Sunday, May 23, 2010

President's Day

This morning I got up at 7am. That's not really that unusual, except that on a Sunday I would normally try to sneak back to bed after my breakfast by declaring movie time for my daughter. However today I had to be out of here by 7:45am in order to be at Temple Shearith on Central Park West to sing at an event there. The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and her husband Martin were there to thank the congregation for an offering of over $170 that they sent to Ireland in 1847 to help victims of the Irish Famine. The Rabbi mentioned that an economist told him last week that in today's numbers we're talking $80,000. In those days the congregation was on Crosby Street and one March morning in 1847 the Rabbi called upon the people to reach into their pockets for the people of Ireland whose suffering, before the famine occurred, had been described by a British commission as the worst in Europe.
After the event I got a ride to St. Patrick's Cathedral in one of the diplomatic vehicles and was present for a very moving ceremony at the cathedral before heading back to the East Village for potato pancakes and some strong Irish tea.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Songs from the East Village

Oy, it's been awhile since I wrote. There's a lot going on. After a month in Ireland during which I completed a Music Network Traditional Music Tour with Paddy O'Brien, Cillian Vallely and Aidan Brennan, my daughter and I joined Lorin Sklamberg and Donogh Hennessy in Germany for a Saints & Tzadiks tour there. In Ireland the weather was temperate throughout and we enjoyed travelling in our minivan, but in Germany, while it was very cold, we travelled by train which was very relaxing. Barely even saw an autobahn the whole time.

Before I left New York in January I had finished up the album Songs from the East Village, but while we were away the EVCS Parent's Committee made a request that I was delighted to receive, which involved more work when I came back. I had long felt that being a CD from the Lower East Side, it would have been wonderful to have a Puerto Rican track, and that is what they felt aswell, so when I returned I went back to the studio with a wonderful local pianist Ray Santiago, whom I knew from performances in the local community garden Dias y Flores. Ray recorded piano and congas for two songs and the vocals were provided by students, parents, grandparents and teachers. The school's vice principal Bradley Goodman brought the project to Kickstarter to find the finds we needed to finish the album and we quickly reached our goal:
Now the album really is done and we're going to prepare to launch it nationally in September.