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1. Brother Moses Smote the Water
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2. Abayudaya: Music From Jewish People
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3. You Don't Have To Be Jewish /
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4. Baila! Gitano Baila!
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5. El Danzon de Moises
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6. Shaday
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7. Now that Sounds Kosher
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8. Most Popular Songs From Israel:
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9. Let My People Go! A Jewish and
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10. 20 Popular Folksongs from Israel
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11. Music From The Yiddish Radio Project
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12. A Jewish Odyssey
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13. Yiddish Songs
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14. To Life! Songs Of Chanukah and
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15. Rise Up
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16. Jews With Horns
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17. The Circle Maker [2-CD Set]
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18. Greatest Shticks
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19. Rhythm & Jews
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20. From Avenue A to Great White Way

1. Brother Moses Smote the Water
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Asin: B00069W5M6
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 17103
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The Klezmatics have always chosen the path less traveled in its 20 years as a band. And with a variety of lefty political messages injected into traditional klezmer music, there's no disputing its reputation as radical. This live effort is a collaboration with guest singers Joshua Nelson and Kathryn Farmer joining in on the fun. The Newark, New Jersey-based Nelson brings (believe it or not) a serious gospel music flair to four songs, turning the klezmer band into a fire-and-brimstone gospel group as he exhorts both the players and the crowd on songs like gospel standard "Walk Into Jerusalem." The remarkable pairing is more balanced on the rest of the album, but never better than on "Shnirele, Perele," a duet featuring Nelson and Klezmatics singer Lorin Sklamberg that has an ecstatic drama that bridges these seemingly contradictory religious cultures. The album's eight new songs and two hits is as good a collection yet produced by this band, and one of the most remarkable examples of genre-bending heard in years. – Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars 2005: The Year of Jewish Genre-Hopping
This is shaping to be quite a year for Jewish music.First, The Klezmatics join up with Joshua Nelson for the klezmer-meets-gospel soul extravaganza "Brother Moses Smote The Water".Then, Hip Hop Hoodios come out of leftfield with the Latino-Jewish urban music fest that is "Agua Pa' La Gente" (which coincidentally features Frank London of The Klezmatics as a guest).

The sheer diversity and open-mindedness of both of these releases astounds me, and shows that Jewish music more than ever can appeal to the gentile masses as well.Go Klezmatics!Go Hip Hop Hoodios!I can't wait to see what else comes out this year.... ... Read more


2. Abayudaya: Music From Jewish People of Uganda
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Asin: B0000CDL6K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8377
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

No one's ever going to accuse Smithsonian Folkways of not practicing niche marketing with Abayudaya: Music From The Jewish People Of Uganda. Currently a community of 600 people, the Abayudaya developed their faith in relative isolation since converting to Judaism in 1919 under the guidance of Semei Kakungulu, a military leader who fought Muslims and Catholics for control of Uganda. Consequently, these 24 songs are distinctly African, often with polyphonic vocal harmonies (of men, women, and children) that joyfully soar in Hebrew, English, and several Ugandan languages. There are also touches of celebratory Afro-pop with rudimentary electric keyboard and guitar and a handful of more personal solo vocal performances. While some of this was recorded in a makeshift studio, the field recordings are what capture this unique culture's essence, as crickets (and once even a goat) providing ambient coloring. One of the most interesting international and religious albums of the year, this music transcends its ambition of being Jewish music by and for Jews. --Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
Though Reviewer Timothy Dougal did not find this cd to be a "satisfying hourlong musical experience" I would have to disagree. As he mentioned, this is not for everyone, but no music is. If you find any interest in such a topic, buy it. You will not regret it. Being Jewish, as well as an avid folk and roots music fan, I find that this cd has much to offer for many people. Where Dougal found familiarity with the "O Brother" sound track, it should be noted that this is nothing like that, and should not be bought with such a notion. The quality of the recording is amazing. The voices are clear, the bass is balanced and the warmth is felt. I wonder if Dougal has ever listened to Patton's recordings and commented on those. Never forget the circumstances that such pieces are recorded in, and even with this remembered, this album is amazing in production. But don't take my word for it, listen to some of the tracks and determine for yourself. And as a quick note, the editorial review suggests that Judaism was brought in the wake of war between Muslims and Catholics, this is not the case. Kakungulu did fight for the British against Muslims and Catholics, but seperated himself from them as well as the anglican church because of the unfavorable treatment of the people of Uganda. He then went on, seperatly from his involvment with the British military, to establish the Jewish faith.

3-0 out of 5 stars More Curious Than Satisfying
I heard a brief piece on this CD on NPR. My curiosity almost immediately got the better of me and I ordered it. The music of the Abayudaya is an eclectic mix of indigenous forms, western hymnody and Afro-pop (on four of the 24 songs). While this does create an informative ethno-musicological document about the music being used by this small African Jewish community, for me anyway, it doesn't quite create a satisfying hourlong musical experience. The somewhat low-tech recording includes 2 solo lullabies accompanied by crickets; one song, "We Are Soldiers" sung charmingly by the children in heavily accented English, which will be familiar to listeners of "O Brother Where Art Thou" as "I'll Be Somewhere A'Working For My Lord"; some Psalm settings whose music, though original, would be at home in many Protestant churches except for the Hebrew words; a taste of the rather minimalist music of the sect's founder; 4 guitar-and-drum pop settings used at non-Sabbath occasions; and some other more traditional African settings. Despite the mere three stars, there is interest here, particularly in the extensive notes detailing the 80-some year history of the Abayudaya, from do-it-yourself Jews, to fully converted members of modern Judaism. At the same time, this disc is probably not for everyone. ... Read more


3. You Don't Have To Be Jewish / When You're In Love The Whole World Is Jewish (1966 Studio Cast) [CAST RECORDING]
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Asin: B0000032W1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9064
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic shticks that still gets laughs
This CD is a re-release of two LP albums that originally came out around the same time as Allan Sherman's "My Son, the Folksinger" back in the mid-1960s. This is REAL Jewish humor --- not the nasty anti-semitic jokes that poke fun at Jews, but the types of in-jokes where we Jews laugh at ourselves and the world around us. The casting is superb, the dialect authentic, and the timing is just right. Bob Booker, the producer, says in the liner notes, "We decided to do an album version of Fiddler on the Roof-type stories, like those great bits that were sprinkled throughout the musical. I'm not Jewish, but the point is that you really don't have to be Jewish to love these wonderful stories from Jewish folklore."

Booker himself may not be Jewish, but most of the cast are, and the material certainly is. Many of the jokes are taken from Jewish vaudeville, the Yiddish theater, the Borscht Belt, and the stetls of Eastern Europe. For some reason, this type of humor seems to have gone out of style in recent years, which is really too bad, because it's an important part of Jewish history and culture. Most of the Jews in my generation know these jokes, even if they've never heard the CD. So nu, why should the younger generations miss out on such good laughs?

In addition to classic shticks, there are some original songs that I just love. "The Ballad of Irving" (the 142nd-fastest gun in the West) pokes fun at Hollywood cowboy images, while "Things Might Have Been Different" humorously conjectures what the world would be like if various historical characters and events had been Jewish. (A similar type of humor was used by Gene Wilder in his 1979 comedy film, "The Frisco Kid," about a rabbi traveling through the Wild West -- also a big favorite of mine.)

Some of these jokes may be politically incorrect today, but so what? When we allow ourselves to step off the PC pedestal and look at life as it really is, most of us have to admit that we really do know people who act like that. These jokes are funny, not because they are about Jews per se, but because they let us laugh at universal human absurdities anyone can relate to. If other ethnic groups can tell jokes about how they do or do not fit into the dominant American culture, then why not the Jews?

5-0 out of 5 stars You really don't have to be Jewish to love this one!
This album is a classic! No matter who hears it, Jewish and not Jewish, they roar with laughter. I have played it at home, in my car, and with friends...Each time I play this CD, I laugh as hard as I did the first time I heard it. I always find something new to laugh about. The casting is superb. It brings back wonderful memories, dialects, and the wonderful Yiddish accents and humor of my own mama and daddy. Oy--- such a winner!

5-0 out of 5 stars On rye with smear of mustard, please.
What a cast! What scripts! This is an astoundingly funny collection that will make you wish you'd been circumsized. And for those people who fear that this may just be "Jewish" humor, I have to ask this: Do you like the Marx Brothers? Or the Three Stooges? Or Jerry Lewis? Or Jackie Mason? If you answered yes to any of these, get out your credit card and order this cd.

5-0 out of 5 stars Long Time Favorite
Someone loaned this album to my parents in the 1960s when I was a kid and I loved listening to it! Although between being a goyim (gentile)and a kid they had to explain a few things to me.
But I plan to give it to a Jewish friend for Christmas. Hmm, is that a little ironic or what? We laugh about "The Convict" even though he only heard it repeated by me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dead On - Still
The early 1960's were a good time to be Jewish in the United States. The long legacy of Anti-semitism had been washed away by the World War II, and the premiere of the hit Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof made Yiddishkeit mainstream. The invasion and dilution of the venerable bagel added to the mix, as did the tonic of the Six Day War. Dustin Hoffman was a star, as were Zero Mostel and Barbra Streisand. Bob Dylan. Don't forget Neil Diamond, although I'd love to.

Bob Booker and George Foster, neither members of the Tribe, hopped on the Zeitgeist and produced several funny albums based on Jewish stories and humor with some modernizing touches. My father loved these records and I heard all of them many times, so many times they are as much a part of my childhood as my family.

The question is, are these albums still funny? Anti-semitism is on the rise. Israel is painted as bad for defending itself against suicide bombers. Paul Wellstone goes down in an aircrash. Beck doesn't play up his background and who wants Courtney Love? Adam Sandler makes Jerry Lewis look like a genius.

So it was as a nostaglia trip that I ordered this CD. My wife had never heard it either. When I put the CD on, my heart melted, and I began to laugh, understanding the jokes a lot better at 42 than at 6. This is a funny record, still funny and dead on.

My daughter's favorite piece is "My husband the monster," as was mine. History repeats itself. Politicians and rock stars come and go, usually not fast enough, but a good laugh is eternal.

Now release "The Jewish Princess" and my life will be complete. ... Read more


4. Baila! Gitano Baila!
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Asin: B0002739UO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10463
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant followup to El Canzon de Moises
Though it lacks the all-star line-up of his pretty spectacular first outing, El Danzon De Moises, NY Downtown percussionist Rodriguez seems more easily at home on this disc with this hybrid music--Jewish/Cuban. Sticking with a single group of musicians throughout (leader Rodriguiz, percussion; Matt Darriau, clarinet, Bulgarian kaval, tin whistles, and Chinese trumpet; Curtis Hasselbring, trombone; Ted Reichman, accordion, Hammond B3, and Leslie organs; Meg Okura, violin; Sam Bardfeld, violin; Mary Wooten, cello; Brad Jones, bajo sexto, and Roberto Luis Rodriguez, trumpet, valve trombone, and bombard), he achieves a more consistently rendered soundscape, one combining the best of both worlds: the joyous, jazzy dance vibe of Afro-Cuban and the mournful melancholy of Jewish sensibilities.

Which proves to be a very potent brew--kinda the best of both worlds, each remaining true to its cultural insights but resonating marvelously with its opposite. Thus, you get a huge range of feeling not only throughout the entire disc, but usually on each number. The typical result is a mysterious sensibility partaking of each element but magically transcending both.

Certainly worth checking out by anyone at all interested in either of these marvelous world musics. ... Read more


5. El Danzon de Moises
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Asin: B00005UF3C
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 24500
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The Cuban-born percussionist Roberto Juan Rodriguez plays with such varied acts as Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postizos, Julio Iglesias, Miami Sound Machine, Joe Jackson, and John Zorn. But it's his background in Cuba's small Jewish community that is the inspiration for El Danzon de Moises, an outstanding amalgamation of traditional Cuban and Jewish music. Leading a dozen of New York's downtown finest (including clarinetist David Krakauer, percussionist Susie Ibarra, and bassist Brad Jones), Rodriguez has composed and arranged an album that adeptly captures the wailing clarinet and Eastern European rhythms of klezmer, and seamlessly fuses them with the shimmying sway of Cuban son and the percolating fire of Afro-Cuban percussion. Ostensibly, this seemingly incongruous fusion would play best (or perhaps get the most resistance) in Miami Beach or New York City because of their large Latin and Jewish populations, but the beautiful and reverential songs will appeal to anyone open to musical possibilities. This album realizes the unique vision of a talented musician. --Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Where jazz and world music intersect
We've got Jewish & Western (Tim Sparks), hillbilly Jewish (Margot Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys), Jewish soul-jazz (Steven Bernstein), Jewish soul-blues (Paul Shapiro and Midnight Minyan), Jewish avant-garde (John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Eric Friedlander), Jewish gonzo jazz (Jamie Saft)--Why not Jewish Afro-Cuban, danzon, and son?

Indeed, why not?

There's a small but vocal Cuban Jewish community, with their own Jewish traditions and sensibilities, who've come in contact with and slyly incorporated into their own musical understandings the expansive music of the African diaspora, as experienced in Middle-Passage Cuba.

As far as I know, El Danzon de Moises represents the first-ever disc seeking to capture this unique music.

And what a disc it is!

Featuring the usual Downtown suspects--such brilliant players as Mark Feldman (viola), Craig Taborn (piano), Ted Reichman (accordion), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Matt Darriau (clarinet, trompeta China), Peter Apfelbaum (soprano sax), and the great Susie Ibarra (percussion)--this discs cooks with an easy swinging groove, effortlessly linking two disparate but remarkably similar musical traditions: Afro-Cuban and Klezmer.

It's entirely amazing to me how easily and naturally these two traditons match up. It's almost as if they were meant to combine (as perhaps they were!). What astounds about this music is its insane naturalness, almost to the point of duh: Jewish swing melding seamlessly with African sensibilities.

My own view is that some of the most exciting music is happening at the fringes of traditional musics--musicians like Omar Sosa, Adam Rudolf, Dhaffer Youssef, Claude Chalhoub, Royal Hartigan, Cyro Baptista--and R. J. Rodriguez. Anyone at all interested in further exploration of the frontiers of jazz and world music should not hesitate to pick this up. ... Read more


6. Shaday
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Asin: B000002LG5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12075
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Contemporary 15+ Years Later
This is THE essential introduction to Ofra Haza. 50 Gates Of Wisdom (the album prior to this) was a huge success, but this album cemented Ofra as an international success. Shaday was a mix of rerecorded dance/electro/pop versions of songs from 50 Gates Of Wisdom "Galbi", "Im Nin Alu" as well as rerecorded English versions of a couple of songs from a prior non-English album "My Aching Heart", "Take Me To Paradise". This album still sounds contemporary 15+ years after it's release. This album is worth just the recording of Ofra singing "Love Song" accapella. Ofra's voice is so unique and original and so very amazing! A few of these songs do have a distinctly late 80's vibe (it was the late 80's) but the majority of the album was amazingly ahead of it's time by taking chances on mixing languages and types of music, especially the dance/club vibe mixed with the traditional Middle Eastern music, making a truly "world" music album. For the other absolutely essential album, get Ofra's album Kirya. It is MUCH, MUCH more laid back and not at all similar to this album in style, more slow grooves, a mix of traditional and soul/jazz. Amazing. Ofra died in her 40's in 2001. She was truly an "artist" and pushed the envelope often, but she also never lost the sense of the fun of also recording good pop music. She did both with style and this album is a great testament to that. There will never be another voice like Ofra either. Rest in peace.

4-0 out of 5 stars Magical Music
I originally heard of Ofra Haza by way of Epmd (a rap group) that sampled "Im Nin Alu" in their hit "Paid In Full". It's an awesome sample and really livens up the song. Because of the success of that song, it became a trend in the late eighties to sample Ofra's music to hip hop and techo beats. Her actual album is great as well. I like her more tradtional songs like Im Nin Alu and Love Song. I love the effect of acapella middle eastern music. It is like prayer. Her voice was very haunting and soothing.

What i cannot believe is that Ofra Haza has died of Aids of all things. Very shocking and disturbing. I hear she was only 40. When i listened to Love Song it almost made me cry. At least she left behind some great music. Rest in Peace girl.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite
This CD is worth the cost just to hear the acapella recording of "Love Song." I have "Yemenite Songs" and "Kirya," both excellent CDs, but "Shaday" is easily my favorite. Ofra Haza was ahead of her time and her music is still fabulous almost two decades later.

4-0 out of 5 stars An exciting album that grows on you.
I first heard Ofra Haza's singing on the sound track of "La Reine Margot" and shortly after "The Governess" and I sat up and took notice. I had often heard of her, but prior to Internet shopping, had never been able to find any of her recordings in the local stores (if it ain't honky tonk and bluegrass, to bad!) It is a great pity that she was not better known in the US. At first I was a little put off by the loud rhythmic beat, which sounded to me like someone banging a tin drum, but on the tracks where we can hear the singer above the accompanyment, Ofra Haza is stunning. I would recommend this and other recordings by Ofra Haza to all those who think Charlotte Church can sing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The voice of an angel
The first time I heard Ofra Haza was on MTV, believe it or not. They had a short piece about the release of this album and they played about 20 seconds of a song. That's all I needed to hear. That incredible voice, conjuring images of the desert, really struck me. I immediately went out and bought "Shaday," and have loved it, and the rest of her music, ever since. Her voice was so incredibly beautiful that it could move one to tears. I've never heard a voice so heavenly before, or since. I suspect I never will. Her death was so sad, and not just because it silenced such an incredible talent. The real tragedy lay in that the stigma attached to her illness caused her such fear that she didn't seek treatment until it was too late. If it hadn't been for that, she might still be with us today. Ofra Haza possessed so much natural talent, and had such a beautiful voice, that anyone who likes music will enjoy listening to her, no matter the genre. ... Read more


7. Now that Sounds Kosher
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Asin: B000771T24
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 74284
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Album Description

18 hilarious tracks!

Not merely a novelty album, Now That Sounds Kosher! is a primer in the history of Jewish-American comedy. Alongside quirky acts like Guns and Charoses, Yid Rock and What I Like About Jew sit legends Allan Sherman and Mickey Katz, as well crossover favorites "Weird Al" Yankovic, Mel Brooks and Tom Lehrer. They’re all part of a great tradition of daring and provocative humor. Now That Sounds Kosher! showcases some originators of Jewish musical humor, as well as today’s comics who continue to give pop music a Yiddish spin. ... Read more


8. Most Popular Songs From Israel: Hava Nagila
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Asin: B00000IGV4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 47830
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9. Let My People Go! A Jewish and African American Celebration of Freedom
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Asin: B00074CC28
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 75542
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Album Description

This uplifting collaboration between veteran African American folksingers Kim and Reggie Harris and their friend Rabbi Jonathan Kligler presents an analogy in song and spoken word between the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt in the 13th Century B.C., as retold at the annual Passover Seder meal, and the African American struggle toward equality in America as exemplified by the mid-Sixties Civil Rights Movement.

The CD’s rich tapestry of music and history is seamlessly woven from songs in Hebrew from the Passover Haggadah, which chronicles the Jews’ Egyptian exodus, with traditional Black Spirituals carrying the ideals of equality and freedom, and songs from the Civil Rights era by Phil Ochs ("What’s That I Hear") and Freedom Singers Marshall and Matt Jones (including "In the Mississippi River," about the three Civil Rights workers slain in 1964). There is also a moving poem, "I Have a Million Nightingales," written by a Palestinian poet and set to music by a Jewish cantor, and a new composition by the Harrises – "Freedom Road" – summarizing the unquenchable desire for and journey toward equality and self-determination.

Interspersed are spoken firsthand accounts of watershed events in the modern Civil Rights Movement: musical and humanitarian icon Pete Seeger recounts the evolution of "We Shall Overcome" from a Spiritual to a union rallying cry to a Civil Rights anthem; African American activist Juanita Nelson describes her desegregation battles in Washington and Cincinnati; Rabbi Arthur Waskow tells of his encounters with Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1964 Democratic National Convention; radio program host Sonny Ochs recalls her late brother Phil’s commitment to justice and equality in his songs.

Augmenting Kim and Reggie’s exuberant lead vocals and harmonies, Rabbi Kligler’s baritone voice, and Reggie’s exemplary acoustic guitarwork are keyboardist David Sancious (formerly of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), bassist Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) and lead guitarist John Platania(Van Morrison, Don McLean), among others. Clarinetist Peter Davis adds a high-spirited Klezmer sound to several tracks. ... Read more


10. 20 Popular Folksongs from Israel
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Asin: B000001IIV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 24724
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful folk music from Israel
I have previously listened to a few collections of Jewish popular music and this is by far one of the best. Unfortunately I do not understand the words and I believe that an English translation of the Hebrew text would be a really helpful thing. However, as a music lover, I deeply enjoyed the music and the spirit behind it. That is inescapable and is really moving. It is, in my opinion, the most powerful component of the listening experience. It feels like all the pain, suffering, hope and joy of thousands of years of history transpire through it...
Admittedly, not all songs are of the same musical value, but, all in all, the CD is a collection of remarkable music!
I warmly recomand it. You will love it. I do!
And I wish that all those bent on violence in the Middle East would just stop to listen and allow themselves to be transformed from the inside out.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Folksongs from Israel
I purchased several CD's of folksongs from Israel before finding this one, which I really love. The songs are deeply joyful celebrations of life - they are melodic, well performed and better produced than other CD's of this kind. The singing is tasteful, the harmonies are superb and the sound quality is excellent. The songs themselves are timeless. I really feel a connection with the culture and history of Israel listening to these songs.

There are several songs that have "pop" arrangements - trumpets, electric guitars and snare drums - which do not serve the songs well. There are also a number of important folksongs from Israel that aren't included. You may find the simplicity and innocence of these songs corny, but I find them inspiring. There are a number of gems on this generous collection, so I recommend this CD as an excellent introduction to folksongs from Israel. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars A sountrack to nostalgia
The first question before buying this sort of generic "culture example" compilation is: why?

Why would you choose a CD which displays nothing new of a culture, nor any example of artistic individuality? There is only one answer: nostalgia. And for nostalgia purposes, this album is pretty good. Listen to the songs and be transported to your youth movement days, or your Tzahal (Israeli Army) years. Feel the radiant heat of the Medura (campfire) as you listen to such classics as Hine Ma Tov, Or Yerushalayim Shel Zahav.

Another reason to choose this particular CD over the other comparable "folk" Israeli productions is that this one has all the classics, and the various artists and ensembles chosen to perform the numbers are invariably top drawer.

This is also a good CD for children in the diaspora if you want to give them an introduction to the basics of Israeli musical culture, and there is no better medium for education than music! ... Read more


11. Music From The Yiddish Radio Project
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Asin: B000060P7J
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8609
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The dual assault of TV and rock & roll in the 1950s caused manycasualties, among them swing music, radio, and a vital Yiddish-American culture.This wonderful project (and its companion 10-part National Public Radiodocumentary series) celebrates a time when those three institutions joinedtogether to form a powerful force of their own. Producers Henry Sapoznik andYair Reiner re-create Yiddish radio's golden age of the 1930s through the 1950swith a combination of klezmer music, "Yiddish swing," and commercial jinglesculled from vintage 78s as well as radio transcriptions (once the property oflongtime TV host Joe Franklin). It's a fascinating story of a time when Jewishculture thrived in its new home, but within is buried a different story: one ofassimilation. The once-beloved traditional klezmer sounds of Eastern Europe(represented here in the work ofDave Tarras andNaftule Brandwein) wereslowly replaced by "Yiddish swing," a mostly successful attempt to updatetraditional Jewish pop and folk songs in the fashionable swing style--or, asSapoznik puts it, "playing downtown Jewish music in an uptown style." The need(or perhaps desire) for acceptance is revealed in both performer names (theBagelman Girls became theBarry Sisters) and in"nonethnic" product spots for essentially "ethnic" products. Tellingly, it wasthe Midwestern AndrewsSisters' 1937 hit reading of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" (originally from aYiddish play) that set off an explosion of Yiddish and American culturalcross-pollination. It represented the peak of Yiddish cultural influence inAmerica--and as it turned out, the beginning of that culture's demise. For most,Music from the Yiddish Radio Project will be an endearing andenlightening history lesson, but for many others, it will be a bittersweetnostalgic journey through a time that remains so vivid in memories, yet feelslike 1,000 years ago. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing as music and history
As a document of the history of Yiddish radio, this CD is remarkable enough. But it is much more. It paints a fantastic picture of how radio served a community, with entertainment, culture, politics and a sense of identity. Radio did that (and continues to this day) as NO other medium could.
And aside from its historical interest, this is a great piece of production, with outstanding music and some of the funniest (intentionally and otherwise) commercials you've ever heard
I've never heard anything like it. I'd sure like to hear more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oy Mama Bin Ikh Farliebt ... Der CD
What Aaron of Amherst did for Yiddish books, Klezkamper Henry Sapoznik, Yair Reiner, and David Isay have done for classic Yiddish radio. After hearing snippets of this work-in-progress a couple of years ago at the Eldridge Street synagogue, I awaited this CD with great anticipation. TV, assimilation, and cultural changes killed off Yiddish radio and the stereotypical Yiddish characters in the 1950s, but this CD lets you relive its heyday. Restored from fragile recordings and "FCC acetates", we get to hear snippets of radio shows, swing, klezmer, product commercials, and personalities. And the musicians appearing in these snippets are not hacks, but the brilliant Dave Tarras and Naftule Brandwein. You not only get the Barry Sisters, but the Andrews Sisters appear as well. Product commercials include those for B. Manishewitz Matzos, The Parkway Cafeteria (1937), Hebrew National meats, Adlers (elevator) Shoes, and gefilte fish in gleaming glass jars. There is The Battle Hymn in Yiddish, a swing version of Dayenu, and a 1941 pre-War version of Dona Dona in Yiddish. The Barry Sisters belt out Yidel Mitn Fiedel, Tevye Mitn Bass, while the Andrews Sisters perform Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen by Seconda, Sammy Cahn, and Saul Chaplin. For me, the WEVD commercial for Joe and Paul is the quintessential selection, since it combines Yiddish and English; music, merchandise, and commerce; and cantorial, swing, and klezmer - all in one promo. The CD contains excellent liner notes and translations of the Yiddish selections. This CD is a must buy... and maybe you'd like a little jacket and pants with it??

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings back my chlidhood
Listening to this make me feel 12 years old again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heaven
This swing and klezmer collection combines many forms of mastery, not least the kitschy commercials and jingles. Between numbers, listeners are enticed (in Yiddish, as they would have been on an hour-long Yiddish radio show) to buy everything from Adler's elevator shoes and Manischewitz Matzo to Joe and Paul's clothing and Ajax. Of course, many products and stores hawked here have long since bit the dust. But the music is timeless right down to a couple of Chasidic niguns--nonsensical words sung as prayer--one doubling here as a station identification. --"Ya ba ba, ya ba ba bye, WBVD."

My favorite piece is Dave Tarras' rendition of Second Avenue Square Dance, a piece of divine klezmer, braiding alto and soprano clarinets into musical silk. But Abe Ellsteins's Orchestra rendition of Die Goldene Khasene comes a close second. And one cannot but smile at the Barry and Andrews Sisters' jazzy but melodious harmonies.

Each of the 34 cuts on this disc offers a kind of elegance, whether peddling the most pedestrian products or gliding through a Naftule Brandwein serenade. Treat yourself to a small piece of heaven. Alyssa A. Lappen

5-0 out of 5 stars Liquid Chicken Soup
I am Scotch/Irish and love Klezmer music, and I have a dear adopted "mom" I love also. She was feeling a little stressed one day, and I put the new CD on. The far-away look in her eyes, the way she started dancing a little as she sat in her chair, the joy in her face as she laughed and listened and translated the Yiddish into English for me and laughed some more--listening to that album together really was "liquid chicken soup"-- both for her and for me. Like she said to me, "There's nothing on TV to watch that isn't filthy, and people don't sing today-- they scream and you can't understand them-- but this! This is music!"

I agree completely! :)

It was also a great pleasure to hear Klezmer favorites that are performed by our local "The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas" in the "originals".. to hear the continuity l'dor v'dor. :) ... Read more


12. A Jewish Odyssey
list price: $15.98
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Asin: B00004X0KU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12105
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The diversity of modern Jewish music is a result of centuries of hard traveling and cultural interaction. The secular and religious sounds of the Diaspora now embrace everything from European memories to the Latin experience to folk and modern pop styles from the Middle East. For example, the jazzy pathos of klezmer music reflects shtetl (village) life in Russia and Poland during the early 20th century, while the Arabic-tinged Sephardic repertoire dates from medieval times and then back to Sinai. This thoughtfully assembled sampler covers the major roots and branches plus some bonus oddities. Among the stand-outs are Israeli folk singer Chava Alberstein singing with The Klezmatics, a love song from the late Yemenite chanteuse Ofra Haza, and pianist Uri Caine's avant-garde treatment of a 13th-century Moroccan text. The American ex-hippie Uzca, who sings in an imaginary language, is in a class of his own. --Christina Roden ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritually uplifting!
I make sure to listen to this CD at least once a week -- it helps to keep my spirits up in this crazy world. Every single friend for whom I have played "A Jewish Odyssey" has immediately purchased it! You don't have to be Jewish to love this eclectic and stirring collection of music from around the globe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get Your Feet Moving!!!
You don't have to understand Yiddish to appreciate this collection of Jewish music from around the world. As some of the literature suggests, while Jewish music is extremely varied and clear boundaries can be difficult to define, there are three main categories. "Ashkenazi" includes European styles such as klezmer; "Sephardic" is primarily the music of Jews from the Mediterranean including Spain, Portugal, North Africa, Greece, and Turkey; "Mizrahi" is the music of Jewish communities which were based for thousands of years in Arabic countries, and of course, there is also Israeli popular music, which incorporates all of these styles as well as Western pop and folk music.

This CD has many of these styles, and you will hear selections from Israel/USA, United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Chile/Cuba, Canada, and Brazil, to just mention a few.

I love this album, and it gets my feet thumping, and I want to dance, dance, and dance. There are also the quieter melodies, albeit somewhat melancholic, but ranging from intensity to intensity.

A wonderful collection. Now if I can only learn the language.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection
I am not Jewish, but you don't have to be to enjoy these songs. This album happens to be one of my favourites of the Putumayo releases. A couple of the songs were instantly familiar to me even though I thought I knew none of the songs when I bought this album. Each and every song on here is wonderful...some are traditional folk songs while others are newer compositions. The 23 page booklet includes a 3 page history of Jewish music, and each artist has a page about them, including a photograph. I highly recommend this album to just about everyone. My husband is Arabic and he too loves these songs. Music truly is borderless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Marvelous & Must for Collections: Fine Gift
This is an excellent CD. Those seeking an appropriate gift would be well advised to consider buying this CD and sending it with proper wrapping. The music is lively, authentic, meaningful, moving and delightful. Fittingly the CD closes with "Shalom Aleichem and I found myself singing along. The 11 tracks contain some songs that are unfamiliar in name but are able to be sung as soon as the first notes are sounded. The sound is Klezmer-like. But, Klemezer is a part of the Jewish roots.

This musical history review includes songs from each of the three main Jewish culture categories: Ashkenazi, Mizrahi and Sephardic. The performers come from all parts of the world. Some songs are new and others have ancient roots.

My only question is When will "A Jewish Odyssey II" be issued. The CD is enjoyable and a hit. Movie makers would have issued III by now. Buy with Nachas. L'Chaim,

Alan D. Kardoff, Melbourne FL

4-0 out of 5 stars an excellent sampler of some jewish music style
Putamayo Music excels at compiling, branding, and marketing a variety of world music styles. With this CD, they offer samples of modern renditions on classic Jewish styles from Ashkenazi/ European Jewry, Klezmer (kley-zemer), Sephardic/Iberian/North African/Levantine/Turkish Jewry, and Mizrahi/Arab country Jewry. The songs on this CD include those in Yiddish, Ladino (Judeo-Espanol/ Castilian/ Catalan/ Galician), Hebrew, and gibberish.

The first cut is Di Goldene Pave (The Golden Peacock) from the 15 year old band, The Klezmatics, and the Polish born Israeli songstress, Chava Alberstein. The lyrics are based on a Yiddish poem by Russian-Jewish-American poet, Anna Margolin. It is rendered as a beautiful Yiddish classic lullaby.

The second cut is from the British group, Burning Bush. Rad Halaila (The Night is Strong) is a well known Hassidic Hebrew melody calling upon an eternal god to return, return (shuvi, shuvi) to your children so that we can dance a hora. The clarinet riffs and accordion and violin backups are worth the purchase of the CD. The third cut comes to the CD from Italy's top Jewish ensemble, KlezRoym. They sing Fel Shara, a traditional Sephardic love song in Ladino, Italian, English, Arabic and French, English and Arabic. The lead singer, Eva Coen. The fourth cut is a melody for the Sabbath from Philadelphia-born pianist Uri Caine and singer Aaron Bensoussan. It is a mix of traditional Sephardic music with jazz. Their rendition of Lecha Dodi makes you want to welcome the Sabbath castanets.

The fifth cut is by the late Israeli singer, Ofra Haza, the Queen of Israeli Yemenite music. She passed away last year at age 41. In her song, Rachamim, you can just feel compassion descending upon her in the sounds of the woodwinds. (but then of course, Rachamim can be the name of her lover). The sixth cut didn't do anything for me. Uzka is short for Marcus Uzilevsky (Rusty Evans). In Kona Hora, he returns to his Jewish roots and couples violin lines inspired by Jewish melodies with Middle-Eastern percussion. He sings in a gibberish he calls his "spirit language" which I think sounds like Hebrew, but don't tell him that.

The seventh cut is by Hankus Netsky and his 21 year old Klezmer Conservatory Band. Their Meron Nign was well-arranged by the madolin-playing Jeff Warschauer. The mix of Hassidic niggun and middle eastern style is peppy. I expected a vocal to start at any moment, but it never comes. (kind of like the messiah) You kind of want to run out to Meron and shave your kids head (not). The eighth cut is from Turkish Jewry. Ija Mia Mi Kerida (My Dear Daughter) is sung in Ladino in a style of father and daughter in conversation, to beautiful guitar backup. The ninth cut is Las Estreyas (the Stars), sung by Chilean born Consuelo Luz of Santa Fe It is a love ballad from pre-Inquisition Spain. Although raised Catholic, she discovered converso-Jewish roots on her mother's side (the Avila family of the converso, St. Teresa of Avila), and now sings in Ladino. The tenth cut is from Ontario's 18 year old klezmer ensemble, Finjan. Dancing on Water is based on a classic, niggun-like melody. Make you want to skate or dance. The CD closes with a selection from Fortuna, a bossa nova singer from São Paulo, Brazil. She started to dream of Sephardic tunes and explored its heritage, recording 4 CD's. Her Shalom Aleichem piece is not as exciting as her life story, but it includes excellent guitar accompaniment and it somehow seemed as if a Flamenco dancer was involved in the backup. ... Read more


13. Yiddish Songs
list price: $15.98
our price: $15.98
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Asin: B000025AGX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 51640
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Album Details

Songs of Life, Love and a World Gone by from the Premier Voice of Yiddish Culture in Israel and the World. She Performs Old Songs and Even Set Yiddish Poems to Music for the First Time, Providing a Bridge to a Vibrant Culture. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Songs of Laughter, Life, Love And A Voice Like Honey-Superb!
Chava Alberstein has a voice like honey, with an underlying smokiness that brings both traditional Yiddish songs and modern poems, newly set to music, to life. And the music on this spectacular CD will enrich your life, whether you understand Yiddish or have never heard it spoken before. The music is universal and the expression that Alberstein gives to the songs, old and new, will bridge the gap between the Yiddish culture and yours. Alberstein's voice is huge, and her tender and compassionate interpretations give added depth to the music.

The traditional "Oifen Pri'pe'tchik" is one of my favorites. My Nana used to sing it to me when I was a very little girl. Other old folk songs include: "A Keshenever" (The Song Of Kishinev), and "Oifn Veg Sh'tait a Boim," (On The Road There Is A Tree), is rousing klezmer sound at its best. "Tsigainer" (The Gypsy And His Fiddle) features wonderful gypsy violin music. And "Dona, Dona" is a lyrical folk song made popular by Joan Baez back in the 1960s. Modern interpretations include: "Avremi Marvikher," (Avremi the Con Man), by Mordechi Gebirtig, which was written before WWII, and is reminiscent of the pre-war cabaret sound. "Friling," (Spring) is a beautifully poignant song written by Shimke Katzerginsky in the Vilna Ghetto in 1943. "Unter Dy'ne Vy'se Shetern," (Under the White Stars), a prayer-lyric, was written by Israeli-Yiddish poet Abraham Sutsever, the bard of the Vilna Ghetto. And the stirring partisan song "Zog Nit Kein'mol" is an extraordinary addition to this compilation.

This is one of Ms. Alberstein's best CDs and one of my favorites. Sometimes the music will make you want to dance. Sometimes you will just want to listen. I promise you will always be moved by this very special sound.
JANA

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
This is a beautiful album which I gave as a gift to my father; he loves it and plays it over and over again. For elderly Yiddish speakers, it can be a really moving experience; but even for those who are not so old (or do not speak the language) it is a powerful album of great beauty.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to Unfamiliar Music
Chava Alberstein has a lovely, smoky voice. The songs on this cd are played and performed very well. Alberstein first became famous as a folk singer in the 1960s. She was born in Poland and immigrated to Israel as a young girl, so her folk and the folk music familiar to Americans is not exactly the same. The songs on this cd are traditional Yiddish songs from Central Europe - there is not a hint of Middle Eastern music. Strangely enough, the songs really sound like Berlin cabaret songs from the 1920s. I say strangely, because obviously the lyrics are far removed from that world. Many of the songs make reference to the Holocaust, though if you can't understand either Yiddish or German this will not be obvious.
I wish the lyrics had been included in the packaging - I can see why international labels selling world music don't bother including lyrics written in, say, Wolof or Swahili, but Yiddish is close enough to German to be understandable to a greater percentage of listeners. An explanation of each song's meaning is provided, however.
The songs come from a selection of her Israeli albums. The sound quality is acceptable, but some of the songs do sound a bit old.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine compilation
Yiddish Songs is labelled as a 'Blue Note' record. It is not a 'Blue Note' record, just a compilation from older Israeli records by Chava. Good choice of songs by a great singer. ... Read more


14. To Life! Songs Of Chanukah and Other Jewish Celebrations
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00000AF52
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10550
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A New Family Favorite
A perfect assortment of songs. These renditions are rich and full-bodied. The performers and performances are top-notch. Enjoyable for children and adults. Hava Nagila includes English stanzas that I had never heard before and are beautiful. Theodore Bikel has a marvelous voice. The Ladina Chanukah song in Spanish is a treat. Nell Carter's "Rock of Ages" is unique, memorable, and powerful. In short, our family loves this CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun, must-have for lovers of Chanukah music
If you are looking up this album, odds are that you are already familiar with most of the songs contained in this collection. I purchased this album last year as I was feeling nostalgic for the songs I grew up with at Hebrew School. "Rock of Ages" and "Havah Negila" are burned into my psyche, and I wanted a collection that had all of my old favorites.

This collection does not disappoint in any way. There are old favorites, and some new interpretations (such as Nell Carter singing "Rock of Ages") that make the album a fun, enjoyable experience for all. This album is terrific to listen to as you are on the computer, as it provides the perfect background music to soothe your soul and to placate your need for latkes. The collection has all of your Jewish favorites, and the songs are presented in a fresh, clean way that makes it worthwhile listening.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than just Chanukah music - excellent CD
I've owned this CD for a couple of years. My children light up like a menorah on the eighth day of Chanukah when I play the CD. It's got an excellent mix of songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and even Ladina, a language rooted heavily in pre-Inquisition Spanish.

In addition, there are songs for Pesach, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Simchat Torah, Shabbat, along with traditional festive songs, including a selection by the great Mandy Patinkin. It's a perrenial mainstay in our household. It has enhanced my sons' interest in Judaism, and helped their self-confidence in Synagogue, as they recognized a number of songs from the CD.

This is no hokey kid's CD, either. Some of the tracks have familiar tunes, and the beauty and depth of others is stirring for even the most casual of lantzmen.

This CD makes a great gift for Jewish parents, grandparents, etc. Have I mentioned that I like the CD? Trust me, I don't throw five-star reviews around. This one is a five-star.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great CD!
I think this CD was great! Every song that you ever new when you were growing up is on this CD. Everytime I listen to it, I want to get up and dance to it! I listen to it so much. I would tell anyone to buy this CD. I wish there were more CD's out there with really good music. The thing that is also nice about it, there a plenty of songs on it. Usually you get those CD's with 5-10 songs this has over 30 songs.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, fun, classic Jewish music for the generations.
To Life! is a wonderful way to share Jewish cultural music with your children, family and friends. It has everything from rousing Chanukah songs to deeply spiritual songs like Avenu Malkeinu (my favorite) to Hava Nagila. Our five-year-old daughter already knows all the words, and we're sure to be listening throughout the year and for many years to come. ... Read more


15. Rise Up
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00006JJ5L
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6662
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

On Rise Up!, The Klezmatics once again expand the concept of klezmer music by fusing the radical and the traditional via edgy jazz musicianship, interesting arrangements of traditional Jewish folk songs and Eastern European rhythms, and myriad other imaginative influences. Created in response to the 9/11 attacks, the album is an often somber meditation of loss in songs about deathbed regrets, lost love, and the dangers of vanity and complacency. While the band is typically best known for its ecstatic moments of musical celebration, even the instrumentals here have a subdued tone to them. The album is more reaffirming on its two versions (one in English and one in Yiddish) of Holly Near’s "I Ain’t Afraid": the message is a powerful indictment on religious fanaticism set to an uplifting gospel arrangement. Even though they didn’t write it, the song crystallizes the social and musical slant of The Klezmatics, a band with a message that preaches in its own unique style from its own very unique musical perspective.--Tad Hendrickson ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Featuring volatile and reverberating lyrics
Another collaborative effort of The Klezmatics, Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf! is an audio CD embracing the Yiddish tradition of Klezmer music, featuring volatile and reverberating lyrics, and showcasing samples from a 1948 Jewish archive, in honor of, and respect for, those who resisted Nazi destruction and murder during World War II. An enthusiastic celebration and reinventing of grand and quite distinctive musical tradition, Rise Up! Sheteyt Oyf! presents fifteen outstanding recordings and would make a welcome and appreciated addition to any personal music library.

4-0 out of 5 stars Moving klezmer for modern times
These veteran pioneers of the modern klezmer revival open their new album up with a mad, headlong rush into jazzy terrain, letting you know right off the bat that this ain't your grandfather's klezmer music, not by a longshot. Shifting effortlessly on "Kats Un Moyz (Cat And Mouse)" from free jazz into fusion, then to Miles Davis-style cool and salsa-inflected Latin dance riffs (all in the same song!), the Klezmatics start out with a dazzling musical display... This same inventive playfulness is in evidence throughout the rest of the album, although from then on they mainly stick to more standard-sounding Jewish musical themes. Still, playing a rubber squeek toy in the middle of a di-di-di Yiddish refrain ("Makht Oyf") and covering Holly Near's "I Ain't Afraid" shows an adventurous spirit that keeps this music from getting stale or static. Fans of the genre should be thrilled to hear the 'matics back in action, and their soulful social/political reflections (offered, in part, as a response to the chaos of September 11th, 2001...) will be as much salve for the soul as their much-welcome sense of humor. Recommended! ... Read more


16. Jews With Horns
list price: $17.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005Y23C
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5826
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jews With Talent
The Klezmatics are the gold standard in current klezmer revival. Lorin Sklomberg is a musical genius. Alicia Svigals stands on the shoulders of giants of the klezmer fiddle, and takes it to the next level. Bravi to the whole group!

5-0 out of 5 stars Music for the Soul
This CD appealed to everyone in my family, pre-teens, teens, and adults - quite a feat for our varied tastes. There are lively, toe-tapping songs, and thoughtful instrumentals. All combine to create a terrific album and one of those rare cd's that we liked almost every song.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great, great album!
The Klezmatics are the best klezmer band working today. While amazingly fresh and contemporary in their musical borrowings and instrumental sound (acid jazz, surf guitar, ska rhythms), their music is undisputably pure klezmer. The melodies are infectious and memorable, and there's plenty of musical risk-taking to make your ears prick up again and again (Frank London's use of a ragged octagenarian chorus is especially novel). Pick up some Klezmatics discs, and, if you like them, consider giving Hasidic New Wave a shot.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Klezmatics Yet!
This albumn is the best one I have listened to. Some songs on there i cannot, get out of my head. Every real fan of klezma should buy this albumn. OY!

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific!
This is my favorite album from my favorite klezmer band. Better than anyone else, they combine new forms with old. Moxy Fruvous fans get a treat on "Man With a Hat," a fabulous and exciting number. This is a wonderful album. Enjoy! ... Read more


17. The Circle Maker [2-CD Set]
list price: $22.98
our price: $22.98
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Asin: B0000067WM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 32764
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 1998

Zorn's work with Masada is prolific if nothing else: 10 CDs of Ornette Coleman-inspired klezmer tunes that evoke the Old World and swing. These two discs highlight those compositions in a whole new setting, music for chamber groups. One disc has a string trio, the other adds percussion and Marc Ribot on guitar to create a sextet. Great playing by New York City jazz heavyweights and compositions that sound like they belong on a spaghetti Western soundtrack combine to make this one of 1998's best jazz discs. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful klezmer chamber music
This is one of John Zorn's ten best albums, and it's likely to stay in the top ten for a long time. Unlike some of his other work, which emphasizes noise and quick changes from one piece of music to the next, The Circle Maker plays out in elegant waves of melody and percussion. It's Zorn's most beautiful album. It started with Masada, Zorn's four-piece jazz band. Masada plays "free jazz klezmer" --- original compositions based on traditional Jewish folk music themes, written in a simple way that encourages improvisation. On the Masada albums, the band blows the melodies apart on trumpet, saxophone, drums, and bass.

Zorn wrote new arrangements of these songs for chamber ensembles, replacing the old instruments with cello, violin, viola, guitar, bass, and percussion. The improvisation is out. The musicians concentrate on the melodies, playing off of each other in very subtle ways. The result is a combination of jazz, chamber music, and Jewish folk music, all rolled into one --- and played simultaneously. Even if you have no interest in John Zorn, you'll love this album. There isn't a single bad song on these two CDs. After you hear it, you'll want Bar Kokhba, which is more of the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars deeply lyrical, gorgeous Jewish chamber music.
_The Circle Maker_, a two-disc collection of Jewish chamber jazz, is one of my favorite items to bear John Zorn's name. Zorn does not actually perform on either of these discs -- they are songs from the Masada songbook rearranged for two different formats. As is typical with Zorn, the musicians he employs are world-class wonders proficient in jazz and classical, imbuing the pieces with feel and lyricism and mature consideration.

_The Circle Maker_ consists of two discs. The first is _Issachar_, which is performed by the the Masada String Trio, comprised of Mark Feldman (violin), Eric Friedlander (cello), and Greg Cohen (double-bass). For the most part, the songs are highly melodic and picturesque Masada pieces, minus the free n' dissonant battle-damage of Zorn's original quartet. It tends to be very beautiful and soothing with a feisty rhythmic spirit, all the while evoking images of middle eastern and Mediterranean lands. Greg Cohen usually plays a disciplined, bouncy rhythmic anchor over which Friedlander and Feldman swirl and twist and clash. (If you have heard Zorn's _Taboo & Exile_, the string trio pieces there are pretty much representative of what _Issachar_ is.) Some of the pieces, especially the short ones like "Karet" and "Zebdi", are very frenetic and dissonant. "Yatzah" is also very intense, but in a different way: Cohen and Friedlander hold down a single rhythmic phrase for eight minutes while Feldman's violin minimalistically rises from quiet scratching to shrieking strikes. One piece, "Elilah", is a gorgeous cello solo, and definitely one of the highlights of the string trio disc.

The other disc, _Zevulun_, is performed by the Bar Kokhba Sextet, which adds to the string trio guitarist Marc Ribot, percussionist Cyro Baptista, and drummer Joey Baron. Ribot's glistening, mesmerizing electric guitar lines sparkle between the two percussionists (one in each channel) and the string trio fills in the blanks. _Zevulun_ is a little less rigorous than its counterpart in this set...it is more swaying and mellow. "Tevel" is familiar because a different arrangement of it appears on Zorn's _Music for Children_ as "Dreamer of Dreams". The songs are a little more diverse on this set: "Laylah" is very eerie and dramatic, "Khebar" has an almost-pointillist arrangement with some very catchy melodies that evoke a bustling desert village, and "Idalah-Abal" is a nocturnal piece centered around a gorgeous cello theme and peppered with a constellation of effervescent cymbals and reflective drumming.

The more of John Zorn's music I hear, the faster he is on the way to becoming my favorite artist. And among his mammoth discography, _The Circle Maker_ is one of his best and most pleasant -- which is saying a lot. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and not just for hardcore Zorn nuts like myself. It's hard to imagine anyone with good taste _not_ liking this. It's so good is EXPLODES the Amazon rating system.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Velvet Dark
This disc is a great place to start with the composer/Sax player John Zorn.The first disc is a string trio playing very dark, velvety classical jazz.All three players seem to be involved in and captured by the music and have been recorded very well, this recording has a warmth and depth that I really love.I play this disc a lot.
The second disc adds percussion(and some of the best percussion I have ever heard, Baptista and Baron are simply wonderful, and the spacious and clear sound is a bonus)and Marc Ribot on electric guitar( Ribot has also worked with Tom Waits and brings something of that sound to this session).
In all, great tunes ,great playing and great sound quality.
Highly reccomended

5-0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding John Zorn album
A couple months ago I grabbed the Naked city CD from my collection and gave it another listen after several years, it started me on a quest to hear as much John Zorn music as I can. The circle maker was one of my recent additions and it just grabs you and draws you into the music like no other. The blend of Klezmer and Jazz is simply outstanding and shouldn't be missed by music lovers with an open mind. If you like this CD also grab Bar Kokhba and for something a little more risky but still with Jewish roots Kristallnacht.

5-0 out of 5 stars This cd will stretch the limits of your musical vocabulary.
The second cd is one of my most listened to cd's of the past year. I saw Jorn Zorn play live at the Texaco Jazz Fest. He doesn't actually play on this cd, but he shows his genius as a composer on this recording. My top Jazz album of 1998. ... Read more


18. Greatest Shticks
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004NKBX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 12441
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Purim -- or anytime you need a good laugh!
Those post-Holocaust pessimists who foretold the demise of the Yiddish culture never reckoned with the invention of the music CD. Here is yet another collection of vintage Borscht Belt, recovered from long forgotten LPs and re-released for a whole new generation of Jews to discover and enjoy. Even if you don't understand Yiddish, (Yinglish, actually, since Mickey Katz sings in a mixture of Yiddish and English), you will find these klezmerized parodies absolutely hilarious. Numbers like "Yiddish Mule Train" and "Sixteen Tons (of hard salami)" need no translation to be funny. And who knows? You might find out that you know more Yiddish than you think you do!

5-0 out of 5 stars It's WONDERFUL to hear these songs again!
My folks were huge fans of Mickey Katz. When I put the CD on I almost immediately could do the words of all the songs - and I haven't heard them for 35 years. This is the ultimate MK collection and I'm thrilled to be able to hear them again and share them with my own kids!

5-0 out of 5 stars Ah, what wonderful memories of my childhood
I used to love sitting with my father while he played these Mickey Katz records. I didn't always understand the words, and still don't (being deficient in Yiddish) but these songs hold some of the most precious memories of my chldhood. And they still hold up. Now, if the collection had included "Shrimp Boats are Coming (mit Bagels and Lox)", I would have given it 6 stars. More! Please!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Happiest Moments of My Childhood
Watching my father lipsync to Mickey Katz was one of the greatest pleasures of my childhood. Tom Lehrer, Mickey Katz, my father a meshugana and wacky children joining in---some of the nicest people I've ever met were the ones who would hear me babbling the words to "Where is my pants?" and who didn't shake their heads but joined in.

I can still remember the cover of the album "the Meshugana Mickey Katz" as it lay on the top of the pile of LPs...we always thought of Joel Grey as "you know, Mickey Katz's son..."

To whoever finally put some of these recordings on CD...Thanks...and how about some more?????

5-0 out of 5 stars Happy Memories
I remember my parents (zt"l) listening to these while was in my cradle. Now I can share these with my children and shed happy tears remembering those days. Anyone who needs to laugh and can understand even a smidgen of the Mammaloshen will fall in love with these classics all over again. This is a MUST HAVE for any collection. ... Read more


19. Rhythm & Jews
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000095J3D
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22460
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20. From Avenue A to Great White Way 1914-1950
list price: $19.98
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006640B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16911
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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From Avenue A to the Great White Way is a two-CD set that collects 50 songs tracing the early recorded history of Jewish music in New York and the subsequent influence that music had on American popular song. Henry Sapoznik, the producer of The Yiddish Radio Project series that appeared on PBS, compiled the tracks. He's unearthed some fascinating items, including rare recordings from early stars of the Yiddish theater such as Molly Picon, a klezmer piece by Abe Schwartz, and a beautifully operatic performance from the cantor Yossele Rosenblatt. Among his most interesting finds are the previously unreleased track from 1914 of Irving Berlin singing his song "What Am I Gonna Do?" and a vocal group from 1933 known as the Funnyboners singing the obscure Gershwin tune "Mischa-Yascha-Toscha-Sascha." Sapoznik's excellent liner notes do a fine job of connecting the dots between such seemingly disparate songs as the 1928 Yiddish song "Inzer Rebin's Vunder (Our Rabbi'sWonder)" and Cab Calloway's 1939 swing tune "Utt-Da-Zay (That's the Way)."While it would have been nice to have translation of the Yiddish lyrics, that is just a minor quibble with what is a otherwise intriguing survey of long overlooked part of American musical history. --Michael Simmons ... Read more

Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars From Avenue A
If not for this album, one might never have known that Fannie Brice was sent to the lower east side of New York so she could sound more stereotypically Jewish, or that Jewish vaudeville performers found success in "best Hebe contests" and songs like "Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars." This is the world of From Avenue A to the Great White Way: Yiddish and American Popular Songs from 1914-1950. The double CD set has extensive liner notes and photos acting almost like an historical document into a world that, for better or worse, many younger Jewish people inherited but never knew existed.

If you remember Molly Goldberg calling "yoo-hoo" on the old radio show The Goldbergs then you'll probably remember Eddie Cantor singing about Leena from Palestina. That's just one of the oldies featured, many of which sound like and come from the same era as You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile from the musical Annie.

The double CD set begins with the old style Yiddish theater songs from people like Molly Picon and David Medoff. It continues chronologically hitting upon the vaudeville era and into the jazz age.

Many tunes seem self-depreciating like Since Henry Ford Apologized to Me and When Nathan Was Married to Rose of Washington Square. Other tracks are by non-Jewish performers who jumped on the bandwagon like Cab Calloway of Minnie the Moocher fame and Slim Galliard with a song called Matzo Balls. The album ends with Jewish jazz performers such as Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa.

Although well known performers such Al Jolson and Irving Berlin are here, most of the tracks have been completely forgotten or lost making this a collection of things one has either never heard before or only heard on the radio when they first came out. The sound quality of the songs is very good for their age, having been re-mastered from the original 78 rpm records.

For some this will bring back some great memories, and those that can't understand shouldn't criticize. Others will be disgusted at the depiction of Jewish people in such a manner. Perhaps this was "what made Sammy run" to assimilate into the great White way of America. It's a real shame because there are some real gems on hear that were performed with the purest of intentions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gevald! Di Bananas and das pernicious influence
Darn that pernicious Jewish influence in American music. (hehe) If there was a Grammy for this category, Henry Sapoznik and his posse would receive it without question. The CD's are made to look like an old Columbia 78 RPM. The 14 page liner notes are very good; they include photos of the most famous singers, and a picture of "vaudeville" in Yiddish characters and a line outside The Grand Theater's "King Lear." They exclude the lyrics, however. After listening to the first CD three times, I was ready to move on to the second CD. Is this Himmel? You bet! Let's not forget that the Yiddish Theater of Manhattan's Second Avenue had Shakespeare and musicals while Broadway was in the dark ages of entertainment, awaiting O'Neill. Sapoznik has compiled 50 pieces from newly found vaulted stampers, including: a very sexy English and French piece by Al Jolson (Hooray Baby and Me); Julien Rose's Chicken story; a previously unissued version of "Mischa Yascha Toscha Sascha" (1933) by the Funnyboners (Gershwins and others) with apologies to Jack Benny; "Roumania Roumania" by Aaron Lebedeff (1941); "Bei Mir Bis Du Schon" by Belie Baker (1937); and "What Am I Gonna Do?" (1914) by Irving Berlin (never released before). Yoselle Rosenblatt is the soloist in "V'Hakohanim" (1916); and Molly Picon sings "Ihr Megt Gleybn Oder Neyn" in a previously unissued performance from 1933. "Yes, Sir, Zi Iz May Kale (Yes Sire She's My Bride/Baby)" is sung by Peisachke Burstein (1925). Eddie Cantor sings "Palesteena" (1920), and one wonders if there are some hidden meanings in the words. Abe Schwartz appears with his 1918 "Der Shtiller Bulgar," a current standard of every klezmer group. "Yosel," a Yiddish standard, is performed by Nellie Casman in Yiddish (1923). The same song is reprised in 1938 in "Joseph, Joseph" by Trombonist Russ Morgan and Orchestra, sung in English by Carolyn Clarke. Amazing! "Since Henry Ford Apologized To Me" by the Happiness Boys (1927) is an amazing find; the satirical song reacts to Ford and his Dearborn Press' virulent anti-Semitism. The "Yiddisha Charleston" also includes a jab at Henry Ford. Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra (in pre-Charo 1950) perform "The Wedding Samba" so well with Abbe Lane that you might as well be in Miami Beach while listening to it. Both Benny Goodman and his break-away drummer, Gene Krupa, appear in the final two cuts. But by far, my favorite cut, worth the purchase, hands down is "Whoopee" by Peisachke Burstein. Impossible to get out of one's head after one listen. ... Read more


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