s there any way to measure YIGAL CALEK’s contribution to Jewish music? As a composer, he gave the world such enduring classics as “Ashirah Lashem,” “Mareh Kohein,” “Ko Amar,” and “Chamol”; as a producer, arranger, and choir conductor, his London School of Jewish Song albums, beginning with Ma Navu in 1970 under the London Pirchim title, set the standard for all Jewish boys’ choirs for years to come.
Those youthful voices, sung with the inflection of the Queen’s English, created uplifting songs out of powerful pesukim from all over Tanach and Talmud (think “Shimu Melochim” or “Vechi Yadav Shel Moshe”), brought classic tunes to our tefillos (think “Ki Heim Chayeinu” or “Hamalach”), and sang original English and Yiddish-infused lyrics (think “Children of Silence” or “Di Zeides”). And he didn’t hesitate to use choir members’ own compositions on his albums as well. Yigal’s groundbreaking music was the soundtrack of so many childhoods, yet is savored even more with age.
His colleagues, contemporaries, and younger fans all agree: The Jewish music world owes Yigal a tremendous debt of gratitude.
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