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Alternative Jewish Music – Spotlight on Emanuel Neuman

by JMDerech August 16, 2010

How many tracks are on this album and what are the names?

On this Demo, there are 4 tracks: Ei’lecha, The Puzzle, Kanfei Nesharim, & Watching Closely [you can hear them at  myspace.com/emanuelneuman]

What’s the main message of the album?

The songs are all me speaking, to either myself, G-d, or to all Jews. I suppose you could call them my “personal tefillos.” They’re my own mussar to myself about how I’m not living the way I should be. After many challenges in  avodas Hashem (and many failures), I would write down the feelings and what I should learn and change from these experiences.

Everything in life has to be for Hashem, music is no different, and is just another form of avodah. It just happens to be the greatest form of expression. I prefer my natural form of speech (english) than simply putting a tune to a posuk. I didn’t write the pesukim and as powerful as they are, it doesn’t compare to formulating your own expression to Hashem. Having someone else write a song for you or singing a posuk that already exists just isn’t as powerful for me. A lot of sefarim emphasize the importance of personal tefillah and speaking,  in your own words about your relationship with Hashem. That’s what these songs are.

The first reaction I get when anyone listens to the songs is: “Is it Jewish?” To which of friend of mine will usually reply “just listen to the words.” A tefillah is a tefillah in any language, and if anything, has a certain advantage in your native tongue. But either way, my Rebbe (R’ Moshe Weinberger) listened to the songs a number of times & gave me an excellent haskama (so I have all the approval I need).

What is your influence in Jewish music?

My favorite kind of music is the honest kind. When people sing the same way they talk and act, without putting on a show. I truly enjoy hearing music from someone sincere and modest. I look up to Aharon & Yonatan Razel, Yosef Karduner, Shuly Rand and other musicians where it’s not all about the music, rather the music is just another part of their avodah.

What is the story behind each song?

‘Ei’lecha’ is my “call for help” from G-d, life is hard…and after trying to get help from people, you realize Hashem is the only One who can really help you.

‘The Puzzle’ is very simply a picture of our disturbing reality. As I looked at the constant struggles we go through, I thought it was hypocritical of me to complain- “why am I crying about our desperate situation as Jews, when I’m not doing the only thing that will help?” People speak about politics, Israeli government and other Jews failures as if that would help or end our suffering…

‘Kanfei Nesharim’ is my favorite song. It’s about spiritual struggles and my relationship with Hashem. Thanks to Noah Solomon (of Soulfarm) who played mandolin for this track as well.

‘Watching Closely’ I think speaks for it self. Materialism not used for kedusha only brings destruction. I though it rather foolish to call myself a “religious Jew” when I invested more time into physical things than spiritual. It’s always a wake-up call for me when I listen to this song.

With all the music, my only intention in giving it out is that hopefully, others can relate to it. And maybe even be inspired.

Who is behind this album?

I recorded the songs with Dov Rosenblatt (of Blue Fringe). I started working with him when I was in high school at MTA (YU’s high school) and he was in YU. I just called him up asking for help with some songs, he said fine. I cut class and starting recording acoustic tracks with him across the street. After 2 years in Israel, I wanted to make some full-featured songs. I came to Dov with the songs and we produced them together. I played acoustic guitar, piano and did vocals, he did all of the arrangements, electric guitar, bass, put together the drums and did some harmonies. A guy named Jake Antelis did the mixing. All credit goes to Dov and Jake for making the songs sound excellent.

Distributors want a full album, so I’m waiting until then before “releasing” anything. When? As soon as someone is interested in working on it with me (Dov moved to LA so I’m on my own for now…) In the meantime, anyone interested in the music or with any questions can reach me at:  eman.neu@gmail.com

Below are lyrics:

We pray for our brothers to find good life and peace

But won’t see the good side, to anyone we meet

So just to feel better we compare one to another

We put our own down, while they all want us gone

Our souls are the pieces to a puzzle untouched

So just because he’s this you’re that, doesn’t change the fact,

that we all come from the same place

We cry the same tears and dream the same goals and live through all the same fears

A tear from one saves the soul of another, our enemies remain until we cry for our brothers

Look inside and you will find…

A broken child asks why the world hates us so much

but when we hate our own kind, it’s no real surprise

When will you understand, that everything you do to me, you do to yourself

and everyone else, and that all your words, speak to all our lives

Chorus

When you look at you, use your head

But if you’re looking through me, please use your heart

Kol Yisroel, Arei’vim Zeh Bazeh

Look at me and you will see, that we’re all the same

This is my call to peace, this may be our last chance

This is our only hope, this is our final battle

אליך

All my life I’ve been dreaming, of a time that never came

All your life you’ve been waiting, for a man that never showed

But can’t you see, it’s you and me we’re doing something wrong

There’s a reason, the world never changes

Cause all we do is wait, when it’s Him who’s waiting, for us, to call

When all the people speak of me, like I’m not normal

I just want to scream at all the things, I’m trying to become

So now I’m down on my knees and I’m calling, I’m calling out to You

Friends and family, don’t know who you are, you’re lost with nothing left to turn to

there’s no one there to talk to, the Only One to help you, Is the One who put you here

When all the people speak of you, like you’re not normal

Go ahead and scream at all the things, you’re trying to believe in

Fall down on your knees, and call out to Him

Ei’lecha Hashem Ekra, I turn to You

You want to know the way the world works, ask the One Who made it

You want to love the life you live, find the One Who gave it to you

כנפי נשרים

I cry out in loneliness, I can feel Your silence in return

I know that You hear me, But I still can’t find the words

The pain inside I’ve created, I don’t deserve to ask-so I beg…

Save me, while I’m still awake

Lift us up, before we fall out of touch

Va’esa Eschem Al Kanfei Nesharim

Va’avi Eschem Ei’lai

I live to feel You, but I’ve numbed my skin to Your touch

The wall that stands between us; I take the blame

but now I’m trying to tear it down -

would You show me how

If I am stranded, running in circles

If I am falling, let me hold on to Your wings

Watching Closely

We all, have been fooled, about who we are

We all, have been looking, in the wrong direction

The mind turns off as it sinks in the colors

of the screen where the focus is on everyone but you

and it’s suicide, for hours at a time

the numbers you memorize, who wins or what is better

Are only distractions to make sure you never

Finish what you’re here for

The fancy homes and pretty cars, they can trick you

Unless they build the bridge, and on the other side

the only weight we carry is what’s beyond ourselves

Are you watching closely, are you fooled by why you’re breathing

Can you hear your soul screaming, when you poison it with fiction

You say “speak to me”

but when the answers come, you don’t really want to hear

the thunder roars’ and birds sing, no you don’t listen

getting your attention takes a hurricane

then you say “show yourself” (trying to believe)

but coincidence, is all that you perceive

and if you want to see, just look behind the scenes

Are you watching closely, are you fooled by why you’re breathing

Can you hear your soul screaming, when you poison it with fiction

open up your eyes, see we’re only here to serve

illusions & veils, it’s nothing but G-d

How do you want to be seen

these selfish passions, only leave you empty

drinking up your time, till you stand before the Judge

How do you want to be seen

JMDerech
JMDerech


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