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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Velvel about to be lynched!

Velvel posts a link to an entertaining thread on the Jewish Music Yahoogroup, where he criticizes one poster's opinion that Showtunes are appropriate fodder for Jewish Music, whereas Punk and Rock are not. He gets some heated responses.

Velvel, this is the same old argument about:
a) whether there actually is such a thing as Jewish Music and
b) whether said music should be influenced by Secular Music.

I obviously have my own ideas about this, but I agree that you really should pick a side and be consistent. If you think that some Secular Music is appropriate for Jewish use, then you really can't justify a position that says that other Music is inappropriate, simply because you don't like that style. And if you think that Secular Music should never influence Jewish Music, that there is something inherently Jewish about the music itself, and traif about other music, well, then I think you're wrong, but you're entitled to your opinion. I guess.

As for me, I've always found that there's something magical about putting my fingers on a guitar and having music come out. I don't really see why if I play some notes, the music is Jewish, but if I play others, it's traif. I'll leave that for greater minds than my own.


velvel said...

The point of the argument on the board has come and gone. Now I'm just fighting to be a bastard.

PsychoToddler said...

Go get 'em!!

PsychoToddler said...

Reading some of the newer comments on the board, it sounds like they need to justify their aversion to secular music by saying that they just don't like it. I think they're doing the opposite. They're artificially eliminating all other music, and in the resulting vacuum, frummy music starts to sound good.

MoChassid said...


The irony is that Velvel has finally injected some life into an otherwise ridiculous Yahoo Group. His main opponent in theis thread has been some joker called "Avrumelfan" whose purpose in life is to argue that Avraham Fried, rather than MBD, is the "King" of Jewish Music. There have probably been 1000 posts on this argument in the past year!.

The irony is that the shiny shoe music that most of the posters rave about is completely derivative of secular pop music, including, most recently, the synthetic sound of the boy bands.

PsychoToddler said...

I guess the irony is that since these people have decided not to listen to secular music, they probably aren't even aware that Shiny Shoe Music sounds exactly like 'NSync and Brittny Spears.
I have visions in my mind of music videos these guys would do when I hear their music.

MoChassid said...

go to yumimusic.com and find out.

PsychoToddler said...

Actually I think that one's pretty good. I especially like the footage of Sydney. Although there are some disturbing scenes, like the footage of a massively enlarged Yumi who looks like he's going to trample the wedding guests.
I also wish they had worked a little harder to integrate his footage into the moving backrounds, you know, like having him appear to fly in some of the aerial scenes. At one point he seemed to be dancing backwards into some oncoming traffic and I wanted to yell, "Look out!!!"
But I shouldn't talk, seeing as I'm still occasionally recognized on the street from my appearance in the Shlock Rock Videos.

MoChassid said...

If they paid more than $100 for that video it was too much.

PsychoToddler said...

If you thought CD production costs were high...
BTW, you can check out the session players staring at the sheet music. Dunno if that was shot during the actual recording session or reenacted later for the video.

MoChassid said...

There are kids in my son's high school that could do a 1000 times better on the video.

Adam Ragil said...

I'm late, but I have a comment. I agree with PT that all music is derivative, and that every bit of what we call "jewish-music" has been influenced by outsiders.

This must include Calerbach and Hasidic music and even what people call Jewish-soul music. It's all derivative, and the fact that it often sounds like peasent songs, or old military marches, or gypsy tunes is not a coincidence.

So, by all means attack the "shiny-shoe" stuff because it's bad, but don't suggest it isn't realy "Jewish."

Real Jewish music is anything Jews play and sing.

PsychoToddler said...

that's been my contention all along. Although I don't think that Barry Manilow has written any Jewish Music. I think there should be some connection to Judaism to count as Jewish, besides genetics.

Adam Ragil said...

What sort of connection?

Is "noladiti l'shalom" Jewish music? It's written by a Jew, sung by a Jew, but express a view that most orthodox jews disdain.

How do you define Jewish music? My beef is with people who sneer at the shiny shoe music as derivative, then run to a Carlbach or Karduner concert without comprehending that the music they play is derivative, too.

Don't get me wrong: Karduner is BETTER than, say the Chevra. But why is one more Jewish than the other?
Any thoughts?

PsychoToddler said...

Well, Noladti Leshalom talks about the Jewish people, so it's culturally jewish. Abanibi (which is on my radioblog) is a love song, which happens to be in hebrew. I don't consider it to be particularly Jewish. (Israeli pop isn't necessarily jewish).
I've written a discourse on this in the past. Maybe I need to reiterate it(velvel linked to it once; I'll have to find it).