• SPOTLIGHTS

    Ash Grove Benefit Header

    DAVE ALVIN & PHIL ALVIN

    LEN CHANDLER

    GET LIT PLAYERS

    BERNIE PEARL BLUES BAND
    featuring Barbara Morrison

    NEW ASH GROVE PLAYERS
    featuring CLAUDIA LENNEAR and SS Jones

    Ash Grove Benefit Footer

    For more info and tickets, click here!

    Read more: Ash Grove 2015 Benefit Concert


    Levitt Pavilion Pasadena Weekly Back Cover Ad

    Read more: Levitt Pavilion


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    May-June 2015

    PLAYING FOR TIPS

    By Dennis Roger Reed

    Tip JarSome professional musicians play their entire career without ever performing for tips. I am not one of those. I have juggled my “music career” between the bread and butter gigs, which often include playing for tips, with those more prestigious gigs doing clubs, festivals and concerts. I love doing clubs, festivals and concerts, but in Southern California most folk/roots musicians cannot make a decent living just performing at just these type of venues.  

    I’ve done clubs, festivals and concerts. These rarely include tip jars. You are (in theory, at least) being paid to perform, and having a tip jar would be rude at best. Many casual gigs are not tip jar gigs, either. Corporate events; community fairs; backyard barbeques; benefits; and other similar gigs also would eschew the lowly tip jar.  

    Read more: PLAYING FOR TIPS

    PASSINGS

    TRIPLE CROWN: A LONG STRANGE WEEK FOR FOLK MUSIC

    RIP: WILL HOLT (APRIL 30, 1929 – MAY 31, 2015), 
    JEAN RITCHIE (DECEMBER 8, 1922 – JUNE 1, 2015), 
    AND RONNIE GILBERT (SEPTEMBER 7, 1926 – JUNE 6, 2015)

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Will Holt

    Jean Ritchie Ronnie Gilbert

    American Pharoah wasn’t the only Triple Crown winner last Saturday, June 6, D-Day. God took home the Belmont when he crowned the Weavers Ronnie Gilbert and gave her an angel’s wings; she already had an angel’s voice. What a long strange week it has been.

    The gods of folk music, as if in a conspiracy of malevolent intent, have robbed us of three of our most significant and distinctive voices—like a destruction myth parody of Genesis: In the beginning God took home the songwriter and popular folk musician Will Holt, who wrote Lemon Tree; and on the 2nd day God took home the singing family of the Cumberlands’ Jean Ritchie, who wrote Black Waters and The L & N Don’t Stop Here Anymore; and even on the 7th day God did not rest—He sent his henchmen to take the gorgeous alto of The Weavers, Ronnie Gilbert, whose clarion voice soared high above Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes and Fred Hellerman—raising them to the skies.

    Read more: TRIPLE CROWN: A LONG STRANGE WEEK FOR FOLK MUSIC


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: YOU’RE HOME NOW

    ARTIST: RICHARD BERMAN

    LABEL: ARIES RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: 2014

    By Jackie Morris

    Youre home now  richard bermanRichard Berman is one of the great masters of the story-song. And his new seventh album, You’re Home Now, just might be his best work yet. This is no small compliment...as decades of critical acclaim, multiple awards, and Folk DJ “favorite” lists can attest to. Poetic yet always relatable – intimate, thought-provoking, and entertaining – his songs draw you in with lovely, haunting melodies and hold you with beautifully understated feeling.

    Read more: RICHARD BERMAN - YOU’RE HOME NOW


    TITLE: THE NE’ER DUWELS

    ARTIST: THE NE’ER DUWELS

    LABEL: SELF

    RELEASE DATE: JUNE, 2015

    By Mark Dresser

    Neer DuwelsThere are times when travelers on different paths meet at a crossroads and discover they have been brought together for a purpose. Connections are forged because each knows the road ahead is right and true. Such is the case with the band the Ne’er Duwels: four accomplished musicians who have joined together to create a solid recording.

    Ken O’ Malley from Dublin, Ireland, is the lead singer of the band. Ken has entertained audiences for over 30 years, and is one of the most well-known and beloved Irish folk singers working today. His rich voice and skillful guitar work are fueled by deep passion for his people and their history. Ken pours his soul into every word he sings, every measure he plays, and the music of the Ne’er Duwels laughs, breathes, and aches with his dedication.

    Read more: THE NE’ER DUWELS


    BLOG

    JUNE 26TH, 2015

    Summer is upon us and with that comes all the free concerts that are presented in the Los Angeles area....The Skirball Cultural Center, Grand Performances, Culver City Summer Concerts to name a few. 

    Check the FolkWorks calendar on our website to mark your calendars.

    Also, note that we send out a listing of what is up for the following week every Thursday when you sign up for  our Yahoo Group.

    And, of course, we keep up to date with information on our Facebook page and group as well as our Twitter feed.

    FolkWorks is supported by folks like you, so we urge you to become a member.

    Here are all the important links:

    FolkWorks Calendar

    FolkWorks Yahoo Group

    FolkWorks Facebook Page

    FolkWorks Twitter Feed

    FolkWorks member signup

    Read more: Blog Entry JUNE 26TH, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 6/29/15


    fwpick

    8:00pm LAURENCE JUBER AND GUITAR NOIR

    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.


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 6/29/15

    Ongoing Music


    7:30pm BROMBIES BLUEGRASS every Monday

    Viva Cantina

    900 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91506

    818-515-4444


    7:30pm KULAK'S WOODSHED OPEN MIC (SIGNUP AT 7:00PM) every Monday

    Kulak's Woodshed

    5230-1/2 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91607-4934

    818-766-9913


    8:00pm - 9:00pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER IRISH CéILí DANCE every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City, CA

    818-760-8322


    9:00pm - 11:00pm CELTIC ARTS CENTER IRISH MUSIC SESSION every Monday

    Celtic Arts Center @ The Mayflower Club

    4843 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City, CA

    818-760-8322


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.