Its Jewish Music, But Is The Music Jewish?
A while back I was driving along the Jerusalem highway scanning the radio stations. On one frequency, a very intense dance beat was exploding out of the speakers. I was about to move the dial some more in search of a Jewish tune when the vocalist started in. Shock of shocks, he was a heavily Hassidic singer, complete with eastern European pronunciation. And what was he singing? "Kumee oy'ree ki va oy-reich.." from 16th century Rabbi Shlomo Alkavetz' classic Sabbath poem, L'cha Dodi. Before he had began his rendition I had been expecting something like "Oh baby, the way you move with me ..."!
I had to ask the old question, "Is this good for the Jews?" And I had to give the old answer, "Does hair grow on the palm of your hand?"
Of course it's not good for the Jews, I felt. Poor, unfortunate L'cha Dodi, dragged from the fields of Tsfat on the Sabbath eve and infected with Saturday Night Fever! Lovingly done by a Hassid, no less!
Speaking of Tsfat, I recall meandering about their Klezmer festival once and hearing a contemporary setting of Psalm 126. It was to a funk rhythm, and the words did not fit. The singer had to split words in two, which rendered them more or less meaningless. Good for the Jews? Nah.
What bothered me about this so-called Jewish music? To put it briefly, besides the words, it just wasn't. It was dance, trance, shmantz. It was hip, driving, suggestive. If this music was asked where it wanted to play, the synagogue or the sin-skin club, the answer was clear. If Jewish music is to be defined as such, it must have authentic Jewish roots. And so much contemporary music simply does not. Where was the source of this tradition? Nowhere. That's what bothered me.
But, as Tevye reminds us, there's another hand. After all, go listen to classic Hassidic nigunim (melodies). Then go listen to Russian folk songs. Eerie, no? Weren't those folk songs the "dance" of their day?
Even stronger, go watch the religious kids. They love contemporary popular music and all its villains. What these new Jewish groups do is take what's hip and put Jewish content into it. Isn't that what the original Hassidic nigunim were all about? If we don't want to lose our young people in the culture war, we have to compete. Didn't Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch bring the choral works of Lewandowsky and Japhet in to the synagogue service, even though they were completely in the style of the German composers of the age, such as Schubert and Mendelssohn (he needs an asterisk because he was halakhically Jewish)? So maybe I should not only calm down, I should applaud this phenomenon.
Hold on. We're both right, I believe. Here's how I reconcile the difference, and my earnest appeal to all who create Jewish music. The most important thing is to ask, "To be or not to be?" That is the question.
Every song has a purpose, a message. It can be joy, faith, pensiveness, determination, anything. The message is in the melody and rhythm, which create the atmosphere. It's in the text, which gives articulation to the message. And it's in the performance, which makes the message personal between the performer and the listener. If the message is congruent, if the music and the lyrics are a perfect union that inspires the performer, then you have a great piece of music. If the message is mixed, if there's a battle going on between the rhythm and the words, then we are troubled. That was why that "kumee oy'ree" was so absolutely awful. It was a mixed message of licentious music with holy texts.
We love to set verses from the liturgy to music, and that's wonderful. Composers have a special responsibility to make sure that the music conveys the message and colors the words with deeper meanings. Do that, and I'm fascinated, I'm inspired, even if it's a contemporary style.
But be very, very careful with verses. We tend to ask, "Do you think Adon Olam goes to this?", when we would do better to ask, "What is this melody saying?". If it says Adon Olam, good. If it does not, then WRITE YOUR OWN WORDS. To keep with the idea of message, if you have a great tune that can say something worthwhile (something human and real, not negative or immodest), say it your way. That satisfies.
The foundation of Jewish music has always been expressing what's in our hearts as a prayer to God. That expression must be congruent, pure, sincere. There is room in the Jewish music world for great innovation, if it comes from our hearts, not from the charts.
Seth Yisra'el Lutnick is a singer and composer who has performed on stage and screen. His CD is called Gesharim, and he is also a trained cantor. Visit his website, http://www.greatjewishmusic.com for music and more.
Selena Gomez Teases ‘Empowering’ New Music and More Takeaways From Variety’s Hitmakers Ceremony - Variety
Selena Gomez Teases ‘Empowering’ New Music and More Takeaways From Variety’s Hitmakers Ceremony Variety
A "music city" study and "Tokyo Godfathers" tonemadison.com
Zona Music Festival 2022: Live updates from Hance Park, Phoenix The Arizona Republic
Inside the Worst Music Decisions of All Time Rolling Stone
The Musical Cross-Pollination of the Sonoran Borderlands World Music Central
The best music books of 2022 The Guardian
Finding New Meaning in Timeless Music The New York Times
Saratoga High music department in concert The Mercury News
Keke Palmer, SZA and the SNL Ladies Seek 'Big Boys' to Warm Up Their Holiday in Music Video — Watch - TVLine
Keke Palmer, SZA and the SNL Ladies Seek 'Big Boys' to Warm Up Their Holiday in Music Video — Watch TVLine
Bring the gift of music to Riverwood | Area Events | messagemedia.co Aitkin Independent Age
Huntsville Music Office to host HSV Quarterly Meetup City of Huntsville Blog
Music Today: Sunday, Dec. 4 | A+E North Coast Journal
Most Popular Music Of 2022: Bad Bunny Dominates Billboard, Spotify, Pandora And Apple Music Charts - Forbes
Most Popular Music Of 2022: Bad Bunny Dominates Billboard, Spotify, Pandora And Apple Music Charts Forbes
For Denver's Bass Music Community, CharlestheFirst Remains an Inspiration - 5280 - 5280 | The Denver Magazine
For Denver's Bass Music Community, CharlestheFirst Remains an Inspiration - 5280 5280 | The Denver Magazine
Best Classical Music Performances of 2022 The New York Times
Betting, radio and music: What a way to make a living Chicago Sun-Times
Next Week in Music | Dec. 5-11 • On TV Tinnitist
How to Talk about Music VOA Learning English
Harmonix's music mashup maker Fuser is being delisted from sale Rock Paper Shotgun
Luca Guadagnino and Trent Reznor on the Americana Influences that Shaped the Music of ‘Bones and All’ - IndieWire
Luca Guadagnino and Trent Reznor on the Americana Influences that Shaped the Music of ‘Bones and All’ IndieWire
Sound of Music | SOMA, NJ News TAPinto TAPinto.net
Graham Coxon: ‘Music has always been there for me’ The Guardian
Scarred by War, a Ukrainian Children’s Choir Finds Hope in Music The New York Times
Holiday music blossoms at Husson University's Gracie Theatre with Cellophane Flowers - Bangor Daily News
Holiday music blossoms at Husson University's Gracie Theatre with Cellophane Flowers Bangor Daily News
Jack Antonoff drags Ye's antisemitism at Zona Music Festival 2022 The Arizona Republic
Country Music Star Toby Keith Reveals He Is Thinking Of Getting Back As He Battles Stomach Cancer - Deadline
Country Music Star Toby Keith Reveals He Is Thinking Of Getting Back As He Battles Stomach Cancer Deadline
The Last Of Us trailer: Mushroom zombies, '80s music, and a gun-toting Nick Offerman - The A.V. Club
Amid debate, Jacksonville radio station says it'll continue playing music by Ye, formerly Kanye West - WJXT News4JAX
Amid debate, Jacksonville radio station says it'll continue playing music by Ye, formerly Kanye West WJXT News4JAX
Sounds of jazz and world music at Rialto Cyprus Mail
VIDEO, PHOTOS: Lights, drinks, shopping, music, tree lighting @ West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Festival | West Seattle Blog... - West Seattle Blog
VIDEO, PHOTOS: Lights, drinks, shopping, music, tree lighting @ West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Festival | West Seattle Blog... West Seattle Blog
SODOM's THOMAS 'ANGELRIPPER' SUCH: 'We Never Changed Our Music' BLABBERMOUTH.NET
A Guide to NYC Holiday Events: Live Music, Theater, Lights and More The New York Times
LIVE! With music by Imani Uzuri, Randall Shreve, Opal Agafia and more - Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
LIVE! With music by Imani Uzuri, Randall Shreve, Opal Agafia and more Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Music of ‘Emancipation’: Marcelo Zarvos Evokes African, Haitian Sounds for Will Smith Slavery Escape Drama - Variety
Music of ‘Emancipation’: Marcelo Zarvos Evokes African, Haitian Sounds for Will Smith Slavery Escape Drama Variety
Indigenous students at Howard S. Billings High School premier special music video - Montreal | Globalnews.ca - Global News
Indigenous students at Howard S. Billings High School premier special music video - Montreal | Globalnews.ca Global News
Charles Koppelman, Force in the Music Industry and Beyond, Dies at 82 The New York Times
HERB BENHAM: Good yard music makes good neighbors The Bakersfield Californian
Watch: LE SSERAFIM Takes “ANTIFRAGILE” 3rd Win On “Music Core”; Performances By KARA, Red Velvet, ITZY, And More - soompi
Watch: LE SSERAFIM Takes “ANTIFRAGILE” 3rd Win On “Music Core”; Performances By KARA, Red Velvet, ITZY, And More soompi
Review: 'Roundabout Trace' poems capture beers, music and love from long ago - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Review: 'Roundabout Trace' poems capture beers, music and love from long ago Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Beloved Toronto metal music fan dies after three hospital visits in 10 days | Globalnews.ca - Global News
Beloved Toronto metal music fan dies after three hospital visits in 10 days | Globalnews.ca Global News
Joni Mitchell: Hejira Album Review Pitchfork
Bengaluru singing group From Mug to Mike creates music video for International Day of Persons with Disabilities - The Hindu
Bengaluru singing group From Mug to Mike creates music video for International Day of Persons with Disabilities The Hindu
Musical taste may be influenced by personality traits, resarchers say The Washington Post
YouTube announces Creator Music, a new way for creators to shop for songs for use in videos - TechCrunch
YouTube announces Creator Music, a new way for creators to shop for songs for use in videos TechCrunch
The music lives on Apple
Has streaming made it harder to discover new music? The Guardian
‘There’s endless choice, but you’re not listening’: fans quitting Spotify to save their love of music - The Guardian
‘There’s endless choice, but you’re not listening’: fans quitting Spotify to save their love of music The Guardian
Is Old Music Killing New Music? The Atlantic
Pop Music's Nostalgia Obsession The Atlantic
Sade Are Recording New Music Pitchfork
Apple Music Apple
TikTok Parent ByteDance Sets Sights on Spotify With Music-Streaming Expansion - The Wall Street Journal
TikTok Parent ByteDance Sets Sights on Spotify With Music-Streaming Expansion The Wall Street Journal
Taylor Swift Makes History as First Artist With Entire Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100, Led by ‘Anti-Hero’ at No. 1 - Billboard
Taylor Swift Makes History as First Artist With Entire Top 10 on Billboard Hot 100, Led by ‘Anti-Hero’ at No. 1 Billboard
Micing a Kick Drum
This months tip deals with micing kick drums.You wouldn't believe how many people ask me about micing their kick drums.
Tips for a Great Recording Session
You know your songs are great (and so does your girl/boyfriend, family, pets etc), and you finally decided to record an album in a real studio. That's great! But what actually happens when you get there?When you finally do pick the perfect studio, one that you feel comfortable at, there is a certain routine that must be followed in order to get the best performance and the best recording for your budget.
Independent Music Promotion on the Web: 3 Steps to Success
Let's face it, the wildfire spread of web-based portals designed to introduce independent music to the world has created a bewildering array of opportunities and costs. So where do they all balance out? When does the cost of signing up to yet another music promotion service yield results? What results are we looking for anyway?The key is to make your web promotion targeted, systematic and rich.
If Seals Can Sing, Why Cant You?
It sounds like a side show, doesn't it? It does to me. But it's true; researchers have discovered that some varieties of seals really do sing.
Greg Koch Fender Guitar History
The Greg Koch Fender guitar began to take shapeall the way back when Greg Koch was in the thirdgrade. Greg cut out cardboard Fender Stratocasterguitars, then Koch used his sisters sewing machinepedal as a wah-wah.
How Many Songs Are In Your Pocket?
The portable MP3 player continues to be the hot item for those who want music on the go. I was talking to a teen the other day wearing a wristwatch MP3 player she takes on her walks.
The Future for Independent Record Labels
Small independent record labels are facing a different fight today to obtain a share of the music industry. The best possible means in which small labels were able to get their CD's sold vanished in 2003 when Southwest Wholesale Records and Tapes closed the doors.
How to Create a Multi-artistic Piece - Part II
In the last article, the creation of a theme, its development, and the use of a libretto were discussed. As one may recall, the theme is the kernel of a production, which dictates the nature of the piece.
Warner Music Executive Payments
"In human life, art may arise from almost any activity, and once it does so, it is launched on a long road of exploration, invention, freedom to the limits of extravagance, interference to the point of frustration, finally discipline, controlling constant change and growth." Susanne Langer (1895-1985)CommentaryIn these times of major record label mergers, downsizing, the slashing of label rosters, and thousands of record company jobs being lost over the last three years--not to mention the enormous sea change and seismic shifts that technology has wrought--comes one of the most disturbing reports we have come across.
Suzuki Violin Vs Traditional Violin
The Suzuki violin method has come to dominate the way violin is taught in America and throughout much of the world. Mention the Suzuki violin method to music educators, and you will get a variety of responses.
Music Practice Techniques for Learning Repertory
These practice tips were written for fiddlers. I've used them in classical violin also.
Try Some New Music!
Stuck in a music rut?It happens. After listening to your favorite song 1,379,614 times, you will, eventually, get sick of it.
Music Downloads: Free & Low Cost Ways For Musicians To Get Their Music Known All Over The World
Music downloads are highly compressed audio files transferred onto a personal computer from an Internet website or P2P (peer to peer) program. From IPOD's to MP3 players galore, music downloading is seen as the fastest way for a musician to get his or her work out to the public.
The Revolution of Electric Guitars
Sometime during the 1930's electric guitars were introduced onto the music scene, which began a revolution in sound and technology that continues to this day. After Rock and Roll was born in the 1950's, it didn't take very long for electric guitars to grow in popularity and become one of the most coveted instruments of all time.
How To Make Money On A Music Website Through Pay-Per-Click?
Interested in making money while you're asleep, or making moneywhile you're not even on the computer? Well here is a way thatyou can do that, clicks!! Once you have gone throughgodaddy.com and purchased your domain name for a cheap $9.
Music to Echo Your Mood
In what way do the kinds of music (rock, rap, classical,instrumental, etc.) change or alter our mood and in what waydo our moods effect what music we listen to?Music has been present throughout the history of man.
Does Your CD Cover $ell (Or Suck)?
Oh, I know the last part of the title (Suck) isn't a very pleasant description to apply to anyone's CD cover. But, in the interest of plain old honesty, and to face our demons head on, I wanted to (again) utilize a worst case scenario that we can only improve from.
Making Music As A Lefty
Author Interview with Ryan Thomson, seacoast New Hampshire resident, and author of a new book advocating left handed violin playing by lefties. - Playing Violin and Fiddle Left Handed.
"Live music." That common saying may contain some truth, but these days the word "live" is having less and less to do with music.
How To Play The Violin
This article gives the essential basics for how to play the violin. Generally violins are quite commonly available instruments and it is reasonably easy to rent or buy a violin.
|home | site map|