Friday, May 11, 2007

More on Jewish Fringe: A Silver Mt. Zion

Earlier this week I wrote about the Canadian band 'The Jewish Legend' and commented about how I found their direct public connection, but elusive artistic connection, to Judaism both puzzling and exciting. I want to follow up on that by writing a bit about another Canadian band, 'A Silver Mt. Zion.' Described as a 'post-rock' band, 'A Silver Mt. Zion' plays an arty but emotionally-charged music that I find pretty compelling (remember me waxing poetic about Ambarchi/Aveniam). It's easy for me to get lost in tracks like 'God Bless Our Dead Marines' (I've watched video below about 10 times).

And there's the Jewish connection. Honestly, I read their wikipedia page a while ago and saw the note about band leader Efrim Menuck's being Jewish and didn't think a lot of it. Here's the Wikipedia entry:

"The name A Silver Mt. Zion would seem to refer to Temple Mount, the highest point in Jerusalem. However, Efrim later noted in an interview with David Garland, host of Spinning on Air from WNYC radio, that the name hailed from a misheard song lyric. Efrim himself is Jewish, and motifs relating to Judaism are occasionally present in the band's music (he described the band's recording of their first album as a 'Jewish experience.') He is a diasporist, promoting a non-territorial form of Jewish identity that is conducive to pluralism and intercultural interaction."

I only came back to it after running into the The Jewish Legend album. Like I said in my last post, I'm just not used to secular bands in the mainstream music scence being so up-front about their Jewish roots without making more explicit reference to Jewish musical or cutural themes in the music. It makes me wonder if something is happening in our culture that is freeing us (though I'm not sure who 'us' is) up to be more explicit about our Jewishness. Even when playing to audiences who are just there for the music.

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