After one day, "Bridges," the new video from Israeli based singer Naftali Kalfa has hit over 10,000 hits on the internet. The video features Moshe Levi, better known as Shyne. Over ten years ago Levi topped the music charts in the United States with with hard hitting hip-hop albums. Now he studies in a yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Kalka spoke to Arutz Sheva's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast about the song and video. To download the podcast click here.
"I wouldn't even call him a rapper," Kalfa said. "I consider him more of a poet. He's a performer and singer, but the thing I'm most impressed with is his ability to create poetry. It's hard to explain in an interview, but it was great being in the studio watching him compose lyrics to the song," Kalfa stated.
Kalfa is experiencing his own success. He moved to Israel from Canada only within the past year or two but has already become popular in the local music scene. His duet with Shlomo Katz entitled "Zion" achieved over 1 million views since June 2012. His new video with Shyne is poised to become just as popular.
Regarding the new song he stated, "I was sitting outside with my wife and she said, 'We're here in Israel now and there's all this talk about war and Iran. It's one thing for the two of us to move here but we have kids. Is it responsible for us to put them in the middle of a conflict?' I happened to have my guitar in my hands and just started strumming to the words 'Kol ha'olam kulo gesher tzar me'od, v'ha'ikar lo lefahed klal.'"
The words, which are attributed to the famous hasidic master Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, are translated as "All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to fear at all."
Kalfa continued, "When I was jamming with Shyne in the studio I decided to loosely translate those words and put Shyne in it as well."
More elaborate then his previous videos, "Bridges" features Shyne dressed in various costumes traveling through Jewish history. Computer animation depicts Shyne crossing the Red Sea after escaping from Egypt and rapping next to German train tracks.
The video also features virtuoso guitarist Yosi Piamenta, who has been a staple in the Jewish music world for decades. One scene in the video depicts Piamenta teleporting into the Old City of Jerusalem while playing a shredding guitar solo.
Although this particular song features fast-paced beats and electric guitars, many of Kalfa's songs are slow ballads. He stated that he doesn't feel like he fits in one particular genre of Jewish music.
Kalfa grew up in a Sephardic family, one of 11 brothers and sisters. "I always wanted to learn the different piyyutim. I grew up going to Ashkenazi yeshivas so I also got that side of the music."
To hear the full interview with Naftali Kalfa on his new videos, his thoughts on the future of Jewish music and his message for the High Holidays download the Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast by clicking here.
For past articles about Naftali Kalfa click here:
* Quarreling Brothers Unite Again in Kalfa-Elbaz Elul Music Video
* New Singer Naftali Kalfa and Shlomo Katz Praise Return to Zion
* For a past interview with Yosi Piamenta click here.
* For a past interview with Shomo Katz click here.
* For a past interview with Moshe Levy click here.
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 mp3 archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.