I’ve been doing these Acoustic Shabbats for over a year now and it is one of the most enjoyable things I do. I love songleading and using song to strengthen that bond that exists in a unique space that is owned by each of us. It is always a treat when someone helps to lead a service. It can bring something new that wasn’t there before, adding that person’s voice to our community and helping to uplift and inspire. This last Friday we were treated to a special appearance by Jewish artist, Saul Kaye.
Saul has been in the music world for a long time and in the last several years, his focus on Jewish music has helped to bring new ruach to communities and the holy spaces that he helps to build. His most recent album is a collection of melodies around the Shabbat service that are inspired by his South African roots and I cannot recommend it enough. It is a beautiful soundscape that frames the service with songs of hope and peace. A particular favorite of mine is his rendition of Mi Chamocha, which includes his wife and a verse entirely in the Zulu language.
A storyteller in the truest sense, Saul often takes the characters in Torah and turns a light on them in their times of struggle. Many of the songs from his Jewish Blues albums tell stories in a way that really resonates. What was it like for Lot when the Angels came and destruction was near? What would it have been like to be told to pack up your family and just leave Egypt? Elijah stands ready and prays that a generation does not become lost. What is it like to be him, in that moment, at that time? Saul reaches deep into Torah and tells us stories in a very connective and powerful way. As Saul himself says, he doesn’t like to play in the shallow end.
Not too long ago, he married another favorite artist of mine, Elana Jagoda. Elana’s music, if you are not familiar, is some of the most accessible and positive modern Jewish music out there. Her songs are incredibly melodic, joyful, and resonating. You can practically hear happiness in the music. When I first converted and started searching for Jewish music, Elana and Saul’s were some of the first that I found in a modern style. How cool that they got married? Pretty darn cool.
It was an absolute joy to have Saul join us on Friday and I hope you take the opportunity to check out his site, his music, and his story. While he was down here he also interviewed me for his podcast and that link is below. Shalom!
Saul’s Website: www.saulkaye.com
Elana’s Website: www.zumgali.com
The Blest Podcast Interview: http://saulkayepodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2015-01-23T14_00_26-08_00