Like I needed another reason to not go to Florida.
Last week, I received an interesting email from local accordionist extraordinaire David Symons. For the unfamiliar, Symons was once part of late, great, local Balkan badasses Black Sea Quartet. Among other pursuits — such as protesting the Gaza blockade in Palestine in person — he currently helms local klezhobo outfit Inner Fire District.
[Big Honkin’ Disclaimer: My little brother, Tyler Bolles, is IFD’s bassist.]
Recently, IFD were featured on a compilation called Klezmer Musicians Against the Wall, a protest of the aforementioned blockade between Israel and Palestine. The comp features 14 klezmer acts from around the world joining together in musical solidarity to address one of the day’s most unfortunate and divisive global political issues. Hunky-dory, right? But as it turns out, not everyone sees the project as so innocuous. Like, for example, people who support Israel.
According to Symons’ missive, “Shalom South Florida,” the state’s most widely listened-to Jewish radio show, has refused to play the comp. That’s not particularly shocking or upsetting; generally speaking, Jewish communities tend to side with Israel on this particular issue. But what is surprising, and at least a little unsettling, is that the show has gone a step further and blacklisted all of the artists — some of the finest, more innovative klezmer musicians working today — from ever appearing on the show, which reaches the third-largest Jewish community in the country. That’s kind of a big deal for a klezmer band.
So, if I could chat with “Shalom South Florida” alone for just a sec here. Ahem.
Look, I get that you don’t like KMAW’s politics. That’s totally fine. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not educated enough on the Gaza conflict to pick a side either way. It seems to me that when that many people are dying, chances are good there’s probably plenty of fault on both sides. But that’s not really the point.
The point is that just because we disagree doesn’t mean we can’t be civil and extend to one another certain common decencies. I mean, look at us. I think you’re making a big mistake banishing talented young artists from your airwaves over their political views. But we’re still having a conversation. I’m willing to listen to your side. By ignoring these people and, worse, their music, you take that option off the table, for yourself and for your listeners.
And with that, I will now step off my soapbox.
I’m often asked what I listen to “personally,” since I spend so much time listening to music “professionally,” or at least from a critical viewpoint. It’s a fair question — and a fun one. I don’t always get to write about the music I listen to recreationally, since I’m (relatively) bound by the restraints set by 7D’s stated bailiwick as “Vermont’s Independent Voice.” (Point of order: That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to local music recreationally, jackals. But man cannot live on Lendway alone.)
Recently, a number of readers have suggested I include a small snippet at the end of each column listing some of the bands I dug into during that week, presumably so they could gain insight into the inspiration for my brilliant prose. Or, more likely, just because they’re looking for some new music suggestions. Either way, I thought it was a cool idea. So we’re gonna give it ago for a few weeks and see if it sticks.
But first, a few ground rules: 1. These are presented with personal biases fully intact. 2. They are not necessarily new or timely bands or albums, rather just what I happened to listen to, and like, in a given week. 3. I’m not going to include any critical insight or description. If you’re interested in hearing something, you do the legwork — by which I mean, Google them yourdamnself. 4. The lead-in for this will be waaaay shorter next week.
And with that, here’s a sampling of what was on my iPod, turntable, CD player, 8-track player, etc. this week.