The New Jewish Sound
Richard Wagner famously dismissed Jewish music as "mongrelized," a musically incoherent product assembled from many disparate influences. But for many modern Jewish musicians, this "mongrel" character is a point of pride, the feature that allows Jewish music to absorb and reflect the musical experience of the world. Today, artists who perform in a dizzying variety of styles claim specifically Jewish influences on their creative processes and works.
Here is a small sample of these artists, interviewed by the Israeli media agency Leadel on the subject of why and how they've created their distinctive music out of combined traditions. Sarah Aroeste's singing is part of a revival of Ladino, the language whose tunes spread from Spain to places as far as Argentina and Greece. The band Jewdyssee is the creation of Maya Saban, who began singing in German and Yiddish, and Walera Goodman, a non-Jewish Russian bandleader. And Gary Lucas, described in the New York Times as the "greatest living electric guitarist," is a man whose musical tastes run to Delta music—"both the Mississippi and the Ganges"—and embrace traditions from cantorial singing to Coltrane. —The Editors
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