web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Unsung Heroes: A Behind The Scenes Look At The Jewish Music Business

Consummate-Consumer

I know this is supposed to be a consumer column, but let’s face it. We have all just spent the last few weeks preparing, cleaning and shopping until our credit cards begged for mercy and our family members have started wondering if Windex is our new signature scent. The last thing anyone wants to be thinking about right now is buying more stuff, making home improvements or otherwise planning ahead. It is Pesach, the celebration of our exodus from bondage, and just as our forefathers emerged from the slavery of Egypt into freedom, this is a great opportunity to relax after weeks of effort and planning. Put your feet up, enjoy the fruits of your labor and possibly even a tall glass of lemonade (adorned, of course, by a frilly paper umbrella) while we relax, unwind and contemplate one of the greatest treasures ever bequeathed to mankind: the gift of music.

Over the years we have been privileged to enjoy some incredibly wonderful songs, which have woven their way into the fabric of our lives. Some are special to us for personal reasons, others become popular hits, but oddly enough, while we may know the songs and possibly even the names of the singers who popularized them, few of us know little if anything about the many people who are responsible for the music we know and love.

It is hard to believe how many hundreds of hours it takes to produce a single song and how many talented people are involved in each and every note. The composer, who literally gives birth to the song. The arranger who further refines the song, deciding its mood, the best instruments to enhance it, also composes an introduction, practically a song within a song. The skilled musicians whose talents provide the orchestration. The vocalist who is the “face” of the song. The producer, who hand picks every person involved in the process in order to make the most out of every second. The engineer who puts the entire package together and produces the finished product. Throw in a lyricist if there are original words involved and choirs, if they are being used, and a single song can involve dozens of participants, each of whom uses their considerable talents to produce the music that fills our iTunes. Yet for most of us, other than the singer, the many people who are an integral part of each song are, for the most part, nameless and faceless.

All that is about to change as a few of the best and the brightest in the Jewish music business share their thoughts on what goes on behind the scene.

Yitzy Waldner

Yitzy Waldner

For composer Yitzy Waldner, there is no way to define the process of creating a song.

“People have asked me to tell them how I compose a song, but I don’t have an answer,” explained Waldner. “You just try, although I suppose it helps to have some sort of musical ability. Many, many times things just fall into place, like Yaakov Shwekey’s Ma Ma Ma, which wrote itself in thirty seconds. There are others that I worked on for a long time, like Shwekey’s Eishes Chayil, which all in all took about seven months to finalize.”

Waldner finds that the lyrics help inspire the creative process.

“The first song I ever wrote for Shwekey was Shema Yisroel,” said Waldner. “He had an idea for the song and had a low part that he liked but needed a high part to go with it. He started describing to me someone who was going around to monasteries, collecting Jewish children after the war. I went down to my basement, turned off all the lights and I envisioned this young boy and the song wrote itself in about twenty five minutes. It was literally divine inspiration.”

You never know when inspiration will strike, reports composer Elimelech Blumstein, who composed his first song in fourth grade and since that time has written thousands of songs.

Elimelech Blumstein

Elimelech Blumstein

“I can remember where I was and what I was doing for every song I wrote,” confided Blumstein. “I could be anywhere, working to walk or on a train. Someone once texted me lyrics and asked me to set them to music just as I was going into the subway. It was a great opportunity, no one to interrupt me with emails or phone calls. I recorded the song on my phone while on the train and sent it out as soon as I came out of the subway. Yes, there were people on the train giving me funny looks, but that was fine. There was one guy playing guitar, another chewing gum and blowing bubbles. Why can’t I sing to myself?”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Unsung Heroes: A Behind The Scenes Look At The Jewish Music Business”

  1. Leah Urso says:

    Great article! But not all singer songwriters need others to produce them. I produced both of my own CDs for Jewish children.

  2. Thanks for this article. I wrote the finales to two of our productions (www.raiseyourspirits.org) literally having just awoken and felt as if they wrote themselves, as if a greater Hand was writing them (well, typing them) through me…those moments of inspiration are unforgettable.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers are evacuated to a hospital after a terror attack.
Photo credit: Smiley Hafuch / Rotter.net
ISIS-Linked Terror Attack on IDF From Sinai
Latest Sections Stories

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

More Articles from Sandy Eller
Sandy-Eller-Consumer-logo

The idea of breathing new life into something you already own, using leftover bits and pieces as springboards for future projects, is probably a tendency to which I am genetically inclined

Eller-092614-Americare

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

Scan those sale circulars either online or when they show up at your doorstep, check out the sale items and plan your menus accordingly.

“We are strong chassidic women and we take the name, we embrace it, and we own it.”

“My father added that after all the pogroms, after the Holocaust, a member of the family had finally returned to the shul, proving once again that the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people can never be vanquished.”

In recent months I have found there are certain things not worth buying and with the help of everyone’s best friend, Google, recipes for some of them are literally at the tip of your fingers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/unsung-heroes-a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-the-jewish-music-business/2013/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: