Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Hasidic Tunes: Eli Marcus, Motty Steinmetz, Dudi Knopfler

This isn't regular enough for me to make it another weekly thing yet, but since a bunch of music dropped at once again and I'm too lazy to make three separate posts and these three sort of tie together...let's do this!

First up is Eli Marcus with "Melech Haolam", a cover of a Haim Israel song originally composed by Udi Damari, here re-arranged by Avrumi Berko. Marcus, of course, is the brother of Shmuel and Bentzy Marcus of 8th Day and a nephew of Avraham Fried. His latest album, Energy, came out last summer.

Next up, young Hasidic singer Motty Steinmetz has released his first official music video for "Haneshama Bekirbi", the lead single from his upcoming debut album. The song was composed by Ruli Ezrachi and produced by Yossi Rubin, while the clip was directed by Ariel Cohen and produced by Shalom Eisenbach and filmed in Israel.

I normally don't cover the "child prodigies" of Jewish music for various reasons, but Steinmetz is developed enough not to be annoying, and the song, a breezy kumzits track, plays to his strengths as a performer. So does the video, which is a nicely shot, laid-back day-in-the-life narrative (although - and I speak as one with personal ties to this community - if I can make it to 120 without seeing another frum singer awkwardly interacting with a handicapped child to play on my sympathies, I will die a happy man).

Finally, another peyos-wearing vocalist, Dudi Knopfler, has released a video for his single "Ki B'simcha" to kick of the month of Adar. The song is composed by Boruch Sholom (who had his own hit album recently with Neshama Dance), with lyrics by Shalom Mordche Roth based on Rebbe Nachman's Likutei Moharan, and produced by Shmulik Berger. The video was sponsored by Soreiku Vineyards in Brooklyn (and boy, can you tell...).

In previous videos, Knopfler was presented as a straightforward crooner somberly addressing the Almighty. Here, he seems to be going more for more of a life-of-the-party pop MC persona a la Bruno Mars, and it's not a bad fit; Knopfler certainly has the charisma and energy to pull it off, belting with gusto and punctuating his verses with shouted Yiddish ad-libs to get up and dance, even heralding a Mizrahi-style bridge that's there just because. The video also helps, with some impressive effects for a J-vid and a Purim party scene authentic enough to include wine spilling on a guy's white shirt in the midst of dancing.

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