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A Great Day on Eldridge Street!

It sure was. Got there just in time to miss the photo, but catch the parade and the concert in the park. Ellen Asher (lately of SFBC) was there, enjoying the hell out of herself. I was amazed & delighted at how many of the musicians I knew - I've been in the radio biz longer than I realize! - including drummer Eve Sicular of Metropolitan Klezmer & Isle of Klezbos, violinist Alicia Svigals, clarinetist Ilene Stahl, tismbl revivalist Pete Rushefsky, singer Michael Alper, journalist George Robinson. . . .Ended up dragging a bunch of folks off to lunch at Super Taste Restaurant, a scuzzy little hole-in-the-wall down the street we just stumbled into that happens to serve Lanzhou hand-pulled beef noodles, with Elaine Hoffman Watts, a 75-year-old spitfire from Philadelphia who learned old-style drumming from her father (and was recently awarded an NEA National Heritage Fellowship), and her daughter Susan, the "fearsomely wonderful trumpet player" - Hankus Netsky, founder of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, was witty and wonderful company as always, and explained to me why my grandfather from the Ukraine hated their first album (it wasn't Old Country-style; that came later in the Klezmer Revival), and how Elaine Watts managed to be so Old Country: it was because, as a woman of her generation, she couldn't play regular party gigs, and so remained uncorrupted by mid-20c drumming styles! There's a cool interview with her here, and I'm listening to her album right now.

After lunch I started walking with Brian Bender, whose new album, Little Shop of Horas (don't you love it?!) "blends original and traditional Jewish Melodies with Latin Jazz, Samba, Reggae, Calypso, Celtic, Arabic, Turkish and African styles of music. " Brian has a MySpace page with music. I think he's going to play for my Amherst gig on Nov. 18th - I'll keep you posted. So Brian & Susan & Elaine & I ended up at a place with bubble tea & pastry, and after that we stood on the sidewalk talking some more and then some folks from Brian's band shows up and we talked some more and then this weird young guy in a hat showed up and started speaking Yiddish to the guy from the band - I think they went to Yiddish Camp together - and just as suddenly he walked away. And then it was late and cold and I came home and put on the albums people had given me.

So if you want to play too, don't forget that the free concert is tomorrow (Sat. 10/13) night, and that the touring gang will be heading off to Poughkeepsie, Fredonia, Buffalo & Rochester for concerts Oct. 16 - 21. Not only are these my pals, but they are some of the great klezmer musicians of our generation. Don't miss 'em!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
Jeez, you do some cool stuff!
Oct. 13th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
It's these musicians who are so amazing - I just want you guys to know about them and enjoy their work! Wonderful to think that 100 years ago, I might have written about my experiences in a letter to a friend on a farm somewhere, and she might only have wished she could hear some of the music we had in the city - now anyone anywhere can listen to it instantly online!
Oct. 13th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
I love Klezmer music :-) Way back in the 90's when I ran a folk music coffeehouse back in Washington state, I invited a Klezmer band to play (I think it was the Klezmatics, they were pretty well known as far as Klezmer bands go). They were by far the most popular group we ever had perform. The entire synagogue community showed up for the performance and everyone was circle dancing in front of the band. Good times.
Oct. 13th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Um. . . "way back in the 90's"? Doesn't seem so long ago to me, I'm afraid!
Oct. 13th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
I was being silly, wasn't that long ago for me either. ;-) How time flies when you are having a life, eh? Things keep moving on for me I'm afraid.
Oct. 13th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Sounds like fun! Hankus Netsky is responsible for introducing me to Klezmer, when I was a grad student at New England Conservatory and took a class called "Issues and Trends in Contemporary Music." He was one of many guest speakers. I went right out and bought a cd of his band.

I remember Brian Bender too - he was at NEC with me. I worked in the gig office and I recall his group got lots of gigs. Thanks for the link to his myspace page. It's cool to see what interesting stuff he's up to these days!
Oct. 15th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Awesome that you know Brian! He just e-mailed me a bunch of great ideas for Golden Dreydl performance - the NEC sure turns out some smart musicians (present company included)! Hankus turned so many people on to klezmer - how lucky you were to be able to study with him.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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