An Eclectic Musical Hevreh

Hevreh Ensemble’s new CD stretches the limits of Jewish music, blending everything from Native American to Baroque sounds.
08/20/2012 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

On a casual hearing, one might be hard-put to describe much of the music of the Hevreh Ensemble as “Jewish music.” Although the tunes on their new CD, “Between Worlds,” have titles like “Lost Tribes,” “Galicja” and “Negev Sunset,” the elegant, restrained music that is fit to those names bespeaks a wide range of influences, and Jewish music is only one of them.

“Between Worlds” has Hevreh Ensemble creating a kind of “world chamber music.”

Aaron Novik’s ‘Secrets’

The eclectic, avant-klez clarinetist takes inspiration from a 13th-century kabbalist.
06/11/2012 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Rabbi Eleazar of Worms was a 13th-century scholar whose life was torn apart when two Crusaders broke into his house and killed his wife and three children. After that terrible incident in 1196, he wrote numerous ethical texts counseling cheerfulness, patience and love for humanity, suggesting a greatness of spirit that all but passes understanding. But he also delved deep into the mystical vein of Judaism, authoring countless kabbalistic texts including new systems of gematria (the numerological interpretation of Torah) and a singular work called “The Secrets of Secrets.”

Novik, below on bass clarinet, in a recent performance. Mark Wilson

The Problem With Cultural Reclamation

05/28/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Recently I discovered a band talented enough to change my mind about “Hava Nagila,” a song I find so personally annoying I banned it from the setlist at my adult bat mitzvah. The band in question is Abraham, Inc. and they call their version “The H Tune.”

Fight For Your Right To … Be Jewishly Proud

Remembering the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch and the thorny question of cultural authenticity.
05/08/2012 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It never would have occurred to me that the passing of the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch (aka MCA) would hit me so hard. Yet I’ve been awfully sad ever since reading the headline across the CNN crawl last week. It’s not something I’ve contemplated much until Yauch’s death, at 47 from cancer. But the Beastie Boys really did mean something to me when they first emerged on the national scene almost three decades ago. 

Adam Yauch, aka MCA.

‘Yakety Yak’ At Eldridge Street

Storied musical couple — pop songwriter Mike Stoller and jazz harpist Corky Hale Stoller — to kick off ‘In Conversation’ series.
02/27/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Mike Stoller doesn’t know how many songs he wrote with Jerry Leiber.

“Several hundred probably,” he says. “I never kept count.”

Corky Hale Stoller and Mike Stoller will inaugurate the Museum at Eldridge Street’s “In Conversation” series.

The Sound Of Ginsberg’s ‘Kaddish’

Eclectic jazz guitarist Bill Frisell tackles an iconic poem.
02/13/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It is purely coincidence, no doubt, that Allen Ginsberg wrote his epic poem “Kaddish” three years after the death of his mother Naomi, and eclectic jazz guitarist Bill Frisell began work on his musical accompaniment to that poem three years after the death of his mother Jane.

Guitarist Bill Frisell, right, call is “quite an honor” to put a score to Allen Ginsberg’s iconic “Kaddish.”

The Voices Of Terezin

Gerald Cohen’s new composition takes inspiration from the concentration camp’s performers.
01/31/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

For Jewish-American children of European immigrants of a certain age, the Shoah is more personal reality than historical memory. If they work in the arts, it is an open question that hangs in the air until it is finally faced. For composer and cantor Gerald Cohen, the time is now.

The Cassatt Quartet plays Gerald Cohen's Shoah-themed "Playing for our lives" this weekend.

Speech Pathology

In his new, post-apocalyptic novel, Ben Marcus ponders the dark side of language.
01/30/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

No one can seem to get over the fact that Ben Marcus, the scion of avant-garde literature and its most impassioned defender, recently published a fairly traditional novel, “The Flame Alphabet.” It has all the trappings of normative fiction — a plot, emotionally developed characters, even some good old-fashioned drama.

About his novel’s traditional narrative, a departure for him, Marcus says, “I’m afraid of complacency.” Michael Lionstar

‘The Tango Is In My Blood’

Forward-thinking cellist Maya Beiser tackles the music her father brought with him from Argentina to an Israeli kibbutz.
01/23/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

When Tito Beiser left Argentina in the early 1950s to help start a Galilee kibbutz centered around members of the Argentine chapter of Hashomer Hatzair, he brought a lot of his home with him — food, soccer, Spanish and, most of all, tango.

Cellest Maya Beiser team up with Pianist Pablo Ziegler for "Canyengue, The Soul of Tango."

‘The Artist’ Director’s Nod To Billy Wilder

Michel Hazanavicius says a certain kind of Jewish outlook, like Wilder’s, informs his work.
12/26/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It is a long way from pogroms in Eastern Europe to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.

For Michel Hazanavicius it is highly likely that the trip will only have taken three generations.

Michel Hazanavicius, a descendent of Holocaust survivors, directed "The Artist."
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