• Concert Banner 2

    Donna Lynn Caskey

    April 26th - 3:00pm

    (Doors open 2:30pm)

    Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club 

    1210 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

    with Tracy Newman – MC - 'Banjo Gal' Donna Lynn Caskey

    - Rowan Storm - Tom & Patrick Sauber - Joe Fontenot

    Get your tickets today. Click here!

    Click below more information and YouTube Videos
    of all the artists who will be performing at the FolkWorks Benefit Concert

    Read more: 2015 Benefit Concert


    The Littlest Birds

    THE LITTLEST BIRDS

    Cello and Banjo duet with a unique sound blending elements of bluegrass, folk and old-time

    April 10th - 8:00pm - House Concert in Van Nuys

    Tickets

    General Admission: $15

    Get your tickets today: Littlest Birds Concert

    By Mail: FolkWorks
    PO Box 55051 Sherman Oaks, CA 91413 

    Produced in conjunction with Noble House Concerts

    Read more: THE LITTLEST BIRDS


    SPOTLIGHT

    BalkanFest 2015

    Read more: BALKANFEST 2015


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL

    ARTIST: SUSIE GLAZE & THE HILONESOME BAND

    LABEL: HILONESOME MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: MARCH 2015

    By Jackie Morris

    notthatkindofgirlcoverarthi-resAfter three critically acclaimed CDs in the past 5 years, it is not surprising that Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band have created yet another memorable album. But Not That Kind of Girl is more than just “another.” It is, I believe, their best album yet...in part because this group keeps pushing their own boundaries...challenging themselves in terms of musical diversity, original songs and fresh interpretations.

    Read more: SUSIE GLAZE - NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL


    TITLE: DAN GELLERT DVD & CD SET

    ARTIST: DAN GELLERT

    LABEL: THE OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2015

    By Steve Goldfield

    Dan Gellert DVD-CD coverSome of Dan Gellert's early recordings seemed to have trouble capturing his unique sound and approach to old-time music. The late Ray Alden told me that he had to use two microphones, one in front and one behind Dan's banjo, to do it. This new recording from David Bragger's Old-Time Tiki Parlour succeeds on multiple levels: it has excellent sound and also comes on both a DVD where you can watch Dan play banjo and fiddle and sing and an audio CD of the same material. David told me that everyone associated in any way with its production is an old-time musician. 

    Read more: DAN GELLERT DVD & CD SET


    TITLE: LONG BEFORE LIGHT

    ARTIST: THE ONLIES

    LABEL: NONE

    RELEASE DATE: APRIL 4, 2015

    By Anya Sturm

    long before lightLong Before Light is the third CD by the Onlies, a three-piece band from Seattle. Sami Braman, Riley Calcagno, and Leo Shannon are still juniors in high school, but have played together for years, so they are a solid band. Together, they have been to many fiddle camps including Valley of the Moon, Sierra Fiddle Camp, Fiddle tunes, Big Sur Fiddle Camp, and Mount Shasta Fiddle Camp and the influence of those camps shows. It is not uncommon to walk around these camps at any time of day or night and hear people jamming and that CD reflects the same laid-black groove that develops from playing in those jams.

    Read more: THE ONLIES: LONG BEFORE LIGHT


    TITLE: TOMORROW IS MY TURN

    ARTIST: RHIANNON GIDDENS

    LABEL: NONESUCH

    RELEASE DATE: 2015

    By Steve Goldfield

    giddens-tomorrow-is-my-turnIn case you were wondering whether Rhiannon Giddens has one of the great singing voices of our time, her new solo CD will answer that question. If you had not been wondering, it means that you probably have not heard her sing. T-Bone Burnett, who produced this collection of eleven songs, places her in a musical geneology ranging through Marian AndersonOdettaMahalia Jackson, and Rosetta Tharpe

    Read more: RHIANNON GIDDENS: TOMORROW IS MY TURN


    BLOG

    MARCH 26TH, 2015

    Jerry Silverman (3/26/1931) is an American folksinger, guitar teacher and author of music books. He has had over 200 books published, which have sold in the millions, including folk song collections, anthologies and method books for the guitar, banjo and fiddle. He has taught guitar to hundreds of students. He is currently a folk performer and lecturer at schools, universities and concert halls in the U.S. and abroad. ... [wikipedia]

    Read more: Blog Entry MARCH 26TH, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 3/27/15


    fwpick

    7:30pm HAPA

    Hawaiian

    Broad Stage

    1310 11th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401-2000

    310-434-3200


    fwpick

    7:30pm HOLLY NEAR

    Neighborhood Church

    301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103

    626-449-3470


    8:00pm SALTY SUITES / GENNA & JESSE

    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.


    fwpick

    8:00pm CHRISTINE LAVIN

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 3/27/15

    Ongoing Music


    7:00pm - 10:00pm BELL ARTS SONG CIRCLE (SONGMAKERS) fourth Friday

    Bell Arts Factory

    432 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura, CA 93001


    8:00pm KATTYWOMPUS CONCERT / JAM every Friday

    Dollmakers Kattywompus

    412 S. Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

    626-357-1091


    8:00pm - 11:00pm PLOUGHBOYS every Friday

    Tam O' Shanter (Ale & Sandwich Bar Lounge)

    2980 Los Feliz Bl, Los Feliz, CA 90039

    323-664-0228


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    March-April 2015

    TAKING THE CONFUSION OUT OF FUSION

    By Audrey Coleman

    Island-Breeze-Cover-Art-JPEG-300x267Decades ago I used to have a beef about the rock-style bass beat too often introduced into folk music performance. Living in Montréal, where traditional folk music groups abounded, I noticed a trend that infuriated me. A group that had a warm, vibrant acoustic sound evoking rural French-Canadian roots would acquire a trap set. Presto! Their sound would become more contemporary. Now the musical ensemble could proudly bid for attention alongside rock groups. I assumed these groups were aiming to expand their audience. That’s what the word fusion meant to me. I was vaguely familiar with the term as a reference to the combination of disparate musical elements. If the above was an example of fusion, then I hated fusion.

    Read more

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.