Crossposted from Haaretz
In celebration of Jewish Book Month, The Arty Semite is partnering with the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) and the Jewish Book Council to present “30 Days, 30 Texts,” a series of reflections by community leaders on the books that influenced their Jewish journeys. Today, Aaron Bisman writes about “The White Boy Shuffle” by Paul Beatty.
As their name implies, Slavic Soul Party! updates traditional Eastern European sounds with a festive, contemporary feel. Their instrumental music conjures carnivals and circuses, pep bands and klezmer bands, James Brown and James Bond. Brooklyn music aficionados may know Slavic Soul Party! from their weekly Tuesday gigs at Barbès; uptowners may have caught them at Carnegie Hall. Like Johnny Cash and B.B. King, the band also plays prisons, with a show on November 19 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and October 5 at Rikers Island.
Imagine a klezmer band where the vocalists rap in English, chant in Arabic, and sing in Spanish and Serbian. That band is Balkan Beat Box, a group led by two Israelis — Ori Kaplan (saxophone) and Tamir Muskat (drums) — who merge traditional Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Eastern European sounds with hip-hop and electronica.
Canada is home to less than three percent of the world’s Jewish population, but every other year, Jewish artists from around the world congregate in Toronto for the Ashkenaz Festival, which returns this year from August 31 to September 6 at the city’s Harbourfront Centre.
Dance talent is not often inherited through the generations, as we have seen with the regularly slated reconstructions of works by ballet master Michel Fokine, when recreated by his French granddaughter Isabelle. One happy exception to this rule is Los Angeles-born choreographer Barak Marshall, son of the acclaimed Yemenite Israeli dancer, choreographer and musician Margalit Oved.
If Arab club music, Israeli hip-hop and klezmer had a ménage à trios, its love child might sound something like Balkan Beat Box. Joining musical genres and artists across political spectrums the group aims to erase political borders through music saying, “our ears don’t have them, why should we?”