This Sunday marks the start of Sukkot—a time to dedicate oneself to the heart and the body, and to learning and kindness, as symbolized by the etrog and lulav.
The holiday also celebrates the bounty of the harvest and God's sheltering of the Israelites on their way to the promised land. In the years leading up to Israel's independence, a renewed hope inspired new songs extolling a cultural and agricultural revival. Max Helfman's Ḥag habikkurim (Festival of the First Fruits) assembles many of these songs into a pageant that celebrates both Sukkot and the promise of Israel.
May this be a fruitful year of learning and good deeds… and music to inspire both!
Photo Credit: Associated Press, Andreea Alexadru, Mediafax
The musical setting of one of Judaism’s most sacred texts has transformed musicians and thinkers for centuries. Exactly why, no one knows.
Photo Credit: Larry Eagle
NEA Heritage award winner Andy Statman’s recent performance at the Pico Union Project had Tom Teicholz “gobsmacked by his talent.” In a review of the concert for Forbes, he proclaimed, “There is probably no finer mandolin player working today than Statman.”:
La Scala opera house (Credit: Alessandro Garofalo, Reuters)
In The Atlantic, journalist Anna Momigliano reports on an Italian effort to right one of history’s wrongs by staging an opera whose 1938 premiere was aborted by “racial laws” that banned the performance of music composed by Jews. “Yet this is not just the story of a Jewish composer finally getting the recognition he deserves,” Momigliano writes. “It’s also the story of a country that still represses the memory of its racist past.”
Photo Credit: New York Times
Frank London, a Klezmatics co-founder and collaborator of just about everyone is one of the busiest musicians on the scene. His latest project is a chamber opera based on an early twentieth-century epic Yiddish poem about a sixteenth-century Taino (indigenous Cuban) chief who led an uprising against Spanish colonial forces. The libretto is in Yiddish, English, and Spanish.
Photo Credit: Anthony Russell
On, “Convergence,” Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell teams up with Veretski Pass on a collection of Jewish songs and African American spirituals sung in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew. “…not so much juxtaposing the two musical streams as playing matchmaker between tunes and words that, as it turns out, were already basheret,” writes Josh Parshall.