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The New Jewish Sound

Maya Saban.

Richard Wagner famously dismissed Jewish music as "mongrelized," a musically incoherent product assembled from many disparate influences.  But for many modern Jewish musicians, this "mongrel" character is a point of pride, the feature that allows Jewish music to absorb and reflect the musical experience of the world.  Today, artists who perform in a dizzying variety of styles claim specifically Jewish influences on their creative processes and works.

Relevant Links
Ladino!  Yehudah Mirsky, Jewish Ideas Daily. The “other” modern Jewish language, also known as Judeo-Spanish, has increasingly benefited from new waves of scholarly and cultural retrieval.
All That (Israeli) Jazz  Aryeh Tepper, Jewish Ideas Daily. Coming of age with seeming suddenness and astonishing vibrancy, Israel’s jazz scene is rightly hailed for its almost miraculous outpouring of talent. See and hear its delights.

Here is a small sample of these artists, interviewed by the Israeli media agency Leadel on the subject of why and how they've created their distinctive music out of combined traditions.  Sarah Aroeste's singing is part of a revival of Ladino, the language whose tunes spread from Spain to places as far as Argentina and Greece.  The band Jewdyssee is the creation of Maya Saban, who began singing in German and Yiddish, and Walera Goodman, a non-Jewish Russian bandleader.  And Gary Lucas, described in the New York Times as the "greatest living electric guitarist," is a man whose musical tastes run to Delta music—"both the Mississippi and the Ganges"—and embrace traditions from cantorial singing to Coltrane.       —The Editors

Sarah Aroeste


Gary Lucas

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Manny jakel on November 18, 2011 at 10:57 am (Reply)
When someone says he is an expert on a subject, I tend to believe the person. Richard Wagner is an expert on mongrelization. Who should know better what a mongrel is than someone born to a whore of the streets and a pimp father? So much for Richard Wagner.

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