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    ANYONE FOR YIDDISH TANGO?

    By Audrey Coleman

    Gustavo BulgachPut the two words “Yiddish” and “tango” together, and some might respond, “You’re joking?” But history bears out a strong connection between the two. These will be evident in the upcoming performance of Yiddish Tango Club at the Skirball Cultural Center on Thursday evening, August 21. Having investigated Vietnamese tango in my June column, this gives me yet another opportunity to dig for treasures in music history.

    But first here’s the scoop on the show. Virtuoso klezmer clarinetist Gustavo Bulgach, who launched the Yiddish Tango Club project in 2012, will lead his ensemble in accompanying tangos with lyrics written in Yiddish as well as Argentine tango instrumentals from the early days of the genre and the innovative tangos of Astor Piazzolla. They also will be performing pieces from the klezmer repertoire, freilachs (happy, fast-paced numbers) and nigunim (improvised vocal numbers with roots in religious and particularly Hasidic texts and music).

    Read more: ANYONE FOR YIDDISH TANGO?

     
  • NEXT FOLKWORKS CONCERT

    FolkWorks Logo Presents

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     Saturday, September 27th   at   8pm

    doors open at 7:30pm

    newly renovated Talking Stick Café

    1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

    at Lincoln and California St. in corner behind Pollo Loco
    Parking available behind or in Ross Dress For Less parking lot.

    Tickets
    General Admission: $18

    FolkWorks members (Friend and above) – reserved seating: $16

    Online:
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    By Mail:
    FolkWorks PO Box 55051
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91413
    Information:
    818-785-3839 concerts@FolkWorks.org

     NEVENKA Marigold CD cover

    Read more: NEVENKA 2014 CONCERT

     
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    FINAL 2014 Concert

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    Series at the Talking Stick Café

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  • COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2014

    SINGING BACKUP OR SWINGING BANJOS

    By Linda Dewar

    20feetWhen I was a kid, most of my friends wanted to be things like nurses and firemen when they grew up. My career goal was a bit different—I wanted to be a backup singer. You know… a Vandella, or a Pip, or maybe one of those anonymous women who appeared on TV helping Perry Como or Dean Martin to sound good. (OK, I also desperately wanted to be the third Everly Brother, but there was that nagging problem of gender).

    It seemed like the perfect career choice. It involved singing (mandatory), you got to record, go on tour, meet cool people, and get paid. But you didn’t have to put up with the downside of fame, or worry about whether your next album would sell.

    I never did achieve that career goal, although I came close a few times. But I have continued to admire the singers who make their living doing what I now know is a challenging and sometimes stressful job.

    Read more: Singing Backup or Swinging Banjos

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TITLE: EVIE LADIN BAND

ARTIST: EVIE LADIN BAND

LABEL: EVIL DIANE RECORDS

RELEASE DATE: 2012

By Jackie Morris

EVIE_LADIN_BANDYou don’t often hear words like “traditional,” and “authentic” paired with “innovative” and “unique,” but Evie Ladin has brought them together brilliantly in the self-titled, debut album of the Evie Ladin Band, and the result is truly a high point in new old-time music.

If you are not already familiar with Evie Ladin’s music, don’t let the term “debut” fool you.  While the four multi-instrumental band members – Ladin, Keith Terry, Dina Maccabee, and Erik Pearson – have been playing together for three years, they are all seasoned professionals. And the polyrhythmic sound of Ladin’s clawhammer banjo, her clogging, and her beautifully modulated voice, have infused five previous albums with The Stairwell Sisters, as well as the 2010 release of her highly acclaimed solo album, Float Downstream. But in the 13 new old-timey, Appalachian-flavored tracks of Evie Ladin Band, Ladin surpasses herself.

What makes this album SO good? First there are the songs themselves: eight delicious, rootsy and rhythmic originals – six by Ladin, one by Maccabee, and an instrumental by Pearson; and 5 inspired covers (including songs from Lotus Dickey, Walter McNew, Carter Family, Ewan McColl, Dock Boggs, and John Ashby).

Then there is Ladin’s voice, more fluid and versatile than ever, sailing effortlessly on and around beautiful melodies with a seemingly effortless combination of strength and sensitivity. When joined in harmony by the silvery vocals of Dina Maccabee, the result is pure honey.

And then, there is the band itself, each member adding a wealth of talent to the mix: Dina Maccabee on violin and harmony vocals; Erik Pearson on guitar, banjo and harmony vocals; and last but far from least, Keith Terry on bass, cajon, pizza pan, metal toys, Engelhart Gankogui (a type of African bell), bass harmonica, body music (aka, body drumming) and harmony vocals.

A renowned percussionist and rhythm dancer, Terry, in fact, provides one of the most defining elements of this album: an incredibly compelling and often complex rhythm. And for Ladin as well, who started her career as a percussive dancer and choreographer, the rhythm is intrinsic to the sound of Evie Ladin Band (which Ladin produced, and Terry co-produced with Ivan Rosenberg).

Evie Ladin and Keith Terry
(http://www.youtube.com/v/xJ9XElawteU )

The importance of this unique and varied percussion is evident from the very first track, Got You On My Mind (by Lotus Dickey). This catchy tune opens with just Ladin’s voice, which within five words is joined by Terry’s rhythm on metal toys. Only after the first verse of just vocals and percussion does Ladin’s clawhammer banjo join in and augment the rhythm; it is followed, in turn, by harmony vocals, violin and guitar. Like an underground river that surfaces, vanishes, and then resurfaces again, the intricate metallic rhythm appears and disappears, reappearing to play behind the instrumental solos. The result is a simple, lovely melody that builds into something very diverse and exciting.

This skillful building, layering, and counterpoint of voices and instruments is evident throughout the arrangements on this album. For example, in the second track, Come Down To The Door Of My Home, Ladin’s original composition achieves a richly textured sound, with her rhythmic, funky banjo beat answered by the fiddle, and her vocals swelling to 3-part harmony as the song progresses.

At this point, I should probably point out that every song on this CD is a winner. But I do have my favorites, of course, and they are all originals by Ladin. She is, among her many talents, an excellent songwriter, and Track 3 makes that very clear. He’s Not Alone sounds like a classic to me. Sung and played like an old-fashioned country song, with a drag and a catch in the voice, a great slide guitar, and harmony in all the right places, it packs an old-fashioned, true-to-life, emotional punch. Dime Store Glasses is another “classic-in-the-making.” In the country tradition of writing upbeat songs about heartbreak, this song is energized by a wonderful, prominent bass and body music. And for something “entirely different,” there’s Ladin’s quirky novelty song, Coffeeshop, with its interesting rhythms, fun lyrics and contemporary theme.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not call out one more song on this album. It is the song made famous by Roberta Flack – The First Time, by Ewan McColl – now reborn and transformed by the Evie Ladin Band. Whether you have never heard the song, or you have it stored away among your long-time favorites, it will, pardon the pun, be like hearing it for the first time. Roberta Flack’s version was slow and sensual, tinged with melancholy. But not anymore! In Ladin’s wonderful rendition, you will hear – for the first time – the pure joy in this song. It is a celebration of love, a quickening of the senses, that is simply uplifting.

I could go on and on about this gem of an album, but in the last analysis, you must hear Evie Ladin Band for yourself. It’s just that special.

A New York transplant to the tiny town of Carpinteria, CA, Jackie is a freelance writer by profession and a singer-songwriter by passion. Her newly-released third album of original Folk/Americana songs was among Top Folk Albums of 2011 on the Folk Music Radio Airplay Charts. Jackie is also an active member in such acoustic music communities as SummerSongs, SongMakers, and FARWest Folk Alliance.

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