Hava Nashira is one such resource. The HN website serves as 'A Resource for Jewish Songleaders, Songwriters, Performers, Music Educators and all those involved in the transmission of Jewish heritage, religion and culture through music and is affiliated with the Reform community's Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute. The website has a variety of offerings including lists of useful recordings and songbooks, musician resources, song leader guides, a mailing list, and information about the annual workshop. This year's workshop was just last month. Here's the workshop description:
Every year since 1992, in early June, people with a common interest in songleading, teaching and leading Jewish music gather on the grounds of Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute Camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin for the Hava Nashira Songleading and Music Workshop. At this unique event, some of the finest Jewish music innovators and composers, including Debbie Friedman, Cantor Jeff Klepper, & Rabbi Dan Freelander, Craig Taubman, Julie Silver, Rabbi Joe Black, Cantor Josee Wolff, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Merri Lovinger Arian, Cantor Jordan Franzel, Rabbi Lisa Zur, Dan Nichols, Cantor Rosalie Will Boxt, Peter & Ellen Allard, and Danny Maseng have shared their music and their skills. Participants of all ages, backgrounds, and religious practice come to improve their own skills, network with others and share ideas in a supportive, nurturing atmosphere.The folks listed as participants are more or less the same set of folks I associate with the 'Contemporary Jewish Music' scene which confirms my assessment that CJM is a Reform community phenomena. Like I said, I think I'm finally getting my head around this. I'm going to subscribe to their mailing list. Hopefully that will help me get a better feel of what that community is thinking about and where they're going. I'm also hoping it will help me find recordings/performers I can relate to. After listening to a bunch of recordings I'm finally starting to find some Chassidic and Orthodox musicians that I like. I hope to the same in the Reform / CJM community.
There are two resources associated with Hava Nashira that should help me with that. First, the 'Hot Shabbat' website has a long list of liturgical and folk recordings, many with full track or sample downloads (often Real Media files). Second, the Hava Nashira site's 'Useful Recordings' page has a long list liturgical, folk, and popular recordings and links to the artists websites. Skimming the list I saw a number of names that I've mentioned in prior posts including Beth Schafer, Rich Retch, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh, Craig Taubman and Debbie Friedman as well as a lot of others. I think I'll be spending a bunch of time on these lists.