ftbt — for teens by teens
no fa-la-la-la-la for us!
this Jewish music guide steers us to new tunes for winter break.
by Laura Katsnelson
o what if radio stations are
more likely to play "Jingle
Bells" than Adam Sandler's
"Chanukah Song"? Just because
December is overrun with Chris-
tian-influenced music doesn't mean
you are limited. In fact, winter
break provides a lot of time to ex-
plore the contemporary Jewish mu-
For starters, there is much more out
there than "Hava Negila" and "I Have
a Little Dreidel." Jewish music has ex-
panded into the modern genres of hip-
hop, punk rock, pop, electronica and
reggae. Artists in every genre experi-
ment with Jewish or Israeli themes.
The selection is infinite, but here is
an introduction to nine Jewish/Israeli
musical artists who are well worth lis-
1. Matisyahu (Reggae/Rap): He's
the one and only Chasidic rap star, and
he played in Detroit earlier this month.
He is known for his unique blend of
traditional Jewish/biblical themes and
reggae sounds. His positive messages
and fantastic beat boxing make his
music all the more impressive.
2. Infected Mushroom (Electronic/
Psychedelic Rock): This Israeli group
has reached international fame with
its electronic beats and rhythms. Don't
be surprised to hear the sprinkling of
Hebrew lyrics that add to the awesome-
ness of this upbeat dance music.
3. Regina Spektor (Indie/Acoustic):
This Jewish singer-songwriter-pianist is
known for her melodically charming yet
eccentric music. Her playful tunes pro-
vide a backdrop for some of her power-
ful references to God and the Bible.
4. Say Anything (Punk Left Wry humor is a hallmark positive reception for
Rock/Alternative) : Front- of rock band Say Anything.
the universality of their
ed by lyricist Max Bemis,
music, which focuses on
who has been strongly Top right Wan Raichel blends the social and political
influenced by his Jewish diverse elements with
aspects of Israeli life, in-
upbringing, this rock band spiritual depth.
cluding the Arab-Israeli
is notorious for its wry
conflict and tensions
humor. They play many Bottom right Chasidic rapper between religious and
songs that include numer- Matisyahu embraces reggae. secular communities.
ous allusions to the Holo-
7. The Klezmatics
caust and American Jewish culture.
(Modern Klezmer): This Grammy
5. Idan Raichel (Folk/World Mu- Award-winning group takes traditional
sic): The Israeli singer-songwriter is Klezmer music and gives it a modern
acclaimed for his "Idan Raichel Proj- twist. They sing in several languages
ect," a blend of electronics, Middle and use Yiddish, Latin, Celtic, Carib-
Eastern and Ethiopian tones — and bean and folk flavors to express their
Hebrew texts. These diverse elements universal messages.
mix together to create catchy melodies
8. Sarit Hadad (Mizrahi/Pop): As
with spiritual depth.
Israel's veteran pop diva, Sarit has
6. Hatikva 6 (Reggae/Rock): This been creating popular hits since 1995.
young Israeli reggae band has earned No fa-la-la on page 174
teen2teen December 17 • 2009 TT1