Jewish Journal


January 5, 2006

Spectator - Musical Mystery of Letters


While Madonna and other celebrities have made it fashionable in recent years to pursue Kabbalah, guitarist and composer Adam Del Monte has the musical sophistication and spiritual depth to explore Jewish mysticism beyond the trendy or superficial. In his new piece, "Kabbalistic Intonation From the Hebrew Alphabet," Del Monte delves deeply into the meditative and musical aspects of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Del Monte will perform his new composition on numerology as one of two world premieres at the Jan. 8 concert of Synergy, a chamber ensemble of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity. The performance will take place at the Emanuel Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.

Of Kabbalah, Del Monte says, "There is a high-level of consciousness, bringing down energy from the spheres in a way that affects our physical life." To do that, "you need to be a pure vessel," which is why some scholars have suggested that no one truly study Kabbalah until reaching at least the age of 40.

The Israeli-born Del Monte, though a year shy of 40, brings much life experience to his new work, which incorporates elements of his Sephardic, classical and flamenco expertise. He traveled for years in Spain, learning flamenco in the caves of Granada with gypsies. He discovered that flamenco derives from Sephardic roots. His present surname, given to him by gypsies, comes from a major thoroughfare in Granada.

Regarded as a virtuoso classical guitarist, Del Monte believes that there is sacredness to a name.

"Every sound, every letter, every shape of letter gives birth to a specific frequency of vibration, and, when combined with other letters, incarnates specific energies and characters," he says.

Del Monte "makes a connection between each letter of the Hebrew alphabet in musical pitch," says Neal Brostoff, the music coordinator of Synergy.

The January concert, dubbed "Nefesh -- Music From the Soul," will also include the world premiere of "Arba-a Bavot Niggun D'Alte Rebbe," which Brostoff terms a "Chasidic jazz fusion," composed by pianist Sha-rone Kushnir -- as well as works by Betty Olivero and Andrew Bleckner.

Synergy's "Nefesh -- Music From the Soul," concert will be held Sunday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m., at the Emanuel Arts Theater, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. To R.S.V.P., call (323) 658-5824 or e-mail mtartbut@aol.com.

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