Friday, July 31, 2009

Yitzchak Halevi sings Rabbis Sons "Harachamon "

Shabbat shalom everyone,

I've had a busy, and a bit stressful, week so I'm very ready for Shabbat. For this week's "get in the shabbat grove" video, I've got Yitzchak Halevi sings Harachamon, by The Rabbis Sons.

Harachamon - Rabbi Sons performed by Yitzchak Halevi

Here's a quick bio on Halevi...

"I am a musical artist, guitar player, Rabbi. CEO, proud parent, happily married for close to 15-years. I have had the fortune to play with some of the top musicians in the world. In my early high school days in Massapequa, I played with Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, Jim Phantom. In my later high school days in Bayside Queens, I played with Scott Ian, Dan Lilker, Greg Wall ie Anthrax. Post HS I shared a studio and or played with the Plasmatics. Simon Towsend, The Ramones, Steve Missel (Billy Idol) Jennifer Paige, Dory Harltly Rocky Horror fame. Since I have become Shomer Shabbos I played with Shlomo Carlebach, DYB, Rabbis Sons, Sam Ash, and everyone else in the frum music scene. I have recorded 4 solo CD's to date."

The Rabbis Sons were an influential Jewish folk liturgical music group in the late 60's and 70's. You can hear clips from their albums at Mostly Music.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ronald Robboy's In Our Own Way: Yiddish Theater Music

As a Jew in the Midwest, I get unduly excited about Jewish events in the Midwest. So How come I didn't know about the University of Wisconsin's Conney Project for Jewish Arts? Always more to discover, I guess. Anyway, I was tipped off this morning by Twitter user Geoffery Keezer (who just released a fine album of "folkloric Afro-Peruvian and Argentinian music mixed with jazz"). Keezer was excited about Ronald Robboy's recent Conney Conference lecture on Yiddish theater.

Now I am too. The Conney Project has graciously put up a video of Robboy's talk, as well as over twenty others. I'm particularly looking forward to listening to Lee Williams' "When Crooks (and Gumshoes) talk Yiddish: On Babel, Singer and Chabon" and Sherry Mayrent's "A Shidukh Fun Himl: 78RPM Yiddish Recordings in the Digital Age"

Thanks folks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jewish Drumming Lesson

I was catching up on Blog in Dm and ran across this great video of a Jewish drum lesson. In this case, the Jewish drumming appears to be aimed at playing New York Yeshivish and Chassidic simchas. I'm not clear (and will find out) who is giving the lesson and why, but it was offered up by YouTube user 100FlyingFish along with Jewish Drumming demo #1 Hora Chassuna, Jewish Drumming demo #2 Freilich Chassuna, and Jewish Drumming demo #4 Freilich Chassuna.

Jewish Drumming demo #3 Disco Hora variations

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SOCALLED - You are never alone (Live)

I was just tipped off to this great live performance. Enjoy.

"SOCALLED having become such a monster star must now do midnight sessions at secret underground locations. This one was July 7/09 during Montreal's Jazz Festival. The concert was so secret I had to film it with my spy camera. Alex from Chicoutimi on violin. Damian from Argentina on Sax. Michael from Montreal on bass."

hat tip to YouTube user mtlborn for uploading the video.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A plethora of Jewish music videos and interviews

Got an email last week that said...

"Are you interested in offering your audience a video player featuring 60 video clips offering concerts, music videos and interviews with many of today’s top Jewish & Israeli performers including Idan Raichel, Mosh Ben Ari, David Broza, Balkan Beat Box & many more?"

The answer is yes! Enjoy folks. The video player come courtesy of

Not much to say other than thanks (for the videos and the chance to use the word 'plethora')!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Circumcision Drinking Song

The "On The Main Line" blog just posted a rather singular song called called The Newly-Dubb'd Jew in a 1790's book called Hilaria. The song is a funny and racy redo of the older English folk tune, "Derry Down," chronicling a conversation between a prospective convert and his soon-to-be-clipped penis. The song includes lots of political references of events of the day and is generally more amused by the process than abusive of Jews, which makes it good fun to read today. I'd love to hear someone try to sing it. Send me a video and I'll happily post it on Teruah. Any takers? To get the melody, listen to this recording of American folk musician Pete Seeger singing a very different Derry Down lyric.

The book, attributed to a "Captain Charles Morris and William Hewerdine" is dedicated to drinking and drinking songs, opening with this comment (I've corrected the spelling to modern standards) ...

"....the gentlemen of Britain, whose fondness for pure, unadulterated, wine, cannot be doubted, will continue the old custom of drinking a bumper of wine with the first toast after dinner to the first thing that was ever was created for the enjoyment of their sex.

Solomon..., says "give flow strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts." "Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."

With that thought in's "The Newly Dubbed Jew"

Hat tip to the "On the Main Line" blog for posting the song and to my buddy Daniel for emailing me about it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chase The Devil: Spiritual Roots Music

I'm usually a bit skittish of "interfaith" music projects. I understand their appeal from a "we can sing together so we can live together' perspective (and we could sure use more singing together and living together), I often find the musical output pretty vapid. The attempts usually squeeze out everything interesting about either faith, or the faith's music, to show that our most basic we're all pretty insubstantial and boring.

Enter vocalist Dean Bowman and guitarist Gary Lucas of "Chase the Devil" who are neither insubstantial or boring. Lucas and Bowman are both veteran musicians with a stack of recordings each. Some of Lucas' Jewish music highlights have included the silent film soundtrack for the 1920's silent film "The Golem" and two Radical Jewish Culture albums "Busy Being Born" and "Street of Lost Brothers." On his previous Jewish albums, Lucas has consistently been able to merge Jewish folk, klezmer, and liturgical music with his own gritty roots and jazz based sound. In Chase the Devil, Lucas and Bowman add Christian gospel and Muslim quawwali music and push them for all their worth. The result is a vital and glorious mess, where the styles bounce, collide and weave through each other, all held together by the deep reverence of Bowmans voice.

From a reasonable distance, this kind of collision must be what we sound like to God. Now we get to hear it close up.

Chase The Devil (Gary Lucas & Dean Bowman) "HINE MA TOV"

Ok...I chose the Hine Ma Tov video because a) it was available and excellent and b) it's very Jewish. I have to say, though, that the gospel influenced "God is a Good God" on their MySpace page is also superb. The video was recorded live at Eldridge Street Synagogue, New York City, in February 25, 2009. It's worth noting that Hine Ma Tov means "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony." A great statement in general, and perfectly fitting in this context.

For more info, see their MySpace page, Dean Bowman and Gary Lucas personal websites, and a a recent interview by Tablet magazine.

Hat Tip to YouTube user AlexJacobwitz for posting the video and Tablet magazine for the review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Suite For Furby On Shofar In D Minor

A couple of years ago I wrote about the "only documented collaboration of man and Furby." Well, Sid Yiddish is back with another collaboration with his emoto-tronic friends, this time for the Chicago "Objects In Motion Festival."

As The Chicago Reader puts it...
'The festival’s true standout is Sid Yiddish’s Suite for Furby on Shofar in D Minor, an inspired bit of effrontery.... Yiddish presents an arresting figure, and his ad hoc musical composition would make Fluxus provocateur George Maciunas proud."
So here it is, Sid Yiddish, assorted noisemakers, a shofar, and a gaggle of Furbies.

Suite For Furby On Shofar In D Minor-Part One

For part 2, see "Suite For Furby On Shofar In D Minor-Part 2"

I love these videos for the physical poetry as much as the humor. I'm sure I'm reading too much into this, but while I was watching the videos I had this strange image of Sid as God playing shofar and whatnot trying vainly to engage an idly chattering minyan of Jews. So you didn't like the shofar, maybe for my next miracle I'll try a slide whistle!