As I spent Chinese New Year’s Eve in the company of a friend and watched in amazement as to how empty my part of town was, I decided to call it a night and spent a bit of time enjoying some music. This was the first result of a healthy list of music I indulged in. This was my first exposure to the Abdel Karim Ensemble. I’m looking forward to finding more albums, as they play great traditional music from Syria, Egypt, Morocco and pre-Reconquista Spain. Magnificent listening.
From the article:
There’s an argument to be made that the origins of mind-expanding folk music date back centuries before the advent of recorded music. There’s an old understanding, popular in Orthodox circles, that the Torah is, itself, one long song—a song handed down from smoked-out Mount Sinai by Moses, where the assembled masses of humanity experienced collective synesthesia, and saw the sounds of the voice of G-d.
Connect the dots: Jews are the people of The Book, and our book is a scroll of sheet music first performed at an ancient psychedelic rock concert. Bob Dylan (whose Hebrew name is Shabtai Zissel) knows it; Chronicles, Vol. One, for example, takes its name from the Hebrew Scriptures.
But there isn’t much scholarship around this heritage. Jeanette Leech’s wonderful book Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk traces a vast cosmic tree of outré acoustic music from around the world, including many examples of the surprising crossover of entheogenic religious devotional music. But it barely features a mention of a Jewish contribution to the genre. Sure, you could point to “Solomon’s Song” from C.O.B.’s 1972 album Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart. But that’s one smudged dot on a massive map.
The final chapter of And You Shall Know Us By The Trail Of Our Vinyl, a book about Jewish LPs of yesteryear, dips a few toes into the water, pointing to some examples of frum folk rock—The Stanley Miller Band’s American Simcha or The Noam Singers’ The New Dimension in Hebrew Music. But that’s where the trail goes cold, and many of these documents never made it online. Forget about the ones they didn’t even mention: The Voices Four, Shimon & Ilana, Manguinot Bashira, the Beth Sholom Folk Rock Service’s Chants for Peace. Of these, you might find a clip or two online. Maybe.
And so it seems at least one corner of this day-glo forest remains shrouded in fog. But if you’ll allow, we’d like to guide you on a hidden path toward the world of psychedelic Jewish folk music.
Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance floor. JMS have reissued Henri Texier`s first two LPs. Amir from 1976, and Varech from 1977. The cover of the latter will be familiar to anyone who`s visited the Growing Bin, since Basso has […]
What a wonderful blog they run! If you haven’t squandered all of your Christmas loot yet, Ban Ban Ton Ton have quite an impressive list of records you might want to consider adding to your collection, as well as a Mixcloud podcast to give you a sample of each.
And finally, a bit of actual Christmas music from the Greek Orthodox Church.