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!
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!
Stay tuned!!!! And Shabbat Shalom.
Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, will be here in a few hours. It can be a blessed rest, a break from the mundane pressures of work.
We declare a Sabbath, a space of quiet: for simple being and letting be; for recovering the great forgotten truths; for learning how to live again.
UN Environmental Sabbath Program
Reprinted in Service for Shabbat Evening
Edited by Rabbi Brant Rosen
We Jews usher in Shabbat by lighting candles which illuminate our path to Shabbat Shalom, the Sabbath Peace.
In this video, after I talk a bit about my first experience sharing Shabbat Sweet with my community, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Illinois, I play and sing the melody I wrote for the Candle Blessings.
May it guide you, and those you know and love, toward a peaceful mind this 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!
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!)!!!