Fela Kuti and Shlomo Carlebach are not an obvious pairing. But Zion80 do a masterful mash-up of the Jewish counterculture icon and the late Nigerian superstar.
Playing together, Israeli Idan Raichel and Mali’s Vieux Farka Toure show how harmoniously Jewish and Islamic culture can meld when given the chance.
It’s easy to laugh at reports of music-banning in China or by fundamentalists groups. But ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have also sought to ban music they find distasteful.
Istanbul was once a center of Sephardic Jewish life and music. Little of that grand legacy remains there, but it has spread to America and around the world.
‘A melody lives and dies and it is forgotten,” actor Rafael Goldwaser says early on in a presentation of “A Gilgl fun a Nign” (“The Metamorphosis of a Melody”). “But a melody can be resurrected.”
Analogies between music and language abound. Sometimes we liken music to a universal language that is able to transcend ordinary linguistic and cultural boundaries. Sometimes we talk about its innumerable local dialects, the genres and styles that mingle and give rise to yet more idiosyncratic forms.
Listening to “Her First Dance,” pianist Misha Alperin’s latest recording for the ECM label, I was reminded of an old story about the late jazz trombonist Vic Dickenson.
A series of happy accidents. That, in a nutshell, is how 32-year-old saxophonist and scholar Evan Rapport describes the arc of his career — a career that began in the nightclubs of Maryland and ultimately carried him to the Bukharian Jewish enclaves of New York City.
As a young man working in his family’s textile business, Gerard Edery once traveled the world looking for raw material that could be assembled into new and attractive shapes.
On most evenings, the lower Manhattan venue Drom, where I recently caught a live set by the Los Angeles-based Moshav Band, probably seems very much like any other subterranean hipster hangout.