Hassidic singer Avraham Fried is marking the 30th year of his musical career, during which he has released albums, filmed clips, and performed thousands of times in Israel and around the world, almost always using suitable expressions from the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.
Now, for the first time in thirty years, Fried is set to release a new album which will contain only original texts.
About five years ago, Fried recorded for the first time a song whose words were not from a Jewish textual source. The song “Aleh Katan” (Little Leaf) became a hit, and that led Fried to record a cover version of a song from a non-religious source by famous Israeli singer Yardena Arazi ("Rak Tefila”, Just a Prayer). He then recorded another cover, this time of another song from a non-religious source by world-renowned Israeli singer, the late Ofra Haza (“Someone Always Walks with Me”). Both songs are songs dealing with Jewish faith in G-d.
The success of both these covers led Fried to decide to record an album with original texts written by some of Israel’s most famous songwriters such as Hanan Yovel, Ariel Zilber, Amir Benayoun, Kobi Oz, and others.
For the past several years, a new phenomenon has been prevalent in Israel, of singers returning to their origins and recording songs which consist of texts on subjects of faith or from Jewish sources such as Psalms, the Tanakh, and others. Famous rock musicians as Barry Sakharov, Arkady Duchin, and Micha Shitrit, to name a few, have done so. As such, it seems only fitting that now a hassidic star is going the other way.
According to Fried, the purpose of his new endeavor is to record Israeli songs with a message so that he can reach out and touch audiences who never heard his music before. As he continues to work on the new album, a first single has been released to the radio stations.
Fried is scheduled to arrive in Israel for a performance in Rehovot on the 16th of Av, the day after the Jewish holiday of love, Tu B’Av. The show will be accompanied by a choir, special effects and pyrotechnics never before seen in Rehovot, certainly not during a performance with a religious Jewish character.
The event is being produced by Amichai Yuzan of Kidum Productions, who promised that “the audience will experience something very unique” during the performance. He added that “it is an honor for the city of Rehovot that an artist of this magnitude comes to perform there.”