ellen_kushner (ellen_kushner) wrote,

Is there a Fiddler in the House?

Ari Davidow says I have to blog this, and he is a man of parts, so here goes. Besides, a lovely quote from Ari saved my butt when I was writing the script for The [Then-] New Klezmorim for Sound & Spirit!

Here is his original quote from KlezmerShack:

There are still traditional klezmer musicians. But I am mostly in love with the ways in which this generation of klezmer musicians reblends jazz and punk and the spirit of an entire Yiddish revival into something that sounds familiar. I often think of the Jewish legend which holds that the Creator already knows all of human history, and then I think of her sitting in heaven, noting that it is 1995, and excitedly exclaiming, "At last I can hear it live!"

In the show (with his permission) I attributed it to "one New Klezmer enthusiast" and paraphrased it to:

I often think of the Jewish belief that the Creator already knows all of human history - and then I think of Her sitting in heaven right now, listening to these bands, exclaiming, "At last I can hear it live!"

It lies a bit flat on the page - but it sounds great coming up out of a gorgeous tune by Davka - and you can, indeed, hear the entire show online. That episode is 10 years old, now - the "new klezmorim" are not so new anymore - but it still gives a pretty solid grounding in the music. By now I always assume everyone in America knows all about klezmer - and I'm always being stared at blankly when I bring it up, so let's go!

Sound & Spirit is still broadcast on public radio in some markets. Last week we re-aired "The New Klezmorim." At one point I back-announce:

. . . Two versions of Andy Statman's "The Flatbush Waltz": that was the Irish band De Dannan, from their album "A Jacket of Batteries;" before that, the Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra, from the public television documentary, "In the Fiddler's House." This was a project in which violinist Itzhak Perlman and several American Klezmer groups toured Poland, bringing the old Eastern European Jewish musical tradition back to the ground it had sprung from, to people who had not heard it since the great prewar Jewish communities of Poland were destroyed.

More musical and cultural cross-pollenization still to come in this hour of Sound & Spirit, as we examine the New Klezmorim. I'm EK.

And the mailbag this week contained this note from a listener in California:

In today's program, Ellen mentioned a PBS program titled Violin in the Home with Itsak Perelman. Can you give me any help in obtaining a copy of this video?

[Your witty quip here.]
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