"He doesn’t attempt to be that typical, uber-polished frum singer — rather, he projects sincere, honest, and unique musical expression, and that touches me"
Is there a music artist who caught you off guard, whose style and content unexpectedly resonated with you? Someone you feel a connection with and get inspiration from, even though he sings or composes differently from what you’re used to, and his music is not part of your standard playlist?
I would say BORUCH SHOLOM BLESOFSKY. I know, Boruch Sholom’s style is the opposite of Shalsheles style. His music is very much out of the box and even seems to cross the lines of mainstream, with his aggressive, reggae, rap-like style. Yet there is a certain authenticity to Boruch Sholom’s music, and his heart comes through in his lyrics and the raw neshamah of his singing style. He doesn’t put on any facade, he doesn’t attempt to be that typical, uber-polished frum singer — rather, he projects sincere, honest, and unique musical expression, and that touches me. I listen to him when I’m going for a run or doing Shabbos preparations with the family. I find myself picking “Lo Yimalet,” “Bishvili,” “Screaming,” “Hineni,” “V’zocher,” “Hodu,” “Vayechulu,” and other songs.
—SIMCHA SUSSMAN, Shalsheles
I have to say that I’m a longtime fan of Reb Moshe Goldman a”h and his Camp Shalva albums. I grew up on his songs, and I still find them very beautiful, very relatable, and genuinely inspiring. I’ve learned a lot of music — and a lot of Yiddish! – from his songs, and I still find myself listening to such compositions as “The Tallis Song,” “Maskil LeDovid,” and “Penei Le’elbon.” Some of them have been hitting new markets recently, as if newly discovered, but I’ve been enjoying them all along.
I love Chabad niggunim. I listen to the hidden gems that most people don’t even know, and I love their depth. I first came across the power of Chabad songs when I was a kid. I loved listening to music, and Chabad had a hotline for niggunim sung over the phone, which my father let me listen to. I don’t think there was any music, just a small group of older men singing niggunim, but I enjoyed it and developed a connection to it. They were so sincere, and I think it was the sincerity that especially touched me.
Despite the fact that he’s chassidish and very American, both of which are not my natural musical style, I find I connect to SHMUELI UNGAR’s music. He has a real gift, and a real expertise in the craft. I have worked with him in the past and am very hopeful that we'll release a song together someday. In truth, I think that it’s not only Shmueli’s singing that I’m connecting to but his character, middos, and his personal journey. His life story of loss, courage, and endurance moves me. There’s so much strength to admire there, and I can connect to the music that comes from such a place.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 886)
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