Thursday, May 17, 2007

*Two* CD release parties!

In case you're wondering why, despite having decided to blog from the office, I'm still not getting to bed at a decent hour . . .

Well, first, there was The Great Last-Minute Mother's Day 2007 Blogger Bash. :)

Then, there were these:

From: Gili Houpt To:
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 12:19 PM
Subject: [NYCJewishMusic] Return of the Central Park Kumsitz this Sunday

. . .

------- MONDAY, MAY 14
8PM Pharaoh's Daughter Record Release Party, their biggest NYC concert ever, at the Highline Ballroom, 431 W 16th St between 9th & 10th Ave. Cost: $25 (Free CD with ticket purchase). Read my review of the new album below. Info & tickets: 212-414-5994.

. . .

------- TUESDAY, MAY 15
6:15-9:30 PM Yom Yerushalayim Community Wide Celebration at Lincoln Square Synagogue. Pre-register for BBQ by May 9: Adults $18, Children $12; at the door: Adults $20, Children $15. Free admission afterwards for Tefillah Chagigit (Mincha/Maariv) at 7:50PM with Multi Media Presentation, followed by Musical Kumzitz with Community Chazzanim. At Lincoln Square Synagogue, 200 Amsterdam Ave, at 69 St. Info: 212-874-6100

. . .

------- WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
7:30PM Sarah Aroeste Band - CD release concert. Also featuring The Hebrew Mamita, Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, Scott Kettner's Maracatu, Dj Handler. At the Knitting Factory's Main Space, 74 Leonard St. Admission: $15. Info: 212.219.3132 or

I strongly recommend that lovers of Jewish music who live within commuting distance of New York City go here and subscribe to Gili Houpt’s NYCJewishMusic group. I’ve heard about numerous concerts through Gili's e-mails.

No wonder I’m so tired—I’d rather party hearty than sleep! :)

I first heard Pharaoh's Daughter at a Jewzapalooza Concert (about which I wrote here). It took almost a year and a half for the coin to drop—it finally occurred to me, after this past Monday's concert, that the band's name is based on a midrash saying that the name of the daughter of Pharaoh who rescued and raised Moshe/Moses was Bitya, from the Hebrew Batya, meaning “daughter of G-d.” The name of the bandleader is Basya Schechter, Basya being the Ashkenazi version of Batya. (Well, duh, Shira, it certainly took you long enough.)

The band has a gorgeous, “world-music” sound. The musicians (regulars and guests) include European, Japanese and African stringed-instrument players, not to mention Israeli back-up singers who’ve had to learn to sing using Ashkenazi pronunciation (with half the accents on the wrong syl-lab-les :) ). For this particular concert (and CD), the focus was on z’mirot (Jewish Sabbath songs usually song around the dining table). Beautiful!

Sarah Aroeste and her band specialize in singing and playing contemporary arrangements of traditional Ladino music. And a delightful job they do, too!

It turns out that the Sarah Aroeste concert was sponsored by Makor, currently in the moving process. They’ll be sponsoring numerous other concerts in the downtown area until their new location is renovated and ready for move-in. Keep an eye on their website for further news.

Opening for Sarah Aroeste and her band were Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars—unbelievable!—accompanied, for part of their set, by Scott Kettner's Maracatú New York Brazilian percussion group, which had a most infectious sound. In addition, Vanessa Hidary, the Hebrew Mamita, was present to present some of her poems, all of which were quite good, though some were X-rated. DJ Handler was on hand, as well, furnishing some mighty fine recorded music before, between, and after the live-music sets. The Punster and I actually got our best dancing in after the show, when there was room on the floor for some real moves. :)

All in all, it’s been a most enjoyable week. Plenty of conversation, good food, and dancing à la Fred Astaire, though I daresay that he did a much better job of dancing with a cane than I’ll ever do. :)


------- SUNDAY, MAY 20
5:30-7:30pm this season's first musical kumsitz in Central Park! Enter the park from Central Park West at W96 St and turn right (or at W93 and turn left), and look for us between CPW and the Park Drive. Bring along any musical instruments and blankets to sit on (and if you want, some kosher snacks or drinks to share). If you have any questions send me an email ( or just reply to this message), or call me on Sunday if it looks like rain to find out if we're still on: 646-706-3076

If the weather is nice and the kumsitz doesn’t get cancelled, maybe we’ll see some of you this Sunday in Central Park.


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