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Creating smooth listening in a medley sometimes takes some tough calls


Bobbing right at the top of 24Six’s trending list, MOSHE TISCHLER’S REPLAY album is a new twist on beloved songs from a few decades ago. “It’s songs I grew up on,” the 20-something singer says, hinting that with a couple of exceptions, they’re not “old” oldies, but mostly from the 1990s and early 2000s. Tischler is excited about the new release that enabled him to choose songs he’d always liked and put his own touch on them.

On the album, song follows song in a deceivingly effortless flow, with flawless links between segments, all masterminded and coordinated by new-name producer Nochum Levitan, whose gifted touch has created the smooth listening experience and coordinated the fresh arrangements. While this is Nochum’s first album production, keen fans will recognize his name as the composer of “The Secret” and the arranger of "Journey at Sea" on Journeys V and some recent songs. As a grandson of legendary composer Abie Rotenberg, Nochum has a longstanding link to quality Jewish music.

It’s a challenge to devote time and preserve the vocal condition for studio work in between wedding appearances. Moshe has been working on Replay for around eight months, usually putting in two or three hours of recording vocals at a time. But he says that when he got together with Eli Marcus to record the English medley, the two managed a marathon session of over 14 hours straight.

“We met at the studio in Monsey at around noon, and the groove and energy were so great that we worked on those vocals till almost five a.m. the next morning — and when we were done, the entire 17-and-a-half-minute medley was done.

Creating smooth listening in a medley sometimes takes some tough calls. “MBD’s ‘Muvdalim’ is one song I love,” says Moshe. “We recorded it and even had it mixed and finished, but we realized that although it shined on its own, it didn’t fit nicely where we’d placed it. It took some ‘surgery’ in the studio to cut it out, but on the whole, we were happier with the medley without it. Another medley was already mixed and mastered, but after marathon consultations, we realized something wasn’t working right. We made the decision to find a new drummer, redo some parts, remix and master, which made all the difference.”

Another wildly popular stream on the kosher streaming app is HERSHY WEINBERGER’s latest Yiddish single, “TUNI RABUNUN,” a ballad with a warm chorus perfectly suited to AVRAHAM FRIED’s poignant vocals. With arrangements by Doni Gross and backup by Yedidim choir, the song shines as an ode to the sweet melody of Gemara learning which continues to soar long after Shavuos is over. “ChiChiWaWa” and Shmueli Ungar’s “Fire” are still going strong after the Sefiras Ha’omer break, and the current wedding season mood is celebrated by climbing numbers of streams of Yaakov Shwekey’s Ahavat Olam EP, with three new songs in honor of his daughter’s marriage.



The sound of EITAN KATZ’s latest release, THE CHABAD ALBUM, is so familiar, you’re sure you’ve heard it all already. Most likely, you have, because like Eitan, most people today agree that you don’t have to be a Lubavitcher chassid to experience and enjoy Chabad’s treasure trove of niggunim.

Although Eitan remembers being a little boy standing next to his father, Chazan Avshalom Katz, and hearing him sing the Lubavitch niggun for “Ki Hinei Kachomer” on Yom Kippur night, his first real exposure to the Chabad songs he loves came about through the albums of his childhood favorite singer, Avraham Fried (in fact, the tune of “Ki Hinei Kachomer” is used for “Ish Chassid Hayah” on Fried’s very early Melaveh Malkah album).

“Avremele’s Chabad albums brought me into that world, and once I was a teenager I found more sources of Lubavitch niggunim to enjoy, such as the vintage series of Nichoach [Nigunei Chasidei Chabad] albums. I was drawn by their beautiful purity, and the truly Jewish energy that surrounds you when you listen.” Chabad songs are a popular choice at Eitan’s live kumzitzes, inspirational events, and weddings, and with this album, Eitan shares some of that music with wider circles.

With professional and tasteful musical backing, the tracks include such iconic niggunim as “Ha’aderes Vehaemunah” and “Ve’atah Amarta,” alongside lesser-known pieces such as “Niggun HaMaharash” and “K’moifes.”

The biggest accolade for Eitan came when Eli Marcus, who joins as a guest vocalist on Track 4 — “Ro’eh Yisrael,” commented that the recording was “the closest to a Nichoach sound I have ever heard.” (This niggun, labeled as “Niggun Simchah” on the very first volume of Nichoach from 1960 — the iconic yellow cover with a chassid wrapped in a tallis — was famously originally recorded using just a drum and clapping.)


If You’re Here…

Cryptic is a big part of what 8TH DAY does, so when Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter YOSSI ZUCKER contacted SHMUELI AND BENTZI MARCUS with a song he’d written based on a cryptic quote from Hillel in the Gemara, they were in. “Im ani kan, hakol kan, ve’im eini kan, mi kan [If I am here, everyone’s here. But if I’m not here, who is here]?” has many layers of meaning. Is it referring to the One Above, or to Hillel as an individual?

“Rebbe Nachman of Breslov puts the emphasis on ‘kan’— here,” explains Bentzi Marcus. “It’s about being present, showing up emotionally in the moment, not being consumed by regrets of the past or concern for the future. If I am here in the present, it works, but if I’m not really here, who is here?” 8th Day added an English bridge to Yossi’s song, elaborating on this Breslov teaching. “When the moment looks you in the eye, don’t look away….”

When it came to producing a music video, Zucker decided to build on the concept of being in the moment as it relates to tuning out technological distraction, illustrated by a static hand-drawn phone. After all, life is lived in genuine human interaction, not in scrolling through a smartphone.

The song is part of the Ayeka project, which presents the idea of Hashem’s question to Adam as being a universal call, asking each of us what we are doing with our lives and the gifts Hashem gave us.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1017)

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