Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Siman Tov Orchestra: Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman

I received a nice Facebook message just before Shabbat last week from Uzi of the Toronto based Simon Tov Orchestra. He's part of a Chassidic simcha band and he invited me to check out some of the videos of his group at a recent party. Chassid's are serious about their dancing and dance music so I had high hopes and wasn't disappointed. What fun! Like many Chassid simcha bands, Siman Tov is centered around a 'one-man-band' keyboard that pretty much does everything but dice tomatoes. But even a Ferrari needs a good driver, and Uzi and co do a great job. The keyboard is backed up with a solid woodwind player and the two vocalists are great fun. Here's a video of the band in action (and of the simcha in full swing). The joint was jumping. One of these days I'd really love to have the opportunity to participate in a Chassid simcha like this. The little tastes of it I've gotten at my local Chabbad house have been wonderful.

UPDATE: YouTube user Hatzadikim added info on the band members to the YouTube video so I thought I'd add it hear as well. The band that night was Shmulik Weiss on piano, Shlomo Simcha Sufferin on voice, Moshe Feder on sax, and Uzi Smilovich on flute. Thanks Hatzadkim.

Siman Tov Orchestra

One thing that piqued my interest in Uzi's email was his sign-off "Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman." I'd seen that formulation before but honestly had no idea what it referred to. Here's the scoop. According to the write up in Wikipedia...
"Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman (Hebrew: נ נח נחמ נחמן מאומן‎) is a Hebrew language mantra used by some sub-groups of the Breslov group of Hasidic Jews. The complete phrase is Na Nach Nachma Nachman Me'uman. It is a sound poem based on the four Hebrew letters of the name Nachman, referring to the founder of the Breslov movement, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, along with a reference to his burial place in Uman, Ukraine."
Be Happy Be BreslovThat's a useful but dreary encyclopedic definition. Here's a better one from the "Na Nachs" (what this group of Breslov's call themselves.)

"Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Me-Uman is this holy melody that can lift us from our dreary existence to the height of faith and belief in God!"

'Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Me-Uman' is the name of our holy leader Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Through a note he sent in a miraculous manner to Rabbi Israel Dov Odesser (called 'Saba' or 'Saba Israel'), Rabbi Nachman revealed that his name is the Song that is Single (Na - נ), Doubled (Nach - נח), Tripled (Nachmu - נחמ), and Quadrupled (Nachman - נחמן).

Great tzadikim (holy sages) preceding Rabbi Nachman's time spoke of the Song that will be revealed in the future, among them Rabbi Yonason ben Uziel (in his translation of Shir Hashirim – the Song of Songs, in the first verse) and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Master of the Zohar and Tikunay Zohar). These tzadikim explained that before the coming of the Messiah, there will be revealed a song that is Single, Doubled, Tripled, and Quadrupled, and that through this Song the true faith and belief in God will be restored in the world as God will renew the world in His wondrous ways. All of this will occur before the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah himself will sing this song and redeem the Jewish People and bring the Knowledge of God, peace, and compassion to the whole world."

And sing they do. The internet is well stocked with Na Nach music in a variety of styles. Diwon, of Shemspeed, recently hosted a "Na Nach Trance Party" (hop over there and grab some free downloads). In Israel, they dance to "Na Nach Techno." Here's Yisrael Dagan and the Na Nach choir singing.You can listen into Radio Breslev (which this afternoon had 30 minutes of earnest spiritual music like Yisrael Dagan's followed by a poppy cover of Tom Waits "Jockey Full of Burbon." Go figure.) You can also score a small treasure trove of Na Nach music files from NaNachMusic.com. (I'm assuming that all the music there is legal for download.)

And of course, you can find more info about Na Nach at NaNach.Net and NaNach.org. For more info on Breslov Chassidim in general, check out Breslov.com. And don't forget to check out the Siman Tov Orchestra's website, particularly if you're in the Toronto area.


shira0607 said...

Last year, I was looking for some information on the town my grandfather came from. Rav Nosson(he was born in the same town as my grandfather) kept coming up, so I learned about Breslov. When I did a youtube search for Breslov music, this is one of the first videos I found


It's Na Nach Techno in Jerusalem. I love the joy in the dancing and music.

NaaNaach said...

Dear Jack,
Thanks for the write up on Nanach!
Uzi is mamash GIVALD GIVALD H"Y should bless him and protect him. Uzi is spreading Nanach all over, unbelievable. He speaks many languages, so he's posting Nanach not only in English but in many languages, particularly Spanish - check out the Spanish Nanach site!
Uzi is spreading Nanach all over the internet, he is an esteemed advisor on Yahoo answers, taking off time every day to help people with their problems and teach them the amazing solutions and advice of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov - Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Meuman!
Recently Uzi has opened up a Nanach shteibel in the center of the Orthodox community of Toronto!
The Nanach's have already congregated there with great rejoicing and celebration HLK"T!
Keep up the good work!
Great blessings of Na Nach Nachmu Nachman Meuman!

Jack said...

Shira, that's a great video. Thanks for the pointer. It's funny how we look for one thing and end up find another. I think my life is an endless series of happy accidents with only a few really deliberate acts.

Jack said...

Hi NaaNaach...

My pleasure. I know little about the Breslov community and teachings and I'm glad to learn. I'm sure I'll be posting more Na Nach over time.