Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast

The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviews the latest Israeli and Jewish artists and covers a wide range of styles from Carlebach, cantorial, klezmer, Israeli trance, Mizrachi, rock, Sephardic, hasidic and everything in between. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. IsraelBeat broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on http://www.IsraelNationalRadio.com

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Avraham Fried interview and audio archive















Veteran Singer Releases Music Video
By Benyamin Bresky

Veteran Jewish singer Avraham Fried is branching out into new territory
with a professionally produced music video contained on his new CD.
A slick, clean looking music video of such quality has so far been a rarity
in Jewish music.

Avraham Fried, who composed the medley and words for the song,
also co-produced and acted in the video. Light touches of computer
animation and special effects are also featured such as the letters on
a page of Gemara flying off into the air. The video was produced by
JewishFilms.com.

“It was a lot of work, acting and editing,” said Fried in an interview
with The Beat on Israel National Radio, “But people are enjoying it
and that’s the bottom line.” Fried comments that even children are
enjoying the slow, but inspiring song, entitled Father Don’t Cry. “Kids
like bouncy songs. This is a very heavy ballad, and many kids are
singing it word for word. People are being touched by it, and that’s
the idea.”

The rest of Fried’s new album, entitled Bein Kach Ubein Kach, is a
mix of fast paced dance tunes with some other slow ballads, typical
of past Fried albums, with blasts of horns and a call and response
chorus with of plenty of ‘ai yai yais’. “I call it Chassidish.” Says Fried
of what genre his style falls under. “Tanz music. At the weddings.
Chassidic dance songs. Good energy.” The lyrics are a mix of self-
penned words and versus from the Gemara, Psalms and other Jewish
sources in Hebrew, Yiddish and English.

Fried is proud of his mixing of modern technology with a traditional
sound. “I'm a very strong proponent for keep the music with a Yiddish
tam. Even though we're looking for new ideas and trying to be hip and
cool, I think once we start loosing the Yiddish tam, then we loose our
focus and the reason why we’re doing this.”

Fried’s albums are diverse, but always within a certain structure.
For example, his new album incorporates some Israeli style Mizrachi
sounds on some tracks, electric guitars or synthesizers on others. But
rather then perform a different style, he incorporates different sounds
into his already existing structure.

Another unique sound is the energetic opening track that incorporates
a klezmer clarinet performed by Israeli jazz musician Daniel Zamir.
Other albums have focuses on Yiddish classic and traditional Hasidic
niggunim and cantorial music.

Avraham Fried began his career 26 years ago as one of the first mass
marketed musicians for a Jewish audience. “The technology was
different, the arrangers were different. We were like a brand new baby
looking around saying, ‘what’s this all about?’ We weren’t so sophisticated
or up to date with the latest technology or sound. I think 26 years later,
even for the untrained ear, you can hear the quality has improved
tremendously. It’s more slick and professional and fresh. And that’s
a good thing.”

Fried grew up in a traditional Hasidic family in Brooklyn New York.
“I learned to sing at my parent’s Shabbos table,” says Fried. “I was
blessed with a good voice.” Encouragement from the Lubavitcher
Rebbe led him to take up a music career at the age of 20. “Then the
offers started rolling in for concerts and recoding.” says Fried.

His influences growing up were Ben-Zion Shenker, Yom Tov Erlich,
Shlomo Carlebach and David Werdyger. He comments that at the
time, these singers were amongst the only Jewish recorded music
available. “I want to teach my kids the songs the songs that I grew
up with,” comments Fried, “I guess I'm living in the past a little bit.”

Fried is excited about the future of Jewish music. Before the release
of his album, he posted a sample of the Father Don’t Cry video on the
internet. He also has a blog and is selling CDs online. Although these
things didn’t exist when he began his career, he has excelled at
incorporating them.

When asked about the possibility of a Jewish MTV, he comments,
“Sure, why not? We'll call it Moshiach Television - MTV. I'm not sure
how long it will take. We're usually light years behind. But I think
this new video clip will introduce a new dimension. More singers will
do it now. I think it’s wonderful if you can see and hear, why not use
all of the senses?”

“The danger is,” continues Fried, “you try to get too much with the
times, and try and imitate the Goyishe sounds, you’re putting yourself
into a dangerous situation. The challenge now is to be fresh and to be
creative, but still not to loose the focus that this is Jewish music and
it’s meant to inspire and to give chizzuk. I think the combination of
the two works wonderfully if you keep those two things in mind.”

Audio excepts of this interview can be found at:
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/data/radio/asx2006/11/07/rl_518.asx

Benyamin Bresky is an audio technician and music journalist living in
Jerusalem. He is the host of The Beat on Israel National Radio and
maintains a music journal at http://israelbeat.blogspot.com.