Newsletter : 6fax0701.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 1, 1996 V4, #117
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Former Mossad Director: International Effort Against Terrorism Should be Renewed
Former Mossad Director Shabtai Shavit said he hopes that the
terrorist attack on U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia will reinvigorate
the international cooperation against terrorism begun at the Sharm
Shavit identified Syrian President Hafez el-Assad as the principle
agent who impaired the follow-up conference to the Sharm el-Sheikh
meeting. Shavit noted it has taken considerable time for the world
to conclude that Israel is not overstating its claim that terrorism
is not a local, but an international phenomenon needing to be
combated. Any international organization for fighting terrorism,
said the former Mossad chief, needs to convene regularly and not be
based on a one-time meeting.
Itzhak Perlman & Klezmer Music
By Bernie Bernard (VOA-Washington)
On his trip to eastern Europe last year, renowned classical
violinist Itzhak Perlman rediscovered his roots when he performed
klezmer, the ancient, traditional form of Jewish music originally
played by itinerant musicians. Although he grew up hearing
klezmer music, he never had a chance to play it. Perlman finally
got together with some well-known klezmer musicians to record the
album entitled "In the Fiddler's House."
Klezmer is a soul-stirring music that can be joyous and up tempo,
or plaintive and wailing like the voices of Jewish pilgrims who
stand before the Temple Wall in Jerusalem. Klezmer is typified by
the bending of notes, similar to a style found in the synagogue.
Traditionally played on string instruments, klezmer music of the
19th century evolved to include brass and woodwinds, such as the
The klezmer style was brought to the United States by Jewish
immigrants from eastern Europe and Russia, and was especially
popular in the neighborhoods of large cities like New York. There
are now more than 100 klezmer groups in America, such as the
Klezmatics and Brave Old World, who often put a more modern spin on
the centuries-old art form.
Israeli-born Perlman began his career as a child prodigy and
has become one of the world's best known classical violinists. He
has always been one to search out unusual or off-beat pieces, and
has even been known to incorporate folk and jazz into his
repertoire. Perlman tells how, for generations, klezmer was
considered the heart and soul of Jewish communities.
"The actual meaning of the word klezmer is 'instrument of song.'
Basically, it was a bunch of groups that used to go in eastern
Europe that varied from two people, one person, five people, 10
people. They would play this wonderful music for happy occasions,
for weddings, for bar mitzvahs."
Growing up in Israel, Perlman was memorizing arias from operas at
age 3. He admits that klezmer wasn't part of his childhood.
"Not really. I heard it all over the place. It was on the radio and
I would always be very, very excited when I heard it, but it never
occurred to me to actually try and play it."
While working on a project for PBS, Perlman explains how he finally
had a chance to immerse himself in klezmer music on a trip to
"What happened was, I got a call from PBS and they said 'We would
like to do a documentary on traditional Jewish music, klezmer
music, and would you be the host, would you narrate and maybe play
a couple of minutes?' And I said, 'Well, only a couple of minutes.'
So then I tried to do it and it was so infectious that I just
When he actually played klezmer for the first time, Perlman says he
was able to immediately improvise with the soulful, passionate
music of his ancestors. It just came naturally. That was the sign.
It came naturally, it wasn't foreign to me, it was so close to
me, so I decided to go a little further. The result is, this summer
we're doing a six-concert tour with all these wonderful, wonderful
groups -- Brave Old World, the Klezmatics, Klezmer Conservatory
Band and Andy Statman. We're playing at Radio City Music Hall."
Perlman's album "In the Fiddler's House" contains performances with
all four groups. The songs have various themes, from prayers to
party and wedding tunes, dance music, poignant love ballads, and
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