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24 November 2010

Eatala: A Life In Klezmer: New documentary premiere & concert

Eatala: A Life In Klezmer: New documentary premiere & concert
honors Elaine Watts and four generations of Philadelphia Jewish musicians

WHO: Elaine Hoffman Watts, Susan Lankin Watts & band

WHAT: Premiere of new documentary about a ground-breaking woman & concert of klezmer music from waltzes to freylechs, representing the legacy of four generations of Jewish musicians (Hoffman family) renowned in Philadelphia

WHEN: December 4, 2010 at 7:30 PM (Tickets: $10 - $30 through http://crossroadsconcerts.org/)

WHERE: Crossroads Music / 801 S. 48th Street (Produced by the Philadelphia Folklore Project)

“A 3rd-generation klezmer, the mother of a next generation of klezmorim, and a raucous, wonderful storyteller. The Philly sound in full force and dance-compelling splendor.” – Ari Davidow, Klezmer Shack

The documentary Eatala: A Life in Klezmer is a loving portrait of Elaine Hoffman Watts, a renowned klezmer percussionist. The film shows how Elaine (her Yiddish name is “Eatala”), a feisty and determined musician, has broken barriers—as a musician, a working mother, and in her persistent devotion to her family’s klezmer music. Drawing on performance footage, family movies, historic photographs, and interviews, Eatala traces a klezmer tradition sustained over four generations in a single family— with a good dose of humor and joy. Eatala features performances by Elaine Hoffman Watts, Susan Lankin Watts and an all-star klezmer band with Josh Dolgin, Jay Krush, Rachel Lemisch, Hankus Netsky, Henry Sapoznik, and Carmen Staaf. Directed by Barry Dornfeld and Debora Kodish. Produced by the Philadelphia Folklore Project.

A klezmer concert featuring Elaine and Susan Watts and other musicians follows the screening. A special reception with refreshments for Chanukah will conclude this evening celebrating the accomplishments of some extraordinary Philadelphia musicians.

Tickets ($10 - $30) are available through Crossroads Music (http://crossroadsconcerts.org/)

Eatala is produced by the Philadelphia Folklore Project, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, through Philadelphia Music Project, and Philadelphia Folklore Project members. The concert and performance is a collaboration with Crossroads Music (http://crossroadsconcerts.org/).


About Klezmer and the Watts family
Klezmer is Eastern European Jewish folk music. In other parts of the country, klezmer seemed to disappear and then was revived. But here in Philadelphia, the Hoffman family never stopped playing this music. “Eatala: A Life in Klezmer” shares the unique Ukrainian-Jewish klezmer sounds of Elaine Hoffman Watts and Susan Watts, third and fourth generation klezmorim.
Born in 1932, Elaine Hoffman Watts is a winner of the prestigious 2007 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment of the Arts. Watts is one of only eight artists from Pennsylvania, and one of only six Jewish artists from the entire country, to be so honored over the last 28 years. In 2007, she received a Leeway Transformation Award. In 2000, she received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. These honors are well deserved and overdue.

Elaine Watts was the first woman percussionist to be accepted at Curtis Institute, from which she graduated in 1954. She has performed and taught for more than forty years, working in symphonies, theaters, and schools. Despite her skills and family heritage, when she was young Ms. Watts was seldom given opportunities to perform by local klezmer bands, from the 1940s on. "They didn't want to employ a girl," she recalls, not even Jacob Hoffman's talented daughter. This evening centers on the artistry of a woman (and a mom) who couldn't be stopped or silenced.
For generations of Jewish families in Philadelphia, the Watts’ klezmer music was central to weddings and other communal and family celebrations. The music produced by Elaine Watts’ vast talent and indomitable spirit is a critically important, feisty, and enduring link to a particular Philadelphia-style Jewish klezmer sound. Working actively in Philadelphia since the early years of this century, the Hoffman family and other Philadelphia Jewish musicians shaped a Jewish American music reflecting the influences of their homelands as well as the musical culture of Philadelphia. Elaine's drumming anchors the sound of this Jewish style.

Trumpeter and vocalist Susan Watts represents the fourth generation of this important klezmer dynasty. In addition to playing with a variety of noted klezmer musicians from around the world, Watts has recorded and performed with Hankus Netsky, Mikveh, London’s Klezmer All-Star Brass Band, and others. Susan has taught at klezmer festivals and privately, and performs in a diverse range of trumpet styles. She and her mother will be joined by other noted klezmer performers on December 4th.

About PFP and Crossroads
The Philadelphia Folklore Project (PFP) is a 23-year-old independent public folklife agency that works to sustain vital and diverse living cultural heritage in communities in our region. PFP documents, supports, and presents Philadelphia-area folk arts and culture - including the arts of people who have been here generations and those who have just arrived. For more information about the Philadelphia Folklore Project visit www.folkloreproject.org or call 215.726.1106.

Crossroads Music organizes public performances by accomplished musicians with roots in cultures from around the world. Crossroads is inspired by and seeks to maintain West Philadelphia’s historic role as a diverse and inclusive meeting place for different cultures, social and economic classes, and progressive social movements. For more information visit http://crossroadsconcerts.org or call 215.729.1028.
To listen to a sample of the Watts family, visit the PFP website: www.folkloreproject.org


23 September 2010

Klezmer Podcast 69- Babayaga

Klezmer Podcast 69- Babayaga. On this episode my interview guest is Yann Le Glaz, Saxophonist and leader of Babayaga, a band based in France. The band plays an eclectic mix of traditional and modern Klezmer with some Balkan influences. Yann talks about his interest in Klezmer, a new Vocalist for the band, and an upcoming DVD project. We also hear a track from the self-titled Babayaga album Le Petit Gogol Aux Ciseaux.
Run time: 30:29.

17 July 2010

Klezmer Podcast 68- Red Hot Chachkas

Klezmer Podcast 68- Julie Egger. On this episode, I talk with Julie Egger, leader of the Red Hot Chachkas, based in the San Francisco area. The band has released a new album, Beats Without Borders. The band has been branching out from their local area, and has started touring. They will be appearing at this year's Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto. We hear the track "Dancin' On The Creekside."
Run time: 29:32.

Klezmer Podcast 68

13 June 2010

Yiddish Princess Tour! NY, PA, CT, VT, MA

I am re-posting this message from the Jewish Music mail group.

Hello Friends,
Yiddish Princess has recorded an EP and is having a little tour of the North
East to celebrate and spread Yiddish Rock Love to the masses. Spread the
word and hope to see you there!

Yiddish Princess is: Sarah Mina Gordon - vocals. Michael Winograd - synth.
Yoshie Fruchter - rhythm guitar. Avi Fox-Rosen - lead guitar. Ari
Folman-Cohen - bass. Chris Berry - drums.

Double guitar onslaught. Drums beating you into submission. Precious analog
synths beckoning. And a voice that can shatter ice and coo you into
mellifluous bliss. Af Yiddish. Looking to reconcile your love of power pop
and hard rock with your love of Yiddish music? Your search is over. Behold,
Yiddish Princess.

www.myspace.com/yiddishprincess to listen to tracks!

Yiddish Princess, the Greatest Band on earth, will be on tour June 14-20,
celebrating the release of "Yiddish Princess: the CD"
6/14 - Galapagos, Brooklyn, 8pm* (w/Luminescent Orchestrii and Electric
Junkyard Gamelan)
16 Main St. Brooklyn, www.galapagosartspace.com

*6/15 - The Khyber, Philadelphia, 9:30pm* (w/The Electric Simcha)
56 S.2nd street, www.thekhyber.com

*6/17 - Redtail, Boston 9pm*
369 Congress St., 7th Floor,
6/18 - Main Street Museum, White River Junction, VT, 8pm* (following "The
Only Good Corporation is an Undead Corporation"...puppet theater!)
58 Bridge Street, White River Junction, http://www.mainstreetmuseum.org/

*6/19 - North End Studio, Burlington, VT, 9pm*
294 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington
6/20 - National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA, 2pm*
1021 West Street, Amherst, http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/
6/20 - Buttonwood Tree, Middletown, CT 8pm* (w/Tom Monaghan's WESLEY WILLIS
605 Main Street, Middletown, CT, http://www.buttonwood.org/



For a press release, see:

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2010
12 noon – 5pm
SIMCHA! The Jewish Music Festival’s 25th Anniversary Party
Yerba Buena Gardens
Third and Mission Streets, San Francisco
Bring a picnic and instruments and celebrate a quarter century of Bay Area Jewish music with ongoing performances, instrumental jams, a parade, and an Instrument Petting Zoo for all ages and backgrounds. Artists include: Eprhyme, Glenn Hartman and the Klezmer Playboys, Peter Jacques, Elana Jagoda, Kugelplex, Joe Nguyen, Kat Parra, Dan Plonsey and the Dandelion Dancetheater, Red Hot Chachkas, Dror Sinai, Gerry Tenney and California Klezmer, Vocolot, and Joshua Walters. Co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of San Francisco. In association with Yerba Buena Gardens, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Community Music Center, the Hub (JCCSF) and Zambaleta World Music Institute. For more information: www.jewishmusicfestival.org or 510-848-0237

July 11, 2010
1 and 4pm
25th Jewish Music Festival
World Premiere Dan Plonsey’s Bar Mitzvah with Dandelion Dancetheater
Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco
$18 students, seniors, JCC East Bay and CJM members / $22 INCLUDES MUSEUM ADMISSION
For tickets and information: www.jewishmusicfestival.org or 1.800.838.3006
Winner of the prestigious United States Broad Fellow Award, fearlessly experimental Bay Area composer Dan Plonsey and award-winning choreographer Eric Kupers explore what it means to become an adult in today’s complicated world through music and dance. Co-sponsored by the East Bay Community Foundation – Fund for Artists, Zellerbach Family Foundation and W. and F. Hewlett Foundation. Presented in association with the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

July 11, 2010
12 – 6pm
25th Jewish Music Festival
The Bowls Project
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Sculpture Court, entrance @ Mission & 3rd Street
Conceived by Jewlia Eisenberg, founder of the band Charming Hostess. The interactive sound installation is based on sex and magic in “demon bowls,” amulets common in late-antique Babylon. Musical context for project is drawn from the female body, the rich traditions of the Babylonian Jews, and other diaspora sources, both Jewish and African. Presented in association with New Frequencies, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. For more information: www.jewishmusicfestival.org

SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2010
Finale: 25th Jewish Music Festival
Controlled Chaos and Brawny Braininess
Watcha Clan with Charming Hostess
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - Forum
$20 students, seniors, YBCA and JCC East Bay members / $25 general
Tickets: 1-415-978-2787 or www.jewishmusicfestival.org
Direct from Marseille, France Nomadic genre bending music fronted by the charismatic Sistah K, with Berber, Algerian, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and French influences. “... controlled chaos in action.” – NPR. With a Bay Area band founded by Jewlia Eisenberg, renowned for its eerie harmony, hot rhythm and radical braininess. “... a dazzling diverse palette of influences drawn from the Jewish and African diasporas, with Andalusian cadences and Pygmy polyphony...” SF Chronicle.
Co-sponsored by Gaia Fund. Presented in association with New Frequencies, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

21 May 2010


Press contacts: Anne Scher
or Alex Wittenberg
212.423.3271 or



NEW YORK, NY - The Jewish Museum’s popular SummerNights program returns, presenting live world music in a concert setting on three Thursdays in July. Each concert begins at 7:30 pm. Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys kick off SummerNights on July 1 with their unique mix of bluegrass and klezmer. This cosmopolitan concert series features critically acclaimed musicians offering innovative interpretations of music from all over the world. Other scheduled performers include Ansambl Mastika, drawing from the styles of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East; and The Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban-Jewish All Stars, creating a unique Latin klezmer sound. The Jewish Museum is located at Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan.
Tickets for each concert are $15 for the general public; $12 for students and seniors; and $10 for Jewish Museum members. For further information regarding programs at The Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3337 or visit www.thejewishmuseum.org. Please note that digital images are available upon request.


July 1, 7:30 pm

This ensemble combines Appalachian and southern fiddle tunes with Eastern European klezmer melodies to create a soulful sound and a foot-stomping good time. Virtuoso clarinetist Margot Leverett adds depth and complexity to the raw and spirited energy of The Klezmer Mountain Boys.
The Klezmer Mountain Boys - bandleader and clarinetist Margot Leverett, bassist Marty Confurius, guitarist Joe Selly, fiddler Kenny Kosek, and mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff - create a danceable and beautiful blend that draws and delights audiences of all ages. Founded by Margot Leverett (an original member of the Klezmatics) and Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna), the band has been featured at the Chicago World Music Festival and the Louisville Performing Arts Center.

July 8, 7:30 pm

With song styles ranging from the clarinet miroloi of northern Greece and the chocheci of the Serbian and Macedonian Roma (gypsies) to Turkish chalgi ensembles and Bulgarian wedding bands, Ansambl Mastika’s music draws from the myriad styles of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. Ansambl Mastika has enthralled audiences on the dance floor, in the concert hall, and at the festival stage. The band blends spontaneity with a global sensibility, resulting in a joyous Balkan extravaganza.
Ansambl Mastika features bandleader composer and woodwind player Greg Squared, composer and trumpeter Ben Syversen, accordionist Matthew Fass, harmonica player Joey Weisenberg, bassist Reuben Radding, and percussionist Matt Moran.

July 15, 7:30 pm

Percussionist and composer Roberto Rodriguez leads talented Cuban-American and Israeli musicians in the creation of an unique sound that echoes Cuban roots dance music and traditional klezmer.
Roberto Rodriguez was born in Cuba, the son of veteran horn player Roberto Luis Rodriguez. The younger Rodriguez studied violin, piano, and trumpet and drums in Havana, and left Cuba for Miami with his family when he was nine. Rodriguez immersed himself in the culture of Miami’s large Jewish population, sensing historic similarities between Cuban expatriates and the Jewish diaspora. Moving to New York, he quickly established himself as a drummer of note, working with the likes of T-Bone Burnett, Phoebe Snow, Rubén Blades, Paul Simon and Joe Jackson, and became the drummer for Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postizos band. John Zorn approached Rodriguez about recording an album of Jewish music, resulting in El Danzon de Moises in 2002. Later albums of Cuban-Jewish music include Baila! Gitano Baila! (2004), Oy Vey! Ole! (2006), and The First Basket and Timba Talmud (2009).

The 2010 SummerNights concert series has been funded by a generous endowment from the William Petschek Family.
Public Programs at The Jewish Museum are supported, in part, by public funds from by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media.

General Information
For general information on The Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum’s Web site at http://www.thejewishmuseum.org or call 212.423.3200. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan.

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delete all copies of the original communication. Thank you for your cooperation.

18 May 2010


MAY 20 thru MAY 30
Curated by Roberto Rodriguez
New York has become a mecca for many young Israeli musicians, and percussionist/composer Roberto Rodriguez has focused his tenure at The Stone on New York's thriving Israeli New Jazz scene. A fabulous week of music featuring some of the most exciting young players now living in New York!

5/20 Thursday
10 pm
Ofer Assaf “Hall of Light” Quintet
Ofer Assaf (sax) Jeff Miles (guitar)
Peter Slavov (bass) Dan Pugach (drums) Ouail Aboulhassane (tabla, percussion)
Ofer Assaf is a jazz saxophonist and composer, and has performed with a wide range of artists including Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock in Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC jazz festival. His debut album “Tangible Reality” ranked in JazzWeek Chartbound's top fifty. Ofer will present his latest project "Hall of Light," inspired by Middle-Eastern, North-African, Jazz and Funk influences.

5/21 Friday (KR)
8 pm
Uri Gurvich Quartet
Uri Gurvich (saxes) Leo Genovese (piano) Peter Slavov (bass) Francisco Mela (drums)
The Quartet released last year their debut, "The Storyteller" on Tzadik records, Radical Jewish Culture series. At their Stone performance, they will present new works by Gurvich. www.urigurvich.com

10 pm
Reut Regev
Reut Regev (trombone) David Phelps (guitars) Mark Peterson (bass) Igal Foni (drums)
Trombonist Reut Regev and drummer Igal Foni will be joined by the R*time gang to play some newer as well as some older R*time repertoire. Yep!

5/22 Saturday
8 pm
Uri Sharlin-DogCat
Uri Sharlin (accordion) Kyle Sanna (guitar) Gill Sharett (bassoon) Rich Stein (percussion) John Hadfield (percussion) Gilad Harel (bass clarinet)
A whole new program written specially for this evening. Featuring Gilad Harel.

10 pm
Avishai Cohen
Avishai Cohen (trumpet) Mark Tumer (tenor sax) Matt Penman (bass) Ari Hoenig (drums)
For this May 22nd performance, Avishai has put together a new repertoire
written specifically for this occasion and these musicians.

5/23 Sunday
8 pm
Jonathan Keren (violin, viola, arrangements) Cordelia Hagmann (violin) Tehila Nini Goldstein (soprano) Dan Nadel, Flamenco (guitar) Miho Zaitsu (cello) Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)
DissoNuance comprises internationally acclaimed performers, composers, improvisers and thinking musicians, who live in New York City. We come from different backgrounds: Classical, Jazz, Flamenco, Rock and Folk music- but our passion for high-quality music unites us. We feel people are drawn to music regardless of its style or genre- but rather for its energy and quality.

DissoNuance proposes a creative programing, consisting of early, contemporary, folk, and classical music- all in one concert. Despite the different styles of the pieces, the consistant use of performers and the use of a unifying theme for each concert will create anorganic program, where a new musical language is invented for each concert.To watch a video presentation of DissoNuance go to the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSK0ZgACJPs

10 pm
Gilad Harel (clarinet) Jonathan Keren (vioin, viola) Gilad Cohen (bass guitar)

5/25 Tuesday
8 pm
Gilad Harel
Gilad Harel (clarinet) Uri Sharlin (accordion, nay) Gilad Cohen (guitars)

10 pm
he Rafi Malkiel Ensemble - WATER
Rafi Malkiel (trombone, euphonium, aguaphonium, compositions) Anat Cohen (clarinet) Avishai Cohen (trumpet, aguaphonium) Itai Kriss (flute) Chris Karlic (bass clarinet, tenor sax) Gili Sharett (bassoon) Jack Glottman (piano) Dave Hertzberg (bass) Benny Koonyevsky (drums, percussion) Nestor Gomez (percussion, water) Special guests
Pre CD release party for the new release on Tzadik. Composer and trombonist Rafi Malkiel and his Ensemble are celebrating the release of their Tzadik debut album WATER in a special concert. WATER features all original compositions on the theme of water in its different forms, mixing Middle-Eastern, Eastern-European, Jazz, Classical and Afro-Caribbean elements, and exploring the connection between those traditions and Jewish musical heritage. The unique instrumentation includes six horns and an aguaphonium, a water-wind instrument invented by Rafi. The show takes the listener on a journey through the world of water, continually engaging and surprising with a wide range of dynamics, colors and emotions.

5/26 Wednesday
8 pm
Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban Jewish All Stars
Gilad Harel (clarinet) Jonatahan Keren (violin) Uri Sharlin (accordion, organ, piano, vocals) Itai Kris (flute) Bernie Minoso (bass, vocals) Igor Arias Baro, Roberto Rodriguez (percussion, vocals)
Featuring Gilad Harel, Uri Sharlin, Itai Kriss, Jonathan Keren

10 pm
Dan Aran
Alex Norris (trumpet) Donny McCaslin (sax) Art Hirahara (piano) Nir Felder (guitar) Linda Oh (bass) Dan Aran (composer, drums)

5/27 Thursday (DS)
8 pm
Itai Kriss Quartet
Itai Kriss (flute) Aaron Goldberg (piano) Eric McPherson (drums) Gianluca Renzi (bass)
With this stellar quartet, flutist Itai Kriss explores Latin rhythms and middle eastern roots, as well as the funky side of Jazz, playing tunes featured on his latest album "The Shark" (2010).

10 pm
The Oz Noy Project
Oz Noy (guitar) Ari Honig (drums) Roy Assaf (piano)
Exploring guitar sounds through Jazz forms.

5/28 Friday
8 pm
Daphna Mor—East of the River
Daphna Mor (recorder) Nina Stern (recorder) Omer Avital (oud) Uri Sharlin (accordion) Shane Shanahan (percussion)
Internationally renown recorder soloists Mor and Stern have appeared playing as a duo with groups as varied as The New York Philharmonic and world music group Pharaoh's Daughter. Their latest performances together included performing as soloists in a double concerto in Carnegie Hall, and with St Luke's Orchestra in the Mostly Mozart Festival. Tonight they collaborate with leading jazz, classical and world music musicians in music from their latest album “East of the River”. Produced by world music producer Jamshied Sharifi, the music includes traditional music from the Balkans, Armenia, and Medieval Italy. www.eastoftherivermusic.com www.daphnamor.com

10 pm
Hadar Noiberg Trio
Hadar Noiberg (flute) Ziv Ravtiz (drums) Edward Perez (bass)

5/29 Saturday
8 pm
Alon Nechustan
Alon Nechustan (piano)

10 pm
Jonathan Keren/Dan Nadel/Satoshi Takeishi
Jonathan Keren (violin) Dan Nadel (guitar) Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)
An explosive fusion of Flamenco,Balkan Middle Eastern and Klezmer music.

Featuring three virtuoso musicians on flamenco guitar guitar, violin/viola and hand percussion, this trio creates and exotic world music soundscape for the 21st century.

5/30 Sunday (YT)
8 pm
Anat Cohen and Avishai Cohen
Anat Cohen (tenor sax, clarinet) Avishai Cohen (trumpet) Jason Lindner (piano) Matt Penman (bass) Johnathan Blake (drums)

10 pm
Eyal Maoz
Eyal Maoz (guitar) Brian Marsella (keyboards) Shanir Blumenkranz (bass) Yuval Lion (drums)
Where Jazz meets New Wave, and echoes of Joy Division are counterposed with Jewish music, begins the rocking odyssey of Edom.

piano courtesy of yamaha
the stone is a project of hips road
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13 March 2010

Klezmer Podcast 63

Klezmer Podcast 63- The Shpil. Violinist Claire Bergen is the leader of Los Angeles-based The Shpil. The band plays a mix of traditional and original music, plus some Klezmerized covers of other songs. The interview took place before their performance at HM157 in Los Angeles. We hear two tracks: Ruizko Oro by Jessica Ruiz and Twirly Moustache by Isaac Schankler.

Run time: 25:00.

24 February 2010

COME CELEBRATE PURIM with Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban Jewish All Stars!


Saturday, February 27, 8:00 p.m.
WORLD: Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban-Jewish All Stars
Roberto Juan Rodriguez’s inventive blending of klezmer and timba isn’t as strange as it sounds and these two upbeat musics create a thrilling energy bursting with exhuberant optimism and the excitement of being alive. They brought the full house down a few years ago so reservations are strongly recommended.
Sexteto Rodriguez Cuban-Jewish All Stars is comprised of Cuban and Israeli musicians, Gilad Harel (clarinet), Bernie Minoso, Paul Simon's former bassist, Jonathan Keren (violin), Uri Sharlin (accordion/piano), Igor Arias Baro (congos/vocals), and Roberto Rodriguez (percussion) perform selections from the 2009 CD Timba Talmud, Roberto’s 5th CD on the Tzadik label. Catch this rising star following his great success at Lincoln Center and 92nd St. Y-Tribeca before it’s too late! Dancing is encouraged.

$10 suggested donation.
Reservations strongly recommended.

04 February 2010

Review: Postcards

Review: Postcards
Beyond The Pale

Eric Stein and Beyond The Pale are at it again. Their latest venture, Postcards, takes us on another journey around the world as seen through the eyes and ears of the eclectic and innovative group from Toronto. These 16 tracks are a collection of snapshots that tell the story of the places the group has visited, and they have translated these experiences into song. Whether traditional or original tunes, BTP has put their distinctive stamp on each one, with flair and conviction.

While it is difficult to put a label on their music, BTP starts with a Jewish Klezmer sensibility, but right from the first track you can tell that there are many influences at work here, guiding and nudging the music into a multi-genre ménage that adds in Eastern European styles like Roma, Balkan, and Greek, but also has tinges of American Bluegrass, as well as Jazz, Folk, and Roots. In addition, there are three songs in collaboration with my favorite Yiddish Vocalist, Vira Lozinsky. Whether you listen to a lively dance tune or a delicate, exposed piece, there is no doubt about the quality of the arrangements and the extraordinary level of musicianship on display throughout the album.

BTP loves to re-invent songs from the traditional repertoire, and we find a few gems among the tracks here, such as the opener, Magura, a bouncy folk tune that tosses the melody around the band and then slowly accelerates to a blazingly fast speed right up to the end. Kamenetzer is a tune that many would be familiar with. It’s a favorite of mine, and is the most authentic Klezmer style that is offered here. Anthem, while listed as Traditional, comes from the repertoire of the late German Goldenshteyn, who brought the Jewish music of Moldova to North America a few years ago. This is probably the most popular of Goldenshteyn’s tunes, and always lifts the spirit, especially when BTP takes it out for a spin.

While Traditional songs are the heart of BTP, their original compositions provide a glimpse into the band’s soul. I love the odd meter Balkan-style rhythms that Violinist Aleksander Gajic brings to his songs Solution, Katarina, Back to the Beginning, and Extra Spicy.

Like Goldenshteyn, Irving Fields gets the BTP treatment with Turkish Delight, probably his best-known song. I really liked the feel of the song and the new life that Stein breathes into it, with his Mandolin leading the charge.

Martin van de Ven contributes a pair of originals. Are Two is a slow, beautifully melodic Clarinet duet with Accordion, that really shows a more serious side to the usual acrobatics of most Clarinet features. Dutchmandu hints at his heritage, but is a bit jazzy and tosses in some Latin percussion.

Stein contributes his own arrangement of Meditation, dedicated to the memory of his brother, David Stein. This is a beautiful song, with the exposed feeling of classical chamber music. His originals Split Decision and Postscript are livelier tunes that clearly show the North American influence on the band’s music.

BTP also handles the arranging duties on Vira Lozinsky’s Yiddish songs Shtern, An Old Legend, and Doina. I was already familiar with Shtern and my love of this song was deepened even more by the heartfelt accompaniment from the band. The others are treated with the same delicacy, never getting in the way of Lozinsky’s lush vocals.

I was super-impressed with the recording quality of the album. I can’t over-emphasize how important good engineering is to the overall enjoyment of the listening experience. Each instrument is clear and distinct, without ever sounding muddy. Clarinet and Mandolin are two of the most difficult instruments to record properly, and they really shine here. The Clarinet on Are Two is probably the best sounding recording I can remember. The vocals are equally outstanding, and bring out the best in Lozinsky’s lower range. The album sounded great on every device I tried it on, but listening on my home theater system was really exceptional. I’ll be using this as a reference for a long time. Thanks to Jeremy Darby, Sam Ibbett, and Fedge for their wonderful work getting the sonics so perfect.

The CD package is a rather simple tri-fold tray, with some good photos, track and musician lists, credits, and acknowledgments. There are no liner notes, but more information is available online, including English translations for the Yiddish songs.

BTP has shown again why they are among the top Klezmer performers around. The album is very listenable, never boring. It’s going to stay in my playlist for a long time. Highly recommended.

Keith Wolzinger
Klezmer Podcast

Beyond The Pale
Borealis Records BCD197

Track List:
1. Magura
2. Solution
3. Katarina
4. Kamenetzer
5. Anthem
6. Shtern
7. Turkish Delight
8. Back to the Beginning
9. Meditation
10. Split Decision
11. Postscript
12. Old Legend
13. Are Two
14. Dutchmandu
15. Doina
16. Extra Spicy
Play time: 56:00

Beyond The Pale:
Bogdan Djukic (Percussion, Violin)
Bret Higgins (Double Bass)
Aleksander Gajic (Violin, Viola)
Milos Popovic (Accordion)
Eric Stein (Mandolin, Mandocello, Cimbalom)
Martin van de Ven (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)

Special Guest:
Vira Lozinsky (Vocals)

Beyond The Pale
English lyric translations
Borealis Records

15 January 2010

Klezmer Podcast 60- Eric Stein, Beyond The Pale

Klezmer Podcast 60- Eric Stein. This episode features an interview with Eric Stein, leader of the band Beyond The Pale, based in Toronto. The band has a new album, "Postcards." The music is an eclectic mix of Klezmer, Folk, World Music, and Jazz. The guest vocalist on the album is Vira Lozinsky. We hear three tracks from the album: Turkish Delight, Katarina, and Shtern.
Run time: 35:44.