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The Israel Beat blog is a place for poetry submission, concert announcemnets, upcoming shows and musings on Jewish music. The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast brings you live in-studio performances with up and coming Israeli musicians as well as interviews with the stars of the Jewish music world. Plus your music requests and the free CD give-away air live on the show. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. The Beat with Ben Bresky broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For more info email email@example.com.
Don McLean, famous for his song American Pie has a song called Dreidel. It doesn't have much to do with Chanukah. The chorus goes "I feel like a spinning top or a dreidel."
When my friend Binyamin from the radio station heard it, he told me the connection is that Don McLean lived on a kibbutz in Israel. He said he met a journalist who had met Don McLean.
So I went on the internet and spent a long time both on Google and on Dogpile looking it up, both in Hebrew and in English. I found very little except for these two excerpts from the official Don McLean web site.
"Don McLean played his first professional gig in 1962 at an Israeli coffee house in Manhattan."
Fans interview Don McLean:
Janet: "I love your song 'Sea Man'. I would love to know where you got the idea from."
Don: "The song is actually a true story of a man who lived by the sea in Heifer, Israel. It’s all true and everything in the song is what he told me about his life. He even lives in a house shaped like a fish."
So maybe one day I will interview this journalist or I will interview Don McLean and learn more. Until then, enjoy this video clip of Don McLean singing Dreidel.
A poor husband and wife want nothing more but to have a nice Sukkot holiday with the traditional holy guests, or Ushpizin in Hebrew, so they can show their hospitality just like Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. What they get instead are escaped convicts.
Ushpizin mixes light drama and light comedy. The movie was filmed on location in Jerusalem and stars real life husband and wife Shuli and Michal Bat-Sheva Rand who live in Jerusalem.
There are strong themes of religious versus secular Israelis but in general, this is an enjoyable movie with many humorous scenes. In the end, which is happy, the religious are still religious and the secular are still secular and that's depicted as OK.
I saw this in the theater in Jerusalem and the audience laughed out loud during several scenes. The wife's reacting to the surprise donation of a large sum of money is charming as well as when the husband takes the escaped convicts to the yeshiva with him. The message of the movie is one of faith and the power of prayer. It seems to be enjoyed by a broad audience. The film won the 2004 Israeli Film Academy best actor award.
Here's an interview I did with Adi Ran, the singer who's music is featuredfeatued on the Ushpizin soundtrack with photos.
Here's a clip from the movie.
Here's the music video from Ata Kadosh by Adi Ran with clips from the movie.
Aaron Dugan, Matisyahu's guitarist is on a small tour here in Israel. At his show last night in Jerusalem, he brought along Matisyahu as a surprisesuprise guest. Somehow, without any advertising, word got around. An hour before the show, the place was already packed, with as many people outside the small club as inside.
The Grammy nominated, Billboard chart topping Jewish singer performed music from Shattered, his new upcoming short album as well as hits like Jerusalem and King Without a Crown.
I got some photos, videos an interview with Aaron Dugan, who has his own unique jazz style. They two met at the New School, an elite jazz and music college in New York. Another fellow student and friend of theirs was Israeli jazz musician Daniel Zamir.
The scene outside Avram, a new club next to the shuk on Jaffa street was like a festival. I saw Aaron Razel, Yerachmiel Zeigler and dozens of other local musicians hanging around outside. One guy said he has just come from kaparot and still had some stains on his pants to prove it.
Stay tuned for more audio and video from the scene. In the meantime, check out Aaron Dugan's web site or catch him Thursday after Yom Kippur at Levontin 7 in Tel Aviv. Also, check out my old interview with Matisyahu here.
On Yom Kippur we read from the Talmud tractate Yoma, the section dealing with Yom Kippur in the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Chapter 3 mentions Hogros ben Levi, one of the Levites in charge of music in the Holy Temple:
"Hogros b. Levi - We have learned in a Boraitha: When he had to render his voice melodious, he placed his thumb in his mouth, and the index in his mustache. When all his fellow-priests heard his voice, they bent to the ground (from ecstasy)." Other translations state that he put his thumb under his tongue to create a most beautiful melody.
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