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Posts Tagged ‘Klezmer’

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I am putting the finishing touches on the work for my upcoming show, Social Distancing, that opens June 5 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. In addition to the new works, I am putting together a small group of what I would call vintage work, early paintings from the 1990’s and a couple from the early 2000’s. Most of these haven’t been shown in over twenty years, if they have even been shown at all. I chose this time to share these pieces because I felt they fit well with the theme of this show, which is the isolation brought on by the covid-19 crisis.

The piece at the top is one that I am still trying to decide if it will be part of the show. It’s called Dance of Joy from 1996. It has been hanging in my studios for over twenty years now, from my first rustic studio that is in the process of being absorbed into the forest floor to my current more spacious and well appointed digs.

You wouldn’t think that you would include a piece called Dance of Joy in a show devoted to social distancing but I think you have to include the more hopeful and happy aspects, as well. After all, those moments still exist for most of us even in this state of suspended animation in which we now exist. The things that brought me joy before this still bring me joy now and almost all of them don’t depend on any changes in my form of isolation.

But beyond that aspect, I found an interpretation in the painting that I am sure wasn’t intended when it was first painted. I think at that time I saw the trees as dancers celebrating the rise of the red sun in a bacchanalian manner. But looking at this piece yesterday, I saw it an the dance of joy when we finally overcome the virus, that time when we find a way to safely control and manage, if not eradicate, it. I saw the red disc not as a sun or a moon on the rise but as the virus on the decline.

That will bring a time for dances of joy, a time to celebrate those times of shared communal enjoyment.

Until that time, we must be patient and careful in order to contain the damages and the deaths caused by this virus. But we can still do our dances of joy until we experience that real bacchanal that will hopefully come sooner than later.

For this Sunday morning’s musical selection, I am turning to the world of Klezmer music and the acclaimed clarinetist Giora Feidman.  Feidman is an Argentine born Israeli who is considered the King of Klezmer.  He was chosen by Steven Spielberg to perform the clarinet solos for his film Schindler’s List. The song I have chosen is titled, The Dance of Joy. But you knew that, right?

I love the infectious ( bad choice of word) energy of klezmer and this song has it at its highest level. I can see the trees in this painting moving wildly to this music. So, give a listen and try to find some moments of joy today, something that makes you do your own dance of joy. Have a good day.

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I’ve played this song, Must Be Santa from Bob Dylan, a couple of times over the past decade. It’s a great song, a polka with a klezmer feel that takes Dylan back his Jewish roots and in the the entertaining video you get the bonus of seeing Dylan dance. Good fun for the day before Christmas.

The last time I ran this song I included a group of photos of Santa that were less than jovial and maybe a little menacing. Creepy Clauses. While looking for an photo or two to accompany that post, I browsed through masses of images of Santas from the past and was amazed how many of them crossed that line into outright creepiness. It made me believe that Santa is just about on par with clowns in Creep Factor. You might see a rogue clown in the woods but Santa is, simply put, a bearded home intruder and flamboyant dresser who crawls down your chimney in the dark of night.

He knows when you are sleeping, for god’s sake!

When I was kid I had time going to sleep on Christmas Eve because of the excitement and anticipation that Santa was on his way. Now, after looking at those photos of Psycho Santas, I won’t be able sleep for fear that he actually might be on his way!

For that first post with the borderline Santas, I picked a few that were pretty strange but there were plenty more of them out there, some which just made me a little queasy. I have a feeling that many of them are also in sort of police registry somewhere.

I thought I would include a fresh batch of Kreepy Kringles this year. I kept the one from the original, at the top here, because he just weirds me out on multiple levels.

Anyway, enjoy the song and have a good holiday. And don’t worry about the weird old man hovering around your home tomorrow night…

 

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I was looking online for some music to feature today and my ear turned toward klezmer music, the traditional music of the Jews of eastern Europe.  Think of  Fiddler on the Roof, with lively music that features the fiddle and clarinet.  As I was looking I came across a clip from a film I had not seen or heard of,  for that matter.  The clip featured a group of eastern European Jews playing their klezmer versus a group of Gypsies playing their similar, but slightly coarser, music in a sort of musical face-off.

The film was a French film from 1998 from Romanian director Radu Mihaileanu called Train de Vie which translates to Train of Life.  The story takes place in a small Jewish village in eatern Europe that has a local resident return from a neighboring village where the Nazis have entered and taken over, sending the residents away on trains to the camps.  He describes the horrors but nobody takes him seriously for he is , unfortunately, the village idiot.  But the rabbi sees that he is telling the truth and a plot is formed where they would procure a train and have local residents pose as Nazis to herd the townspeople on to the trains.  The trains would not go to the concentration camps, however.  They would head for Palestine.

It has the feel, from what I read, of a Life is Beautiful, the Roberto Benigni film about the Holocaust that had comic elements concerning a tragic event in history.  A delicate line to tread.

Whatever the case, it looks interesting.  I’ll have to try to find this film soon.

Here’s the clip with the klezmer and  gypsy players–

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