God’s glory surely
breathes holes into halves
to make room for soil
and walls for water
to collect and connect
to light through toil
climb shadows, see
how fully fully fully
God’s story blooms
(inspired by Matis and Mishpatim)
Dry land leaves
little option. Open
your throat, recover
your tracks, enter
the water, forget
the raft. Answers
a voice like skyscraper
terror: the earth is
paved over but still
scream to their masters,
the city of swarm dreams:
In every direction was
what was. As far as
no eye can see
is what is. Forever
revealed will be what
will be. Eyes in
the water, feet in
the flames, tunnel and fly
on the same plane.
Millions calling millions.
But only one hears,
and only one asks:
Are you one?
Lordy, Lordy, sounds soooo holy. Here presented is volume four of the Orchard Recordings. As usual, the compilation is anchored by some of the wildest wordless nigns composed of late, brought down from the One and Only by the one and only Joey Weisenberg. These particular nigunim were sung by Joey’s Spontaneous Jewish Choir at Mechon Hadar in celebration of the release of his book, Building Singing Communities, and accompanying album of original melodies. The man is truly tapped in: The final track on in this collection was composed by Joey minutes before the celebratory gathering began.
Again we’ve got a knee-slapping smattering of goodness from the Jalopy Theater out in Red Hood, Brooklyn: The Relatives, Willy Gantrim and African-banjo player Essau Pwelle all lend their souls and strings to this volume.
In a special treat, we’ve got Regina Spektor reading from David Bezmozgis’s (Jewish-)Russian-turned-(Jewish-)American-experience novel, The Free World. This, along with some of her solo crooning and duo-work with Jack Dishel (of the Moldy Peaches), was recorded at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, a fine establishment with a long history of Banjo-K certification.
Sprinkled throughout are bits of bliss, wisdom and praise captured in the streets, tunnels, offices and rooftops of a certain Grand City. These, too, compose The Orchard.
(a re-translation from ‘Gitanjali‘ by Rabindranath Tagore)
When you command me to sing,
it seems my heart will break
with pride; and I look to your face
and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh and dissonant
in my life melts into one sweet
harmony–and my adoration spreads
wings like a glad bird on
its flight across the sea.
I know you take pleasure in my singing.
I know that only as a singer
I come before your presence.
I touch by the edge of the far spreading
wing of my song your feet which I
could never aspire to reach.
Drunk with joy of singing I forget
myself and call you friend who are my lord.
have i shared this
i must again
and it rips real like at my
florida is swelt april
new york is imminent
and the traversing ages
Been sittin’ on this stuff for too long now. The second installment of Orchard Recordings features Jake Marmer‘s Jazz Talmud with the Ayn Sof Arkestra, some Hasidic New Wave from the East Village Radical Jewish Music Festival, Julianna Barwick enchantmentness, a quick dose of Andy Statman‘s basement sessions, a slow dose of Rashanim, the newborn mandolin-tabla duo of Joey Weisenberg and Sameer Gupta, a damn cute acoustic group The Relatives and, again, the teaching and soaring faciliated by Rav Raz Hartman.
There tracks are pretty raw, and I hope you’ll forgive me if my off-key chords chime in once or twice too often. Most of the track names are completely made up and probably do not reflect the artists’ intentions. Having said that, it’s a pretty accurate representation of my musical world of late. Now, it can be your musical world, too.
Enjoy, in joy.
i love the way the sky can remind us that we are so small and beautiful
that we ripple and move with color and with sound
and that our perspective is our position
and that we have come
from a place
i enjoy myself best when i am giving as freely as possible
in all my favorite ways, how i choose
and still so lovingly open
and still so honest
to the world
i have burned up as i have fallen from my place of high-minded hot air
working against the wind to no avail, losing fear
and all that does not serve me
and all that is no use
i forget to forgive myself and then i spit into the wind while screaming
at the top of my lungs about my important misconceptions
and all the ways i hold me down
and all the foolishness i am
the joke is truly
i have seen me brilliant and known me warm and felt me strong
by the way that i have totally surrendered
despite the warning indications
despite the threats
and felt so
i go to great lengths to force myself to make great gains piled high
toward the bizarre extravagant excessive Americkon
and quickly vomited what i ate
and realized i had gorged
then slept for days
enough to remind me
that i am in love with this life and all
every bit that it puts in my face and feeds me
is nonetheless a wonderful medicine, a work of art, ironic, funny
even though i sometimes struggle, i later fly like i was born to, and laugh laugh laugh
at all the ways i run away from myself to find myself right there
waiting all along throwing mirrors head long down
an endless tunnel like a strange prayer
until i am exhausted and
drift into dream