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December 2001

Folk N o t e s

The Official Newsletter of the Israel FolkStuff Society

Latest issue is also available at:
as well as together with the archives.

Singing in Sarona

I am a newcomer to the Israeli folk scene, but I feel that something wonderful took place this month at Sarona and I hope it will become a regular part of our folk calendar. A bunch of lovely people, who share a love for making and listening to folk music, got together for a relaxed and informal weekend of music and friendship. Moshav Sarona, in the beautiful Tabor countryside made an ideal setting for the everyone to sit around, jam and shmooze.

There were many nice little touches: visiting the art galleries of moshav members, buying home- made jams and wine, and going out for humus at the local Circassian restaurant.

For me, the highlight of the weekend, though, was the Friday night dinner and show. There was a really pleasant atmosphere with candles, wine, and a nice catered meal around small tables. The show that followed was a truly memorable one, with a wealth of talent and great variety of instruments and styles. The discs that Larry G. is preparing are going to be in great demand! The evening ended with a community jam along with washboards, spoons and "walking men" joining the guitars, banjos, etc.

Congratulations to Della, Carol, Harold, and all those involved in making this wonderful contribution to the Israeli folk scene.

--Deena Rockowitz

More Singing in Sarona

When I first heard about the planned weekend, I was very excited, and really hoped that I would be able to make it. My idea about the weekend getaway was mostly the PEOPLE. I was really looking forward to spend some time in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, with people whom I like and want to be with; the music was only secondary. Basically, this meant that I did not have high expectations about the variety, quality etc. of the music we were going to have.

Judy Z. and Yoav Biran

But what a wonderful surprise!! Although my enjoyment of the people was as expected and even a bit more, my enjoyment of the music and musicians was far above my expectations in each and every category.

Obviously, I was not surprised with Shelly Ellen and Eli Marcus and Marc Gittelson, whom I have known for many years. They always were my favorites and each is the best in the style of music they do. They fulfilled my expectations, but I was really impressed with the capabilities that other people showed, people who don't normally have the chance to display the full spectrum of their talents. I can't mention them all, but let me go over my highlights:

Brass Band

Larry Brandt showed his great musical talent plus a great sense of humor. The Brass Band Project of people who played wind instruments for the first time was indeed amazing.

Judi Ziv proved to be a EXCELLENT singer/performer in many ways, and Yoav Biran demonstrated his incredible ability to make music that is not his regular style. I felt privileged to be able to do some Seekers songs with them, and enjoyed myself very much.

Larry Gamliel demon- strated great talent and an awesome capability to play and accompany, mostly as a "one man band" each and every person in all styles. Indeed amazing. I would never have believed that Larry knew so many songs and so many styles of music. He is REALLY a master of the keyboard. A real treat!

Larry's set with Jane Gruman was very good. Much better than the set they played when I first heard them in Jacob's Ladder last May. Jane is making amazing progress in her presentation. I am sure that when she has more self-confidence, she will be a superb singer!!!

Ariela surprised me with pleasant Bossa-Nova singing and ... Penny Whistle playing. Keep on!!!

Harold Jacobs, in addition to the great organizing job he did, impressed me with his playing with so many different people. His harmonica playing improves every day, as do his guitar and banjo playing, but most of all his stage presence was indeed remarkable.

My favorite musician is Marcie Schreier. I had the honor to play two tunes with her. This weekend really exposed me to her amazing talents in many fields: Musically, flute, singing, acting, opera, humor, etc. I think that the "opera singing" spot together with Jane was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Marc & Jonesy Clarfield

And ... the second generation!!!! Marc Clarfield and Son -- What a talent!! I was sorry that the Rockowitz's did not perform, but hope they do next time!! As I said, I can't mention them all. But the whole evening was one big smile !!

And last, but not least: I think we all should give big cheers to Carol and Larry for the great initiative, and to Harold, Della, but most of all to Carol for a wonderful organizing job. Absolutely faultless!! I can just hope that we will have the chance to attend such events in the future. Thanks a million!

--Shay Tochner

(ed.note: Comment by Bracha Fuchs on hearing the Nightmare: "Will someone put that animal out if its misery!")


Clouds of dust billowed from the stampeding hoofs of the herd while the horses frantically tried to escape their corral. Ears perked up, nostrils flared and eyes glistened with fear. They sensed that something was terribly wrong. The cause of this great panic was -- no, not the three tenors, but one tenor (banjo) and two 5 string banjos, an ensemble named The Kvetching Banjos by their leader Yitz Hochstein. Anyone riding into Sarona could easily see and hear the musical mayhem. Some incredulous individuals even photographed the event. Others sat on the grass and watched the epic panorama in disbelief while tapping their toes to the rhythmic syncopation of banjos and hooves.

After the herd calmed down it was time to get the opening act assembled. Larry Brandt graciously brought along a collection of brass band instruments, and quickly trained a rag-tag army of recruits for the gala opening number. He demonstrated how to blow into the trumpet mouthpiece by tightly puckering up his lips and exhaling, producing a luscious raspberry. He said that if this was repeated while smiling, it theoretically changes the note. All I got was a spluttering Bronx cheer, so I elegantly cut a retreat and stuck to what I know -- the mouth organ.

The initial idea of a musical retreat/weekend and the subsequent contact work was done by Carol Fuchs, while the bella Della of Moshav Sarona coordinated the location, gala dinner and accommodations. The concept and program schedule was dispatched by e-mail to potential participants.

The Kvetching Banjos

The musical theme was: Your Own Musical Fantasy Weekend. 12 performers were originally listed and while a few chickened out, in the end there were about 20 who came and played and sang. Thanks to a great bunch of people from around the country with varied musical propensities and instrumental proficiencies, we were privileged witnesses and participants in the birth of a concept turned into a happy reality.

State-of-the-art cyber tools like mp3 files helped in e-mailing rehearsal material and in making digital recordings for crystal clear CDs of the unforgettable results.

Suffice it to say that many of us are already dreaming about the next S@S. I just hope it doesn't turn into a stampede -- horses excepted of course -- and stays as delectably intimate as this one was.

--Harold Jacobs

Listening to S@S

The weekend treat at Sarona was recorded so that those attending would have a keepsake of the wonderful times had by all. We used a mini-disc recorder for evening as well as various other jams and evethat took place. The discs were later converted to compact discs.

We are offering these discs for sale to those who participated. The price represents the actual cost of the materials used: blank discs, envelopes, jacket and labels. It doesn't

Shelley, Marcie, Jane, Judi G, Bev, Yoav

include the many hours put in by Larry Gamliel and Carol Fuchs in producing the discs and jackets. It certainly is not for profit! (If we are lucky, we may recoup the costs.) The quality of the music is not a studio mix, but it is quite acceptable. If you attended the weekend and would like a set, or if you missed the fun and would like to hear for yourself, call Larry Gamliel at (053) 801-202, or Carol Fuchs at (053) 890-098.