Singer-songwriter Diex sees himself as an ambassador, a bridge between the unlikely worlds of the prayer filled synagogues and the groove-shaking beats of J Lo, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin.
Since he moved to Los Angeles from Buenos Aires 18 months ago, Diex's reggae and jazz-tinged Latin melodies like "Desde Aca" (From Here) and "Cuidad De Nostalgia" (City of Nostalgia) have been stealthily invading college and noncommercial radio stations across the country. And while the musical influences of his catchy songs come from Anglo and Latino songwriters like the Beatles, Oasis, Fito Paez and Charles Garcia, it is also his Jewish roots and his work as a musical arranger for synagogues in Argentina and Los Angeles that inspires Diex.
"My mother is a singer who sings tango in Yiddish," said Diex, 30, who is known to his mother as Diego Goldfarb. "I have a lot of melodies in my mind from her singing. I also like the Sephardi stuff -- the rhythm and percussions of Mizrachi music."
Snatches of synagogue melodies too have insinuated themselves into Diex's music. When he was 20, Diex started a decade long stint as musical director in different synagogues. In Los Angeles, he worked at Temple Etz Chayim in Thousand Oaks, but he says the American style of synagogue music is too conservative for his tastes.
"I was more used to the Latin style with everyone singing," he said. "It is more messy, and more happy for my ears."
Now Diex sees himself as a world citizen, a person whose roots come from more than one place. His songs have a playful ambiguity about them that reflect his roving identity and musical tastes, and he is not worried that he sings in a language that many Americans don't understand.
"Even if people don't know what I am saying in the song, they know that it is a love song or whatever," he said. "I think there is something international about music, and even without knowing the lyrics, people can still feel the music."
Diex will be performing at the Latin-Alternative Holiday Party on Dec. 19 at the Alterknit Lounge in The Knitting Factory, 7021 Hollywood Blvd., at 9 p.m. $10. For tickets, call (323) 463-0204. He will also be performing on Dec. 26 at Fusion at Club Good Hurt, 12249 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, at 11 p.m. (310) 390-1076.
For more information go to www.diexmusic.com .