Wednesday, February 14, 2007

N'Shoma - Jewish "spirit" from my home turf.

I was trolling around the web recently looking for Jewish music radio programs and ran into quite a surprise. There was one being broadcast out of my home town. Now, if I grew up in a New York suburb this might not be so surprising, but I grew up in the small town in New England. I attended Hebrew school and was bar mitzvahed and married at the nearest synagogue in the nearby college town, about a 20 minute drive. It turns out that Richard Kamins, a member of the synagogue and friend of my father's, has been doing an hour Jewish radio show on a local AM station for 10 years. The show, called N'Shoma (which is Hebrew for "spirit"), describes itself like this:

Your host, Middletown native Richard Kamins, brings you an eclectic mix of music from around the Jewish world, including Klezmer music, Broadway tunes, eastern European folk music, Israeli music, jazz, and much American creative Jewish music (can't imagine what that would be? )
I exchanged some email with Richard and hope to meet him in person next time I'm in town. I'd love to talk music with him and maybe sit in with him on his show someday. Anyway, I'm always interested in what kind of music is getting played. Here's how Richard describes his most recent show:

"After all these years, I still don't do a playlist - I pick out 12 or 13 CDs, bring them with me and them mix and match according to my mood. I have learned to stay away from the more "avant-garde" stuff, you know little or no Zorn or Anthony Coleman or the "louder" Tzadik stuff. But I love to play stuff like Paul Shapiro's Tzadik releases. So here's what's in my bag from last week and there for this week (in no particular order.)

  • Naftule Brandwein - King of the Klezmer Clarinet

  • "Nifty's Freilach" Fraidy Katz - The Eternal Question - "Vintsht Mir A Bisele Glik" (this is a new release from a Massachusetts-based vocalist - produced by Wolf Krakowski.)

  • The Klezmatics - Wonder Wheel - "Orange Blossom Ring"

  • Jewish Music of the Dance - Leon Stein (composer) - "Three Hassidic Dances" - This is from the Milken Archive of Jewish Music - they put me on the mailing list and I now have 15 of their disks.

  • Erel Paz - "Water - 3rd Movement - Rain" - Israeli classical composer, downloaded this off his website.

  • Andy Statman & David Grisman - New Shabbos Waltz - "Pischu Li" - I just love Statman's music, tough guy to interview though.

  • Safam - Greatest Hits - "A Difference in This World" - Jewish pop music but much of their music has a strong message and they
    are really nice guys. Our synagogue choir got to work with Cantor Robbie Solomon (Safam's lead songwriter) at a Choral convention and had a great time.

  • Osvaldo Golijov/Kronos Quartet/David Krakauer - The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac The Blind - "Movement III" -This is classical avant-garde yet not too screechy.

  • Brave Old World - Bless The Fire - "Flora Hora" - BOW bassist Stu Brotman is also a member of Veretski Pass, 2/3rds of whom (which?) live in Madison, CT. They just performed in Branford and I played tracks featuring all the members including the next track

  • Moshav- Misplaced - "Streets of Jerusalem" - Alt-rock band whose CD was sent to me by the Jewish Music Group distribution service. Decent, a bit like Pearl Jam at times.

  • Marilyn Lerner - Romanian Fantasy - "Rumshinsky's Bulgar" and "Araber Tants" - just downloaded this from iTunes (after reading the KlezmerShack review.) Interviewed her this week. She's played in the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and now has a duo with vocalist Adrienne Cooper. This is a piano solo disk and it's lovely.

  • Robyn Helzner Trio - Signs & Wonders - "Turn, Turn, Turn."

  • Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars - Carnival Conspiracy - "In Your Garden 20 Fecund Fruit Trees" - London is quite a character, very approachable, and his music really runs the gamut.

My listeners love Mickey Katz and most of the traditional Klez stuff but, as you can read, I like to mix it up. I enjoy doing interviews and have had Frank London, author Daniel Mendelssohn, classical composer Avner Dorman, composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, and others. I've done shows on Jewish Genealogy and the Jewish War Veterans and even did a wine tasting (not Kosher) although they were pushing their wares for Channukah consumption! )"

Klezmer to Yiddish folk to classical to chassidic pop. A great mix. I'm glad that N'Shoma's out there and to think that it's in my home town. I'm just sorry there wasn't anything like it going on when I lived there.

N'Shoma doesn't have any internet distribution yet, though the radio station told me that a podcast might happen later this year. I hope so. I'm sure it would quickly find an audience. Send the station an encouraging email. It couldn't hurt.

No comments: