• SPOTLIGHTS

    NILE PROJECT

    NILE PROJECTThe musical traditions of the cultures found along the Nile basin offer sonic treasures comparable to that mighty flowing river’s own life-giving abundance. No group taps into those White and Blue Nilotic melodies and rhythms with such sublime, joyful synergism as the Nile Project. Featuring a touring group of a dozen members hailing from seven different countries, the collective’s membership collaborates on each other's music as well as fusing those disparate traditions into tasty new hybrid blends.

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 7:00PM

    Valley Performing Arts Center

    18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8448

    818-677-3000

    Read more: NILE PROJECT


    GLOBAL CURRENTS

    Global CurrentsCelebrating World Cultures  & Earth's Shared Resources

    Six Los Angeles ensembles representing six regions of the world

    Brazil — Ballet Folclorico do Brasil

    West Africa — Futa Toro West African Drummers & Dancers

    Hawaii — Halau Keali’i O Nalani

    Mexico — Las Colibri

    Japan — On Ensemble

    Middle East — Yuval Ron Ensemble

    Special appearance by The Nile Project with L.A. ensemble master artists

    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 1:00PM-6:00PM

    Valley Performing Arts Center – Lawn & Courtyard

    18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8448

    818- 540-2400

    Read more: GLOBAL CURRENTS


    JOHN GORKA

    John GorkaJohn Gorka was born in Edison, New Jersey. He received his first guitar as a Christmas gift, though Gorka alleges that his older brother stole it from him shortly thereafter. He eventually learned, instead, to play the banjo, and began performing in a folk music group at his church.




    WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017 - 7:00PM

     with THE CAIRO GANG 

    Tales from the Tavern -Maverick Saloon

    3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, CA 93460

    805-686-4785

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    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2017 - 8:00PM

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497

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    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017 - 7:30PM

    Laura R. Charles Theater, Sweetwater High School

    2900 Highland Ave., National City, CA 91950

    829-303-8176

    Presented by AMSD Concerts

    Read more: JOHN GORKA


    FEATURE ARTICLES

    WHO WROTE COPPER KETTLE?

    A Study In Disputed Authorship

    By Ross Altman, PhD.

    Copper KettleSometime during Prohibition—which lasted from the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1920 to its repeal with the passage of the 21st Amendment in1933—Elliot Ness and his revenuers came to a Kentucky moonshiner’s cabin in the Appalachian Mountains and knocked on the door. A young boy answered and Ness asked him if his pa was home.

    Read more: WHO WROTE COPPER KETTLE?



    RICK TURNER, HANDMADE?:“YES, NO, MAYBE AND ALWAYS”

    Interview with the legendary guitar luthier at NAMM 2017

    By Annette Siegal

    Rick Turner at NAMM BoothThis year at NAMM I decided to focus on seeking out an instrument maker (luthier) that was more than a production line. With imports of instruments in mass numbers, and varying degrees of quality, I believe from a luthier’s wife perspective that it’s also important to retain handcrafted skills.

    One such luthier is Rick Turner of Rick Turner Guitars. His remarkable story started from a small town in Massachusetts and ended up influencing the sound of many musicians / bands that are intertwined with a part of America’s musical history. He’s also a collector of Howe-Orme instruments that were coincidentally made in MA (1897-1910).

    Read more: RICK TURNER, HANDMADE?:“YES, NO, MAYBE AND ALWAYS”


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    January-February 2017

    INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

    SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27th, 2016

    By Joellen Lapidus

    CD Cover Unaccompanied001Once you hear Aaron O’Rourke play Hi Mom or Spoon on the mountain dulcimer, your past concepts of what a dulcimer sounds like will change forever. His melodies, rhythms, playfulness, and exceptional finger technique bend your recollection of the sound of the mountain dulcimer into a new shape. Take a listen and judge for yourself.

    Read more: INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

    GRAMMY NOMINEES


    everything but ...

    Classic song performed by guys who would become rock legends

    Read more: JORMA KAUKONEN - JACK CASADY


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 2/22/17


    MUSIC


    7:00pm THE CAIRO GANG / JOHN GORKA

    Tales from the Tavern -Maverick Saloon

    3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, CA 93460

    805-686-4785


    7:30pm INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT

    Lulo Reinhardt, Luca Stricagnoli, Chrystian Dozza, and Debashish Bhattacharya

    California Center For The Arts

    340 North Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025

    800-988-4253


    8:00pm HOOT AND HOLLER

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 92675

    626-798-6236 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    6:00pm VENTURA BLUEGRASS JAM

    second & fourth Wednesday

    The Golden China

    760 S. Seward Ave, Ventura, CA

    Gene Rubin 805-340-2270 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:00pm - 8:30pm LAGUNA INTERNATIONAL DANCERS (FOLK)

    every Wednesday

    Clubhouse 2

    24112 Moulton Pkwy., Laguna Woods, CA

    Miriam 949-680-9946


    7:00pm - 10:00pm OPEN MIC AT GUITAR MERCHANT

    every Wednesday

    Guitar Merchant

    7305 Topanga Blvd., Canoga Park, CA

    818-884-5905

    818-884-5905


    7:30pm - 10:30pm PLOUGHBOYS CELTIC

    second & fourth Wednesday

    Buchanan Arms Restaurant & Pub

    2013 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA

    818-845-0692

    818-507-8445 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm IRISH SESSION

    every Wednesday

    Griffins Of Kinsale

    1007 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA

    626-799-0926

    Michael Kelly


    9:00pm WE THE FOLK

    second & fourth Wednesday

    Seventy7 Lounge

    3843 Main St., Culver City, CA

    310-559-7707

    Sean O'Hara 925-216 8993 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    DANCE


    5:30pm - 8:00pm LAGUNA WOOD FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Clubhouse 2

    24112 Moulton Pkwy., Laguna Woods, CA


    7:15pm - 9:30pm SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE CLUB

    every Wednesday

    Balboa Park Club

    2150 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA

    Jean Cate 858-278-4619 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm ANAHEIM INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim

    511 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

    Ruth or Ted Shapin 714-758-1050


    7:30pm - 9:30pm CONEJO VALLEY FOLK DANCERS

    every Wednesday

    Hillcrest Center for the Arts (Small Rehearsal Room)

    403 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA

    Jill Lundgren 805-497-1957 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:00pm SKANDIA DANCE CLUB (SCANDINAVIAN DANCING)

    every Wednesday

    Lindberg Park

    5041 Rhoda Way, Culver City, CA

    Frances Sotcher 310-827-3618 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm WILD WOOD MORRIS DANCING

    every Wednesday

    Whaley Park

    5620 E Atherton St., Long Beach, CA

    Julie James 562-493-7151 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 10:00pm SWEDISH FOLK DANCE CLUB OF LOS ANGELES

    second & fourth Wednesday

    Skandia Hall

    2031 East Villa St., Pasadena, CA

    Norman and Jane Kindig 714-777-4036 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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). Along with the Bulgach on clarinet and saxophone, the multi-ethnic ensemble includes Andrew Markham on piano, Ken Rosser on guitar, Hiroo Nakano on drums, Hector Pineda on bass and Mariano Dugatkin on accordion and that tango signature instrument, the bandoneón.

Divina GloriaInterpreting the lyrics will be guest artist Divina Gloria, who, as her stage name suggests, is larger than life; I recall her vibrant vocals in a Yiddish tango-themed concert at Disney Hall’s Redcat Theater several years ago. Born Martha Gloria Goldsztern, the Argentine vocalist is equally mesmerizing interpreting traditional Yiddish songs, tangos in Spanish and Yiddish, and jazz and pop material. Her background includes numerous appearances as a dramatic actress on stage, screen, and television in Argentina since the mid-seventies. Together, Divina Gloria and Gustavo Bulgach are sure to ignite the Skirball stage. The outdoor setting will allow room for spontaneous dancing by audience members.

Now to history. The roots of Yiddish tango extend from Argentina to Western and Eastern European centers, and New York. Researcher Lloica Czackis traces its path in articles published in the Jewish Quarterly (2004) and European Judaism (2009). In her opening to the former article, she comments that tango music and Jewish folk music share the prominence of the violin as well as an indefinable sense of yearning. The Argentine tango, born in the brothels of Buenos Aires in the first decade of the 20th century, emerged at a time when the Jewish population of Argentina was beginning to swell. The East European Jews fleeing the brutal Russian pogroms of the 1880s initially resettled in North America but before the end of the century Argentina became an equally attractive destination. Thus, whereas in the 1880s there were about 1500 Jews in the entire country, by the 1920s a thriving Jewish population of mainly Ashkenazi origin had reached 200,000 in Buenos Aires alone. The Jewish community of Buenos Aires boasted a rich cultural life mainly conducted in Yiddish. But this was no ghetto. Jewish immigrants also learned Spanish and interacted in matters of business and culture with the outer society. After the tango gained status from its enthusiastic reception in Paris, Jewish musicians began playing in tango orchestras. When, thanks to the interpretive talents of Carlos Gardel, the tango became a form of passionate vocal expression, Jewish lyricists penned tangos with Spanish lyrics.

The next step was the composition and performance of tangos in Yiddish. In Eastern Europe, where tangos were already performed in Polish and Russian due to the success of the genre in Paris, Yiddish theater troupes composed their own tangos in addition to adopting the Argentine Yiddish tangos. By the 1930s, Yiddish Theater companies from both Buenos Aires and Eastern Europe were touring to New York, performing tangos and other genres to great acclaim. Some of the most popular East European tangos Czackis cites are from the Ararat Yiddish revue company of Lodz: Ikh ganve in der nakht (“I steal at night”) and Tsi darf es azoy zain? (“Must I be this way?”). Touring companies from New York, Eastern Europe, and Buenos Aires cross-pollinated creatively until the outbreak of the Second World War.

The tango has always had its dimension of emotional darkness, but the era of the Holocaust was its darkest chapter. Jewish musicians and lyricists living in Nazi-imposed ghettos in Vilna, Kovno, Lodz, Bialystok and other urban centers composed, among other songs of resistance, tangos bitterly decrying the conditions under which they struggled to survive. This also occurred in concentration camps. Most of these compositions were lost, but Shmerke Kaczerginsky collected fraction of them was and in 1948 published Lieder fun di getos und lagern (Songs from the Ghettos and Concentration Camps). More macabre still, it is documented that Nazi officers regularly ordered concentration camp orchestras, the lagernkapellen, to play tangos to accompany the marching of prisoners to their deaths. This nightmarish scenario was immortalized in the poem Todestango (Tango of Death) published by Paul Antschel in 1947.

It is amusing to hear the Yiddish tangos that emerged from Jewish communities that flourished in Buenos Aires, Europe and New York through the 1930s but also it is necessary–and I don’t know if Thursday’s performance will represent it—to acknowledge tangos that grew in the desert of despair brought on by the Holocaust. In either case, Yiddish tangos are no joke.

The Yiddish Tango Club performance officially starts at 8:00pm on Thursday, August 21 at the Skirball Cultural Center located at 2701 Sepulveda Blvd. (near Mulholland Drive exit), Los Angeles 90049. The event is free. Doors open at 7:00pm. Apparently Gustavo Bulgach will be informally sharing vintage Yiddish tango recordings between 7:00pm and 8:00pm.

Audrey Coleman-Macheret is a writer, educator, and ethnomusicologist who explores traditional and world music performed in Southern California and beyond.