Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jewish Music in the News

Recently, a little piece of news caught my attention in the local paper. The LA Times reports:
Joshua Nelson doesn't want to hear the Sammy Davis Jr. jokes. He's heard them all.

"I actually used to get offended by them. People would say, 'Oh, you're a black Jew, just like Sammy Davis, right?' " Nelson said. "That fact is that I didn't convert to Judaism. I was born Jewish."

As a Hebrew schoolteacher, he wants to educate. As a singer, he wants to entertain.

Nelson did both at a recent performance at Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim in Cranford, N.J. With his band, the Kosher Gospel Singers, he belted out his distinctive combination of traditional Jewish and gospel music for a crowd of about 300.

The 30-year-old singer said he takes traditional Jewish lyrics, then adds soulful gospel backup singers and gospel-style bass, drums and piano. Sing the song as you would at any black Baptist church in America, and the formula is complete, Nelson said.


Full story
I'll be honest, I was a bit offended by this article. Now, you would probably think that I would be offended by this man's blatant comparison of his "temple" service to a "black Baptist church" service, and his questionable status as a Jew. Well, that bothers me, but not as much as the fact that there are other Black, Jewish musical artists performing right now that blow this guy out of the water. If the LA Times wants to report on East Coast Black Jewish musicians, there are much more talented ones out there.

Case in point: Y-Love, aka Yitz Jordan, the up-and-coming Black, chassidic MC who raps in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic.

At the moment, I don't have time to go in depth, but I believe he's about to release a CD that's gonna blow up. He has the potential to be bigger than Matisyahu. Y-Love is real, too. On his myspace blog (entitled This is Babylon), he discusses the current state of galus in often harsh terms.

Ok, hopefully I'll be able to add more to this post later. In the meantime, check out Y-Love.

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