Friday, October 23, 2009

Adon Olam around the world

2 comments:
Hi everyone, Shabbat shalom!

For this week's "get in the Shabbat groove" video, I got a little help. One of my new twitter followers, behrmanhouse (aka Jewish education book & software publisher Behrman House) put together a great YouTube playlist of Adon Olam videos. While there are a lot of great ones, I immediately jumped to one of my favorites. Here's the inimitable Yehuda Glantz, recorded in Buenos Aires in 1992.

Yehuda Glantz on charango playing Adon Olam



And to follow it up, here's a very special performance of my favorite Adon Olam melody.

2 year old sings adon olam



Hat tip to YouTube user galinoah for posting the 2 year old performance video.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boston gets a Jewish Music Festival (finally)

5 comments:
Boston Jewish Music FestBoston, my old stomping ground, is finally getting a Jewish Music Festival. According to the website, it will take place the week of March 6th, and consist of separate venues and concerts all around the town. They've got quite a line up planned....
By the way, they've got as interesting a boards of directors & advisers as they do performers.

Board of Directors
Board of Advisors
Whew. That's quite a whos-who list. There's hardly a person on there that I wouldn't love to meet and talk shop with.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Geoff Berner - More Punk Klezmer Cabaret

1 comment:
Writing about Daniel Kahn last night reminded me that I've never posted about Geoff Berner. What a terrible oversight on my part. Berner, like Kahn, has a bar-room cabaret klezmer sound honed playing across Europe, only Berner is even more bitter and funny.

Here's Berner, playing live with Kahn, in Germany a couple of years ago.

Geoff Berner - Lucky Goddam Jew (live with Daniel Kahn)


If remember correctly, Kahn and Painted Bird played Berner's Whiskey Rabbi last night.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Daniel Kahn & Painted Bird w/Psoy at Temple Israel

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Daniel KahnWhew. It's 12:30am I've got to get up for work in the morning, but I'm too wound up from seeing Daniel Kahn and Painted Bird to go to sleep yet. In case you've missed my previous mentions of Khan, he's a Yiddish folkie, with a strong mix of Brecht-influenced cabaret and klezmer mixed in. He's a solid songwriter with an outstanding band. And when not singing from the Yiddish socialist/anarchist revolutionary songbook, he spins tales of whiskey and parasites (both the human and the animal types). What's not to love.

Tonight was my first chance to see him live, though I may get a chance to see him again on Tuesday at the Ark in Ann Arbor. The show was at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, MI, a huge Reform synagogue. How huge? Kahn was cranking, the crowd was cheering, and we still managed not to bother the wedding on the other side of the synagogue. That huge.

It's easy to sing Kahn's praises. He's the front man and lead songwriter, right? But I want to make sure I give credit to the rest of the band too. They gave the music a depth and verve that was joy to listen too. They swung easily from moody theatrics to military march to New Orleans jazz, all while holding the dark klezmer feel intact. About half-way through the set my wife went into trombone bliss, and looked up with a far-away look in her eyes "I love that instrument." Yeah. I'm with you, sweetie.

Here's a video of Daniel Kahn and Painted Bird (a slightly different line-up) playing the title track of his new album.

Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird - Parasites


PsoyFor the last couple of songs, Kahn and Painted Bird were joined on stage by "multilingual poet-singer" Psoy Korolenko, who recorded with Kahn and Oy Division on the recent album "The Unternationale." I'd never heard of, or heard, Psoy before but I was blown away. He has a formidable voice and presence. Best of all, he's currently an Artist in Residence at the UofM, so I'll be able to meet up with him and see him perform a few more times this fall.

Sympathy For Whom? After Mick Jagger, by Daniel Kahn, Psoy & Yana Ovrutskaya


After the show I was able to grab a few minutes of Kahn's time to chat about Jewish music. My question, which I'm starting to ask the Jewish musician's I meet, is whether or not they feel like they are part of a Jewish music scene. From my vantage point on the side lines, there seems to be a scene developing where different strains of Jewish music are starting to intertwine. I was fascinated, but wasn't surprised, by the complexity of Kahn's answer. First of all, Kahn was a bit put off by the question. It was clear that he'd been involved in way too many abstract and personal discussions about Jewish identity and authenticity to really want to get into it with me tonight. (Also, to be fare, the guy had just finished a tiring set and was chatting with me while packing his gear). He's a guy who doesn't feel particularly religiously Jewish, but was drawn to a klezmer and Yiddish folks for the funky music and politics they represent. At the same time, his experiences living in Berlin prompted him to start writing songs that examined and presented his Jewish identity if, for no other reason, to stop having to explain it to everyone individually. So no...he doesn't feel part of a Jewish music scene. He happily plays with other Jewish bands or musicians at festivals or when it seems like a good idea. Some of his band members are Jewish and others aren't. He also happily plays klezmer shows, folks shows and cabaret shows and what ever else seems like a good idea. He sits at the intersection of a number of scenes, but not a general Jewish scene.

All of this, by the way, is a fine answer to the question.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Notes on my "Silver Age of Jewish Music" talk

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I normally don't post on Shabbat, but I'm up at 3 in the morning and my brain is buzzing about my upcoming Ignite Ann Arbor talk "The Silver Age of American Jewish Music is Happening Now! And Why We're Missing It." I posted earlier this week about the talk, so I won't repeat the details here. Other than to say giving a 5 minute talk is not easy and I'm more than a little bit stressed. I can't convey a real nuanced story in 5 minutes. Anything I say will be fundamentally wrong or misleading in some major way. I just have to deal with it.

I've spent the last 2 hours working out a rough storyboard of my 20 slides. I get 15 seconds for each one. Whew. Here's a pretty close approximation of what I sketched out. Sorry the formatting's crummy, but it's 3 am. Comments anyone?




















#DesignNotes
1?Fast intro: I write a blog on Jewish Music. Not a musican
or expert. Just a rookie fan.
2Words/album covers 'klezmer/Dave Tarras', Cantorial/Jan Peerce', 'theater/fiddler', 'folk/hava nagila'I knew a few random bits that had come through what passed for a national Jewish musical culture in the 1970's.
3Avant-garde / Kelka Red & Frum-Pop / LipaI found this. (play 7 second music clips)
4Jazz / David Chevan & Reggae / Matisyahu(play 7 second music clips)
5House / Ghettoplotz & Misrachi Chamber / Davka(play 7 second music clips
6Sephardic Indie / DeLeon & Pop Liturgical / Sam Glaser(play 7 second music clips)
7Hip Hop / Y-Love & Yiddish Blues / Wolf Karakowski(play 7 second music clips)
8fill screen with album coversAnd lots more. Art music. Bible-gum. Yiddish Gothic. Boy Choirs. Niggunim. All happening now. But how come I didn't know about this?
9Pictures of 1930's Jewish NYC
Because I don't live here. I'm not living in a predominately Jewish are w/ defining a Jewish culture & media
10Picture of 1940's Catskill resort
The Golden Age of Jewish Music was in the 20's through 40's, right along with the big wave of Jewish immigrants from Europe
11Picture of Jewish big band / swing albums?
Who like most immigrant groups clung to culture & community while at the same time radically assimilating and reinventing themselves
12pics of a yiddish radio station, theater, newspaper and the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Their media, and cultural lives, were tied up the local Yiddish radio station, theater, and newspapers and shuls with a superstar cantors.
13?I, and most Jews in the US, are products of that assimilation. We don't have that community & media because it's largely vanished.
14pics of Orthodox & Chassidic media (e.g. JM in the AM, a Big Event type poster, the Jewish Jukebox logo, a current frum-pop album cover.Though it still exists in pockets, predominately in the small but vibrant Orthodox and Chassidic communities
15pics of 1950's through 1980's JM albums. Bagles & Bongos. 'Hear O Israel: Service in Jazz.' 'Brothers Zim' 'Jan Peerce' 'Israeli Kibbutz Singers'Jewish music didn't die but it lost relevance and focus. It became marginalized, attenuated, and self-referential.
16kapelye album cover, Sholomo Carlebach cover, Jeff Klepper or Debbie Friedman cover. Flory Jagoda album coverNow it's exploding again. Kicked off in the 1970's by the klezmer revival and by Reform camp music & Chassidic folk-niggunim entering the liturgy, and in the 1980's by a world music scene that pushed local ethnic diversity as a marketing gimick.
17map of Jewish population centers in the US with a television in the middle of it.But I live here. We American Jews get our media awareness through mainstream American channels. Unless you're visible to the mainstream media (eg. Matisyahu) most American Jews don't know to look. We're in a silver age of Jewish Music, but most American Jews don't know it.
18images of YouTube, MySpace, CD Baby, Teruah blog, Jewish Music Report The Internet is making a difference. It makes everything more accessible, but you still need to know to look and now what to look for.
19image of a social media graph. maybe with facebook or twitter logos.Without a central media, we are only exposed to it through word of mouth. This is a classic social network problem. And the new social media tools might be part of the answer. There is a rich community of transnational & transdemonational Jews self-organizing on facebook & twitter .
20overlay faces taken from twitter & facebook feeds I follow. So if Jewish music is interesting, go to synagogue, go to concerts, buy mp3s and CDs, watch videos & read blogs. But talk about it, tweet or status update about it, and let people know. Culture only happens in a vibrant community. It's time to rebuild one.


I think I need to shrink the Golden Age section by one slide and expand the social media section by one slide at least and give a really concrete example maybe use Patrick A from Can Can / Punk Torah as my poster boy of musician use. (you cool with that Patrick?) Also should think about a good example of non-musician/publisher/blogger usage. Maybe a page of interesting recent twitter comments.

* note, I'm thinking about using a light gold background on slides relating to the Golden Age and a light silver background on current slides. I'm not sure if that will work or not.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Views of Matisyahu

1 comment:
Chassidi NewsI ran across an fascinating description of Matisyahu's new album, Light in Chasidi News yesterday. Along with Light there were about twenty new Chassidic recordings featured, all of which were written up in the classic frum music promotion style. As I've mentioned before, I find this writing style both fascinating and frustrating in equal measures. It's fascinating because it provides a window into what this community prioritizes. It's frustrating because, to an outsider who prioritizes different things, the writing appears opaque and uninformative.

LightI've got a few thoughts on this, but first here's one view of the new Matisyahu album, Light, written by the Chasidi News. For twenty other album descriptions written in this style check the current issue of Chasidi News or any one of the frum music blogs I list.
Light - Matisyahu’s third album is now in the stores. After working on it for two years, ‘Light’, Matisyahu’s third album is released. After the meteoric success of his two previous albums, the Chasidic singer Matisyahu releases his third album which illuminates his unique musical style. Matisyahu worked on the album with best of musicians and musical producers, and together they brew the wonderful result, Light. The tracks on the CD range between different styles and let us feel Matisyahu’s modern special character, all of them together passing on a message of hope for peace and comradeship. The album, with 13 songs plus another bonus song, is not something to be taken for granted. “The meaning of being a singer, as far as I’m concerned, is to feel how the existence of the world echoes within you, and then express it,” explains Matisyahu, “It’s a process that changes all the time”. The album’s bonus song is called, “Two Child One Drop”, taking part in it are the cantor Yehuda Solomon and the musician Shalom Mor who plays the oud and the tar. Distribution: NMC United.
Now here's a second view of Matisyahu written by David Jeffries of the All Music Guide. The AMG, if you're not familiar with it, provides a database of music descriptions to a lot of commercial websites. I pinched this one from Pandora, but I'm sure it's on a hundred other websites as well.
As an American Hasidic Jewish reggae superstar, Matisyahu is an obvious outsider. After a debut album that felt live plus a follow-up album that was recorded live, the singer's ambition to do more with the studio presentation of his music left any sensible packaging up to the producer. The mismatch with fellow mystic Bill Laswell caused 2006's Youth to wander and sprawl, but industry vet David Kahne handles much of Light, and the difference is huge. Kahne packaged reggae-pop acts like Sublime and Fishbone -- whose members show up here -- before, but here he's primarily focused on Matisyahu's wide view, love of ancient history, and spiritual heart. The results are comparable to So and all the Peter Gabriel albums after, with high-tech and polish helping to drive home the artist's reverence and sense of wonder. Sounding like breakthrough hit "Chop 'Em Down"'s little brother, "Smash Lies" is an effective opener plus a dancehall-driven crowd-pleaser that'll give way to an album less reggae than any previous. Besides a little "singjay" in his vocal style, the grand, key track "One Day" has little to do with Jamaican music, and the equally moving "For You" is more likely influenced by Tears for Fears than Bob Marley. Joel Madden makes crunching punk-pop guitar the centerpiece of "Darkness into Light," and ethereal closer "Silence" could be passed off as from the Dave Matthews songbook if the lines written in Hebrew didn't give Matisyahu away. Whether using his voice as a whisper or as a giant call across nations, the depth of feeling comes through brilliantly, and if the musical soundscape isn't familiar, the empowering and sincere lyrics most definitely are. Add Kahne's instantly accessible production and Light is not only a welcome surprise, but an album that matches his debut.
Yeah, we're talking about the same album here.

What the frum music press prioritizes is tradition, community, and good character. Artist bios and album descriptions provide the artists credentials as frum Jews with familiar names and famous previous albums, and/or famous current collaborators. We're told the new songs are original, awe-inspiring, instant classics. We're told the names of individual songs, many of which were not written by the singer or band and were well known prior to the album. There will be vauge comments that the artist has an individual style, but there is rarely an attempt to describe that style. The result is that you're not given anything with which to discriminate the 20 album descriptions on the page from each other. But that's the point. The descriptions are to help you descriminate these recordings from the recordings not on the page...the million or so non-frum, non-community, non-Chassidic albums.

The fluffery used by mainstream Western popular music promotion and review writing, of which I am regularly guilty, tends to focus on and exaggerate minor stylistic differences, exaggerate artist musical prowess, and establish artificial musical lineages and comparisons. This is all in the attempt to help an audience understand how the bands or albums compare to each other and to previous albums the reader would have heard. The result is much more of a focus on the band's sound than on their suitability for a specific community.

There is a big caveat to this, though. If you read reviews or blurbs in zines or websites that are heavily focused on a specific narrow audience, you'll see a lot more Chassidic style writing. I remember being a teen eagerly tearing through print copies of Maximum Rock and Roll. A lot of the prose there focused on punk credentials as defined by what label the band was on and what well known punk band the members used to play in. Not much of a difference from the frum-pop writing. In both cases, the main thing was to justify membership in the community.

What's frustrating for me about the frum writing is that it's very difficult to deal with as an outsider. I'm not interested in discriminating based on community membership. I'm not part of the Chassidic community (though I happily rub shoulders with it on occasion). I'm trying to identify good music that I and my readers might be interested in. And the frum writing doesn't help at all. Which, of course, is my problem not theirs.

Lulu -An Auschwitz Fairy Tale

1 comment:
I was exchanging email recently with Daniel Hoffman, of Davka and the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble. While we were chatting about his upcoming tour of the US Midwest (I'll be seeing him play in Sandusky Ohio on Nov 7), he mentioned that he had recently scored his wife, Karine Koret's, "Lulu" a clown piece on the horrors Auschwitz.

I was intrigued. I've always been a fan of fantasy, magic realism, puppet and clown performances, and surrealist art. I find that having my sense of reality disrupted breaks me out of my comfort zone and helps me look at the well understood with new eyes (or ears). This technique works particularly well in areas where we've been overexposed and desensitized. And with sixty years of documentaries, books, films, plays, museums, and musical homages, there is little in modern Jewish culture that is as overexposed and desensitized as the Holocaust.

That's why I fell in love immediately with the short montage of Lulu that had been uploaded to YouTube. Her one woman show, co-written with the play's director Shlomi Golan, is a topsy turvy dream. Lulu's limited understanding and alternately playful and terrified recapitulation of her experience is deeply affecting. It also helped recapture the horror I felt when I was in my early teens first learning about the Holocaust, a feeling that has become a bit numb over the years. And for that, thank you.

Lulu -An Auschwitz Fairy Tale


Lulu premiered at the Teatronetto Festival of Solo Theater in Tel Aviv, Israel in April of 2009. I'm not aware of any plans for it to tour the US, but I'll let you know if I hear anything.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Etz Chaim Hi by Tanchum Portnoy and Blue Fringe

2 comments:
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach everyone. I hope everyone has a great Simchat Torah.

For a get in the mood video this week, I thought I'd share a song and a story. Here's the story, last week I was at Shabbat services with my gang and the cantor led us in a version of Etz Chaim Hi that left me a bit befuddled. I was sure I'd heard the melody before, was sure that I'd never sung it, and was sure I hadn't heard it in the context of a service. So where did I hear it?

A little sleuthing later I think I've got it. The melody, composed by Tanchum Portnoy, is also used by the group Blue Fringe on their album "The Whole World Lit Up." I should say, they use a very different arrangement of a very very similar melody. I don't have the liner notes to WWLU handy. I'll dig them out or email Dov and see if I'm right.

Anyway, here's Portnoy's Etz Chaim Hi, sung by the choir at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburg, PA.



I haven't found a video or embedable player for Blue Fringe's Etz Chaim, but you can listen to it over at Last.Fm.

Hat tip to YouTube user Castodivo for posting the video.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ignite: Five minutes, 20 slides. What would you say?

3 comments:
This is my friend Garrett's fault. I'm sitting back at my computer, two Teruah posts done, and am fiddling with Facebook. And Garrett posts "just submitted a proposal for a talk at #ignitea2". I could have ignored it. I could have pretended I didn't see it, but no. I had to bite. "What's #ignitea2" Oh..it's Ignite Ann Arbor. Five minutes, 20 slides. What would you say? Five minutes, and no more, to talk about something I'm passionate about. And the deadline for proposing is tonight.

So, yeah. I bit. I submitted a proposal.
The Silver Age of American Jewish Music is Happening Now! And Why We're Missing It.

Jewish music is exploding. Bands and labels and venues are multiplying. Rock. Hip Hop. Reggae. Punk. Klezmer. Sephardic. Choral. Chamber Music. Jazz. Chassidic-Pop. Breslov Techno. Niggunim. Pop-liturgical. Bible-gum. Beat Box. Boy Choirs. House. Yiddish Gothic. Indie. Weird hybrids. Avant-Garde experiments. Earnest devotion. But we're not immigrants clustered in tenements, in range of a local Yiddish radio station anymore. A revolution is happening but we're scattered across a big nation with no common media to connect us....except the net. Will it be enough?
I'll find out next week if I've been accepted. If so, I'll have two weeks to prep my slides and one additional week to practice. The Ignite event is on Nov 2. Yikes. Not much time to get a first rate dog & pony show together. I'll let you know how it goes. If I get to present, I'll post a video. Promise.

Jewish Music Festival (Berkeley, California) promotional materials, 1987-2009

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The folks from Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival have recently uploaded a treasure trove of their historical documents to the web. I'm going to through these for weeks. If you want a crash course on the Klezmer Revival and on the emergence of Ladino music, this is it.

1987 Festival of Jewish Musical Traditions
"The Jewish Music Festival started in Berkeley, California, in 1986 as a one-day event produced and hosted by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (formerly the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center). Its programs have included performances, lectures and workshops devoted to instrumental music, song and dance inspired by the musical traditions of the global Jewish Diaspora. Initially called "The Festival of Musical Traditions," the initiative became the "Annual Jewish Music Festival" in 1989, and in 2009 reached its twenty-fourth edition. Over time, the Jewish Music Festival has developed a host of programs at venues in the greater San Francisco Bay Area as well as outside the United States. The Jewish Music Festival has been a steady vehicle for the development of the Jewish musical "revival" movements in North America, and specifically for Klezmer music, Yiddish and Ladino song; it has also provided a space for the presentation of the music of the Jews from the Islamic World and from Israel to north American audiences.

The collection includes digital copies of the promotional materials of the Jewish Music Festival collected and organized by its director, Ellie Shapiro. The materials document the history and development of the Jewish Music Festival from its second edition (1987) until 2009, and comprise program brochures, performance schedules, concert notes, flyers, mailers, postcards, anthological audio CDs, fundraising and survey documents and correspondence. These materials document the development of a community-sponsored public space in which a variety of musical genres inspired by the Jewish experience have been promoted."

A Bis'l Zun - Yiddish Theatre Concert with Cantor Michael Smolash

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I mentioned recently that Yiddish Gothic cabaret musician Daniel Kahn will be playing locally in a couple of weeks. His concert is being organized by Cantor Michael Smolash of Temple Israel, in West Bloomfield, MI. Smolash loves Yiddish and is one of many (Hi Lori) currently working hard on maintaining and reviving the language.

In addition to organizing concerts for other Yiddish musicians, Smolash recently gave a concert of his own. Supported by Cantorial Soloists Aviva Chernick and Neil Michaels, his show, A Bis'l Zun, is classic American Yiddish Theater - the Catskills come to the North Coast. I missed the show, but I've been listening to this video sampler all week. Good fun.

A Bis'l Zun - Yiddish Theatre Concert with Cantor Michael Smolash


If you enjoyed the video, you can nab a full DVD from Temple Israel. The $$ goes to a good cause, Temple Israel religious school scholarships for needy families.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Shabbat Resouled: A Britpop Liturgy

4 comments:
Shabbat Shalom everyone,

As I mentioned recently, I've started hanging out at the local Reform synagogue and so I've got the Reform liturgy on the brain. Doubly so today, because not only is it Shabbat and Erev Sukkot, but Linda Hirschhorn a noted Reform cantor and leader of the group Vocolot will be stopping by. I'm looking forward to meeting her and will be blogging about it on Monday, I'm sure.

So I was delighted when I got followed on Twitter by Shabbat Resouled, an English Reform pop/songleader project. According to their MySpace page press info...
The musical project known as SHABBAT RESOULED has evolved out of the highly successful eponymous Kabbalat Shabbat service held on the third Friday of each month at the FINCHLEY PROGRESSIVE SYNAGOGUE in North London, which has been attended by over a thousand people since its inception in April 2007. With new music composed by DEAN STAKER (9½ Incas, Asylum Nation) and performed by a live band of talented musicians SHABBAT RESOULED is an attempt to provide an alternative to the standard modern Jewish liturgical songs which hereto have been dominated by compositions by American songwriters aimed at American audiences. Whilst acknowledging the contribution of the pioneers of Jewish contemporary music such as JEFF KLEPPER and DAN FREEDLANDER (KOL B’SEDER), DEBBIE FRIEDMAN, SAFAM and CRAIG TAUBMAN, SHABBAT RESOULED takes its inspiration from mainstream British artists such as THE BEATLES, CAT STEVENS, PINK FLOYD, THE MOODY BLUES and JETHRO TULL, giving the project a ‘British’ feel and establishing the ‘Anglo-Jewish sound’! With a full-length album scheduled for completion in 2009 and a burning ambition to take the project beyond British shores, Dean is currently working on new songs, demo versions of which are featured on this page. The band is also available to perform for services at synagogues throughout the UK – please contact us for details.
How cool. And their music is great. Excellent musicianship and songwriting chops. I always have a hard time listening to Reform pop liturgical/songleader music and imagining myself singing it in shul, so I can't comment on that. Someday I'll be better at that, I'm sure. I starting to get a lot more practice at it. So decide for yourself and let me know what you think.


Shabbat%20Resouled
Quantcast


As far as I'm aware, the Shabbat Resouled demo tracks aren't available for purchase and/or download anywhere. I'll let you know if I find out otherwise. For more info on Shabbat Resouled, see their website, MySpace page, ReverbNation page, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Toronoto's Jaffa Road & The Huppah Project

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Jaffa RoadI got an email this morning from Toronto musician, Aaron Lightstone about his two groups, Jaffa Road and the Huppah Project. Both take a world music approach to Jewish music, mixing new and traditional melodies with "Classical Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, rock, pop, and dub."

Jaffa Road, the full band, includes Lightstone on oud, and vocalist Avaiva Chernick , bass player Chris Gartner, percussionist Jeff Wilson and sax player, Sundar Viswanathan. Like many Jewish groups that have appeared in the last few years, they lean toward a Sephardic / Mizrachi sound. Unlike the DeLeon, the Sephardic indie-rock band I saw earlier this week, Jaffa Road has a warm open sound, gentle and passionate. I particularly enjoy the tracks where they introduce rougher, staticy, electronics squawks and buzzes. It's not quite on the level of DJ Olive's work with Uri Caine, but well done and convincing. (In fact, with cantor Aaron Bensoussan joining them as a guest vocalist, their recent album Sunplace, is very reminiscent of a lighter, warmer, version of Uri Caine's ZOHAR album.)

Here's Jaffa Road in concert.


As much as I enjoyed Jaffa Road (and will have to pick up their album), I'm even more taken with The Huppah Project. Centering around the interplay of Lightstone's oud and Aviva Chernick's vocals, The Huppah Project is a collection of music inspired by Lightstone's wedding and explores Jewish wedding music from a vantage that is intensely personal and at the same time open and inclusive. I love seeing artists take the traditions seriously, but at the same time using them as a jumping off point for their own exploration.

The Huppah Project


Check out Jaffa Road and the Huppah Project, and their albums Sunplace and Under the Canopy.