Naftali Kalfa's new video for the month of Elul is gaining in popularity. His previous video, a duet with Shlomo Katz, was released in June and currently has over a million hits.
The new release is entitled Hachazirenu and deals with repentance and return, a theme in the final month before Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The music was composed by Kalfa and the lyrics are traditional and rooted in Biblical sources.
Kalfa, an immigrant to Israel from Canada spoke to Arutz Sheva's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast about the song.
"I have two and a half weeks to get my act together," said Kalfa in a jovial tone. "The words of the song although simple are meaningful." He quotes the well known Hebrew verses, 'we have sinned before you,' which are part of the song's lyrics.
"That goes for everybody in their world," Kalfa stated. "I'll be the first to raise my hand in that category, and G-d has allowed us to come back and do teshuvah. Everyone needs to do teshuvah, from the biggest tzaddik [righteous man], to the lowest rasha [bad man]. I would put myself somewhere in-between that. We are all working on bringing ourselves closer to Hashem," the musician said.
The Israeli-born Elbaz, the guest on the track, is well-known in the Jewish music world, having released several popular albums with styles ranging from Mizrachi, hassidic, hip-hop and fusions of different genres. The diversity reflects on his own upbringing. Elbaz released his first album as a teenager and began his music career as a child with his father Benny Elbaz, also a successful performer. Also on the track is Israeli guitarist Shlomi Cohen.
The video depicts Kalfa and Elbaz singing the slow and moving melody at a bus stop in Israel. "It's basically the story of two brothers or two friends who meet up every morning at the bus stop," Kalfa says. The two friends stop talking to each other due to some incident which is not shown in the video but left to the imagination. "Until one day," continued Kalfa, "they both receive a text message from a mutual acquaintance announcing the birth of a baby boy."
"And so we look at the greater significance of life and put aside petty differences and return to one another in friendship ike the way we used to be," Kalfa related. "For me that's a small microcosm of the Hachazirenu. It's similar to coming closer to G-d."
"We need to look at the bigger picture and realize who really is running this world," the singer stated. "Especially in Elul, the month of reawakening I need to look in the mirror and reflect on where where I'm holding in life and how we all want to live in the coming month and the coming year."
For an upcoming full length interview with Naftali Kalfa, including his collaborations with Shyne, Piamenta and more, stay tuned to the Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast.
Ben Bresky is a music journalist living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hasidic to trance. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.