles/Features added 2010:

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.

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Annual Jewish Music Festivals, Workshops and Similar Events
Sources for Buying Jewish Music Recordings

Annual Jewish Music Festivals, Workshops and Similar Events

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 web site. 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 granddaddy 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.
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Sources for Buying Jewish Music Recordings

Your local 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 to :

Banner - Hatikvah Music InternationalHATIKVAH Music International

is based at:  436 N. Fairfax, L.A., Ca. (USA)
(323) 655 7083

Simon Rutberg, Hatikvah's friendly helpful owner, carries every imaginable kind of Jewish music and then some. You can also contact Simon by email with any specific queries you might have, for example concerning a recording you're looking for that isn't listed on his web site.

Hatikvah Music also take particular pride in offering the largest selection of Sephardic music in the world, separated into "Ladino" (Judeo-Spanish) and (non-Spanish) Sephardi categories, and here are the two direct links to the start of those respective pages:

Banner - Hatikvah - LadinoBanner - Hatikvah - Sephardic

Sephardi and Ladino recordings tend to be especially hard to find generally, so the above should provide a convenient shortcut.

Banner - JMD UKJewish Music Distribution UK

is based at: PO Box 67, Hailsham, BN27 4UW (UK)
Tel/Fax: (+44) (0)1323 832863
(between 8.30am and 6pm UK time)

JMD UK is run by the friendly helpful Noa Lachman and carries an incredible range of all kinds of Jewish music, in fact, probably the widest range of recordings available anywhere under one roof. For any specific queries concerning e.g. recordings that you are looking for (chances are, Noa's got it!), you can also contact Noa by email. Noa's web site also offers secure online ordering.
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