Welcome back to a special 11-11-11 edition of Jewish Music Fridays!
Today we're featuring a Jewish rock band trio from Brooklyn called Eden.
Their original album "Break of Dawn" was released in 2005. I remember discovering it in a Judaica store when I was visiting cousins in Baltimore the summer after Shana Aleph. I thought the cover art was quirky, different and interesting, which helped convince me to buy the CD.
As someone who got into the modern Jewish rock scene with the advent of Blue Fringe after listening to a lot of early 2000's secular alternative rock in and around high school, I thought Eden's style was great. Their sound was very different from Blue Fringe, and had a great variety in the genres found throughout the album. The stark contrast between their fast-paced, rocking"Adon Olam" and their very beautiful rendition of "Od Yishama," the only song to feature a piano, demonstrates their knack for successfully utilizing a wide variety of styles of music.
I also particularly liked their English lyrics, which were meaningful and thought-provoking. One of the best examples that comes to mind is "V'ahavta," which describes our requirement to love our fellow as ourselves. That song in particular really speaks to me.
Another unique aspect about these guys is their vocalist, David Ben-Yshay (great name, right?) who is Sephardic. As such, I have always felt his pronunciation of Hebrew (with taf instead of saf, etc) sounds more natural and authentic than when non-Israeli Ashkenazim pronounce Hebrew this way. I think this is best demonstrated in their new song "Kadish."
After a few years of not hearing much about them, they produced a 6-song EP called "Knock at the Door," which was released earlier this year. The sound of the songs here feature a harder rock vibe, a little more energetic and in-your-face, such as the song "Yigdal." Overall, I think the EP captures the essence of "Break of Dawn" which includes very impressive music accompanied by meaningful lyrics. Their "Lecha Dodi" is nothing short of masterful, in my opinion.
I also saw them perform recently, and I have to say their live performance really rocks. They're really nice, well-spoken guys who are dedicated to their music but also take the time to connect the music to ideas from their personal learning and how it all connects to their Judaism. Everyone in attendance, from the most yeshivish to the unaffiliated really enjoyed the concert.
They don't have too many Youtube videos to embed here, so check out a playlist of songs from "Break of Dawn" and "Knock at the Door" on their Myspace page.
I'm not sure why these guys aren't more well-known, but they have a lot of talent I am looking forward to their second full album, which I believe is currently in production.
Both "Break of Dawn" and "Knock at the Door" are absolutely worthy of purchase. You can also check them out on Facebook.