Every once and a while a group of wildly talented musicians will travel back in time and grasp a very old poem and an old tune and spin them into the current moment with a magical new spirit. This song is one of those once and a whiles.
Bazaar Ensemble are L.A. based folks who are adding some full throttle soul to a tune that I, admittedly, associate with both a choice Eric B. & Rakim sample and the late great Yemenite-Israeli superstar Ofra Haza. This new version of the 17th century Hebrew poem by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi is simply off-the-hook.
When I think of the classic Ofra Haza version, I imagine her beautiful high pitched tone. Here, lead singer Asher Shasho-Levy brings a grounded energy to the song and when the drums kick in and the energy picks up this tracks takes flight. And it doesn’t hurt that this video is shot with cinematic grace. Give it a listen!
The folks over at Ask Big Questions asked me to write something about Jewish ritual – and ritual in general. I start off with a reflection from the summers of my high school years…you can check it out here.
Sharing a rough demo track from a musical project some 25 years in the making. The lyrics I wrote back in college, but playing with a group of folks here in Montclair has taken this song to an entirely new level. Special thanks to Nick for sitting in on the drums and to Dave for wrangling uncooperative recording robots. Thank you both! You make us sound groovy. Deep gratitude to Ben and to Debra for your musical talent and general wonderfulness. We’re in a band. For real. Check out more at www.midnightnosh.com
Adam Oded of Philly Custom DJ filmed my set at The Fire, a great little venue in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is an eclectic open mike night, with some fantastic talent.
This first appeared in the New Jersey Jewish News:
Dear Mr. Schwartz,
When I first heard that you, an offensive guard for the New York Giants, are planning on playing against the Dallas Cowboys on a game unfortunately scheduled to begin after sunset on Sunday, Sept. 13, the first night of Rosh Hashana, I have to admit that I was a bit crestfallen.
I know that when you were a college freshman on the University of Oregon team, you took a day off for Yom Kippur. When I heard that the NFL had ignored the Giants request, and scheduled te game on Rosh Hoshanah, Continue reading “An Open Letter to NY Giant Geoff Schwartz”
Dream Come True – a love song of sorts – is something I wrote especially for my beloved of almost 20 years. Our anniversary is next month! My band, the Halftime Show, is a project with my friends Ben and Craig and occasionally Dave – who helps out big time on this number both producing and banging the drums in a reggae style. So far we played one benefit event and one birthday party, but we’ve got our eyes set on more. Here’s our first “single” of sorts…a fresh release from the studio.
I was cleaning out some files and I found this gem. It is my daughter’s fifth grade project: Interviewing me about my fifth grade experience. I can’t help but love this introduction to journalism.
Where did you go to school in fifth grade?
In fifth grade I went to the North Carolina Hebrew Academy, which was a Solomon Shechter school in Charlotte.
How did you get there?
My father drove me to school in his Dodge Dart.
What did you study?
We studied math, social studies, Hebrew, Jewish studies, science, and creative writing.
What did you do after school?
After school I liked to do soccer, judo, and acting!
Where did you have for lunch?
We brought lunchboxes to school. I had a Kung Fu lunchbox. My favorite lunch was a cheese sandwich. I probably ate cheese sandwiches everyday.
What did you do at recess?
At recess we would have wars with sticks. We had a fort that was the inside of a large bush. We called our sticks “sap guns.”
When did you have to wake up?
I had to wake up at 7AM and school started at 8AM.
This is still one of my personal favorites from my Jewish seasonal song cycle year. I read the statistic recently that 3% of Americans like Jazz. (Which sounds a few percentage points low, right?) Considering that probably .003% of Americans like songs about the Omer and 3% of Americans like Jazz, the 267 views on this video probably represent 99% of the potential audience. But maybe there are one or two more people who might dig this? I hope so. Enjoy.