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Monday, March 26, 2007

Too Old for Carlebach?

I had a fun time playing a gig at the local retirement home (how the mighty have fallen!), playing acoustic guitar with my clarinet player. I'd say the average age of the audience was close to 90.

We played a set of Klezmer tunes straight out of his song book, and I'm happy to report that my sight-reading skills are improving (well, we're just talking chords here). They seemed OK with the Klez stuff (one guy actually requested a few tunes by Dave Tarras).

Then we thought we'd try to get in some Passover stuff, so I sang "Dayenu" (went over well). Then I did "Adir Hu", which was less well received. Actually I saw one old lady wave her hand in front of her face, in what was, I believe, the universal "Feh" sign.

Desperately struggling for a "hit", we played a few Carlebach songs. They didn't know them. It gradually dawned on me that Shlomo Carlebach, who's been dead for more than 10 years, was too new for these guys!

The big hit of the afternoon? "Hava Nagilah." That would have gotten us a standing ovation. That is, if any of them could stand.

10 comments:

Miriam L said...

Maybe they would have liked to hear some Sinatra. ;)

PsychoToddler said...

I do a pretty impression of Joe Piscopo doing Sinatra.

PsychoToddler said...

I meant "pretty good".

Robbie said...

Now I'm picturing you as a pretty Joe Piscopo.

PsychoToddler said...

My brudda pictured me as a pretty Joe Piscopo. ONCE.

Shifra said...

When I was a teenager we used to do Hava Nagila at the old folks home, it was a hit every time!
Follow it up with Hine Ma Tov and you're golden!

PS as I recall the average age at your Shlock Rock show in queens was way up there as well....

RaggedyMom said...

When I brought my Sunday Hebrew school students to one of the local nursing homes for some Pesach singing a couple of years back, the "Feh" expression accounted for about 80% of the reaction we got. At least they liked my red hair, which is always a hit with the senior crowd.

Shifra - I think that the front section of the Queens show was up there in the 50-60++ range, but in the tough, edgy back of the room, we were definitely holding steady at 20-30. Not to mention the babies. AND we had Shira Salamone's rockin' dancing. So next time, get there a few minutes late and be cool.

Shmiel said...

AK's love old Yiddish theater, Oyfn priptchuk, papirossn,Rozhinkes mit mandlen etc.... the more sacharrine the better...kinda like seder wine....Chag Kasher V'Sameach

outofAMMO said...

Abba, you have a brother?

PsychoToddler said...

I think if you factor in the toddlers, the average age of the audience comes down considerably.

Shmiel: Fiddler does well.