A project to record original melodies and music for ancient Jewish prayers, with members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and an Emmy-award winning producer.
Category Archives: Jewish Music
Open Mic Last Saturday Night (almost rhymes)
I sang Mi Chamocha last Saturday night at the Brother’s K Coffee house open mic. Mi Chamocha is a song of liberation. My dear friend and rabbi, Brant Rosen, wrote a short, lovely poem about the prayer:
The waters are parting
Take the first step
Our moment of liberation is at hand
Have a listen (below) to a live, early recordings of my melody for this prayer. And, yes, that’s the amazing Maxwell Street Klezmer Band playing with me!!!
Credits –recording: Sam Fishkin of Mix Kitchen & photo: Dave Newman
It’s Almost Shabbat
Yup, Shabbat is only a few hours away. And that means sharing a meal with my girls and my wife, and (hopefully) letting go of the anxiety over the progress of the Kickstarter campaign to record Shabbat Sweet. Well, it’ll definitely mean letting go of working on it .
And what is the progress of the campaign so far, you ask? Aw, thanks for asking!
Well, so far 11 of you have become backers of the project and you’ve almost helped me reach my daily goal of $500.
Are there a couple more of you out there than will join me in this journey to record Shabbat Sweet and help me meet my daily goal? We only need about $150 more to make it!
Most importantly, have a peaceful Shabbat!
My Kickstarter Campaign for “Shabbat Sweet” is LIVE!
Watch for the launch tomorrow
After days of anxiously watching and refreshing my email, I got the approval today from the Kickstarter team to launch my campaign for Shabbat Sweet!
So look for the launch tomorrow!!!!
Getting Ready to Launch Kickstarter
Are you ready?
It looks like I’m going to be launching my Kickstarter.com campaign very soon – hopefully on Friday, May 3 – to raise the remaining $15,000 needed to record “Shabbat Sweet” completely with members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Emmy-award winning producer, Steve Rashid.
Here’s a still from the video:
Appealing, isn’t it (pun fully intended!).
Please keep a lookout for the launch, then take a look, and please do you part by pledging and telling EVERYONE you know about it.
Shabbat Sweet in New Mexico, and Three New Videos
Yup, you heard it right. This Friday, March 15, I will be sharing “A Shabbat Sweet” in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Congregation Albert!!! This will be my first time sharing the service outside of Chicagoland. Wow am I excited and nervous! And I’ll be flying solo! No back-up band.
And… here are three new videos. The first two are from “A Shabbat Sweet” at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) in Evanston, Illinois as I shared the service on January 11, 2013 with an amazing back-up band: Hannah Kaplan on vocals, Emma Chanen on vocals and ukulele, Jim Cox on bass, Mike O’Mara on Keyboards, Dave Newman on drums and, yup, that twelve-year-old clarinet player, Jonah Karsh, is one amazing musician!!!! I know, I know: it’s not the entire service. I guess it’s time for me to invest in a new video recorder!!!!!!
The third video is from a service played by an Interfaith Youth Orchestra made up of teens from JRC and the Lake Street Church. Yes, that IS my daughter as lead singer and band leader (not that I’m crazy proud!)!!!
And the Birdie Flies from the Nest
I guess there comes a time for every composer when you realize your music is no longer your own.
My time has come.
Last Sunday I rehearsed with an amazing group of teenage musicians – vocals, guitar, ukulele, piano, drums, clarinet and violin – on five of the pieces from “A Shabbat Sweet.” They are going to share their arrangement on March 1, 2013 at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC) for an interfaith youth service. About half the kids were from JRC and half were from the Lake Street Church.
And then the music happened… and I was NOT playing or singing. It was a little difficult not leading the music. But the joy from just experiencing it was more than enough to get me through the difficulty.
Ok. I admit it. I was kvelling (Yiddish for bursting with pride) that music I wrote was being wonderfully interpreted by these young musicians. As I am fond of saying here: WOW!
Last weekend Cole Simon, the Artistic Director of Glass City Films, came over to my house, and we recorded video for the Kickstarter campaign. We recorded me talking about the project, and we recorded me singing four of the pieces from the service.
And I just finished watch the “rough cut” of the first video, the Candle Lighting, and… WOW!!! It looks just amazing!! Gorgeous!! Holy Moses!!!!
I can’t WAIT to share it with you… but… you’ll just HAVE to wait until the campaign launches. And, no, I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be, though I hope to get it started mid-February.
Very, very exciting!!!
A lovely, amazing evening
Ok, I KNOW I need to get over it… that chill that runs up my spine, the butterfly-thrill the churns in my stomach when people sing along with the Shabbat music I wrote. But, come on, ya’ll, this is GOOD stuff.
So… about twenty of us gathered at a dear family’s home for dinner and to share in my Friday night Sabbath service, “A Shabbat Sweet.” The host family bid on the service as part of last year’s silent auction to raise money for the synagogue’s early childhood program.
As folks came into the home, I could see that we were a delightful mix of ages and family stages: families with young children, families whose children have left childhood behind for independent life, and families whose children are in college, that land between childhood and independence.
And then we finally were called to gather around the table in anticipation of bringing in Shabbat by lighting candles, saying blessing over wine and, literally, breaking bread by pulling apart the challah after blessing it.
After some words of introduction, I taught the group a very simple, highly repetitive niggun, a wordless melody. We split up into two “choirs,” each group singing just a slightly different phrase that harmonized with the other. And THAT’S when the chills really started: the energy, the power of twenty voices rising and joining together! And I thought: “This is it! This is how the joy of being Jewish enters the soul and leaves its mark of delight.” And I wondered if this was a moment, perhaps THE moment, for some of these kids, when they first experienced the intimate intensity of Jewish prayer, like I experienced when I went to Jewish summer camp.
I can’t thank the hosts enough for the opportunity to experience “A Shabbat Sweet” in such a lovely, intimate setting.