Thursday, November 06, 2008

Levantine folk, Cantorial music and surf rock

I never knew that surf rock legend Tarantino favourite Dick Dale is Lebanese-American, or that his classic "Misirlou" is basically a Greek/Middle Eastern rembetika/folk song about relationships across ethno-religious lines. Nor did I know that the great Harry Smith recorded a version of it by the Lower East Side rabbi, Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia (grandfather of the fascinating Lionel Ziprin). Nor did I know anything about the Yiddish version by radio crooner Seymour Rexite and his wife Mirim Kressyn. Nor did I know that the Klezmer Conservatory Band (including Don Byron) and Pete Seeger both did versions.

Read about and listen to some of these here and here.

Previous: Afro-Semitic, Jewish vinyl culture, Persia/Al-Andalus, Music for Maniacs/Jewish exotica, Arab musics, Baghdadi and Armenian shellac/Moe Asch

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