A Jewish record store is coming to the Mission — briefly
Weaving around the '50s epoch furniture (solid hand carved shelves and credenzas that look like wet bars, record players) of the newly constructed pop-up shop with "Tikva Records" in red lettering on the window front, I got a sense of a cozy, hangout for record lovers, Jewish or not, which lead me to again question: what exactly makes music Jewish?
Vibrant, and clearly enamored with these albums, Katznelson was on hand with some helpful thoughts. "I think, like all music, it's open to interpretation. What we do is use this music to look at Jewish history — it's beyond Jewish music, it's music that has affected the Jewish experience."
Jewlia Eisenberg, leader of SF group Charming Hostess, was also previewing the store — it was her first time taking a peek around too, and she seemed ecstatic, slipping records out of the shelves and commenting, "oh my god, look at this one!" Along with the help of a few volunteers, Eisenberg will be running the shop during the month of December.
Katznelson and Eisenberg pulled out records to examine, including the classic Fiddler on the Roof, but more so albums that recently came back to light, like the Latin-tinged Bagels and Bongos — another album the Idelsohn Society reissued. Says Katznelson, "Hybrids happened, and it created new sounds — so what are those new sounds called?"
An example of the modern Jewish hybrid: Jeremiah Lockwood, New York-based bandleader of the Sway Machinery and grandson of legendary cantor Jacob Konigsberg, who will light the final two nights of Chanukah candles at the store, and perform live.
During his second appearance, Ethan Miller of Howling Rain and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars will join Lockwood in performance. He met Dickinson back in 1998 when they worked on a friend's album together. Says Lockwood. "It was my first trip to the South after spending my adolescence obsessed with country blues and it made a big impression on me."
The rest of his performances will be a mixed bag, reflecting decades of the Jewish — and American — music experience. "I'm most comfortable playing blues-oriented material when I play solo, but I definitely plan to hit some tunes from the new Sway Machinery album," he says, "I will certainly dig out some of my family's Chanukah standards...very beautiful bits of Jewish folklore I grew up on and that were a part of the family Chanukah lighting ceremony."
And just like that, after a month of record-selling and live performances culminating with holiday revelry, the pop-up will end, and it'll be on to the next great idea for the Idelsohn Society. Like it was all some nostalgic, far-out folk dream.
TIKVA JEWISH POP-UP RECORD STORE
Dec. 1-Dec. 28, times vary, free (donations suggested)
3191 Mission, SF