The new album from the Afro-Semitic Experience, Further Definitions of the Days of Awe (Reckless DC Music), recasts liturgical music for Selichot and the High Holidays. Afro-Semitic core members, David Chevan, bass, and Warren Byrd, electronic keyboards, blend hazzanut (cantorial singing) — featuring Cantor Jack Mendelson — with the spirit of gospel and soul music (and Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms) to infuse Jewish worship with an ecstatic vibe. The reimagined traditional prayers on the album (“Ashrei,” “Viddui,” “Sh’ma Koleinu,” “Avinu Malkeinu”) were recorded in three separate shuls prior to the High Holidays last year. “If you listen hard enough you can hear those moments when the audience got up and started moving, dancing and even singing along with the cantors,” says Chevan. — M.S.
(American Jewish World, 9.2.11)
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