I was greatly saddened when I heard that Chaim Feigenbaum passed away last Shabbos morning. I never met him, but I do know of his reputation as a ben Torah from friends who were close to him, and more directly, I knew him through his unbelievably inspiring, energy building, soul-stirring music that he produced with his band Omek Hadavar.
Chaim battled leukemia for the last year and a half, as chronicled on this blog. In the last post, they have links to the hespedim offered in America and in Israel where he was buried.
While his passing is a great loss for many, I think his musical influence will be very much missed as well. His soulful vocals and compositions were unique and really struck to the core of spiritual connection to Judaism. Aryeh Kunstler, posted on Facebook that he had been working with Chaim on several songs/niggunim for a new, independent project, but Chaim never got a chance to record anything. I hope that Aryeh - and perhaps other musicians who knew Chaim, including the other members of Omek Hadavar - will someday (soon) bring these compositions to life as a tribute to Chaim.
As I mentioned, I never even met Chaim, and the only time I can recall seeing him was when he performed with Omek Hadavar at YU's Chanukah concert my first year back from Israel. I loved their first CD "The Depth of the Matter" and I was beyond elated when they released a follow-up album last year called "Mekor Chaim." I wrote a post about the song "Ein Yeiush" which draws many of its lyrics from Breslov writings. Please re-read that post, it's worth it.
Now that Lag B'Omer is here, I think it would be a great tribute to Chaim's memory if anyone who owns an Omek Hadavar album to pop it in their stereo or bring it up on their iPod. If there are readers out there who don't yet have a copy of these beautiful CDs, you're really missing out on something special.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Update: 5/31/12 - I just found that Shlomo Katz' song "Tefilah L'chaim" has been reposted online at Jewish Music Insights - click here to listen.