After befriending rapper Jay-Z on the R train to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Ellen Grossman is now reviewing his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” for MTV News.
Now, on her latest album "Confessions on a Dance Floor," the track that is receiving the most attention and critical acclaim is one called "Isaac." About a month before the CD's release on Nov. 15, rabbis in Israel claimed the song was about Rabbi Isaac Luria, the 16th-century kabbalist better known as the Arizal, and they blasted Madonna for using his holy name for profit.
"Who lends his soul so you should be happy?/ Who lends his hand to build your house....?"
Idan Raichel does -- that's who.
Israel's latest world music pop sensation returns to Los Angeles next week with a concert to highlight his second album "From the Depths." The album and its eponymous song, excerpted above, allude to Psalm 31 in which one calls God from the depths. But here, Raichel calls out instead to his love.
Nods to religion in Bob Dylan's song lyrics.
The Middle Eastern fusion music on "Hamsa" is so insidiously infectious and rhythmic that you will not only be humming along but tapping your feet, as well.
With angry lyrics that court controversy, two multiplatinum albums and a third on the way, his own clothing line, record label, legions of fans and glittering religious jewelry, Subliminal could easily be mistaken for a Jewish P.Diddy.
There's an old adage that the overnight sensation took years to get there. It's certainly a sentiment that can be applied to 27-year-old Israeli music sensation Idan Raichel.
His debut album, "The Idan Raichel Project," shot straight to No. 1 upon its release in December 2002, going on to win Israeli Artist, Song and Album of the Year. The album itself went multiplatinum. Yet the so-called "unknown" Raichel who, according to the Israeli press "emerged from nowhere," had paid his dues for many years.
In case you missed them the first time around, Was (Not Was) had a good run in the 1980s as Ze recording artists, with two notable hits: "Walk the Dinosaur" and "Spy in the House of Love." Their songs veered from funk classics to art-house wit (i.e., turns out "Dinosaur" is a pop song about nuclear destruction -- who knew?).
While naming your holiday album "Barenaked for the Holidays" is a pretty catchy way to get some attention, for the quirky pop band that calls itself the Barenaked Ladies, it made sense -- about as much sense as getting naked on "The Sharon Osbourne Show" last year, anyway. Apparently, stripping down's just part of the offbeat Canadians' sense of fun. So it follows that anyone expecting the Ladies' holiday album to be anything less than silly would be, well, silly.
The new CD offers up revamped Christmas, Chanukah and New Year's classics, as well as a few original tunes, including one called "Hanukkah Blessings," written by Jewish band member Steven Page. The reinterpreted songs include a version of "Jingle Bells" that has "the extra lines you remember from being a kid," Page recently told rollingstone.com.
Just remember: The most important parts of planning an event is having fun and enjoying the benefits of all your hard work.
Move over Baby Mozart and Baby Bach. If you really want your children to learn the classics -- and know the composer's name to boot -- check out "Beethoven's Wig, Sing Along Symphonies."
Are we the luckiest people in the world to live in Los Angeles, leading the lives others only dream about? Or is this the most unfair city in the nation, where the few are insulated from the harsh realities of the many? And what, you may wonder, does any of this have to do with Randy Newman?
Some years ago, folk diva Chava Alberstein discovered the rundown immigrant neighborhood around the south Tel Aviv central bus station. For the Israeli superstar, the area became a refuge, a place to stroll or sip coffee unmolested by fans. The residents were foreign workers from countries such as China, Thailand, Nigeria and Romania.
But as their numbers swelled to replace Palestinians after the intifada, Alberstein -- considered Israel's Joan Baez -- saw conditions deteriorating.
"These people are brought to Israel, their passports are confiscated so they can't go anywhere and they're forced to live in the worst situations," she said. "You see people crawling out of the most unbelievable hovels. It's bothered me for a long time."
Singer-pianist-archivist Michael Feinstein's new album, his first with a symphony orchestra, is all standards and all Jewish.
Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb is eating a tuna sandwich and a spinach salad, talking about "Cake And Pie."
They are round, shiny and popular. But CDs don't melt like chocolate coins -- and they have fewer calories. To give the gelt without the guilt, try the gift of music.
You may know Jonathan Elias as the guy who composed the music to Chaplin and 9 1/2 Weeks. Or most of the songs on the Yes album, Union. Or the ditty to the original MTV promo, the one where the astronaut plants the MTV flag on the moon.