Interview (and a free JDub album!) with Wailing Wall

Today, JDub Records releases their first-ever free debut album — Wailing Wall’s debut record, Hospital Blossoms. Follow that link to download the entire record right now.

wailing wallWailing Wall is a band of one — and that one is 23-year-old Jesse Rifkin. With guest members (a population that has numbered over 30), he records and plays music that is folk-rock at heart and orchestral in scope. We asked him to guest blog for us about a few Jewish songs he liked. “You know,” I wrote, “3 or 5.” He hit us back with an authoritative list of…well, see for yourself.

Ten Jewish Songs That Don’t Make Me Want to Stab My Eyes Out

by Jesse Rifkin

1. Leonard Cohen – “If It Be Your Will†(from Various Positions)
Could just as easily have been “Hallelujah,†or “Story of Isaac,†or “Anthem,†or “Who By Fire.†They are all so completely perfect in every way. This just happens to be the one I was listening to today. I also highly recommend Antony’s performance of this song on the I’m Your Man soundtrack.

2. Bene Israel – “Yah Ribon†(from Eliyahoo Hanabee)
My dad gave me this record pretty recently. Apparently Bene Israel is a congregation in India that uses a harmonium and tablas in their services. I don’t know that much else about it. It sounds more like Hindu kirtan chanting or Pakistani qawwali music than anything I have ever heard in synagogue. I really like it.

3. Shlomo Carlebach – “L’Ma’an Achai†(from Holy Brothers and Sisters)
I grew up hearing Shlomo’s music around the house. He’s such a powerful and soulful singer that I think it is pretty hard to not like listening to him. Unfortunately, most of his records that I have heard are bogged down by truly horrendous production choices — if he wasn’t singing, I would swear they were early 90’s porn soundtracks. Holy Brothers and Sisters, though, is a treat – it is tastefully arranged with nylon-string guitar, bass, hand drums, flute, tambourine, and finger cymbals. His “freak folk†record, if you will.

Posted on June 9, 2009

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