"Even songs that get the crowd dancing and jumping in the air can be genuine Jewish neginah”
Eitan Katz's "Live in Jerusalem 2" concert last Chol Hamoed Succos, attended by 1,200 fathers and sons and bochurim from across the range of Jerusalem’s yeshivos, was far from a typical concert evening. Some tracks of the recently released CD from that event have a Simchas Beis Hashoeivah flavor, others sound like a yeshivah kumzitz, and one, “Avinu Malkeinu,” feels like you’re attending Selichos in a packed beis medrash. Then, there, are the concert-style songs.
For Eitan Katz, the point is that it’s really all one. “People have this impression that soul music has to be played around a kumzitz campfire, with tears. My mission is to show that even songs that get the crowd dancing and jumping in the air can be genuine Jewish neginah.”
Timeless classics such as “Anim Zemiros” and “Ha’aderes Ve’haemunah” alongside Chabad, Breslov, and Chernobyl niggunim, and Eitan’s own iconic “Lemaancha” and the newer “Ki Karov,” invited the crowd to participate to the hilt, welcoming listeners into a veritable auditorium filled with song. With so many diverse segments, what was the highlight of that evening for Katz — a singer, songwriter, and musician all rolled into one? “The highlight for me was the very first song. After months of preparation, when I strummed that first chord and heard the olam singing back, that was really special. I also loved the dancing. From up on stage I had a bird’s-eye view of tremendous achdus and refinement from the crowd.”
Eitan says that getting the energy of that evening onto a CD was the tough part. He’s had sound engineers who specialize in bringing the magic of live concerts to album listeners refine it for months, until LIVE IN JERUSALEM 2 has finally been released.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 799)
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