Music Review: Amythyst Kiah’s Wildebeest

Some songs just stop you in your tracks. “Wildebeest” by Amythyst Kiah is one of those songs. The tune begins with a two chord progression usually heard in flamenco music – a simple and raw meditative riff that Kiah lets play for a minute for full hypnotic effect.  When the tune shifts into a Delta blues mode, the fine finger-picking starts to have an emotional life, setting the stage for Amythyst Kiah’s original yet traditional blues lyric of spurned love, homicidal threats, bittersweet memory, and loss. The vocals are reminiscent of the smooth voiced blues singers of the 90s – like Tracy Chapman or Robert Cray – who sought inspiration from an earlier blues era – but with a little added bite. And when the blues are done, and Kiah tells the spurned lover to go find someone else to prey upon, the song shifts back into the flamenco style, ending without resolving the chord progression. All this is to say that the American blues is alive and well in Johnson City, Tennessee. Footnote: I discovered this song because I entered the NPR TIny Desk Concert Contest. A contest I have no chance of winning because of Amythyst Kiah and a dozen other crazy talented musicians. So I concede. Amythyst deserves the spotlight.

 

Was MLK Wrong About Non-Violence?

images-4Fifty years ago, accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a bold statement about non-violence. On that day in Stockholm, he argued that non-violence was not simply a protest tactic to overcome the oppression of his time but a new way for humans to exist together:
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

Reading these words to a group of European dignitaries, all of whom had lived through the brutality of the Second World War, Dr. King’s message sounds spiritually uplifting, messianic and, truthfully, somewhat naive. Can humans really evolve beyond revenge, aggression, and retaliation? Are there examples when “love” built a foundation that really succeeded on a societal level? Or is his vision another fantasy? Continue reading

Free Hannukah Play – A skit for when the lights are lit

imagesFree Hannukah Play? Get your presto-instant Hannukah skit right here:

That’s right! A certified organic kosher Hannukah play for kids! 3 characters, five minutes. Just the right little shpiel for your celebration.

 

HANNUKAH PLAY

By Rabbi Daniel Brenner

www.rabbidanielbrenner.com

ON STAGE: DR D, APPLE SAUCE, and LATKE

 

DR D

 

Hi, I’m Dr. Dreidel and I’m here with my friends Latkes and apple sauce to tell you all about the Maccabees.

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