An incredible talent and a passion-driven life cut short by illness, beloved singer-songwriter Lisabeth Kaplan's music has touched the lives of so many people in her Central Coastal California communities. Her dream was to reach many more people with her songs and this recording makes that dream possible with the help of engineer/producer Justin Mayer and a stunning lineup of back up of studio musicians. They include Barry Phillips, Shelley Phillips Shira Kammen, Stan Poplin, Jimmy Norris, Dror Sinai, Jay Jackson, Kimball Hurd, and Alisa Fineman among many other fine musicians.
Poet, scholar and humanitarian, Lisabeth delves into the living message of Torah and distills its wisdom and love in these songs arranged with guitar, piano, cello, acoustic bass, Celtic harp, oboe, English horn, wooden flutes, percussion, beautiful harmonies and more. Sung in English and Hebrew, they contain a universal message that moves the hearts of her listening audience. She draws from Jewish liturgy and her devotion to family, her students and community as well. These songs sweeten life’s severities and bring us closer to each other. They shine light on truth. And they are as beautiful as she was and her spirit will always be.
A graduate of music from California Institute of the Arts and a prolific songwriter, Lisabeth was also one of the first women who received her full paramedic credentials, and thereafter compassionately served the Monterey Peninsula communities as a paramedic for almost two decades until her illness. In addition, she served many Jewish communities as a Cantorial Soloist and composed and arranged a litany of music for synagogues and other Jewish community organizations in the Santa Cruz and Monterey areas. She also devoted herself to interfaith community work, especially the Moslem- Jewish dialogue, and sang her songs to bridge understanding and achieve reconciliation and well being for all people, contributing her broad talents to numerous spiritual and humanitarian causes.
“An intrepid and curious traveler with a gift for foreign languages,” she ventured into pre-apartheid South Africa townships, made several trips to the Middle East with interfaith peace organizations, drove and ambulance in the West Bank on 13-hour shifts every night for two weeks, helped spearhead the effort to restore a Jewish Cemetery in Lithuania, and proudly aided victims of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua in 1998
Lisabeth told us of her cancer diagnosis in November 2007. In December we began exploring the idea of recording her songs and immediately scheduled our first studio dates which began in January, 2008. Up until that time she had never been in a recording studio. Even on days when she was most ill and weak, singing and playing in the studio energized her and gave her new life. Lisabeth proceeded to record 10 songs over the next several months, recording her last song in September, 2008 just after her 45th birthday. At that time all that had been recorded was Lisabeth’s voice, piano, guitar and most of the harmony vocals. When it was evident she would not be returning to the studio, she asked us to finish the CD for her. Our engineer, Justin Meyer, fine tuned and mixed the tracks we had to Lisabeth’s liking. We sat with her in her living room as she listened to them and we sensed her satisfaction. This was ten days before her passing on October 27, 2008. More musicians added additional parts in the months that followed. Lisabeth would have been thrilled to experience the participation and contributions by these musicians who helped to bring these songs to life. She would have exhibited immeasurable joy and gratitude to all of them.
With an ache in our hearts but, even more, with infinite appreciation, we give thanks to beautiful Lisabeth Kaplan for touching our lives with her teachings, friendship and music. Her radiant spirit lives on in these songs. May they continue to move us in the direction of understanding and unity. We remember you Lisabeth. – Alisa Fineman
For more information about Lisabeth, please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/lisabethkaplan
On November 3rd, 2008, Lisabeth’s friend Persis Rooth wrote:
“You came to our house once
To work on a piece of music
A healing prayer
But you were not touched by illness then
A sweet angelic light graced your presence
Your body wrapped in your instrument
Gifting a melody all your own
With a voice soft as butterfly wings
Heaven bound and