K is for Klezmer

In August, for Itzhak Perlman’s birthday, I listened to a live album of KLEZMER music that he performed on. Classical violin virtuoso Perlman gives klezmer a certain cache that the music did not have heretofore.

Here he joins four klezmer groups “for a joyous get-together with unforgettable Klezmer melodies.”

But what IS klezmer?

From this source:
Klezmer music originated in the ‘shtetl’ (villages) and the ghettos of Eastern Europe, where itinerant Jewish troubadours, known as ‘klezmorim’, performed at joyful events (‘simkhes’), particularly weddings…It was inspired with secular melodies, popular dances, ‘khazones’ (khazanut, Jewish liturgy) as well as with the ‘nigunim’, the simple and often wordless melodies intended by the ‘Hasidim’ (orthodox Jews) for approaching God in a kind of ecstatic communion. In (mutual) contact with Slavonic, Greek, Ottoman (Turkish), Arabic, Gypsy and -later- American jazz musicians, the ‘klezmorim’ acquired, through numerous tempo changes, irregular rhythms, dissonance and a touch of improvisation, the ability to generate a very diversified music, easily recognizable and widely appreciated all around the world.

The Wikipedia definition of klezmer, and another example.

This article notes the decline of klezmer in the 1950s and 1960s. But the music was “revived on US records in the late 1970s. In San Francisco, the Klezmorim released the earliest klezmer revival album I’ve seen — ‘East Side Wedding’ (1977 on the national Arhoolie label). It’s an eclectic mix of styles from the nearly frantic ‘Trello Hasaposerviko (Crazy Dance)’ to the melancholy ‘Doina’.”

I’m fascinated by this because I OWN ‘East Side Wedding’! I must have bought it at a folk festival in the late 1970s or early 1980s, maybe at the Old Songs Festival that takes place every June in the Albany, NY area.

It’s happy music, yet holds a certain wistfulness. I think that’s why I am attracted to it.

A whole bunch more klezmer music.
Very seldom do I get to blog about comic books for my work blog. But some legal issues involving the late Jack KIRBY, the artist who created or co-created dozens of famous comic book characters, including Captain America, gave me that rare opportunity. You can read it here.


RM-Special Music Edition

While my ukulele gently weeps with audio/video. Actually quite good, I think, despite the web address. (Thanks, BG.)
The great thing about Albany is FREE music in the summertime. So far, we’ve had, among others, Ruben Blades, Mary Wilson and Sam Bush at Alive at Five with Little Feat, Leon Russell, and Terrence Simien still to come. At The Plaza had a two-day BluesFest with Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and many others; and Black 47; Forthcoming: the Lovin’ Spoonful and Grand Funk Railroad with the Edgar Winter Band. I’ve seen NONE of the musicians that have performed so far, and I am not sure if I’ll get the chance to see the artists that are still to come. Nuts.
I got this e-mail from Amazon touting their “10th Anniversary Hall of Fame musicians, whose CDs have sold the largest number of copies at Amazon.com in the seven years since Amazon began selling music in 1998”. The list is pretty obvious, you’d think:
The Beatles,U2, Norah Jones, Diana Krall are the top 4. 6-10 are Frank Sinatra, Santana, Enya, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. The rest of the top 25 you’d all know. But who is it at #5? Eva Cassidy. Eva Cassidy?
I was having lunch with my friend Mary and we were talking about Van Morrison. I noted that “Jackie Wilson Says” was on St. Dominic’s Preview. She contended otherwise and bet me $5. People, PLEASE don’t bet with me. I can be/have been wrong about a LOT of things in my life, but when I put money up, it just doesn’t happen.
I received this link with audio of an Itzhak Perlman performance on three strings.
Rapp on This: Lawyer Paul Rapp, a/k/a Lee Harvey Blotto, the drummer from the legendary Albany band Blotto, always has something sage to say about intellectual property and the arts.
“Les Paul Celebrating 90th Birthday With New Album”
90 years on this planet and still jammin !
Les Paul is the Inventor of the solid body guitar and muiltitrack recording as well as a master of his instrument. Happy Birthday Les !

Guitar legend Les Paul will celebrate his 90th birthday with his first new studio album since 1978’s “Guitar Monsters,” a collaboration with Chet Atkins. Les Paul & Friends’ “American Made, World Played” is due Aug. 30 via Capitol/EMI.

The album will boast such collaborations as “Love Sneakin’ Up on You” with Sting and Joss Stone, “Fly Like an Eagle” with Steve Miller, Eric Clapton on “Somebody Ease My Troublin’ Mind,” Jeff Beck on “Good News,” ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons on “Bad Case of Lovin’ You” and Buddy Guy, Keith Richards and Rick Derringer on “Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl.”

I only do such blatant commercial plugs when the artist is at least 88.

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