Aug 17, 2014

Hassidic pop-stars team up with Israeli performers

Something interesting started happening a few years ago. At first I thought it was just some cute marketing ploy to draw in more people.

What I am referring to is "Hassidic singers", even superstars of the Jewish music world, arranging concerts to sing with Israeli singers. At first it was off to a slow start. It only happened once in a while. Now, it seems every other concert has such an arrangement. You'll have Yaakov Shweckey singing with Rami Kleinstein this week. Last week Avraham Fried sang with Yehoram Gaon. Yonatan Razel has sung with a number of different Israeli performers. Both Shweckey and Fried have done this before with other Israeli singers. There have probably been others as well.

These singers do not have any real overlap. Israelis who listen to singers like Gaon, Kleinstein, Shlomi Shabbat and others, don't listen much to hassidic pop stars like Fried and Shweckey. and fans and followers of Fried, Shweckey and other Hassidic pop stars generally do not follow Israeli music and mostly don't even know who people like Kleinstein, Gaon and Shabbat are. So, doing this is really new exposure. It is exposing the singers to a new crowd, and it is exposing the crowd to new singers, of an entirely different genre.

I don't know what the purpose of it is. I don't know what the goal is. Do they want the frum crowd to start appreciating Israeli music more? Do they want the Israeli singers to sing with a bit more Jewish flavor, as they likely adjust for the frum crowd? Something else?

I dont know the answer. I suspect it has something to do with the realization that Israel is the future of the Jewish people, and this is a natural integration for the music crowd into a more Israeli culture.

Any thoughts?

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  1. Rafi, on this point you are mistaken.
    Many of the frum Jews in USA (especially NY) are fans and listeners of Benny Elbaz, Sarit Hadad, Yehoram Gaon, Shlomo Shabbati and even Iyal Golan. They are also regularly featured on the Jewish stations on FM radio. The two camps of frum Americans and frum Israelis are merging closer and closer. To hear Shwekey and Shabbati - super, Avrohom Fried and Gaon - dazzling performance....

  2. Good idea for a post. It's one reason why this is one of the only blogs I follow. I like that I can agree with you a lot and also disagree with you too.

    Given that, I think this post is directly related to the other one questioning if Israel is getting more religious or not and wondering if this was the point in posting them both at the same time?

    I want to think that we Jews are above "some cute marketing ploy to draw in more people." but a duck is a duck and show business is show business. Certainly both sides have something to gain from getting introduced to new crowds. All the performers you mentioned are massive music stars in Jewish and/or Israeli worlds. Gaon is well established and known to be 'traditional' but Kleinstein also seems to want to break into new crowds and performed in a few settlements over the past few months on the concert tour supporting his new album. Shlomi Shabbat is definitely coming over from the sephardai side. Missing from this post is something female but then again I am not aware of any link-ups with Sarit Hadad and Rita with Eti Ankori. Unfortunately, it does not seem that the religious world promotes women singers. The catalog of female Jewish music is not very large :-(

  3. thanks Josh.

    I think both posts were connected, and they were both instigated by something I read in Mishpacha. They wrote an editorial criticizing the many haredim who could be seen leaving the concert at chutzot hayotzer last week with Fried and Kleinstein. it was a long spiel.
    the singers I've been wondering about for a while, just never thought about posting it until I saw that editorial. the level of religious issue was just something else the article made me wonder about


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