Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

8 comments:

Toby Wollin said...

And, it's another episode of "Non-Jews Singing Jewish-themed Music". And I thought Tom Jones was ironic?

greying pixie said...

If non-Jews were not allowed to do anything remotely Jewish, there would be very little else to do in this world! I'm not sure by her remark if toby wollin is offended.

phyllis said...

No Chuppah? What's up with that? I have to admit I've always loved the symbolism of stomping on the glass, even though it's often just a lightbulb wrapped in a napkin.

Toby Wollin said...

No, Pixie..I'm not offended at all. I just find it weird that a piece of what was frankly a rather sappy Yiddish pop tune from the 20s(and in the case of the July Andrews piece, something in the same mold), dripping of nostalgia(not only for the mother but also for the 'old country') has been embraced by people as widely spaced on the music spectrum as(and I'm just selecting a few from what is on YouTube) Connie Francis, Andre Toussaint, Billy Daniels, Charles Aznavour, Elvis(ELVIS???), and Nino Bravo(in Spanish). Yes, there have been many more overtly Jewish singers(The Barry Sisters, Josele Rosenblatt) who performed "MYM" as well and perhaps their versions might be considered 'more authentic', but for a song, in an obscure and frankly dead language, to become this musical icon is truly amazing and extremely ironic to me. The part of Tom Jones' performance that I was fascinated by was his introduction that the song had been passed down to him by his father. Where did his father learn it? Was it being played on the radio in England? I'm truly intrigued by how these singers were exposed to the song and why they decided to record it at all. In Connie Francis' case, she recorded an entire album of 'Yiddish Favorites", which I interpret as her pitch to another ethnic audience(she used to do albums in Italian also). I'm sure some PhD out there has done a study on 'The Transition of Ethnic Pop Music to General Populations" or something like that, but this is a mind-blower for me.

Geraldine said...

Is Yiddish a dead language? I didn't think so. Tis a crap song, though.

Arabella said...

Slightly off-thread but - something I've been doing for years is giving inappropriate songs the Julie Andrews treatment. Anything by The Clash works really well sung in the Julie Andrews-mind-yer-vowels-style as does material from the Irish folk/pop catalogue (think The Dubliners or Clancy Brothers). Breaks the ice at parties. And weddings I should imagine.

greying pixie said...

toby wollin, your thoughts are very interesting. This is not something I've ever considered. I am not Jewish but listen to klezmer music often, as well as music from many other cultures. I am of Italian origin and hear Italian folk music bastardized everywhere. I've stopped getting upset about it, although I think I have a right to as it is, apparently, very funny to pretend to be Italian with all their mannerisms and exaggerated accent.

I don't believe Tom Jones' father taught him the song. He is from deepest darkest Wales and his father was a miner. He may well have sung (Welsh communities took choir singing very seriously) but I doubt the exotic tones of Jewish traditional music would have penetrated so far into the valleys of South Wales. This is only my suspicion however.

Geraldine said...

I think Jews were as rare as Catholics in the valleys from what my own dad, brought up in the Rondda Valley told me.