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Thursday, February 21, 2008
5 More Women Who Rock

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.

1. Basya Schechter's voice sounds like some rare, lush gift bestowed to us from the past. Originally a Boro Park girl, Schechter began globe-trotting when she left her yeshiva in Israel behind for a trek through Egypt. There she picked up Arabic beats, an interest in Ladino (a Spanish-Jewish dialect) and a sense of world music that wouldn't sound out of place on a Putumayo album. On her newest album with her band Pharaoh's Daughter her voice seduces the listener; it's the sound of a gorgeous global consciousness flirting with God.

2.Jewlia Eisenberg is an intertextuality music genius. Her solo project Trilectic was a brilliant amalgamation of Walter Benjamin, erotic romance, and Jewish intellectualism in the 20th century. Her group, Charming Hostess, regularly tackles topics ranging from Semezdin Mehmedinovic's Bosnian poetry (Sarajevo Blues), to gender reversals. All the while, they sound ridiculously catchy like someone turned the pop dial to 11. Fun, smart, and Jewish? This Christmas season, Jewlia rewrote Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer as a Yiddish carol and slapped it on YouTube. So add irreverent to the mix and you have one of the most exciting Jewish artists alive today.

3.I saw Chana Rothman at Jewzapalooza this year on a star-studded lineup (well, studded for the niche Jewish music market). Still, she blew the competition away. She's got the aesthetics of a folk singer and the vocal tics of a hip-hop artist, positing herself as a cheery 21st century urban conscious. Her debut album, We Can Rise, came out this year packed with protest songs of social consciousness ("Walk a Mile" and "Gates of Justice") that wouldn't feel totally out of place at the Newport Folk Festival. The unpolished parts of We Can Rise only indicate that Rothman is at the beginning of an auspicious and rocking start to her career so far.

4.Amy Winehouse is the London born, Jewish cabaret voiced chanteuse who's unfortunately known more for her radical behavior than her music. And it's good music. Between her emphatic single "Rehab" (that protests being sent back there) and her American debut Back to Black, she won five Grammy awards. Not to mention that she's appeared on hundreds of year-end critical lists. She's been quickly canonized and written about most everywhere, making it hard to add anything new here. So let's just say: She's like Pete Doherty with Dorothy Parker's diet regimen (Lucky Strikes + Scotch?), Elvis Presley's hip-shaking huh's, and maybe a sprinkle of Ella Fitzgerald.

5.Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's Mayim Rabim is a 10-song cycle taken from the Biblical text of Song of Songs. Instead of merely reiterating King Solomon's poems of love, though, Gottlieb (pictured above) completely recontextualizes them, regenderizes them, and turns them into enormous, sensuous walls of sound that consume the listener. The instrumentals are passionate, fervent, longing, and then Gottlieb's voice detonates: At once both lush and explosive. Next, she's working with Basya Schechter (above) on the John Zorn project "Book of Angels." Two of our Women Who Rock working together? Where do we sign up?

--Text by Mordechai Shinefield

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.
posted by Benyamin | 5:50 PM | Link | |
Has NO ONE heard Naomi Less and LessNessman?

She is gorgeous and rocks
where are annette ezekiel and alicia jo rabins of golem?
I second the comment about Annette and Alica J of Golem - they are great. I want to add the great Ladino singer Yasmin Levy to the list.
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