/ Music /
I think my age and my writing volume have finally collided: I used to believe that what I had to say was more important than perfect crafting of expression: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly, so long as future drafts are possible. Then, when you’re dead, then fuck everything anyway: good readers may guess generously, see what you meant no matter how you wrote it. But I don’t know, a balance may have tipped: and I can’t improve recent posts as much as they need because, as I run out of air, and out of days, more and more stuff crowds my queue.
Well, I contribute to the fault, but my part in the fault is minor: think how much better I might have done if the society had helped more than hindered me. It’s not right to overload Sisyphus while subsidizing Napoleon.
What follows is, temporarily I hope, an insult to the fabulous subjects. Seeger, circle dancing … hand holding in rhythm: that’s what we need. And we need to acknowledge how uncooperative and interfering the kleptocracy has been in managing the culture, the mercantile market, to be selfish, non-convivial, toxic.
Zeina Dabkeh, Zeina Hora: The Jewish Connection
(This draft follows my belief that “zeina (Arabic I think) means “beautiful”.)
Raised on Long Island in the 1940s and ’50s Bach’s music reached me, and Handel, a little Beethoven, a little Chopin … and then a blues smear from a (Bob Cosby) trumpet demolished my being and put it back together: stronger, higher: pant, pant, ecstasy. There I was, refining my jazz soul (despised by my friends for being a n- lover) when everywhere, like backgrond radiation, everyone in the society heard Good Night, Irene (and from the flip side, Zeina, Zeina ). The first was a Leadbelly song, thank you John (& Alan) Lomax (sung by the Weavers, a group out of Greenwich Village), (featuring Pete Seeger: a native New Yorker with roots deep-deep in “America”: changing the world (however too little, too late). But that wasn’t all. Pete was not only helping to introduce Americans to their own riches (unwilling and undeserving but meeting some anyway), Leadbelly, et voila: but Pete and the Weavers (and Greenwich Village) were introuducing Americans to the world they’d so successfully ignored to date: Zeina, Zeina, Zeina : beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Arab lyrics, Jewishness! Circle dancing! Folk dancing! Line dancing! on US radio.
gotta check: I see Zeina translates as “beautiful”: I also see it translates as “go out”?
[Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 01, I censor an offensive word and substitute something more obscene: euphemism!]
Folk music, a Sunday traditions there, got purged by the cops in 1962.
Pete was a major player in all of this, but I at the time was only distantly aware of it. I didn’t know Leadbelly’s music yet, didn’t know the Lomax oeuvre: knew Irene only as background noise: ditto Tsena. When I got to Columbia I met a buch of like-minded jazz nuts, guys who not only knew Bird, Miles, Brubeck, but who could play! (I was the only sterile one there.) And: I met a bunch of guys who a-little knew Bird, Miles, Brubeck, and who a-lot knew Leadbelly, and Pete Seger and the Weavers! Surprise! “half” of them were Jews! They’d gone to privileged prep schools and had grown up frequenting the singing fests in Washington Square of a Sunday! Good god, they would have been tripping over Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie since they turned teen. It was through such people that I got invited to folk dances at the International House Friday evening. (I was such a fool, I could have learned circle dancing, line dancing, folk dancing in the 1950s! but I just sat and watched: what waste.
I didn’t know what to expect. It was all men, nearly all men, mostly Jewish, mostly kibbutz alumni. They held hands, they stomped, and flexed their asses. Guys on the end of a broken circle waved colorful bandanas.
Then the party would continue down Broadway around 96th Street, where there were a couple of Israeli coffee houses. There was even a guy selling falafel on the corner, c. 1958.
Jeez, I just realized! I haven’t had one since!
2014 09 13 I just sampled a movie doc on Jewish circle dancing called Hava Nagila: it shows people being carried in chairs. I’ll look into that. It also traces Hava Nagila to Ukraine, wikipedia traces it to the Balkans. Nothing is simple.
more comin, lotsa revision, gonna add something under Kleptocracy