AMN Reviews: Shulamit – For You the Sun Will Shine: Songs of Women in the Shoa (Rockpaperscissors)

shulamit22Soon there will be no more survivors. Soon there will be no witnesses left, either. As artist Edmund de Waal wrote, millions were “erased from the texture of life” by the Holocaust. Soon all that will remain is the historical record and our determination to preserve and protect it.

There is already a rather vast library of work composed during the Holocaust, but For You the Sun Will Shine is something quite new, different and essential. Charlette Shulamit Ottolenghi was born and raised in Milan and now lives in Jerusalem. She has been performing these songs written by female prisoners for some ten years now, originally brought to light by the research of Francesco Lo Toro, founder and director of the Musica Judaica Institute in Barletta. It has been suggested that both before and during incarceration, women coped differently than their male counterparts, steeling themselves by sharing imaginary meal preparation and recipes and doing household chores. “(The) men don’t go out… She stands on the long line (for bread)… When there is need to go to the Gestapo, the daughter or wife goes… The women are everywhere… (Women) who never thought of working are now performing the most difficult physical work.” Evidently there were also many who had enough energy to pursue their artistic interests, as well.

chaIlse Weber´s songs were hidden under the dirt of Theresienstadt, dug up by her husband at the end of the war. Ludmilla Pešcařová memorized hers. Another is even gone from the paper record, anonymous forever. Czechs, Germans, Poles, Jews, Gentiles. Nothing can vitiate the obscenity of the Holocaust, but each and every piece of art discovered fulfils the so-called 614th commandment, the moral obligation to negate Hitler´s determination to obliterate Jewish life and creativity. “True respect to these women artists is to treat them as artists,” insists Shulamit, and to sing their songs, not only on Holocaust Memorial Day.

For this recording, Shulamit assembled a tiny ensemble, with the indefatigable Frank London, pianist Shai Bachar and percussionist Yuval Lion. The smallness of it defies the enormity of the subject, while allowing the band to be silly-puttied in arrangement. She sings lullabyes, kaddishes, Brecht-Weillian cabaret, parodies, anthems with a Socialist sway, prayers and death march waltzes, bitter, longing, enraged, despairing. Healing broken music, arrangers London and Bachar are by turns taciturn and elegant, stirring and experimental, trumpeter London especially the vigorous tummler, Bachar constant and nourishing as the rain.

One Holocaust historian cites the words of an anti-Nazi cleric, who quoted Luke 19:40 as his testament – “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As the number of Holocaust deniers and relativists outnumber its historical victims, witnesses and perpetrators, our existential duty is to listen – otherwise the texture of our life becomes ever more threadbare.

Stephen Fruitman

Three Anthony Braxton Box Sets to Be Released April 1

Anthony Braxton playing a contrabass saxophone

Source: JazzTimes.

The Tri-Centric Foundation and Firehouse 12 Records will release three box sets by composer Anthony Braxton on April 1. According to a press release, they range “from a wild reinvention of post-Wagnerian opera—Trillium J (The Non-Unconfessionables)—to a heartfelt tribute to an improvisatory hero—Quintet (Tristano) 2014—to a multi-dimensional, fully immersive electro-acoustic sound environment—3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011.” Each of the three projects, the release continues, “offers a different component of Braxton’s constantly evolving vision, and each challenges the listener (or friendly experiencer, in Braxton terminology) to experience music as an active participant rather than a passive spectator.”

Kodian Trio on Tour

Source: Kodian Trio:

To celebrate the launch of their debut album on New Wave of Jazz, Kodian Trio (Dirk Serries, Andrew Lisle, and Colin Webster) are playing a series of shows across The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany:

19/3 – Pletterij (Haarlem, NL)
20/3 – De Nieuwe Ruimte (Rotterdam, NL)
21/3 – Volt (Sittard, NL)
22/3 – Djaezz Keller (Duisburg, D)
23/3 – De Ruimte (Amsterdam, NL)
24/3 – De Singer (Rijkevorsel, B) Two day residency
– special guest : Martina Verhoeven
25/3 – De Singer (Rijkevorsel, B) Two day residency
– special guests : Martina Verhoeven, John Dikeman, Thijs Troch

Dirk Serries – Electric Guitar
Colin Webster – Saxophone
Andrew Lisle – Drums

Dirk Serries is hardly your average improvising musician. Even though the man has a fondness for the classic free jazz of the sixties and seventies and the current updates, his own talents lie elsewhere. As a master of texture, a skill which he’s been able to forge and refine for more than 30 years (as vidnaObmana, Fear Falls Burning, Microphonics, with collaborative projects and, more recently, under his own name), he has always been involved in the more abstract, or sound-oriented wing of experimental music.

Serries is now less reliant on his trademark effects and loops. A new ‘naked’ language that veers from gentle strumming to scribbling, pointillism and occasional outbursts of disjointed howls. Pulling from his great experience in the worlds of ambient and industrial music, as well as from masters like Derek Bailey, Serries’ approach is improvisation that relies purely on his relationship with his electric guitar, prepared or not.

London based saxophonist Colin Webster is quickly establishing himself on the European avant garde scene. Working with a broad range of collaborators, Webster is know for working from extreme sonic palettes – from minimal to maximal, constantly pushing boundaries. Webster first worked with Serries on the landmark ‘Endless Voids’ performance led by Dead Neanderthals at the 2014 Incubate Festival. Since this initial meeting, the two have worked on different collaborations both live and in the studio, a number of these encounters involving the drummer Andrew Lisle.

Also based in London, Andrew Lisle’s quick and highly textural playing is making him highly in-demand in the fertile improvisation community. In turns both propulsive and abstract, Lisle has worked with a number of key UK-based improvisers including Alex Ward, Daniel Thompson, Seymour Wright, as well as Roland Ramanan’s Tentet, and punk-improv band Shatner’s Bassoon.