Music

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Bette Midler owns her own voice

October 31, 1989

US Court of Appeals says Bette Midler's voice is distinctive.

Naomi Weisstein

Why not see what would happen if we created visionary, feminist rock?

Debbie Friedman

The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.

Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

Blame It on the Bossa Nova: Remembering Eydie Gorme

by  Stephen Benson

I’ve been listening to Eydie sing today, particularly a standout performance of a song from the 1966 musical Mame.  I dare you to listen to her sing “If He Walked Into My Life” here and not feel the expressive pull, the regret, the heartache as she hits every dramatic emotional nuance of this difficult song.  Not only is she technically right on the money, she nails it with aplomb and finish.  Listen to it, and I guarantee you’ll feel what Steve Lawrence felt about her: “I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing.  While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.” 

Topics: Television, Music

Ethel Stark is first woman to conduct at Carnegie Hall

October 22, 1947

Ethel Stark is first woman to conduct at Carnegie Hall

Bulletproof Stockings by Sefira Ross

Meet “Bulletproof Stockings” and “Yiddish Princess”

by  Shani Perlman

Today we feature female American Jewish musicians who aren’t softly crooning classic Hebrew folk songs, traditional prayers, or even hava nagila. They are not belting out Broadway tunes or love songs à la Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler. These women are rocking out to their own beat.

Mona Golabek

Reflections on the Theatre

by Jewesses With Attitude

As a special treat for our blog readers, we’re taking this Friday to do a bit of a blog round up. Our bloggers often explore areas of entertainment, and nothing gets us writing more than a good night out at the theatre. Check out these five incredibly diverse blog entries, each focusing on a different aspect of the stage.

A 22-year-old’s first TV special: "My Name is Barbra"

April 28, 1965

"No major guest stars, not even any minor ones—just me and a bunch of great songs and some wonderful musicians."

Elizabeth Swados’ play "Ten Years of Hope" opens

February 29, 2004

“As a Jew I’m supposed to do this,” Elizabeth Swados said. “It’s called a mitzvah. I think I’m buying some good Jewish time from this.”

"You Fascinating You" by Germaine Shames

The Indomitable Jewish Ballerina Who Inspired a Timeless Love Song

by  Germaine Shames

In 1944, at the height of the worst carnage the world has known, a mother in Budapest, Hungary, put her only son, then seven years old, out on the street with a pillow, a last morsel of bread, and the boy’s baptismal certificate. The mother was Jewish, the son Catholic.

Fifty years later the son, Cesare Frustaci—by that time an American citizen with a family of his own—contributed a video-taped oral history to Yale University and then sent the tape to author Germaine Shames. It told the story of his mother, ballerina Margit Wolf, who was banished from the stage by Mussolini only to inspire a timeless love song and then fade from history without a trace.

Topics: Holocaust, Music, Dance
Microphone

Lauren Interviews Lauren

by  Lauren Mayer

Singer-songwriter-humorist Lauren Mayer reflects on Hanukkah, Christmas, family, growing up a Jew in Orange County and how all this informs her own, artistic process. May you enjoy this in depth interview conducted by… herself.

What inspired you to write “Latkes, Shmatkes”?

Two years ago NPR did a program on Christmas music, and their expert was talking about how secular songs, like “Frosty The Snowman,” became classics, and then he said, “Some songs should never become classics, like this one”— and used an old recording of mine as an example. It was a novelty song I’d written and recorded years ago, “The Fruitcake That Ate New Jersey,” and when I wrote in to ask how they found it, they ended up interviewing me. I joked that now I was part of the great tradition of Jewish songwriters who create Christmas music, and I really should do a Chanukah album. Once I said it, I realized it could be a fun idea.

Mona Golabek

Making Family Stories into Art

by  Ellen K. Rothman

This weekend I was lucky enough to see two talented Jewish women make memorable art from their family stories. On Friday night, I went to Club Passim, the legendary folk venue in Harvard Square, to hear one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Lucy Kaplansky. Her set mixed old favorites with songs from her new CD, “Reunion.” The title track tells the story of two family reunions. The first in 1971, when she was 11, began at her grandmother’s bakery and continued at a fancy restaurant. The second “40 years on,” moved her to write “Here we are together/our fathers gone/ just daughters and sons.”

Topics: Holocaust, Music

Birth of “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” author Lillian Roth

December 13, 1910

In an era of celebrity tell-all’s and daily website revelations of almost anyone’s personal life, it’s hard to imagine the impact of the first public confession of a famous figure with a drinking p

Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

December 9, 1972

Australian-born singer Helen Reddy was searching for songs that “reflected the positive sense of self that I felt I’d gained from the women’s movement,” but she couldn’t find any.

Holy Hooligans?

by  Gabrielle Orcha

After being held in jail for seven months, this past Friday three members of the politically charged, Russian punk rock girl band Pussy Riot were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism motivated by religioius hatred."

Olympic Rings Formation

Dear Aly: I could nevah hava (nagila) 'nuff of you!

by  Gabrielle Orcha

Dear Aly,

Though you’re ten years my junior, you inspire me. At five feet two inches, you are strong—in body and spirit; you are open and kind; you are level-headed and take things as they come.

Topics: Music, Athletes, Olympics
"More Precious Than Pearls: A Prayer for the Women of Valor in Our Lives"

Rereading Eishet Chayil for Mother's Day with Sinai Live's "More Precious Than Pearls"

by  Leah Berkenwald

Mother's Day always makes me wonder: How do we convey the love, respect and gratitude we feel for the women in our lives – and for the fortitude and accomplishments of women everywhere?

The Burlesque Poetess: A Jewess with "Artitude"

by  Leah Berkenwald

Jojo Lazar is a Boston-based multimedia visual and performance artist with a dizzying portfolio of projects. She puts her MFA in Poetry and love of vaudeville to work performing as “The Burlesque Poetess.” She plays the ukulele in the steam-crunk band, “Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys,” and with Meff in “The Tiny Instrument Revue” and in “WHY ARE THOSE GIRLS SO LOUD it’s ‘cos we’re jewish,” with fellow Jewish writer/performer Amy Macabre.

"The Songs of Joy," by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Faith is packing your timbrel

by  Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez

Last Pesach, I heard a sermon given in which my friend and rabbi used the phrase “faith is packing your timbrel” and I got super fixated on this concept and have found it running through my head in difficult times, a sort of mantra to reflect upon.

Topics: Passover, Music, Bible
Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”

by  Stephen Benson

One hundred and one years ago today, Sophie Tucker sang those words from “Some of These Days” onto a four minute cylinder recording device. It became her signature song, and toward the end of her career she guessed that she had sung it over 45,000 times.

Topics: Music, Comedy, Film, Theater
Debbie Friedman

The Lives They Lived: Jewish women to remember in 2011

by  Leah Berkenwald

“[Debbie Friedman] emphasized the value of every voice and the power of song to help us express ourselves and become our best selves. As she wrote for JWA's online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution: 'The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.' The woman who wrote the song that asks God to 'help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing' herself modeled for us what that looks like.”—Judith Rosenbaum.
Learn more >>

Adrienne Cooper, 1946 - 2011

Beyond her extraordinary artistic accomplishments, Adrienne was a mentor, resource, and role model to so many who have lived, or at least sojourned, in Yiddishland.

Adrienne Cooper at KlezKanada, August 19, 2008

Remembering Adrienne Cooper, mother of the Klezmer/Yiddish revival

by  Ari Davidow

Adrienne Cooper passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 65 after a long fight with cancer.

Topics: Music, Music

Are the Fountainheads my answer?

by  Leah Berkenwald

Last week after the release of Aish's terrible "Chanukah Jewish Rock of Ages" video, I asked: Where are the progressive Jewish viral videos? Are the Ein Prat Fountainheads my answer?

Topics: Hanukkah, Music
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