Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Matisyahu's Infected Mushrooms

Jim sent me this brand new remix of Matis' hit song One Day by Infected Mushroom. I love this song and prefer Matisyahu's original version, but it's nice to see that this song is becoming more and more popular. But my favorite song of Matis' new album is this one. And yours?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Inside Scoop: A Jewish Star's Email Update

A reader sent me this update email from COLlive, sent to the Jewish Star contestants today. Although we were told that the judges would choose 3 singers, now they announced a semi-final stage with 10 participants! I think that's really cool and I look forward to see how this will play out. This whole Jewish Star project is clearly being changed and adapted to the public's feedback, and I think we should give credit to COLlive for being flexible and not afraid of improving this competition. Here's the full update:

From: A Jewish Star
Date: January 25, 2010 1:31:00 AM EST
To: "Editor"
Subject: Before Calculating the semi-finalists

Dear contestant,

As the voting stage of A Jewish Star comes to a close, we would like take this opportunity to thank you for joining our competition and wish you luck on the next round (and with your musical career).

Before the votes are calculated to determine the 10 semi-finalists, please reply to this email, verifying that you will be available to attend the Soul II Soul concert, to take place in Brooklyn, NY, on Sunday, March 7, 2010 in the event that you are chosen as a finalist.

Please reply to this email by Wednesday, January 27, 2010 confirming you will be able to attend, perform on stage and be interviewed. If we do not receive email verification you may be eliminated.
If you have any questions you may email to this address as well.

Thanks again and Good Luck!

COLlive - A Jewish Star

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = | Community News Service
1650 Eastern Parkway #208, Brooklyn, NY 11233
t. 718-679-9450 |
w. |

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ohad, Haiti and Leonard Cohen

Call me ignorant, naive or just plain stupid but I didn't know Ohad's Boi Kallah was an adaptation of Leonard Cohen's Halelluja. But shortly after hearing Ohayon's video in A Jewish Star, Nathalia and Gabriel - two famous goyish artists - made a tribute to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti with a adaptation of Halleluja of Leonard Cohen. I was then able to compare it to Ohad's version, and it turns out that Ohad didn't change much in the arrangement nor singing - he sings it pretty much in the same way, and I happen to prefer the goyish version.

I'm posting three videos - of Ohad, Leonard Cohen's original and Nathalie and Gabriel. Judge for yourself. Warning: In the vid of Nathalia there Kol Isha towards the middle of the song but Gabriel is the first singer and you can get an idea of it. (actually, he sounds like a lady so maybe you should skip it anyway!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Jewish Star: The Fourth Judge

There has been a great amount of buzz about COL's Jewish Star and without any doubt, this initiative is revolutionary in JM. This proves again that Chabad dominates Jewish Music big time - it's no surprise that they had the courage to create this event and that most of the contestants are Chabadniks.

A Jewish Star comes after American Idol's success and this is pretty much a copycat, in a JM version. I have no problem with that, since American Idol's formula has been copied in almost everywhere and it seems like this is what people want to see today. But the only thing we are missing is Simon's fearless comments and I'm afraid A. Fried, Peilin and the Neshoma guy will not say the truth as it is. So here I am, the fourth judge!

Moishe Savoy - Good potential but he needs more time - he's too young - and coaching. The chair holding the door closed was funny!

Binyomin Schapiro
- Bad song choice. If you are recording professionally like he did, you should choose a more challenging song. It's a very easy song - no words and very small range.

Itzchak Bondarev-Dobruskin - From Azerbaijan! Wow! But this is another bad song choice - Keili Ato is far to easy and doesn't allow him to show off his voice. Also, a funny clip - Walking around Azerbaijan's beaches with a Tallis!

Yisroel Koch
- Reminds me of Chaim David a little. It's nice to see a simple, heimish guitar solo and it's a nice niggun.

Moshe Lehr - Although the intro was a little over-the-top, Moshe has a very strong presence and this will work in his favor. He has a nice voice timber and could make into the top three.

Gershon Shapiro
- Nothing wrong with this clip but is forgettable, and this clip doesn't stands out. But it does stands in the roof-top - an hilarious play with the words of this song "Omed al Gag Beit Hamikdash". Intentional?

Mendel Markel - I disagree with the song choice again. Mendel has a great voice but a more mainstream song would surely work better for him, but it's possible that this Fabrengen-style song will please the Chabad judges.

Shuky Sadon
- A solid professional recording, although he could use some voice coaching. Well done and we will see what the judges think.

Benny Gammerman
- Probably the most Heimish video of all, this is not an easy song to sing and Benny carries it with confidence and with a well-coached voice, reminding me of one of Lev Tahor's soloists. I think he will do very well with a better production, so Benny has good chances of going to the next stage.

Choni Teitelbaum
- Choni has a very sweet and pleasant voice, and he does a fantastic job in the piano. He might be the dark-horse.

Avraham Ohayon
- A sure winner, this Frenchmen is the best video in this competition. Professional recording, superb song choice from Ohad's latest album and a distinctive voice, this video propelled this anonymous talent into the JM scene. Exciting!

Aryeh Greenberg
- Very simple setting, this video has nothing bad but it doesn't stands out. And he is often off tune, so I don't know if he was successful in "bringing Nachas to the Rebbe".

Sam Omari
- The oldest contestant, this very professional video is reminiscent from JM old days. But a lot has changed and this video seems out of place.

Motti Flikshtein
- The low point of this competition, I don't consider this to be a song; Mor To Life should've written a letter instead. And "MorToLife" actually has better recordings in his site, so it remains a mystery why he decided to send this thing in.

Boruch Sholom Blesofsky
- The most innovative video, it starts with a cute piano intro that steers to a whole other direction. Boruch tried to do something cool, and he was actually successful in that, but I don't like the song and he is off tune.

Nissen Brenenson - Too much hand-gesturing, but Nissen's voice is very promising. But I don't think this was enough to make him pass.

Yermi Udkoff - It was a mistake to sing two songs - it made this video forgettable and long. But Yermi has a very good voice and if the judges take only this into account, he might have a chance.

Shmuli Stiefel
- Shmuli is evidently trying to imitate Helfgot and that's a big bill. I wonder if a Chazzan will pass, but Shmuli could be a decent Chazan with a good voice coach.

Yisroel Dovid Shmueli
- The bad song choice made this video forgettable.

Noach Reshef
- Long live Topol!

Tzvi Russell - Very spirited performance, but another bad song choice.

Avremel Blesofsky - Waaaay to much digital manipulation half-way. Over-the-top.

Shmuly Rimler
- Simple setting. I think Aderaba was too hard.

Dorai Natanel
- I like this "back-to-Yeshiva" video. Recorded in the boys' room in France, this is a duet, so the question is if duos can win or not. Nice, and I like very much the guy in the piano.

Binyamin Moshe - This is a very Israeli-styled video. I believe the American judges will not appreciate this original composition, but this is one of my favs. It reminds me of Adi Ran's uber-famous Ata Kadosh and I am a fan of Israeli JM as well, so kudos to this youngster from Lod.

Choni Grunblatt - In the boring side but not a bad video.

Benny Friedman’s Kulanu Nelech Album Review

Benny Friedman’s latest album, Kulanu, is out on Spotify, and as a paying subscriber I enjoyed listening to this album quite a bit, to the e...