Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Matisyahu in the New York Times


is claimed to be "the only large, mirrored, rotating dreidel in show business — a Jewish answer to a disco ball" in this Matisyahu story:

Matisyahu, who was born Matthew Miller, sings explicitly devotional songs about God, Moshiach (the Messiah) and Orthodox Jewish identity. By setting them to reggae, rock and hip-hop beats, and after working his way up the jam-band circuit, he also reaches listeners with their minds on more secular pursuits, like dancing and drugs...Matisyahu has built a career on analogies between Rastafarian roots reggae and Hasidic songs. Both are concerned with faith and survival struggles and have lyrics phrased in Biblical allusions; both draw on modal scales and melismatic vocal lines that can sound Middle Eastern.

...the roots of his music are Afro-Caribbean and African-American. He uses Jamaican reggae and dancehall toasting, sometimes delivered with a Jamaican accent; he also uses hip-hop cadences and showed off his vocal beatboxing...Matisyahu joined Crystal Method, the thumping, rock-tinged electronica duo that opened the show, to sing and rap on a song from their next album, due in March...his band — which was augmented, for a few songs, by an Israeli oud player — carries simple vamps through multiple transformations, from meditations to shredding guitar solos. It’s music for believers, with a groove for everyone else.

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