• INTERVIEWS

    THE PEOPLE NEED LIGHT – DAROL ANGER AND MR. SUN

    By Annette Siegel

    Mr. SunDarol Anger is a legendary fiddler; he’s also one of those rare musicians whose career has spanned many generations. He’s living a rich full musical life; whether teaching, composing or performing it’s with a passionate heart. His new band Mr. Sun boasts multi-generational players; happily their music takes no notice of age.

    AS: What was the drive or instigation to form Mr. Sun?

    Read more: THE PEOPLE NEED LIGHT – DAROL ANGER AND MR. SUN


    THE NOCTURNE DIARIES OF ELIZA GILKYSON

    By Annette Siegel

    Eliza GilkysonEliza Gilkyson’s recent Grammy nominated The Nocturne Diaries delivers a haunting yet silky feel to the songs. Eliza’s guitar, acoustic or eclectic sets a base with steady rhythm creating a feel of yearning, crying out with the emotion packed within the lyrics. Adding various instruments that are used as a brush to color each song, with her son’s (Cisco Ryder) percussion keeping the pulse, Eliza is a Folk artist that’s not shy about looking at what’s currently happening in the world through her music.

    AS: So you’re recently back from your trip to Los Angeles for the Grammy’s… it must have been quite an honor to be nominated once again (her previous nomination was for her 2004 CD Land of Milk and Honey for Best Contemporary Folk).

    Read more: THE NOCTURNE DIARIES OF ELIZA GILKYSON


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    March-April 2015

    WHERE DID THE JAMS GO?

    LIFE AFTER THE CALIFORNIA TRADITIONAL MUSIC SOCIETY

    By Roland Sturm

    CTMSLast month, I went to an old-time jam, which seemed to be just the same crowd as at the old-time jams at the California Traditional Music Society, which closed in 2012. That made me wonder what happened to the other regular activities that used to happen at the California Traditional Music Society: The weekly bluegrass and Celtic sessions, the Scottish fiddle classes, etc. Did they disappear? Were they replaced by something new?

    Organized events are essential to keep traditional music alive and get new people involved. Anybody can go to the store and pick up a book on how to play an instrument or take lessons. But music is a social activity and practicing on your own at home is rather limiting and more often quickly leads to a dead-end. The energy and the intricacies of traditional music are not captured in sheet music, but needs to be experienced live.

    Read more

    BLOG

    February 19th, 2015

    Three Women & The Truth

    Check out the interview with Eliza Gilkyson


    2015 GRAMMY WINNERS


    Read more: Blog Entry February 19th, 2015


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 3/6/15


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    7:30pm LAURENCE JUBER

    Dana Point Community House

    24642 San Juan St., Dana Point, CA 92629

    949-842-2227 or 949-244-6656

    Presented by Lord Of The Strings Concert Series


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    7:30pm STEVE GILLETTE & CINDY MANGSEN

    Gelencser House Concerts

    Claremont, CA 91711

    909-596-1266 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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    7:30pm STEPHANIE BETTMAN & LUKE HALPIN

    Torrance Cultural Arts Center James Armstrong Theatre

    3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance, CA 90503

    310-781–7171


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    8:00pm JUDY COLLINS

    Saban Theatre

    8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211

    323-655-0111


    8:00pm CHAPPELL & DAVE HOLT/ SEVERIN BROWNE

    Kulak’s Woodshed

    5230-1/2 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91606

    818-766-9913


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    8:00pm TAIKO CENTER OF LA / BATALA LA

    Grand Annex

    434 West 6th St., San Pedro, CA 90731-2632

    310-833-6362


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    8:00pm CHERYL WHEELER

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497


    8:00pm MICHAEL MCGINNIS AND FRIENDS SOLD OUT

    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.


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    8:00pm LUCINDA WILLIAMS

    Lobero Theatre

    33 E.Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    805-963-0761

    Presented by Lobero Live


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 3/6/15

    Ongoing Music


    5:30pm - 8:30pm WESTCHESTER FIRST FRIDAYS first Friday

    Westchester Triangle

    6200 Block of West 87th St, , Los Angeles, CA


    8:00pm KATTYWOMPUS CONCERT / JAM every Friday

    Dollmakers Kattywompus

    412 S. Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

    626-357-1091


    8:00pm - 10:00pm SEVERIN BROWNE AND FRIENDS first Friday

    Kulak's Woodshed

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

    818-766-9913


    CD REVIEWS

    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


    TITLE: GREEN

    ARTIST: SABRINA & CRAIG

    LABEL: LIONESS / BRONZE MEDAL MUSIC

    RELEASE DATE: 2015

    By Jackie Morris

    Sabrina  Craig - GREENA work of passion and perfection, Sabrina & Craig’s second joint album, GREEN, wastes no time in sweeping you away with sweet melodies, dynamic rhythms, brilliant finger-style guitar, and the gorgeous harmonies that have become the duo’s trademark.

    All eleven tracks are original –written by either Sabrina Schneppat or Craig Lincoln – and they flow easily together in a refreshing variety of styles ranging from folk to old-timey, from blues to ballads, from jazzy lounge numbers to toe-tapping Americana.

    Read more: SABRINA & CRAIG - GREEN


    DYLAN DOES SINATRA HIS WAY

    TITLE: SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT

    ARTIST: BOB DYLAN

    RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 3, 2015

    LABEL: COLUMBIA RECORDS

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Dylan Shadows in the NightThe Fifties were anything but fabulous for Frank Sinatra; he was dropped by Columbia Records in 1952, his career in the doldrums. His personal life wasn’t any better. He was divorced by his wife Nancy and attempted suicide in despair due to his tumultuous relationship with his next wife, Ava Gardner. In 1955 he released In the Wee Small Hours, a new kind of concept album, and followed it with Where Are You in 1957, an even starker portrayal of a singer at the end of his rope. In 1958 he rounded out this trilogy of unfulfilled romantic longing with Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, his third album for Capitol Records. At the edge of the abyss, in retrospect they represent Sinatra at his introspective best, before he got caught up in the Chairman-of-the-Board bravado of New York, New York and My Way.

    Read more: DYLAN DOES SINATRA HIS WAY


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.