Friday, November 12, 2010

Kol Achai at Shea Stadium. Spoiler Alert...The Cubs Lost

Everyone once in a while I think I've got this Jewish music thing, and then the rug get's pulled out from under me again. My buddy Noah did that to me when he introduced me to a strand of Orthodox pop music that I didn't know anything about. It includes bands like Kol Achai, Abie Rotenberg & D'veykus. Let me start by saying I'm practically clueless about these bands and will be trying to piece it together over the next few months. What I know is that these bands were primarily active in the 80's, played a lot of NCSY camp events, and had a very (for the time) contemporary pop sound. They're connected, I think, with the Israeli scene that produced seminal Jewish rock pioneers Diaspora Yeshiva band and their repertoire includes Israeli tunes as well as original. But I'm really not sure about any of this yet. These bands have little presence on the web other than discographies on some of the Orthodox Jewish music catalog sites. What I do know is that I'm a fan. They're some great material in these discs and they're a pointer to a part of Orthodox Jewish culture that I was completely unaware of.

As I said there's precious little material on these bands on the web, but here's a great clip. It's Kol Achai singing The Star Spangled Banner at Shea Stadium on Sept 13, 1993. Spoiler alert...the Cubs lost.

Hopefully I'll be back with more info on this scene. If you were part of it, as a musician or audience, please get in touch with me.

Update: I just got an email from Avraham Rosenblum of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band. He pointed out that while he respected mainstream Orthodox groups like Kol Achai and "Abie Rottenberg's soulful tunes" that DYB was part of a very different ba'al teshuva scene that "The Megama Duo, Piamenta, Yitzhak Attias, The Baal Shemtov Band and Rava Mehemna were our contemporaries- all returnees to Torah observance. " I really appreciate Avraham's update. For someone who wasn't there piecing this together is tough. By the way...I should note that DYB just released an awesome DVD of one of their 1982 concerts. It's great.


AP said...

Wow, I haven't heard those names in a LONG time! I've got all those tapes from back in the day (if my mom hasn't cleaned out my closet and thrown them out by now!)...Kol Achai, D'veykus, Journeys. You're welcome to borrow 'em if you'd like! Kol Achai played here in Detroit years ago at least a couple times; I remember their concerts. :)
- Adina Pergament

Jack said...

Hi Adina...I don't think I have Journeys, but I have the others. I didn't grow up with them, but have enjoyed them a lot.