Wednesday, April 22, 2009

#JewishMusic (or adventures in Twitterland)

Between the Passover, catching the plague from my kids again, and being swamped at work, things have been a bit slow at Teruah lately. But I'm not sad, oh no. I've been playing with Twitter, that new darling of the social media crowd. A full blog post in 140 characters or less. Just pithy thought and a link. Makes blogs feel so 2004. Seriously, though, I've been enjoying Twitter a lot and have a few observations about the intersection of Twitter and Jewish music that I thought I'd share.

First, you'd be surprised how much discussion of Jewish music there is out there. And while a lot of is coming from musicians and labels, as you might expect, there are a lot of regular folks chatting away. I regular scan for tweets (twitter messages) that have any combination of Jewish, Israeli, Yiddish, and Sephardic with Music, Song, and Concert. Here are a couple of samples from the last day or so...
"@mileycyrus and maybe even ud like it! its from a really great band called lev tahor, its jewish music, but these guys can seriously make -"
For the unitiated, @ followed by a name means that the tweet was directed toward a particular person. So yep, that is someone telling Miley Cyrus (aka Disney princess Hannah Montana) about Jewish Otho-pop band Lev Tahor.
"Got a request from Jewish Wedding party in Briarcliff Manor, NY on Sunday 08/30. They want a klezmer-type music. Any suggestions of bands?"
I responded to this one saying "@troubleww about klezmer music. Wholesale Klezmer Band in MA and Binyomin Ginzberg in NYC are great. WKB did my wedding." and "When talking to klezmer bands about wedding - make sure they can lead dances and the before wedding tish. Many can't."
"I've been listening to Klezmer music all day." "My Balkan/Klezmer acoustic band Luna Kalamata are reforming: any ideas for gigs?"
That's the British group Luna Kalamata. Check 'em out.

Which brings me back to the musicans. My follow list currently includes Matisyahu, Y-love, KoshaDillz, Craig Taubman, Stereo Sinai, Punk Torah, Hebrew School, DJ Eric Rosen, Darshan, The Shondes, Rob Tannenbaum of Good for the Jews, and even the king of Chassidic Pop Lipa Schmetlzer. Not to mention labels Shemspeed and JDub Records, bloggers Jewish Music Report and Life of Rubin, and a cast of other great characters including Rabbit Yonah of the Jewlicious festival, Mobius from Jewschool, and Jennie Rivlin Roberts of Modern Tribe. I'm sure I'm missing a ton of great folks.

Twitter gives you an amazing slize of their lives and conversations. Which is the next thing about twitter, it's like getting invited to the coolest cocktail party in the world. Every day I get to listen in on interesting discussions between folks I'd never have met or interacted with otherwise. And this runs the gamut of Jewish experience, from the music folks I've mentioned to Breslov Chassids in Toronto to Jewish-Cellist-Chemistry-Students in Milwaukee to Boston shul organizers. But it's more than a party, it's a community building. I watch folks with strong commitments to their Jewish identity organize events, trade favors, gossip, look for gigs (and girlfriends/boyfriends). For a guy in a small farm town, it's an amazing daily dose of serious Jewish community.

And it's an amazing does of tedius reality. Here's a particularly annoying comment from today's searches.
"Hav u ever wondered what kinda music a jewish person has on their ipod? Lol"
And my response..."@ReemTeam I'm Jewish. I've got Matisyahu, Y-love, Sway Machinery, The Shondes, John Zorn, Socalled, and lots of klezmer on my iPod. Why?"

So check it out. And if you're already on twitter let me know. You can find me at

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