Rehashing an old post about the Jewishness of some music -
This was my response to a thread on heavy metal which apparently made me go off like a shredder.
This may be yesterday's news, but I was deeply saddened and disappointed when I did a search for Lipa Meltzer's excellent video, "Abi Me'lebt," and discovered that it had been ostracised for not being Jewish enough, since the Zulu melody was smuggled out of South Africa by Pete Seeger during those terrible times when whites were still segregating in the USA.
Yet Ashrei Ha'Gever (basic doo-wop 1-6-4-5) is glatt, because it was composed on Tin Pan Alley by Jews who were "creating" the Harlem blacks' style?!
Everywhere in the world where we have been we have absorbed other cultures -- and we've also made an impact on local cultures. So now some aphonic shill who gets paid as a "higher authority (gag!)" is going to dictate that Jewish music is only the music that Jews absorbed 900 years ago as we made our way from the Gural into Poland and eastern Europe? Have you been in a Polish tavern lately? You'd easily recognize half of the "niggunim" -- I dunno what else to call them.
So now everyone is shocked when we've started going all pentatonic here in the States after around 200 years as guests here.
Or they talk about the "new" Mizrachi style that is emanating from Israel. LOL!! That's a hoot and a half. If you believe that we are a Levantine nation, then you have to believe that we schlepped the eastern scales and instruments across the globe and then landed them in Europe where they met and married the Gural sound. Sorta like a Jewish bluegrass of the day, if you know your ethnomusicology.
So what is Jewish music, exactly?
And why, if I compose a soca version of "Adon Olam/Lord of the Universe" and have a Carib singer do the track, is that NOT considered Jewish? Worse yet -- what happens if it takes off and becomes a hit throughout the Caribbean in time for the Catholic Carnivale? Am I worthy of being ostracised?
Then we have a real problem with Irving Berlin. Can any composer really argue with his melody lines? The guy was brilliant. Does his music make him any less of a Jew? And if so, does the fact that the majority of Xmas light companies are Jewish-owned make their contributions to Jewish philanthropies any less kosher?
Now there's a song that needs to be written...where's Bob Dylan when we really need him? ;->