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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 27, 2017 By (;abe Friedman religious lyrics with Ameri- cana music--an umbrella NEW YORK (JTA)--Saul termthatencompassesgenres Kaye never wanted to be a such as blues, bluegrass, "Jewish blues" player, folk and country, as well In his opinion, the Jewish as a distinctly homegrown, music he had heard growing old-fashioned American sen- up in Northern California's sibility. Bay Area ranged from "really Since Jews were viewed bad to horrible." as immigrants in the United In 2009, he was touring States for a large part of the as a rock musician, playing 20th century--and are still hundreds of shows a year widelyseenasanethnic"oth- with various bands at bars er"inAmericansociety--Jew- and clubs.And though he had ish music and Americana, at never been very religious, he first glance, seem an unlikely experienced a bad breakup and mixture. felt the need to do something But in addition to Kaye, spiritually "radical." artists such as Nefesh Moun- So Kaye decided to take a tain, a husband-and-wife TalmudcourseattheMayanot bluegrass duo from New Institute ofJewish Studies in Jersey, and Joe Buchanan, Israel. One morning, a fellow a convert to Judaism from student approached him and Houston who plays James left him with an intriguing Taylor-esque country, are prophecy, gaining in popularity on "He says, 'Saul, there's a the national Jewish music reason you're at a yeshiva circuit. Joey Weisenberg, and you know who Muddy a Brooklyn-based prayer Waters is--you have to figure leader and music teacher, it out,'" Kaye said. "I let that has garnered praise for his marinate for a while and I modern bluesy, indie rock- thought: Why is there no inspired takes on "niggun- Jewishbluesmusic?Itdoesn't im," or traditional Jewish make sense. Our people have melodies. suffered forever, and blues is These musicians are build- about suffering, bluescomes ing upon the foundation outoftheslaveryexperience, laid by other artists such as How come no one has put this Andy Statman (an Orthodox, together yet?" Grammy-winning multi- Eight years later, Kaye is instrumentalist who plays now seen by many as the bluegrasswithhiseponymous "king" of Jewish blues, hav- trio), Jeremiah Lockwood ing released four albums in (leader of the band The Sway the genre that range from Machinery who is also known twangy fingerpicking to for his virtuosic blues guitar more uptempo electric rock playing) and Klezmatics in the vein of B.B. King. He co-founder Margot Leverett plays over 100 shows a year (whose group, Margot Lever- at synagogues, Jewish confer- ettandthe Klezmer Mountain ences and festivals across the Boys, combines klezmer and country--that's down from bluegrass.) the more than 200 shows he Of course, American Jews was playing a few years ago, have long incorporated spiri- butthat'sbecauseKayeisnow tual music with the popular: a father of two. In the 1960s and '70s, for Kaye is part of a growing example, Jewish music icons trendofJewishmusicianswho Shlomo Carlebach and Deb- combine Jewish spiritual or bie Friedman turned prayers Saul Kaye has released four albums of Jewish blues. Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg combine Jewish lyrical themes with a pure bluegrass sound as the group Nefesh Mountain. and Jewish melodies into folk The British band Mumford & half a century, according to Bush, guitarist David Grier songsthatarestillsungtoday. Sons, which plays a combi- Mark Kligman, an ethnomu- andbanjoplayerTonyTrishka. But the signs are indicat- nation of bluegrass, folk and sicologist at UCLA. Joe Buchanan, a 40-year- ing that Americana could be indie rock, has sold millions "In the '50s and '60s, most old former human resourc- having its biggest moment in of albums worldwide since of American Judaism wases manager who grew up the Jewish community right 2009. In 2010, the Grammys leaning towards trying to Christian in Houston, often now.Thetrendfollowsatrain instituted a Best Americana find its Americanness," he recounts to his concert au- of greater experimentation Album award. And last May, said. "[Jews] took European diences how converting to throughout the Jewish music Billboard began devoting an elements--cantorialklezmer Judaism resolved his self- world, albumcharttoAmericanaand and other things--and start- esteem issues. Like Kaye, who "For a long time, it felt like folk records, edadaptingthose. By the time produced Buchanan's debut the only artists that we were "Jews have always takenyou have an American-born album a couple of years ago, representingorwereoutthere popular music and brought it generation in the 1970s, he thinks that the country in congregations were a guy into shul because that brings around [the time of] Deb- musichewas raised on, along or girlwithanacousticguitar, people into shul," said Kaye, bie Friedman... they wanted withotherAmericanagenres, singing acoustic music, sing- who has also begun leading to have an American-born go well with Jewish culture. ingDebbie Friedman kindof Shabbatservicesonhistours. tradition." "Americana is strong in sto- music," said Mark Pelavin, the "There's been a resurgence in Still, for many, thejuxtapo- rytelling, which is something chiefprogrammingofficerfor coming back to more organic sitionisabitunusual.Accord- that we've always been really theUnionforReformJudaism, music because it just reso- ing to Nefesh Mountain's Eric good at as a people," he said. whichinvitesgroupsatthetop nates--wood and strings in Lindberg and Doni Zasloff, "It's a huge part of it; we're of the Jewish music scene to a room is a physical feeling even after two years of using always telling stories from play for the 5,000 attendees that you aren't going to get the term "Jewish bluegrass," the Torah." at its biennial, from techno, dubstep, house, some people still laugh at it "If someone asked me how "I think now there's an trance orwhatever other mil- at first, to describeAmericanamusic, interest in a greater diversity lion genres." "Butwhatwere doingis not I would tell them: Imagine of musical styles across the In the end, American Jew- goofy at all, it's very soulful country music and rock and board," he said. "Some of ish music and Americanaandveryhonest,"Zasloffsaid, roll had a child, and it was it's funkier--more drums, music might actually be two The group has found se-raised by their uncle blue- bass and loops--and some sides of the same coin. While rious success, touring the grass, and their other uncle of it's twangier. There's a lot Jewish musicians brought country constantly. Nefesh blues music and cousin folk of experimentation going on their European influences Mountain is in the midst of came over and spent a lot of right now." with them when they im-recording its second album time--that child is Ameri- Overthepastdecade, Amer- migrated to the U.S., they've withsomeoftheworld'smost cana music," he said. "That icana has seen a comeback in beenforgingtheirownAmeri- respected bluegrass artists, and Jewish storytelling is a the broader pop music world, can musical style for nearly such as mandolin player Sam natural fit." Music always soothes the soul Shown here are Ruth Sandweiss and Stephen Cardonic who performed a beautiful assortment of Chanukah, Yiddish and familiar Jewish tunes to a room filled with engaged people clapping along. Ruth played piano so beautifully while Stephen led in song. It was a delightful way to celebrate Chanukah with Jewish Pavilion friends at Oakmonte Village: Cordova! Ruth and Stephen deserve a huge thank. Ruth plays piano at Brookdale Island Lake Shabbat on the first Friday at 4 p.m. By Shannon Sarna (The Nosher via JTA)--My 4-year-old, previously meatball- loving child has recently decided, in fact, she does not like meatballs any longer. Or tomato sauce. My husband does not like spaghetti squash. And I am trying to cut back on my carbs just a smidge. In short, dinner is becoming harder and harder to coordinate. So when I made sweet and sour meatballs for the first time recently and they were devoured, I knew we had a winner. That is, until my daughter decides she doesn't. I served these meatballs with simple roasted spaghetti squash for myself, and some rice for my husband and daughter, so everyone was happy. Variation: If you want to cut the sugar in this recipe, you can reduce to 2 tablespoons brown sugar, replace with honey or stevia. If you want to remove a sweetener all together, try pureeing 1whole peeled carrot in a food processor. While saute- ing the onion, add the pureed carrot to add natural sweetness. Special thanks to this recipe from Kosher By Gloria for inspiring this post. Ingredients: 1 spaghetti squash For the sauce: I tablespoon olive oil I medium onion 2 garlic cloves 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes 1/4 cup brown sugar OR 1 tablespoon stevia OR 2 carrots, peeled and pureed in food processor juice ofl/2 lemon i teaspoon fresh orange or lemon zest I teaspoon apple cider vinegar i cup water or broth (vegetable or beef broth) For the meatballs: I pound ground beef I egg 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper Directions: To cook the spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shannon Sarna Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash. Using a fork, prick the squash all over. Place on a baking sheet and cook 30-40 minutes until soft. Allow to cool slightly. Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, discard. Using a fork, remove the spaghetti squash flesh. This step can be prepared 1-2 days ahead. To make the sauce: Add 1tablespoon olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, brown sugar (or sweetener or honey), lemon juice, citrus zest. vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook on low while preparing meatballs. To make the meatballs: Mix together breadcrumbs with cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Add ground beef and mix gently. Add I beaten egg and mix until fully incorporated. Using the palm of your hands, gently roll tablespoon-sized meatballs, taking care not to pack too tightly or "smush." If you want to be more precise, use a cookie scoop to measure. Place all the meatballs in sauce and simmer on medium-low heat for 45-50 minutes, covered. Serve warm with spaghetti squash, rice or noodles. Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher. The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www. TheNosher.com.