Last night I went into the studio with the “Sweet Sisters” – Rena Newman, Emma Chanen, and my eldest daughter, Hannah Kaplan. And as an incredibly special treat, my youngest daughter, Ruthie, also sang on the piece!
The Sweet Sisters sang have been singing with me since the first time I shared Shabbat Sweet in 2011, so it was particularly delightful to have them be the last voices is session for the recording of Shabbat Sweet.
They recorded lovely three-part harmony for Shalom Rav. Have a listen to this rough mix (and keep in mind there will still be a bass and piano part added; and there will be a piano solo by Steve Rashid in the currently “empty” section).
Steve Rashid and I started recording the final pieces for Shabbat Sweet on Monday, May 19.
I’m relieved and a little sad that the recording process is coming to a close (hopefully by the end of the summer). Relieved because I’ve been working on this project, including the Kickstarter campaign, for over a year. And while it’s a joy, it’s also work and takes lots of my energy and attention! Sad because it’s been a profoundly great joy! It’s fascinating to start with an idea of how something will sound, and then to see how it evolves.
For instance, Beggar’s Niggun is one of the pieces we’re working on. And while Steve and I sat down beforehand to talk about a plan for arranging it, now that I hear the rough, I’ve got a whole new idea. (boy, is Steve going to be thrilled with that!).
So… thanks for hanging in there with me throughout the project.
I’ll be playing live in several places in the next few months. Please check the DATES page on my website so that you can plan I time to come out and experience Shabbat Sweet live!
Just about a year ago I pressed a button and started an insane, vulnerable, incredibly-intense month. I launched the Kickstarter campaign to record Shabbat Sweet, the music and melodies I wrote for Erev Shabbat, the Friday night Sabbath Service. I don’t know if I’d ever worked harder, had more emotional turbulence, or gambled more than I did that month. It was exhausting, stimulating, engaging, frightening and looooooooong. Every day, nearly every moment, I thought about how to reach out to others and share my vision, and how to get them to back the project without sounding like I was begging (though I always felt like I was).
By the end of the month almost 200 dear, wonderful, generous, fellow-insane people became supporters of the project, and the process of recording the service began.
Now it’s a year later, and we’ve completed two-thirds of the recording. I had imagined the recording would be finished by now, and that I’d franticly be putting the final touches on the production of the physical CD. And, as I should have figured, my imagination was in over-achievement mode.
I found that I had to maintain a balance among the many things I love – my family, my work, my music, my friends and my self – so that none of them suffered greatly while I invested time and energy in any one of them.
So I appreciate the patience of my beloved backers as the final pieces get recorded by the middle of the summer, if all goes as planned. We’re going to take the time we need to take get the recording right. We want to create the best sounding, most interesting and delightfully pleasing recording of Shabbat Sweet we possibly can make.
I can’t thank all the backers of the project enough for your generosity and patience as we plod on. I imagine it’s been difficult for your wait, as well. So as an early gift, I’ve created a “Shabbat Sweet Eight Track” page on the website where you can stream and listen to all eight tracks now! Just click HERE and use same password you use to hear the audio updates. Email me (email@example.com) if you want your memory refreshed. And if you’d like to listen to the current completed tracks, and are not already a backer, click HEREto donate to the project ($10 minimum) and I will be glad to email you the password. We already plan to record about four more prayers, but there are even four more we could record if we had more funding. Just sayin’!
One of my dear friends asked me what I was doing this weekend. I thought about it for just a moment, and the answer was simple: practicing.
You see, on Monday, I’m going to record the baritone ukulele parts for the current set of recordings for Shabbat Sweet. Yes, I’m excited (as I always say), and nervous (I think I say that a lot, too!).
When I started practicing along with the current tracks, over winter break, I was just trying to play cleanly, using the same approach to each piece I’d always taken. I did some “demo” recording on my phone, thanks to a simple and amazing multi-track recording program (thanks, Android!). And I didn’t like what I heard.
With the rhythm section we recorded, the playing I’d always been doing didn’t seem to add anything. So I took a Kierkegaardian leap-of-faith, and just started TRYING different rhythms and approaches. Like an actor trying different accents and emotions with the same words.
And I think I’ve come up with uke parts that make an interesting contribution to the recording. It’s been a musical stretch for me, and I’ve loved the challenge. I played one of the parts for my wife last night, and her response was just what I had hoped for – and she’s my best, and most honest critic!
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!!!
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 almosthelped 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!
I am SO pleased, and more than a little nervous, to launch my campaign on Kickstarter to make a quality recording of “Shabbat Sweet,” my collection of original melodies and music for ancient Jewish prayers. With your support, I’ll make this recording with members of the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and an Emmy-award winning composer, producer and arranger .
Will you become a part of this project? All I’m asking you to do is check out my project on Kickstarter.com.
If you can make a pledge – that would be awesome! And as you’ll see on the site, I’ll send you a token of my appreciation.