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Is Jewish music too depressing?

By Ben Bresky
6/27/2008, 12:00 AM

I recieved some interesting emails that I would like to share with you:

Hi Ben,

I thought your blog was very funny and apt. So tell me Ben, I'm an olah and I want to know why is a lot of Jewish music depressing and full of whining, melancholy etc. ? I know about our history but... we're here. We're here because we're here. So why are so many people crying? Maybe it's because I come from A HB but I was at the Knesset for the first time this week and participated in singing Hatikvah and although it brought tears to my eyes I'm not sure they were for the right reason. For a song titled Hope it was sort of a hopeless melody. I contrast it to The Star Spangled Banner which has a lot of punch and fireworks. Isn't there any good up Jewish music besides some of the religious stuff I have heard?

Here's another email:

I live in Beit Shemesh and am recording an album (rock/pop, Atchalta d'Geula-themed) -- the first two tracks are done and I'd like people to start hearing them. http://www.myspace.com/barcohnThanks so much and Shabbat Shalom! - David Bar-Cohn

And finally, one about a concert:

Neshama Carlebach with special guest Nomi Teplow perform in Israel celebrating the newly released CD "One on One". Shows scheduled for Binyamina, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Karnei Shomron
Full tour details can be seen at
www.rny.co.il

Now to sort of answer the first question, I would like to list some very useful web sites that sell Jewish music CDs (or discs as we call them in Hebrew). They have samples for each song you can click on and taste the music. I could spend hours on these sites just browsing through all the music finding good stuff.

http://www.israel-music.com - They sell mostly Israeli music like Sarit Hadad and Shlomo Artzi, but also have some religious music like Shlomo Carlebach and Dov Shurin.

http://www.mostlymusic.com - They sell mostly religious Jewish music and hasidic pop like Mordechai Ben David and Avraham Fried but also have Jewish rock like Moshav Band and Soulfarm.

http://www.galpaz.co.il - Israel's largest chain CD store with outlets in other countries has an all-Hebrew web site and sells mostly religious Jewish music, but covers all those hard to find Israeli releases. This was the only place I could find Shivi Keller's Ein Od Milvado.

I know there are many, many more, but these are just three for the time being. Feel free to add more in the comments section if you know of any. There is also great stuff on MySpace and Facebook and YouTube. Try typing in Hebrew if you have Hebrew fonts or using keywords like 'Jewish music, Israeli music, Hebrew, Carlebach, klezmer' or different combinations.