Video: Rachel Kann, “Dancing Lesson (Or How To Let The Words Leave You)”

LA-based spoken word poet Rachel Kann has released a video for her composition “Dancing Lesson (Or How To Let The Words Leave You)“. The clip, which was a Finalist and Curator’s Choice at the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival earlier this year, is directed by Bradford L. Cooper, who also crafted the backing music with producer Atom Smith. Kann and Jhon Gonzalez handled the choreography.

Over a simmering beat of tribal drums, synth chirps and buzzes, and a groovy bassline, Kann’s signature earthy voice passionately encourages listeners to shed feelings of shame and frustration to better pursue an “ineffable” internal source of inspiration. The clip illustrates this theme by showing Kann and various women as they express their pain through interpretive dance while screaming cathartically.

Kann, an established figure in the performance poetry world, has had her work featured on TEDx Talks, NPR, and the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. She has released two poetry collections and three spoken word albums, and is a regular contributor to Hevria.

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Yuda & The Retro Drop New Years Single “As Long As The Candle Is Lit”

Yuda & The Retro, the reggae rock side project of Aharit Hayamim frontman Yehuda Leuchter, have released a new song for the High Holidays entitled “Kol Od Haner Dolek” (As Long As The Candle Is Lit).

The track, a cool, somber jam about maintaining hope in dark times, was produced by David Lifshitz, who also sings on the song and wrote the lyrics based on the teachings of R’ Yisroel Salanter, and features Leuchter’s AH bandmate Rafael Barkats on saxophone.

Newcomer YM Covers Leonard Cohen, Preps Debut Album

YM (Yitzchok Meir Malek), an under-the-radar American-Israeli folksinger, has been making his mark this past week with several new releases and announcements.

First is his recently-released cover of the late Leonard Cohen‘s classic “Who By Fire“, timed for both the High Holidays and the recent string of natural disasters. The cover distinguishes itself by YM’s overlaid vocals, blending a Cohenesque low end with a Dylanesque high end, and by a featured performance from oudist Elyasaf Bashari.

He has also released a music video for his bouncy love ballad “Love Is Like A Bird“, produced by Daniel Goldstein and directed by Shlomo Weprin.

Both songs, as it happens, are heralds of the singer-songwriter’s upcoming debut album, Dear God, which is currently being crowdfunded on the Israeli site Headstart. The album’s planned title track is another cover, this one of “Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)” by the supergroup Monsters of Folk. You can sample the album below and contribute here.

Originally from New York before moving to Jerusalem, YM was mentored by Grammy-winning guitarist C Lanzbom and cites among his influences Cohen, Dylan, Marley, Sinatra, and Carlebach. He has described his sound as “alternative rock meets R&B with a touch of pop” and “a classy and suave flirtation of jazzy flows and bluesy bass, peppered with the occasional ballad and campus quad acoustic.

Psych-Rocker Barak Grossberg debuts with single “Baolam Ha’Amiti”

Tel Aviv native Barak Grossberg has recently released his guitar-heavy debut single “Baolam Ha’Amiti” (In The Real World).

Produced and recorded by Assaf Shahar, previously a sound tech on tracks by Hanan Ben-Ari and Roi Lavi & The Good Guys, “Baolam Ha’Amiti” is a chaotic blast of psychedelic noise rock, full of bruising guitars and manically shouted vocals that build in intensity over the course of the song, all kept tight and focused by the rhythm section of Grossberg’s bandmates, bassist Ariel Harosh and drummer Mor Harpazi. The lyrics, reportedly based on the second chapter of Tanya (Grossberg is a baal teshuva through Chabad), deal with the conflict between man’s spiritual and physical nature.

A release concert for the single will be held on Thursday, September 7, at the Tel Aviv pub Bar Giyora. Support acts will include blues rocker Shlomo Mizrachi; Omri Vitis, frontman of Grossberg’s previous post-grunge band The Bells; and brother Yonatan Grossberg, of the metal band Kadachat (Fever). Details and ticket info can be found here.

Video: Zusha, “King”

Ahead of the upcoming A Colorful World, Hasidic folk trio Zusha have released the album’s lead single and only their second video with “King” (aka “Melech”).

The artistically done video, directed by Jacob Blumberg and Bianca Giaever and starring Ma’ayan Chaya Sidof (daughter of filmmaker and Hevria columnist Yocheved Sidof), is said by the band to reflect “a young girl’s determination to discover her unique light”, as they note that “now [the month of Elul] more than ever is our most auspicious time to return to who we are.” The song’s sole lyric, a Hebrew verse meaning “We have no king but You“, comes from Avinu Malkeinu and is a recurring phrase in the High Holiday services.

As a song, “King” shows Zusha further evolving their sound from its acoustic jazz roots, incorporating subtle electronic elements and a darker, more introspective vibe, calling to mind indie-pop darlings like Lorde, Aurora, and even a softer Twenty One Pilots. Bonus points for the impossibly lush and beautiful outro.

A Colorful World drops September 4th. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.

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