Sunday, August 05, 2007

Jewish Observer on Concerts

Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, who has been involved in JEP recordings and Suki and Ding productions, wrote an article about improvements that he felt needed to be made in both Jewish Music recordings and live events. Writing in the May, 2007 issue of the Jewish Observer, he has the following suggestions for the Jewish Music industry(he thanks Yisroel Lamm and Abie Rotenberg for constructive comments):

We urge the talented songwriters, perfomers, and producers to understand what a great impact they can have upon Klal Yisrael and we point out to them that they have an opportunity to use their music, regardless of genre, for a greater good.

The performer should not merely prance around on stage for an hour, mindlessly belting out tune after tune... To enhance the music, there should be dialogue, peirsush hamillim, a story, chizuk, inspiration, a plea for a greater connection to the Almighty through music, ...and we must be able to say wholeheartedly, tavo alav beracha--may he receive Divine blessings--for doing so...even if it isn't always the kind of music that you and I appreciate.

An evening of Jewish music should reinforce within the audience that music is a gift from Hashem with the potential to inspire the appropriate emotion of the movement, whether simcha shel mitzva, simchas hachaim, or longing to be closer to Hashem, or to return to Yerushalayim...and that the evening was well spent spiritually. Jewish music is a calling, not merely a way to make a living.

If everyone involved made it paramount that their audiences be uplifted overall...or better yet, if the audiences demanded that performers use their talents for that goal...it would go a long way towards bringing the true shiras Levi'im closer to realization.

I would note that the article wasn't discussing the issue of men and women attending the same concert in same or separate sections, nor was it discussing the situation of Israel specifically, in which the Jewish Observer's parent organization would, obviously, defer to Israeli gedolim. What the article did suggest, in consultation with contributors to the Jewish Music scene, were ways in which Jewish Music recordings and concerts(at least in America) could be improved.

In any event, the part that most impressed me was, " and we must be able to say wholeheartedly, tavo alav beracha--may he receive Divine blessings--for doing so...even if it isn't always the kind of music that you and I appreciate". Halevai, we should see more such tolerance, where the Haredi world acknowledges that some people need a different derech, and that not everyone is cut out of the same cloth!

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