Friday, November 9, 2007

A shot of kosher gospel, with a Hasidic reggae chaser

Cross-culturalism can be cool. White dudes playing the blues, Rastafarians kicking out the punk-rock jams, Japanese chicks singing Beatles songs, Muslims rapping in French...

All cool.

Now, a musical question: What’s cooler – a black guy from Newark who sings in Hebrew? Or a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn spitting reggae-style?

Ay gevalt, you want I should tell you how to boil an egg too? Bring that black Jew over here and give him a microphone!

Joshua Nelson, the so-called “Prince of Kosher Gospel,” is an interesting fellow. Click here to hear him sing “Hineh Ma Tov.” He does so in the traditional Jewish fashion... and then he injects some black church into it.

The track can be found on his 2005 CD, “Mi Chamocha?”

If you want to know more about Joshua Nelson, there’s a 4-minute audio piece streaming at the Public Radio Exchange. To hear it, follow this link. (I’m streaming a 2-minute slice of it on my Vox blog; click here to listen.)

As for the Hasidic reggae chaser, you know that’s gotta be Matisyahu. Here’s his video for “Jerusalem”:


Eric said...

Damn. I gotta get me some Joshua Nelson. Unfortunately, I keep getting an error when I try to buy the CDs from his site.

jena6 said...

I'd forgotten about Joshua Nelson until now.

As for cross cultural, for a while I was digging Korean soul singers Big Mama's Break Away.

Undercover Black Man said...

Eric: Oy, it looks like Mr. Nelson is having PayPal problems. Try this site to cop that CD.

Undercover Black Man said...

Jena6: Interesting. But tell me something... Are those girls supposed to be considered hefty??

jena6 said...

UBM, by Korean standards they're not supermodel gorgeous and they're considered "full-figured." That's why in the video they are backstage lending their vocals to the four comely singers doing a Milli Vanilli onstage.

I think I read somewhere that its in their contract NOT to lose weight or enhance their appearance via plastic surgery (or something like that). To me, they are neither "hefty" nor homely.

Wanda said...

they aren't half bad. Where did you hear of Big Mama's? Do they have a website in english?

jena6 said...

wanda, I don't remember how I found them. I work in a very international environment and about a year ago I remember thinking, "I don't own a lot of World music!" Now, I listen to a lot of it including K-pop (Korean Pop) artists like Se7en and Epik High.

As for websites try surfing around for Korean Music blogs like this one. Many are in English.