Album Release: Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations

September 14th, 2010 | admin | No Comments | Categories: Black Sabbath, Past Events

  • The Idelsohn Society is thrilled to announce that our latest album, Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black-Jewish Relations, will be released on September 14. Hear Johnny Mathis croon Yom Kippur songs and the Temptations groove out on “Fiddler on the Roof”. Also featuring Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, and others, Black Sabbath explores the myriad ways that Jews and African-Americans have coalesced and clashed, struggled against each other and struggled alongside each other. This is the first attempt to gather the U.S. history of Black-Jewish relations into a selective pop musical guide. The historical, political, spiritual, economic, and cultural connections between African-Americans and Jewish-Americans have long been a reliable subject of rigorous attention. Books and articles focusing on the musical landscapes shared by Blacks and Jews have been equally numerous, indeed most general histories of American Popular Music even turn on the synergies of Black-Jewish creativity, influence, and exchange, be it Tin Pan Alley, Klezmer, the Yiddish Theater, Jazz, or R&B. Yet for all this attention there has yet to be a one-stop musical source of evidence and exploration, a single CD release that succinctly and selectively gathers together the key songs that speak to the vibrant and often dazzling musical back-and-forth between the two communities. This collection moves from early Black performers like Slim Galliard singing about bagels and matzoh balls and Cab Calloway mixing Yiddish into his hepcat dictionary of jive to Sonny Berman making 40s bebop he called ”Beautiful Jewish Music,” Johnny Mathis singing “Kol Nidre,” and Aretha Franklin doing 60s take on “Swanee.” Indeed, while much scholarly and media ink has been devoted to the Jewish attraction to Black music, this anthology—while surely demonstrating that—will also focus on demonstrating the long history of African-American interest in Jewish musical practice, performance, and composition. The album will be accompanied by an exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, opening on August 26. Stay tuned for more details!


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