The nonsensical made-up word, “Thanksgivukkah,” has been floating around the Internet, and it’s been making me a little crazy, but got me thinking. Mostly the combination of “Thanksgiving” and “Hanukkah” is an example of what a former slot editor of mine used to call “creeping logoism.” He was referring to commercial branding that often found its way into print. But you get the point.
We like packaging.
Maybe it makes sense to combine the two holidays. Hear me out. (And don’t hate on me: I actually do love all of these holidays!)
Christmas and Hanukkah have been combined for years because they are usually in close proximity, at least on our current calendar, and involve gift-giving. We won’t dwell on the obvious disparity of Jesus’s birth 2,013 years ago and the Jewish Temple re-dedication that was a mere 165 years earlier. Our commercial world has pretty much ignored those facts and wrapped Hanukkah under the Christmas umbrella.
Arlo Guthrie never minded combining topics in his oft-played, anti-war song “Alice’s Restaurant.” “Remember, Alice? this is a song about Alice.”
In our American culture which likes nice, neat packaging, it makes sense that someone would coin “Thanksgivukkah” or “Thanksgivimukkah.” The rare confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this season probably spurred a creative nerd to make up this word in order to spam Facebook or Google+ or countless as-yet-to-be popular social networks.
Despite the word-mangling, the two holidays are largely about giving thanks. So Hanukkah and Thanksgiving actually probably are a better match.
We know the Pilgrim story: The coming together of cultures in the New World and giving of thanks for their bounty. They killed lots of birds and ate corn and hung out together for days. In true America fashion, we cram our giving of thanks into one day, eating turkey, eating more than is humanly possible and watching football. Maybe the Pilgrims also played games. I don’t know. I’ll bet they didn’t worry too much about getting to work the next day, so food comas weren’t an issue.
Hanukkah, meanwhile, with its celebration of the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple eons ago, is also a giving of thanks. That religious context combined with the story of oil in the temple burning for eight days instead of one, is a nice neat package, for which Jews give thanks. Of course, kids also are laden with gifts during this eight-day holiday. So there are lots of thanks to be given all around.
Maybe gift-giving could become a tradition on the Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays. I’m sure retailers would love that. Stretch out “Thanksgivikkah” over a couple of days, add a dash of Black Friday, light the menorahs to keep warm in line at Best Buy, and voila, commercial nirvana before the Big One hits a month later
So maybe it makes sense to combine these two holidays.
It’s practically gift-wrapped, and it can be the new way of giving thanks.
David Buskin and Robin Batteau used to make their living as jingle writers in New York. If you are of a certain age you’ll remember “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet, NBC’s “Just Watch Us Now,” and familiar ditties for McDonald’s, KFC, the US Army, and tons more. But that was then.
After a shot of folk superstardom in the 70’s and 80’s, the two went separate ways only to reunite in 2008. But just before that, longtime Rose Gardeners who ever saw David Buskin with his three-man comedy/music troupe “Modern Man” saw a show they will likely never forget. I certainly won’t. read more…
I couldn’t possibly cover all of the upcoming sights and sounds in the region. But here are just a few in the area worthy of note, including the endearing folk of Polly & Anand, the legendary Patty Larkin who is celebrating the release of her newest CD, the urban folk of Andrew Lewis, and a Maine duo called the Squid Jiggers, who will be making the scene down in New Bedford.
Among the annals of guitar players, particularly in the world of bluegrass music, few stand as tall as Tony Rice. His meticulous flatpicking styles have been emulated by many of today’s hottest pickers. Besides his guitar-playing, however, Rice, now 62, had been known for his warm baritone vocals — a voice that easily could evoke the warmth in an old Gordon Lightfoot ballad or tell a story from an old folk song.
Rice was influential in the guitar world for his so-called “newgrass” styles. He played everything from bluegrass to folk to jazz, starting out early as a member of the Bluegrass Alliance and with J.D. Crowe and the New South. He later joined the jazz-inspired David Grisman Quintet, was a member of the Bluegrass Album Band and later struck out on his own. In 1983, he won a Grammy for his work with the New South, and he has won numerous awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association. read more…
The Gibson Brothers again were big winners at the 24th annual International Bluegrass Association taking several awards, including entertainers of the year, song of the year, vocal group of the year and Eric Gibson as songwriter of the year. The awards ceremony was held Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 in Raleigh, N.C.
The ceremony was marked by an emotional thanks from guitarist Tony Rice, who was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame. Rice, who has suffered voice issues for the past 19 years, offered good wishes to Alison Krauss, who cancelled on attending the annual conference as she recovers from a vocal problem. Rice, exerting extra effort, was able to force himself to speak clearly, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
Other notable winners included Claire Lynch, as female vocalist of the year and Junior Sisk as male vocalist of the year as well as Balsam Range, which won for album of the year for its recording “Papertown.” More winners are listed below.
In the interest of full disclosure, the list of winners below was compiled from watching the streamed version of the awards show on BluegrassNation.org.
The Jake Armerding Trio will open the third season of Music at Sanctuary Hall on Saturday, Sept. 28, at East Weymouth Congregational Church in Jackson Square. Armerding, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has performed all over the world, will bring his musical collaborator, saxophonist Kevin Gosa, for an evening of what they call “roots chamber music,” which combines elements of jazz, pop, folk, bluegrass and classical. read more…
I don’t normally write about reissues, but in the pantheon of traditional music, sometimes reissues reveal important music that help shape the music that followed. Jean Ritchie is an American icon of traditional music. And on “British Traditional Ballads in the Southern Mountains” (Smithsonian Folkways), Ritchie’s landmark 1960 recording, she sings of true and lost love, jealousy, treachery, grief, death, and the supernatural. read more…
Legendary singer-songwriter Bill Staines will be celebrating the release of his upcoming CD “Beneathe Some Lucky Star” when he performs at Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham on Sept. 6 and at The Gore Estate in Waltham on Sept. 18. Staines, whose music has been performed by everyone from Nanci Griffith to Celtic Thunder, is known for his warm baritione and the ability to tell stories through songs that seem timeless. read more…
I have been following Vance Gilbert’s career since the early ’90s. This Boston-based performer, originally from Philadelphia, has a charm and musical flair unlike any I’ve ever seen. He can make an entire audience, from 30 to 3,000, shut up and just listen, and, very often laugh until their cheeks hurt.
Performer Magazine just published a story on Gilbert, and I can only hope it will be one of many about this gifted performer. If anything, it was reason for me to give him some more space in this column. Gilbert will be performing this Saturday at the Guthrie Centre in Great Barrington, Mass. His itinerary also mentions a performance in Hingham at the Coffeehouse off the Square/Old Ship Parish Hall on Sept. 14, but that is unconfirmed at this point. read more…
Here are some videos from the most recent Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival. More will be coming, but this is at least a start. Some highlights from the festival included memorable moments with Grammy-award winning fiddler Michael Cleveland performing with The Kruger Brothers, dynamic sets from the Missouri-based progressive band The Hillbenders and wonderful performances from The Seldom Scene, The Greencards, The SteelDrivers and newcomers Three Tall Pines.
The bluegrass band The Wilbas, described as bluegrass with a Boston accent, will perform at Rockland’s Blue Moon Coffeehouse on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2013. The Wilbas have been better known for over a decade as The Harvest Band. When founding member Randy Ducharme left the band, they were briefly known as The Sue Rocha Band which then became The Wilbas around 2010.
The Wilbas were to be the season closers, but the coffeehouse just booked Chasing Blue for June 8 to end its season. The band had been scheduled in March but was snowed out. Check the website for details. read more…
There’s a sweetness and energy when April Verch plays her fiddle and sings. It’s a magical combination from an artist who melds her feelings with the instrument that has guided her through much of her life. Verch, from Canada’s Ottawa Valley, may have grown up with the music of that region and its heritage, but the sound she delivers is so much more than that. Her ballads and songs range from the traditional to country to bluegrass to folk. But they are so much more than that. read more…
Lori McKenna, a Stoughton mom and admitted “townie,” has done well for herself in music circles. While her town life is steeped in Dunkin Donuts and visiting Town Spa Pizza, her music has been fostered by Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, among others. Her 6th studio CD, “Massachusetts,” produced by Boston singer-songwriter Mark Erelli, continues her themes of relationships, some dark, some light. read more…
April is a busy month in folk and bluegrass music on the South Shore of Massachusetts. From remarkable harmonies to recalling music from the folk tradition, the next few weeks offer a plethora of styles and great music. It all starts this Saturday, April 6, with the trio of Brother Sun at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse, and The Nields at Franklin’s Circle of Friends Coffeehouse, along with Michael Troy and Bill Motte, splitting the bill at Kingston’s Beal House.