Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Oy [Chaim] Tannenbaum!

Who the Heck: As we prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving, Abq Jew reminds you, his loyal readers, of the guy playing harmonica on Dink's Song: Fare The Well.

The guy, of course, is Chaim Tannenbum. 

Whose first name reminds us of our life-affirming Jewish tradition, even in the face of unexpected, calamitous, and extreme election results.

And whose last name (German for "fir tree") reminds us of the holiday that comes after Thanksgiving in the Christian tradition. Which brings to mind last year's

La Cueva Bear Tree Imbroglio

which Abq Jew reported on in his now classic All Ye Faithful. Which included the unforgettable Your Holiday Favorites Performed By Goats.

But Abq Jew digresses (big surprise). And once again Abq Jew hears you ask -

Who the heck is Chaim Tannenbaum?

Here is what you need to know.

At 68, Chaim Tannenbaum is a new folk hero.
With his first solo album, released in May.

The Spaced-Out Scientist tells the story.
The first time I heard Chaim Tannenbaum’s extraordinary singing was on Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s album The McGarrigle Hour, which was recorded at a gathering of friends and family in 1998. In particular, I was struck by the poignancy and luminance of Tannenbaum’s vocals on the traditional song, Dig my Grave
I thought, “Who is this guy?!”

And TSOS continues -
This Montreal-born multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer has spent more than 50 years on the musical scene, contributing to over 20 albums. Yet, he has never released an album of his own – until now at the age of 68 years old.   
In his defense, Tannenbaum was also busy teaching philosophy at Dawson College in Montreal for 40 years, and music was more of a sideline. Now retired from teaching, Chaim is living in New York City. 
Tannenbaum explains, “I was leading a very agreeable life teaching here in Montreal at Dawson and playing both with Kate and Anna, and with Loudon Wainwright. The desire to make an album never occurred to me of my own with any force. But I retired from teaching two years ago and moved to New York where there’s a bit more time.” 
You can listen to Chaim telling his own story - singing his own Ballad of Chaim Tannenbaum - here. (It's a bit long, but worth every second.)

Just don't have the time? Abq Jew understands. So here instead is Chaim playing mandolin and singing Elvis's Blue Christmas (really).

And speaking of the holiday that comes after Thanksgiving in the Christian tradition ... Abq Jew is excited to announce (you can look it up) that this year Albuquerque and New Mexico will join the world in celebrating Chrismukkah.

Which is to say

The first night of Hanukkah will fall on Christmas Eve.

Get ready! Until then ...

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

No comments: