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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Kumzitz

I played a beautiful kumzitz with Rabbi Michel Twerski this past Saturday night, Shabbos Nachamu. A kumzitz is a sing-along, literally "come and sit." It's a very intimate setting, with singing and Chassidic story telling.
Those of you who are familiar with my music might be surprised to read that I would go in for this sort of thing, since I'm usually associated with more...shall we say...hard rock. But I think that's because I tend to work with loud lead guitar players. I actually got into music as a folk player.
As a teenager, I loved going to NCSY events and sitting on the floor with a crowd of kids singing Jewish Folk songs. As an adult, I played NCSY Shabbatons with my bands.
As a musician, you feel most fulfilled when you're connecting with the audience. There is no more basic way to do this than with an acoustic guitar, surrounded by a room full of people, who are all singing and swaying, with their eyes closed, feeling the music. When this happens, you're not just playing guitar, you're playing the audience as well, rising and falling with the cadence of the music, softer, then louder, until the whole room is singing, with harmonies, and people forget where they are and ascend to a higher plane.

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