JSA at FAU Libraries receives gift in memory of Barry Serota

By , October 14, 2011 12:04 pm

Blanche Serota embraces a copy of the specially-created record label that honors her son, Barry Serota. Photo Credit: Alethea Perez

 BOCA RATON, FL (October 4, 2011) –Florida Atlantic University recently received a gift in memory of the late Barry Serota, an attorney, record producer and executive director of the Chicago-based Institute for Jewish Sound Recording. Serota was widely known for his deep knowledge of Jewish music and produced more than 100 recordings of Jewish sacred and secular music. His productions at the Institute for Jewish Sound Recording included choral,   instrumental, folk and art music.

Serota’s mother, Blanche, donated 1,500 LPs, more than 700 78-rpm discs, 100 digital audio tapes and 1,443 audio reel-to-reel tapes to the Judaica Sound Archives (JSA) at FAU Libraries in honor of her son. The collection includes rare record masters and pre-production one-of-a-kind recordings.

“Barry Serota devoted his life to collecting great Jewish music and producing high-quality recordings,” said Maxine Schackman, Ph.D., director of the Recorded Sound Archives at FAU Libraries. “Although we knew this was a wonderful donation to the JSA, we really couldn’t be sure what treasures we would find. Many of these recordings are legendary in the world of the cantorial arts.”

Blanche Serota became acquainted with the FAU Libraries when Ben Roth-Aroni, JSA’s sound technician, called to offer his condolences following Barry’s death. During his youth, Roth-Aroni worked for Serota as a tape editor and greatly admired his expertise in the field of Jewish music. Roth-Aroni encouraged Blanche to visit FAU Libraries, and during her February 2011 visit, she arranged to donate her son’s treasured collection to the JSA.

“She wanted to honor his memory,” said Schackman. “It comforted her to know that what he loved so much would find a warm welcome and a permanent home at the JSA.”

The JSA has digitized and compiled a collection of 56 albums produced by Barry Serota. The recordings can be heard on the JSA website at Musique Internationale.

Kol Nidre gets a Carribean beat

By , October 6, 2011 9:20 am

Sometimes the unexpected comes with the daily mail. This recent addition arrived just in time for Yom Kippur. It  features Nicolas Jolliet a talented guitarist, sitarist,  and composer.

The Kol Nidre has fascinated composers for centuries. Now it has caught the attention of Guitarist and Sitarist Nicolas Jolliet. Using the sitar, surbahar, tabla, oud, dumbek and other exotic instruments, this CD was recorded on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, and evolves from traditional ragas into a seductive Reggae beat. The subject of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, it was played at a Yom Kippur service held at a U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Jolliet Kol Nidre was written in two parts. The first,  although  innovative, closely follows the original. The second part is a freer interpretation using the richly textured sounds of the East.  Click here to listen to this beautiful rendition of one of Judaica’s most iconic songs.

The producer, Harold Levy, has made the piece available free of charge on Soundcloud’s website.  Information on how to purchase this album can be found at Kolnidre.org.

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