It is hard to believe we are only five years from klezmer-punk band Golem’s 2006 debut album, “Fresh Off Boat,” and the first time (most of us) heard Alicia Jo Rabins on a record. Since then we have gotten a follow-up from Golem (2009’s tremendous “Citizen Boris”) and a solo debut from Rabin’s new project, Girls in Trouble.
When Erez Safar started the Sephardic Music Festival in 2005, he was thinking about the future of Sephardic music. Having spent the last decade watching klezmer explode in popularity among artists like the avant-garde composer John Zorn and the Brooklyn punk band Golem, Safar realized klezmer was moving into a brave new future and was leaving its Sephardic counterparts behind. If the annual festival is Safar’s response to that problem, “Sephardic Music Festival Vol. 1,” is the permanent document illuminating a musical movement at a moment of uncertain transformation.
In this, the second annual Forward Fives selection, we celebrate the year’s cultural output with a series of deliberately eclectic choices in film, music, theater, exhibitions and books. Here we present five of the most important Jewish music releases of 2010. Feel free to argue with and add to our selections in the comments.
With the release of Galeet Dardashti’s album “The Naming,” we can officially say we are in the year of the female Jewish voice. Following the exhilarating Mycale project (who opened for Dardashti this week at the intimate Le Poisson Rouge in New York) and Charming Hostess’s new album, Dardashti contributes seven tracks of impressive vocal dexterity and only slightly less compelling lyrical material. The album also finds her working solo, instead of with her regular gig: the Middle East global-fusion band Divahn.