Friday, October 3, 2008

The Shofar

Few articles I've read are so clear, organized and insightful as "Exotic Shofars", written by Rabbi Natan Slifkin, who's also a blogger.
Through his great articles and books, the ZooRabbi has the unique talent of introducing us to the marvels of nature and the animal kingdom and once again, he delivers with this article about a musical instrument we grew up listening to - the Shofar.

Speaking about the Shofar, my Shul's Baal Tokea had a great deal of trouble with the sequence of Tekiot on Rosh Hashana and he eventually was forced to call another guy to get the job done. And he got stuck in the second-to-last blow, just before the Tekiah Gedolah. Tough luck.

This wasn't the first time I witnessed this situation. Years back the same happened with a very good Baal Tokeah back in my homeland. In fact, virtually every Baal Tokea has more than a few mistakes here and there and often times he will start the Tekios in one tone and suddenly jump to another in a desperate quest for a decent sound. Does the Shofar has musical tones? Is it possible to play real music with it, with different tones and everything? I thought not, after all the Shofar is just one of these wild things no one can control. All the Baal Tokea can do is blow and hope for the best.

Well, I was wrong. Turns out to be that one man has mastered this wild instrument and found a way to play real music with it. Introducing Shlomo Gronich, an Israeli songwriter and singer who uses the Shofar in many of his songs, with amazing results. I don't think he is his Shuls' Baal Tokea, but it would surely be cool to hear the Tekios from a guy who actually knows the instrument inside out.

For the Chabad fans, you will surely enjoy Gronich's rendition of Keili Ato, with the Shofar:

In this other clip, skip to 1:33 to hear some other Shofar tricks of Gronich:

Ksiva Vechatima Tova

2 comments: said...

According to an article in Forward, some composers are incoroporating shofar into their symphonies. Link:

YK said...

tks for the article link and sorry for taking so long to respond

while these artsists do include the shofar in their songs, i think this guy is the only person who plays different notes with the shofar!