Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hanukkah Spirit From Female Artists: Sarah Aroeste, Rivky, Rachel Kann

At the end of a recent Forward article on this year's Hanukkah parody videos, writer Jenny Singer points out, "Why is the Jewish parody game such a boys' club? Next Hanukkah, we expect to see equal representation. You're on notice, ladies." She's not wrong, which is why we're going to look at some of this year's overlooked Hanukkah tunes from some unique female artists.

First up is Ladino songstress Sarah Aroeste with "Bimuelo". Featuring Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz, the track has Aroeste singing the praises of bimuelo, a little-known fried Chanukkah treat popular among Sephardim. The song can be found on Aroeste's recent bilingual holiday album, Together/Endjuntos.

Next is Broolkyn-based singer-songwriter Rivky, with her Hanukkah-themed cover of Joni Mitchell's folk classic "River". Transferring the song's original Christmas setting to the Festival of Lights but retaining the sarcastic melancholy of Mitchell's lyrics, Rivky's version more than lives up with strong, soulful vocals and a piano backing that skillfully incorporates the familiar Maoz Tzur melody. You can watch her bedroom session of the song below or hear the studio version on Soundcloud.

And last but far from least is spoken-word poet Rachel Kann with her composition "Hanukkah: Illumined Nation/The Rededication of Space". Accompanied by upright bassist Brock Pollock, Kann performs the piece, which invokes the story of the oil and calls on listeners to "flip the script" "when the world is upside down" with her signature passion and warmth.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My first post on Hevria

I recently had the amazing privilege to publish my first article on Hevria about an awesome new musician named Yaniv Hoffman a.k.a. Jeryko. You can check it out at the link below, and be sure to check out the rest of Hevria as well, it's a great site.

Happy Hanukkah From Yidwise

A freilichen Chanukkah to all our beautiful Yidwise followers. More music coverage to come shortly, but for now enjoy plenty of latkes and gelt and remember the miracle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Video: The Living Wells ft. Yitzy Fink, "Learning to Fall"

Alt-rap duo The Living Wells have released a video for "Learning to Fall", the latest single from their recent Folk Rap mixtape.

This version of the song differs slightly from the album track, adding in a chorus from singer-songwriter Yitzy Fink. The video, directed by Drew Feldman, features appearances by comedian Sarah Markowitz and former Maccabi Tel Aviv shooting guard Sylven Landesman.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Avshalom Sluk ft. Yonatan Dror, "Shutafim"

Israeli singer/songwriters Avshalom Sluk and Yonatan Dror have released "Shutafim" (Partners), the lead single from the former's upcoming debut album Lichyot (To Be Alive). The track was written by Sluk and produced by Dotan Moshanov.

The song, which poetically expresses submission to Hashem, goes for an atmospheric sound, with an echoing guitar sound and Sluk and Dror's ping-ponging plaintive vocals.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Video: Mr. Shabbos, "Borei Nefashos"

Hasidic entertainer R' Josh Alpert, aka Mr. Shabbos, recently released a video for his song "Borei Nefashos". Alpert composed the song and co-directed with Dovid Tenenbaum the video, which was also written by Alpert's wife, Pircha Alpert, and filmed at Camp Nageela in Lawrence, NY.

The track, a throbbing techno tune, is something of a departure for Alpert, who originally made his name in the JM underground, both as a Celtic/bluegrass solo artist and through association with Jewish punk bands like Moshiach Oi! and White Shabbos (his brother, Paul "Pesach Simcha" Alpert, drums for both). Not that his old identity has been completely discarded: Alpert maintains his cowboy-hatted look in the video, and parts of the song's melody have a distinct country twang.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Kulam Sharim": Benny Friedman plus muppets

The new video for "Kulam Sharim", the latest single from Benny Friedman's most recent album Fill the World With Light, has some...interesting guests.

The clip, directed and produced by Chaim Hershkowitz, has Friedman interacting with the felt-covered puppet "cast" from the popular frum children's DVD series Mitzvah Boulevard. While the gimmick doesn't lend much besides an awkward framing device and some questionable instrument miming, the song itself - a bouncy dance-pop track courtesy of producer Sruly Meyer and composer duo Eli Klein & Yitzy Berry - is likeable enough to stand on its own. (Side note: What is with JM artists taking forever to release singles? This album came out almost a year ago.)

Nuriel Hadad releases "Emuna"

Kiryat Gat-based vocalist Nuriel Hadad has released his sophomore single "Emuna". (He debuted with "B'Rigei Osher" in June.)  The track, an oud-tinged Latin jazz/pop groove, was co-written by Hadad with Shai Ravizda, who also composed it, while Reuven Chiyun produced and arranged.

The 26-year-old Hadad has been musically active since 2006, appearing in several reality singing competitions on Israeli TV, performing with an orchestra at The Opera House in Tel Aviv, and getting significant local radio play from his debut single. It is unknown if a full-length album is in the works.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lazer Lloyd releases new album Freedom's Child

Hasidic bluesman Lazer Lloyd has just today released his latest studio album, entitled Freedom's Child.

The album, released through Lots of Love Records, was co-produced by Lloyd and Yocheved "Yo" Seidman, with an assist on several tracks by David Ivory (Halestorm, The Roots), and was recorded in Israel and Pennsylania. It features 11 new original songs as well as a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". You can hear the album's latest single, the heartfelt social protest anthem "America", below.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Video: Rogers Park, "Ki Hinei Kachomer"

Chicago folksters Rogers Park make an unexpectedly strong impression with their new video for "Ki Hinei Kachomer", the first single from their upcoming album of niggunim and Yiddish songs (currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo).

Based on an old Chabad nigun for the Yom Kippur prayer, the surprisingly moving and creative project has an equally surprising amount of talent behind it: Matt Dougherty (Against the Current, Pop Evil) produced, renowned cellist Laura Melnicoff is featured, and group members Mordy Kurtz and Yosef Peysin directed the clip with the help of filmmaker Atara Wolf.