Song of the Month
As the High Holidays approach, the Jewish Music Research Centre dedicates the Song of the Month to the Selihot. The materials are extracted from a presentation titled “Islands of Musical Memory: Lucena (Spain, 11th century)-Djerba and Tripoli (16th century)-Netivot and Tel Aviv (Israel, 21st century)” by Edwin Seroussi, read at the 18th ICTM Colloquium “Musical Exodus: Al-Andalus and its Jewish Diasporas” held at the Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, on July 20-23, 2008.
*In the photo above, Shofet kol ha'aretz, Spanish-Portuguese version. Source: Emanuel Aguilar and David Aharon de Sola, The Ancient Melodies of the Liturgy of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. London, 1857.
The widely known “Hebrew Melody” by Joseph Achron was composed in 1911 as a piece for violin, and as such it was performed in concerts of the “Society for Jewish Folk Music.” Later on, Achron returned to this work at least twice, creating new versions which are much less known. The version of 1928 is set for soprano and piano, with a Russian text written by Achron’s wife, Marie Rap-hoph Achron. It was intended to be performed by Nina Koschetz, the famous Russian soprano whose life intersected with major Russian composers such as Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.
"Alone I set out on the road," wrote Lermontov, the great Russian poet, in 1841. This line has been sung many times, as it came from the very popular Russian romance, "Vyhozhu odin ja na dorogu" (Alone I set out on the road). The song travelled all the way from Russia to Israel during the second Aliya, which consisted of many Russian immigrants. These immigrants, who left their homes in Europe and arrived in a desolate country in the Middle East, could feel themselves as the lonely traveler of this romantic song.
Our song for this month is I'm sorry, It’s Yom Kippur by the Brooklyn based band Schmekel (Yiddish for a small penis). The band comprises four members, Lucian Kahn (vocals and guitar), Ricky Riot (vocals and keyboard), Nogga Schwartz (bass) and Simcha Halpert-Hanson (drums). They started playing in 2010 and are a self-proclaimed ‘100% Trans Jewish band.’
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