Author Archives: eldesterrado1947

About eldesterrado1947

Voyaging the lateral connections between cultures and continents.

Festival of lights


I’m loving the new Israeli and Indian stamps commemorating twenty years of ties.

India and Israel release stamps to mark 20 years of ties

Apparently, the menorah featured on the stamp was inspired by the wooden menorah used by the Jewish community in Bombay.


Whatever happened to the Jews of Pakistan?


From Point of No Return:

Mystery has long surrounded the Jews of Pakistan, and this blog has attracted dozens in search of information about them. Finally, Shalva Weil has written a comprehensive history of this community in the Pakistan Press – Canada. The last Jew, Rachel Joseph, died in 2006. (With thanks to an Anonymous reader)

Pakistan was never traditionally antisemitic. In fact, it may come as a surprise that Pakistan hosted small, yet thriving, Jewish communities from the 19th century until the end of the 1960s. Recently, Yoel Reuben, a Pakistani Jew living in the Israeli town of Lod whose family originated in Lahore, documented some of the history of the Jewish communities with photographs of original documents.

When India and Pakistan were one country, before the partition in 1947, the Jews were treated with tolerance and equality. In the first half of the 20th century, there were nearly 1,000 Jewish residents in Pakistan living in different cities: Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, and Lahore. The largest Jewish community lived in Karachi, where there was a large synagogue and a smaller prayer hall. There were two synagogues in Peshawar, one small prayer hall in Lahore belonging to the Afghan Jewish community, and one prayer hall in Quetta. Even today, according to unofficial sources, there are rumors that some Jews remain in Pakistan, including doctors and members of the free professions, who converted or passed themselves off as members of other religions.

The Jews of Pakistan were of various origins, but most were from the Bene Israel community of India, and came to Pakistan in the employ of the British. Yifah, a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, relates that her great-great-grandfather Samuel Reuben Bhonkar, who was a Bene Israel, came to Karachi in British India to work as a jailer, and died there in 1928. The Bene Israel originated in the Konkan villages, but many moved to Bombay from the end of the 18th century on. In Pakistan, they spoke Marathi, their mother tongue from Maharashtra; Urdu, the local language; and most spoke English. Prayers were conducted in Hebrew. In 1893, a Bene Israel from Bombay, Solomon David Umerdekar, inaugurated the Karachi Magen Shalom Synagogue on the corner of Jamila Street and Nishtar Road, which officially opened in 1912. [READ THE REST/ORIGINAL]

Listening pleasure


From Sublime Frequencies:

Erkin Koray: Mechul (Singles and Rarities) CD/LP SF067

Erkin Koray:  Mechul (Singles and Rarities) CD/LP SF067

Erkin Koray and Sublime Frequencies are pleased to present this collection of rare tracks and lesser-heard singles. All tracks were recorded and released in Turkey between 1970 – 1977 and culled from Koray’s personal vinyl collection. Includes exclusive photos and remastered audio.

From NPR:

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

On her latest album, the 30-year-old Shankar moves her sitar out of urban lounges and into the winding alleys of Andalusia, in search of the musical and historical ties between India and Spain.

Mining the Audio motherlode continued


More from the wonderful WFMU:

SuchatSuchat Thianthng  ~  Waen Wiset
(Blog: Monrakplengthai)

Seeing Double
 I’ve got quite a classic to share this week. Continuing with the theme of racy album art, we’ve got some great late-era work from Mr. Suchat Thianthong! Suchat was born and raised in Ayutthaya Province, and spent time working as a market seller and freelance boxer before joining the legendary Chularat Band. Initially his specialty was slow, sweet love songs in the style of Thun Thongchai, but he lost his trademark high notes after a crippling case of tonsillitis. Not willing to leave the stage, he applied his gritty new voice to comedic effect and proved a bigger hit than ever before. This is a collection of his “post-op” hits, featuring songs about liquor and ganja, along with a good amount of raunchy wordplay, and even a tale about a pair of “magic glasses” (vividly illustrated on the cover). Enjoy!”  (Description by Peter, at Monrakplengthai)

SrinivasU. Srinivas  ~  Mandolin All the Way
(Blog: The Boogieman Will Get Ya!)

Toys in the Carnatic
“U. Srinivas is among South India’s better known musicians. In the West, his name  may be recognized by some open-minded jazz fans thanks to his collaboration with John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussein.  However, there is no hint of jazz or fusion in this recording. This is pure Carnatic Classical Music.  Absolutely Magic!  This music gives me a natural high!” (Description from Boogieman, at The Boogieman Will Get Ya!)

More music blog recommendations: Bodega Pop, Musik-KurierTurkish Psychedelic Music!Music From The Third Floor, The Sleepy Lagoon.

Shabbat Meals: Black Eyed Peas and Butternut Squash Curry


From the Forward:

[…]In seeking to expand my Shabbat repertoire, I have been surprised to find particular inspiration in Indian cooking. Three of India’s major religions — Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism — advocate the principle of ahimsa, non-violence towards all creatures. That tradition makes Indian cooking particularly welcoming for vegetarians like us. In experimenting with Indian flavors, David has tended to be the bolder adventurer, while I have stuck more closely to cookbooks. But a few months ago, I was inspired to come up with this recipe, a curry of black eyed peas and butternut squash, after tasting a similar combination at the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Oleana in Cambridge. The cumin and sautéed onion bring out the sweetness in the butternut squash, and the black eyed peas are a cool relief from the cayenne. It pairs well with rice, or with a spinach salad.

If you’ve never cooked with Indian spices, it’s best to buy them at an Indian market or in the bulk aisle of an organic grocery store — you’ll pay much more for small bottles. But don’t worry if you’re missing one spice, or want to experiment by adding another. You can play with the balance of spices to suit the tastes of your friends and family, too — it’s less about strict rules or exact amounts than the combination of flavors and aromas. Indian food, I’m learning, both encourages and forgives creativity: from home to home, no dish is prepared in precisely the same way, a curiosity considering how classic many dishes have become. It too has come to remind me of what Shabbat can be.[…]

Read more:

Bangladesh honours retired Jewish general


Via Point of No Return:

The unlikely hero of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh, is a Jew of Iraqi origin, Lt JFR Jacob. This year, at long last, the Bangladeshi government has decided to honour him. Hindu human rights activist Ranbir Sekhon reports in The Conservative Papers:

Eventually India intervened and defeated the Pakistan forces. The result was the creation of the new state of Bangladesh. But what is less well know is the role played by one of India’s most celebrated military brass.

Lt Gen (Retd) JFR Jacob had taken part in the Independence War of Bangladesh in 1971. Belatedly the Sheikh Hasina government has decided to honour Jacob by requesting him to witness the Independence and National Day programmes to be held at National Parade Square on March 26 in Dhaka, staying here from March 24 to 27.  [READ THE REST/ORIGINAL]

Kosher curry


Check out this website.


Idan Raichel | Jewish Music Gone Global

Idan Raichel has to be one of the most unique artists on the planet today. Born in the Israeli town of Kfar Saba, his music is Jewish; but through it run the musical veins of West Africa, Latin America, India and more. Idan sings not only in Hebrew but in several other international languages. This […]

Book Recommendation | The Black Jews of Africa

Dr Edith Bruder is President of The International Society for the Study of African Jewry (ISSAJ), and Research Associate at both SOAS and the French National Centre for Scientific Research. Dr Bruder is passionate about the history of Judaism in Africa, as she told Kosher Curry in our recent post ‘Black Judaism Twenty-First Century Perspectives’.   Following […]


Kaifeng | Chinese Kosher Restaurant!

Kosher Curry went up to Hendon to meet Phillip, co-Manager of Kaifeng Restaurant. He told us about the extraordinary Chinese history that inspired his restaurant, as well as giving us the low-down on the Kaifeng experience:…

North African Jewish Food | from Oded Schwartz’s book

Bouka Tayeb
Amongst Oded Schwartz’s many cookery books is ‘In Search of Plenty; A History of Jewish Food’. It’s an old book, published in 1992, and Kosher Curry came across it quite by chance! It really is an excellent history, stretching from Israel to the West, from Africa to Spain. Western and Israeli foods are all covered, […]

Give the drummer yet more


WFMU continues to mine the audio motherlode….

Tabla Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa & Ustad Amir Hussain Khan  ~  “Rhythms of India: Tabla Recital”
(Blog: Oriental Traditional Music from LPs & Cassettes)

This Is Your Brain, on Tablas
“Rhythm is man’s primal impulse: it comes naturally to him. And to the Indian mind, everything in creation moves to rhythm. As the celebrated Sanskrit work on Indian music, the “Raga Kalpadruma” says: “The emergence, sustenance and dissolution of the three worlds come from rhythm. All living beings from the smallest worm onwards, move by rhythm. Even the movement of the sun, the moon and the planets depends on rhythm.”  (From the liner notes)

Labassi Lili Labassi  ~  Le Génie du Chââbi (1932-1939)
(Blog: Holy Warbles)

Lili of the Valley
“The day an unbiased musicologist worthy of his title and without any prejudice of race, religion or origin studies Algerian musique [Chààbi & Andaluz] the obvious will appear; that its paramount lord is undoubtedly Lili Labassi.”  (By Robert Castel [Labassi’s son], in the liner notes)

Pike Dave Pike Set  ~  “Noisy Silence—Gentle Noise”
(Blog: Barabara Sounds)

Best Song Title: “Walkin’ Down the Highway in a Red Raw Egg”
Speaking of his contribution to the iconic Indo/jazz fusion track “Mathar” on this LP, guitarist Volker Kriegel reveals in the liner notes, “I have been playing the Indian sitar for only two weeks. Here too I’m interested in first of all in the wonderful sound of the great instrument. Mathar is the village where in northern Indian where Ravi Shankar studied 14 years with his guru before performing  in public. But there are three things in this: for me the word Mathar also consists of “mother” and sitar.”  (From the liner notes )

Hortobagyi Laszlo Hortobagyi  ~  “6th All-India Music Conference”
(Blog: Eclecticipher)

“Hortobagyi has spent the last 30 years creating the music of a world that never existed but might exist in a parallel universe. A complete Musical History of a Parallel Earth. A planet , where east and west mixed somewhat differently. Much deeper.”  (By Eclecticipher)

Simla Various  ~  “Simla Beat ’70/’71”
(Blog: Resin Hits)

“This is an Indian garage psych comp compiled from talent shows hosted by a cigarrette company called Simla in the ’60s. A weird cross-promotion between two of the greatest products circulating earth: rock music and cigarettes. As far as the bands go, the eruptions are really good distorted surf rock, and fentones/hypnotic eye have the best cuts overall. and let me tell you, the cross-promotion works. I’ve smoked more bones listening to this one than even Simla Cigarettes could support, dood.”  (By Josh Klimaszewski, at Resin Hits)

Martino Pat Martino  ~  “Baiyina (The Clear Evidence)
(Blog: The KingCake Crypt)

Does This Get Pat Frisked at the Airport?
“Adventurous fusions of Indian, psychedelic, rock, funk, and jazz music by one of the great risk-takers of the electric guitar. Baiyina features fluid guitars, exotic Indian percussion and drone instruments, unique time signatures, swirling flute and sax, deep grooving bass, and in-the-pocket drumming, making it one of the most unique acid-drenched albums to come out of the late ’60s. As the album’s subtitle reads: ‘A psychedelic excursion through the magical mysteries of the Koran.’ Indeed, each track takes its inspiration and name from different parts of the Koran.”  (By John Ballon, at

Raga Shankar Jaikishan  ~  “Raga Jazz Style”
(Blog: Holy Warbles)

Øשlqæda for President
Shankar Jaikishan, also known as S/J, were a duo of composers in the Hindi film industry who collaborated from 1949–1971. Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi was a native of Rajasthan, while Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal belonged to Bansda, Gujarat. Shankar Jaikishan, along with other artists, wrote ‘everlasting’ & ‘immortal melodies’ in the ’50s & ’60s. Their best melodies are noted for being raga-based & having both lilt and sonority. Shankar Jaikishan made a major contribution toward the development of jazz music in India and the new genre Indo Jazz. Their 1968 album Raga Jazz Style is the earliest Indo Jazz recording in India and the first to be released in stereo. On this album, considered to be one of the most innovative, S/J created 11 songs based on Indian ragas with sitar by Rais Khan.  (From Wikipedia)

Rich Buddy Rich & Alla Rakha  ~  “Rich à la Rakha”
(Blog: Dr. Schluss’ Garage of Psychedelic Obscurities)
From the album: Khanda Kafi (mp3)

Slap Dash
“For those of us living in the West, jazz drumming legend Buddy Rich is the marquee name here, although it’s not particularly representative of what you’re going to get with this recording. Neither is the trendy, ’68 vintage psychedelic exploitation lettering gracing the cover. No, this is in fact a collaboration with the sterling Indian percussionist Alla Rakha, and it’s his musical DNA that is most apparent here. Fortunately, the end result is a quite good album of classically-minded Indian music with a few jazz flourishes (although for the most part it seems that Mr. Rich is joining in with hand percussion or just a tom drum).”  (Description by Dr. Schluss , at Dr. Schluss’ Garage Of Psychedelic Obscurities )

Baris Bariş Manço  ~  29 Singles
(Blog: Turkish Psychedelic Music)

We’ll Always Have Bariş
“Along with Erkin, Baris Manco is one of the earliest stars of Turkish rock’n roll whose first public -success dates back to late 50’s.  He won scholarship in Belgium Royal Academy in 1963 and went to Belgium to study graphics and art. By the time he was there he was always busy with music and put out records in both Belgium and in Turkey (to where he returned for four or five months every year. Influenced by the rapid cultural movements occuring at the time in Europe, he realised his own country could be the cultural link between East and West, a link avidly sought by many open-minded Western European thoughts. After his collaborations with Les Mistigris and Kaygisizlar, Manço went on to form another band under his name which compromised of multi-national musicians. Best remembered for their fantastic live bluesy underground music.”  (Description by Gökhan Aya & Jay Dobis, reprinted at

SAREGA-WEB As they did for many sonic movements, restaurants and bars played a pivotal role in the ’70s Indian psychedelic funk scene. Inside the balmy local haunts of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) the hypnotic percussion and fuzz guitars of bands like Atomic Forest and the Black Beats perfected a distinct fusion of Western rock and Indian culture. On any given weeknight, a neighborhood food joint could transform into a packed dance party. In time, these exotic sounds even became fodder for Bollywood films of the era.

This is from an LA Times blog from back in May, about an event presented by Now-Again Records and World Psychedelic Funk Classics, which released the album back in November 2010.

More stuff from the wonderful Now-Again below the fold. Read the rest of this entry

‘Psych Funk Sa-Re-Ga’