Orthodox Jewish musicians are finding growing “crossover” appeal in the secular world and even encouragement from their own rabbis, reportsMoment magazine (February).
Jewish-themed pop music has been gaining popularity in the last decade, with such bands and musicians as Neshama Carlebach, Moshav Band, Pey Daled and Beis Groove, gaining a hearing among mainstream secular audiences. The most recent addition to such crossovers is Matisyahu, a 25-year-old convert to Hasidic Judaism who once sang reggae and rap.
Today, Matisyahu has gained nationwide press coverage for his blending of reggae and Hasidic-influenced music, largely written by late Jewish folk singer Schlomo Carlebach. Matisyahu, who performs in trendy New York clubs in his Hasidic garb of black hat and coat, views his music as an outreach. The Orthodox crossover artists have “held onto their hip tastes and status,”with Matisyahu’s rabbis using his “hipness to attract too-cool-for-shul young Jews who hang out in New York’s clubs,” writes Dave Gordon.
(Moment, 4115 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 102, Washington, DC 20016)