fiba Feature 2006
|Lionel Zipring's grandfather discovered the mystic writings of the Kaballah and published a hardcover edition in the original Hebraic language after record- ing this ancient music. Lionel proceeded to distribute free copies of this extraordinary book to friends who visited him regu- larly - including the publisher of fiba. Years passed and the original book found it's way to Los Angeles where unscrupu- lous 'cult inventors' translated|
|(with lots of money) to be its 'followers'. Including popsicles like Madonna. Ugh. Let's hope his grandfather's music doesn't develop the same fate.|
Manhattan record label and a Minnesota
audio publisher are among the companies that have expressed interest
in a rare collection of Jewish liturgical recordings made in the 1950s,
much to the relief of Lionel Ziprin, who
has been trying to get the recordings out in the world for some 50
years. The records were part of a 15-LP
set that Ziprins grandfather, Rabbi
Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia, recorded in a Lower
East Side yeshiva over a period
of two years with renowned ethnomusicologist Harry
are not after all intended to be consumed.
That is not common-you or common-I.
Common-you and common-I are combustibles.
if we leave flesh we burn.
We are not hallowed like some are.
Simple women cut holes in us.
Our tricks are gross.
We are still rooted in the absolutely necessary.
There is only so much we can make.
Only so much we can change,
I of course who do change and you of course who are changed are not
any longer than that.
We have forfeited our sides.
We have undreamt our perpendiculars.
We have been, so to speak, deconditioned.
We no longer refuse to be enslaved.
Vacuity is in our mouths.
We no more hold fast.
our ships are broken.
The ocean is dry for us.
The fish are dead for us.
We have become essentially what we are not, not any more. "
Lionel Ziprin (above) photo by Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Lionel Ziprin hopes to publish the sacred
recordings of his rabbi grandfather.
By JOHN FREEMAN GILL
Published: February 5, 2006 (New York Times)
before his rabbi grandfather died in 1955,
a writer of idiosyncratic poetry named Lionel Ziprin
gave the old man his word that he would publish the rare
Jewish liturgical recordings the rabbi
had made at his Lower East Side yeshiva. Now,
Mr. Ziprin appears tantalizingly close to
fulfilling his promise.
The recordings capture hours of melodic ancient prayers in praise of God, sung from memory by Mr. Ziprin's grandfather, whose name is usually rendered as Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. The collection of sacred music is part of a 15-record set recorded in the 1950's by the
renowned ethnomusicologist Harry Smith at the Home of the Sages of Israel, a yeshiva on East Broadway.
"My grandfather was like another God person," Mr. Ziprin, 81, said the other day in his dusty East Broadway apartment. "He was from a different realm."
Mr. Smith spent two years recording the rabbi in the 1950's, and also became close to Mr. Ziprin, occa- sionally indulging with him in peyote, a hallucinogen that Mr. Ziprin said he used to buy, literally, by the bushel.
Jon Kalish, a journalist, reported Mr. Ziprin's story for National Public Radio on New Year's Day, and in the last few weeks, Mr. Kalish has been contacted by two companies expressing interest in the recordings. One is a spoken-word publisher in Minnesota, the other an
avant-garde label called Los Angeles River Records. And Mr. Ziprin said he had received a visit from John Zorn, who runs Tzadik, a small Manhattan label. These developments were reported in The Forward late
Though Mr. Ziprin is in failing health he can scarcely breathe without an oxygen machine and other life-support equipment he insisted he would choose a distributor for the recordings only when he was good and ready.
"It took several years to digitize them, and now I'm at the point where I want to do liner notes for the CD," said Mr. Ziprin, whose flowing white beard, skullcap and gravely giggle give him the air of a wizened rabbi with a quirky wit. After the liner notes will come the CD's graphics, he added, "so why should I think about distributing now?"
Deborah Freeman, an artist friend of both Mr. Ziprin and the late Mr. Smith, says that Mr. Ziprin is in a difficult position.
"He's in a very delicate balancing act, because this is sacred music, it's liturgical music, and it's the music of his grandfather, who was a very famous rabbi," Ms. Freeman said. "So it's very important to
him that it be done in the right way."
But Mr. Ziprin said he was confident that the proper conclusion of his 50-year quest would, as he put it, "manifest itself" in due course. "At the right time the right distributor will show up, and the right writer of the liner notes will show up," he said. "And my grandfather's voice will be broadcast in this world in the right sonic network."
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