Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Behind the Curtain

Riki Goldstein

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

W

e’re always curious about the backstory of our favorite artists and performers in the music industry, but we don’t always think of them in terms of their families — the wives and kids behind the scenes who deal with both the honor and the fallout of being connected to those in the limelight. What’s it like at the quieter end of their lives?

We spoke with:

Mrs. Malki Berry, wife of composer, producer, and arranger Yitzy Berry

Mrs. Miriam Herbst, daughter of composer and producer Yitzy Waldner

Mrs. Suri Daskal, wife of singer Shloime Daskal

Mrs. Yiddes Ungar, wife of singer Shmueli Ungar

Mrs. Talia Goldwag, wife of composer and singer Ari Goldwag

Shneur Rosenblum, son of composer and arranger Mona Rosenblum

 

The best part about having a husband / father in the music business is….

We get to hear a lot of music in the making, and host singers in our house. Also, it’s exciting when you’re out shopping or sitting at work and suddenly hear your father singing from Jewish Music Stream or the radio.

—Miriam Herbst

 

The house is always full of music!

—Talia Goldwag

 

When I go to a store and all of a sudden the salesladies start to be so nice and helpful. I never introduce myself, but that’s what happens when someone else does it for me. And if I’m with my husband, stores which were closing suddenly open the doors wide again.

—Yiddes Ungar

 

It brings such joy to the house. Even if you’re feeling down, your father being happy can lift your mood.

—Shneur Rosenblum

 

Hearing new music all the time. We love it.

— Malki Berry

 

The hardest part about having a husband / father in the music business is…

The schedule! When the children come home from school, their father has already left for the evening. Baruch Hashem, we make sure to have family time, and there are always the non-wedding seasons when life is a little more normal.

—Suri Daskal

 

When we go out or go away together on vacation and people tactlessly come over, not respecting our privacy. Also, a lot of music jobs are at night, which cuts into family time.

—Yiddes Ungar

 

Peak music times are often real family times. This year, my husband will be away for part of Pesach. Chol Hamoed and the summer are times when he’s really busy, and on Yamim Noraim he’s away, serving as a baal tefillah.

—Talia Goldwag

 

I think the only thing that actually bothered my sister and me about his music was when kids in camp would want to be friends with us because of what my father does and who he’s connected to.

—Miriam Herbst 

 

The hours can be hard, not because my husband does weddings but because he works with a lot of singers in the States, sometimes till 3 a.m.

—Malki Berry

 

Is there a song you personally helped inspire or complete?

None as of yet. I give my opinions, and sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn’t…

—Yiddes Ungar

 

Well, a year after “Yesh Tikva,” I said to Ari, “You need another ‘Yesh Tikva.’ ” He said “On what theme?” and I said “How about achdus?” That was the beginning of “Am Echad.”

— Talia Goldwag

 

I enjoy music very much, but I’m not actually musical myself. One time, though, when my husband and his partner Eli Klein were recording MBD’s “P’sach Lanu Shaar,” I heard them discussing whether to add another chassidish soloist to the recording. I suggested, “Why not add vocals from Motty Steinmetz?” and surprisingly, they went with the idea — and it was a big hit.

—Malki Berry

 

When my father originally composed “Chevron Me’az U’letamid,” which MBD made famous, it had other words. It was Succos and my father, who always played us upcoming songs and asked our opinions, asked if I had any ideas for suitable words. I was just a young kid, but Hashem gave me an idea. I remember when I replied “Chevron Chevron me’az u’letamid,” my father literally jumped with excitement.

—Shneur Rosenblum

 

My father likes to ask his kids’ opinions on new songs because it’s important to get younger people’s reactions to music. On Shwekey’s We are a Miracle album which came out in 2016, my father and Yaakov were deliberating between two songs for the last slot, and it was us kids — my siblings and me — who loved “Chaim Shel Shalom” and pushed for it. My father took our suggestion, and it worked out great!

—Miriam Herbst

 

Is there a particular song your family especially enjoys?

It’s always changing. At the moment my kids are loving “Up,” which my husband wrote for Yoni Z.

—Malki Berry

 

“Tefillas HaShelah,” which my father composed in honor of my sister’s wedding, and sang at mine too. It’s on Musica, Shwekey’s most recent album.

—Miriam Herbst

 

There’s a “Yibaneh Hamikdash” which my kids make a whole game of singing around the table.

—Talia Goldwag

 

The old songs which were my grandmother’s favorites have a very special place in our family repertoire — songs like “Mekimi,” which my older brother composed, “Ein Od Milvado,”  the Vorka Rebbe’s holy niggun, and Moshe Laufer’s “Elokai Neshamah.”

—Shneur Rosenblum

 

What’s your personal favorite?

My father wrote a song in memory of Rav Aharon Leib Steinman ztz”l, with the words “Lev tahor bera li Elokim.” It hasn’t been released yet, but it’s really beautiful.

—Shneur Rosenblum

 

I love “Mah Yisron” from my husband’s first album, Shmueli 2. I remember listening to it before we got engaged, and I really relate to the truth it portrays — that there is a reason for everything, but we cannot see it.

—Yiddes Ungar 

 

I love track four from Am Echad. It’s called “Rak Hu,” and it’s about how only Hashem is behind it all, everything and always.

—Talia Goldwag

 

At the moment I’m hooked on an upcoming song for MBD which I’ve been hearing playing from the studio.

—Malki Berry

 

What are other people’s most common misconceptions about you? 

People say to me, “Oh, you must sing all Shabbos.” We do sing, but we definitely don’t have a concert at our seudos. Shabbos is a chance for my husband to rest his voice.

—Yiddes Ungar

 

We live in Monsey, where our neighbors are not so “into” musicians and singers, so I don’t get a lot of comments. Some people have come up to me and said, “Oh, I’ve heard your husband’s albums, but I didn’t know you were chassidish.”

—Suri Daskal

 

People assume that everyone in the music industry does weddings and concerts. Actually, my husband never performs in public. He works from his home studio.

—Malki Berry

 

People want to know how my father composes, but I’m actually as curious about it as they are. They also assume that we’re all as musical as he is — I mean, we can all get into choir, but we definitely cannot compose! And sometimes people don’t believe us. Like when I was in first grade and “Mamama” came out, I remember telling a third grader in school that my father made it up and she said, “Not true! My father did!”

—Miriam Herbst

 

People assume that if you’re famous, you’re rich. Not that they say it to my face. They also assume that we’re all super-musical. I can keep a tune, but I’m no singer.

—Talia Goldwag

 

To the Beat

When I was about to give birth, my husband had arranged to be in the studio recording a drums segment for a song. I wasn’t too happy about that, but in the end, the noise and music was a helpful distraction until we had to leave.

—Malki Berry

 

Tuned Up

In my family, no one knows how to sing. Among the cousins, we joke that if someone can sing, they must be adopted. When Shmueli joined the family, he began to teach us how the zemiros tunes are really supposed to sound…

—Yiddes Ungar

 

Not My Voice

One Rosh Chodesh, we were dancing in the cheder auditorium, and the singer suddenly had to leave. The musician asked if anyone could come up to sing, and my classmates were all pushing me to go up there on stage. I didn’t really feel I could sing, so I gave the kids a mashal — “Just because your father is a painter, does it mean you could paint too?” They left me alone, and I didn’t end up singing.

—Menachem Daskal, age 12

 

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 752)

 

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Hidden Power
Yonoson Rosenblum One never knows the power of his or her mitzvos
Can You Tell a Phony?
Eytan Kobre “You’re not using the phone; the phone is using you”
Grief and Gratitude
Yisroel Besser The deepest, most sophisticated truth in the world
Nobody's Perfect
Alexandra Fleksher With the gift of maturity, we learn to accept
Colossal Humility
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The last words I ever heard from my rebbi
Ready and Waiting
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP Why does everything take so long in the ER?
Bless You!
Faigy Peritzman Blessings don't create anything new in the natural world
Ready, Set, Succeed!
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Ensure success with explicit, doable instructions
The Radiance of Surrender
Mrs Shani Mendlowitz Honest admission reveals your inner radiance