Magazine article Tikkun

Jewish Music

Magazine article Tikkun

Jewish Music

Article excerpt

I admit that I watched the Grammys this year; aside from Jennifer Lopez' nearly nonexistent dress, what struck me most was the split between music that was creating wreckage and music that was healing. I'm not referring to volume, or sensuality, or stuff for kids that I am too hormonally removed from to grasp. I'm talking about all the music that kvetches, batters, and whines as opposed to the music that strengthens, expands, and liberates. In the former category I put Kid Rock, screaming that people should know who he is, and TLC, demanding that the men who come their way not be "scrubs" but real hunks and studs. In the second category, healing music, I put Carlos Santana, playing with brilliant duende (soul fire), and Sting, singing about dreaming of a God who lives in the desert to a sensationally mystical Moroccan rhythm track. The contrast of intentions and consciousness was startling, and apparently America is out there buying both trips.

In Jewish music, we also have a split, but it is more between what rings true and what feels stilted and canned. There are a lot of CDs that come my way that fit into the second category, CDs that have the best of intentions but don't really get off. Perhaps it's because of low budgets and discomfort in the studio or because the artists are trying to be "commercial," or perhaps it's just because people are aping traditional styles in a klutzy way. In any case, there's a lot of ersatz stuff floating around, so it is a great joy when something perfectly in the pocket appears.

Fortuna is a Brazilian singer who composes and renews Ladino, Sephardic, and Hebrew music in a very special way. On her four CDs, Mazel, Mediterraneo, La Prima Vex, and Cantigas [Harmony Ridge Music, (800) 611-4698; hrmusic@rahul.net], her singing is childlike and affecting. She has the Brazilian stylistic trick of the effortless, artless, nothing-to-hide vocal. Her understated passion is bolstered by the high drama of the Spanish melodies, and by her instrumentation of all kinds of drums and stringed instruments. Her music is at once Middle Eastern and South American, a flush-cheeked, hip-swinging combo that is exotic, erotic, and God-hungry all at the same time. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.