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MP3 Yonatan Miller - Jewish Soul

Klezmo-Cowboy Folk/Jazz is what I am calling this modern and my own personal take on old German-Jewish folksongs from the 19th century that I had played as a child - I recorded and overdubbed everything myself with a few drum loops thrown in.

14 MP3 Songs in this album (49:23) !
Related styles: World: Klezmer, Folk: Jazzy folk, Instrumental

People who are interested in David Grisman Stephane Grapelly Vassar Clemens should consider this download.

A little background
Yonatan (Jonathan) Miller, born in London, England in 1959, son of a Rabbi, grew up in New York City from age 2 studying classical violin (Blanche Levi, Yuval Waldman, Robert Cannetti, Peter Marsh) for 13 years as well as some recorder lessons earlier on and a few years of clarinet (Jane Hamborsky). All this in addition to public school and hebrew studies.

Here is a bio I use nowadays
Yonatan Miller grew up studying classical violin and “converted” to folk, rock, blues, pop and country in the late 70’s while at college in the USA. He made his mark on the Israeli pop scene in the early 80''s in the band "Like a Gypsy" (Kmo Tsoani) and the popular children’s TV show "Hopa Hey". In addition he was a charter member of the country/Irish/folk ensemble "The Jerusalem Taverners" which performed throughout Israel during the 80''s and 90''s reappearing at the Jacobs Ladder folk festival for a special reunion in 2007. He appeared on TV and stage and performed with numerous other Israeli artists, also playing mandolin, clarinet, pennywhistle, harmonica and more.
In 2003 he returned to the USA to live and perform. After living briefly in New Jersey he was part of the creation of Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and spent 15 months touring North America.
He has been in Arizona since 2006 and has appeared in the Arizona Jewish Theater production of “Vilna’s got a Golem” also recording and performing with many valley bands playing jazz, rock, country, Irish, Israeli, Greek, religious music and more!

You can see many of my Israeli exploits as a TV star and rabble-rouser
on https://www.tradebit.com
and you can hear some musical sampls at
https://www.tradebit.com and also

The inspiration for this CD came when i bought myself a small 8-track recording device and my wife and kids went to visit her family in Israel in the winter of 2009
I had found the music, a couple of years ago amongst the piles of stuff i have collected and saved over the years.
Judische Volkswiesen annotated by a fairly well know Klezmer player,composer, cellist Joachim Stutschkevsky. He can be easily searched online and he actually has a foundation in Israel. If you would like a copy of the tunes please email me at yonatanmiller@https://www.tradebit.com and i can send you a copy.

These tunes being folk tunes, public domain, i took advantage of the fact that i was living alone in an empty house, temporarily, and by January 2010 I had finished most of the project. Liv Khalsa Singh of Invincible Records, that i had done some work for agreed to help me mix the thing so i transferred all the tracks to him and we went to work, taking eventually about six months and about 80+ hours of hard work working on equalizations etc... An accidental installment of new software during the project forced us to change all of the effect presets, but that turned out for the better and Liv''s wonderful creative use of his studio and equipment helped me realize a dresm and i am forever grateful.

I finally can say that I have recorded my own CD.
I could die tomorrow and there would be something left behind you could listen to to "know me".

If you hear this music you hear thousands of years of Jewish History but you also hear the history of music and human emotions. You also hear inside my head, heart and soul. This is not a pure klezmer album by any stretch.
Klezmo-Cowboy Folk/Jazz is what I am naming this new eclectic style that depends on my imagination and experience. The main thing of folk music or jazz, which is a form of folk music, is that you can play the same song and have it come out differently each time.
As i sifted through the tunes i went with my gut feeling (Stephen Colbert would be proud) laying down multiple layers of sounds of the various instruments i command. Hearing a phrase here and there that i liked, i would add tracks to accentuate those parts layering single instruments and having them appear at different places in the mix.
I wanted it so sound like there was a live band playing in front of you, on a hillside, farther away...

Working alone in your garage you can come up with some wonderful subtle touches by multi-tracking re-recording bits and erasing others. I had a lot of fun and I am totally satisfied with the result. It is me. It is a reflection of me and my life and everything that I have done up until now.

Chick Corea had a wonderful album (one of my all time favorite albums) My Spanish Heart.
Paul McCartney recorded a wonderful album after he left the beatles recording all the tracks himself

So now I have my own "My Jewish Heart" but in the end i called it Jewish Soul
and now I have my own RAM, having played everything by myself

There were some people that i had offered to come over and lay down tracks but in the end
as it worked out, its all me and I am extremely satisfied with this work, its a little peek into my own soul, and heart
And the soul of a wandering jew that feels at home anywhere and everywhere
with a fiddle in his hand and a beer in his mug

A famous Jewish song says that the main thing in life is not to be afraid

But I say that the main thing is to smile , be happy, make the most out of what you have and go from there...


the pieces were numbered 1-13 and there were no names for the tunes given
so i don''t know what the pieces are actually called

I also i added the bonus track that i had recorded years
ago using a TASCAM four track on cassette !! but it was my Kol Nidrey Blues and I am glad to include that
song after the version of Stutschevsky''s take on Kol Nidre, the Holy Jewish prayer.

So the entire process the numbers were simply 1-13 and then at the very end i decided i didn''t like the way they sounded in order so i flipped them from 12 counting down to 1 and then 13 at the end and liked the way they sounded in that order

Just for CD baby since i didn''t know the actual names of the tunes i had some fun and made up some cute names
but it was just for this process that i did that and without a lot of thought - hope they came out okay !
just improvised like my music, (and life)

The instruments that I play on the CD in order of appearance are

Violin (my violin was made by Israel Schmidt, an Israeli luthier
who helped me out for over 20 years with all my repairs and stuff)
Mandolin (Kentucky Mandolin)
Acoustic Guitar (Takemine)
GEM WS-2 Keyboard/Workstation for some keyboard and other type sounds
(I actually traded a baby grand for that and have had it a long time)
Recorders (soprano alto tenor)
Mandolin-Banjo (something italian)
Clarinet (Cavalier metal marching band clarinet with glass mouthpiece and #2 reeds)
Drum Samples
Jaw Harp
Electric Violin (Zeta Strados 5-string)
Thai Bell

On the bonus track I am playing another electric violin i had - some cheap japanese thing that looked like a stick with strings on it - and a lovely hollow body epiphone electric mandolin that was stolen from the Penny Lane club in Jerusalem during the Sukkot Holiday in 1983 and it still hurts me to think about it), a funky Hagstrom electric guitar and an even funkier hollow body acoustic/electric bass

Please enjoy and please spread the word

I hope to get to work on futher projects in the not too distant future

Thank you for reading and listening


March 31, 2011

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