Posts Tagged ‘Jewish music’

Jewish Music Comes To Tatarstan

June 28, 2012

This post first appeared on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.

We can now add Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan Republic in the Russian Federation, to the list of cities that host international Jewish music festivals. Early in June, the city was the site of Tatarstan’s first-ever Jewish music festival, which featured performances by artists from the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Austria and Cuba.

Tatarstan is located about 500 miles east of Moscow, and Kazan is considered one of Russia’s largest cities. Most of the 3.8 million people living in the republic are either ethnic Tatars or ethnic Russians, and over half of them are Sunni Muslims.

Organizer Boris Lvovich, who put the event together along with Edward Tumansky, explained the importance of a Jewish music festival in predominantly Muslim Tatarstan, to The Kazan Herald. “I am first of all a native Kazan resident. I’ve worked with so many Tatar musicians and performers I can even understand some Tatar, yet I think it is paramount to understand that for a Muslim Republic such as Tatarstan to hold a Jewish Music festival is very symbolic of the peace we enjoy here,” he said.

Click here to read more.

© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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Mixing It Up

September 19, 2011

This post first appeared as “iTunes Classifies Jewish Music as Christian” on The Shmooze blog of the Forward.

It looks like iTunes must have been snoozing during Comparative Religions 101. The Jerusalem Post found that the world’s largest online music and video vendor doesn’t seem to know the difference between Jewish and Christian music. Or maybe it just doesn’t care.

The newspaper reported that it found most popular Jewish singers’ songs and albums were classified as “Christian and Gospel,” and that there was no separate category for Jewish music. Some Jewish songs were listed in the “World Music” section of the iTunes store.

Click here to read more.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Unlocking The Power

June 15, 2011

This interview was first published as “Q & A: Joey Weisenberg and the Hazan of the Future” on The Arty Semite blog of the Forward.

Joey Weisenberg

Joey Weisenberg, 29, is the musical director at the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn and is in charge of musical education at Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan. He plays guitar, mandolin and percussion and sings in 10 different bands, is an artist-fellow at the 14th Street Y’s LABA program and a faculty member at KlezKanada. He also teaches music privately. He does all this, and still spends half or more of his time teaching congregations around the country how to build singing communities and conduct spontaneous choirs.

Having spent the past eight years honing his techniques, Weisenberg is now sharing them in the recently published “Building Singing Communities: A Practical Guide to Unlocking the Power of Music in Jewish Prayer” (Mechon Hadar, 2011). The book, which provides advice on everything from melody acquisition to room set-up to shul politics, is accompanied by a CD of a spontaneous choir, directed by Weisenberg, singing 15 nigunim based on the Shabbat liturgy.

Weisenberg recently spoke to The Arty Semite about his passion for Jewish communal singing and how it fits into a larger vision for Jewish music.

Click here to read the interview and listen to one of Joey’s nigunim.

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.