Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Shiny Shoe Music and Shuckle

Names are important. They categorize (not this, but that) and they establish presence (it exists but once didn't). Thanks to I'm Haaretz, PhD. (via Blog In Dm) I picked up two new names names today that help categorize Jewish Music and establish the existence of a new category. The words are Shuckle and Shiny Shoe Music. Ok. I chuckled a bit too. But hang in there.

Shuckle first.

Shuckle is the new Jewish hip-hop and reggae scene that includes Matisyahu, Y-Love and DJ Handler, and Ta’Shma. The term was coined by Daniel Seliger of 12 Tribe Sound and quoted in Leah Hochbaum's Forward article "'Shuckle Rock' Puts the Pray'. According to the Hochbaum article "shuckle" is "the Yiddish term for the swaying that frequently accompanies prayer in Orthodox circles." To Seliger “you shuckle when you daven, and you shuckle when you listen to reggae… it’s shuckle music.”

For me, "Jewish Hip-Hop" is perfectly descriptive but implies a derivative, secondary music. Hip-Hop is the thing, and we do a Jewish version. Fine. but I'm excited to see that an important member of the scene thinks there's enough original energy and talent to warrant a new name. Shuckle. They do hip-hop. We do shuckle. Yes they're related, but we're going in our own direction. Cool. Now we have to live up to that.

Ta Shma doing the shuckle "Shine"

Shiny Shoe Music

This is the Mordechai Ben David, Avraham Fried, Yaakov Shwekey brand of Chassidic pop. The music integrates Chassidic niggunim and zemirot with jazz, rock, and pop melodies. The term was popularized by MOChassid, but he gives credit to Chaim Dovid for coining the term. "We were talking and he referred to the "musicians with the shiny black shoes; I took it from there".

Again, this helps. I've referred to this music as 'frum' or 'chassidic pop' and have seen others use a variety of other descriptions for it. Most annoyingly, I typically see it referred to as "Jewish Music" by it's fans. Of course it's Jewish music, but it's a narrow genre claiming a broad name. Giving the music it's own name separates it from all the other forms of Jewish music and makes it easier to talk about. Shiny Shoe music wouldn't have been my first choice as a genre name, but it's got a great story. Shiny Shoe it is.

Avraham Fried and Mordechai ben David wearing shiny shoes at the OHEL CONCERT


Anonymous said...

Fascinating videos all - my, my, "shuckle", not "shuckle & jive" I suppose. I must be showing my age when I have watch the Ta-Shma video several times to totally understand it - although I like the beat, I need to understand the words.
Then, "shiny shoe" music reminds me of Paul Anka or Wayne Newton in Las Vegas - the music is fine (certainly, one cannot complain about the message) but the packaging is a little too slick for my taste.
As for Davka and Kitka, more to my liking.
I do enjoy the videos, Jack - thanks for posting them. They are educational.

Jack said...

I agree with you the MBG/Fried video. Good voices. Solid players. Great message. But an arrangement that does nothing for me. That's been my general take with the shiny shoe crowd, but I'm starting to find some artists whom resonate a bit more with. I'll be posting about a couple of them soon.