On January 17, 1994, Los Angeles experienced an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 which killed 72 people, injured 9,000 others, and caused $20 billion in damage. One community there responded by organizing a benefit concert where the proceeds would go to a local earthquake relief fund. My first album, "RebbeSoul" had recently been released and had success in the mainstream music world. I was invited to perform. I brought along some of my band mates to help out, especially backing up some of the other artists, among whom, was Reb Shlomo Carlebach.
There were some opening acts and then we were called up to play. At the end of our set, we played Avinu. Usually, it is a rousing and powerful piece and this night was no exception. Afterwards, I ventured out into the audience and noticed a friend motioning me to come over. As I got closer, I saw Reb Shlomo sitting next to him. My friend said, “I want to introduce you to someone,” and introduced me to a man who has probably had the most profound influence on Jewish culture in my lifetime. Reb Shlomo slowly rose from his chair, his eyes fixed on me almost in bewilderment. His mouth was open but hadn’t said anything yet. He embraced me and then said one sentence I shall never forget. He exclaimed, “Gevalt! It was from another world!” With those words, he showed what the Hassidic masters had always claimed about music – that it can be a holy instrument, connecting our world here with the one above, from the heart to the Heavens. I realized I was in the presence of someone who not only understood but lived that notion. He knew - we musicians are channels. Once we hone our skills enough, the best thing we can do is get out of the way and let the light of Heaven shine through. I was in the presence of a real holy man.
“Gevalt! It was from another world!” That is where the title for this RebbeSoul album comes from. It is entirely the music of Reb Shlomo Carlebach and It is called “From Another World.”
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was one of the greatest spiritual teachers in the last 100 years. People adored him from all over the world, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu,... black, white, red,... young, old,... He always said he had a great wish to meet everyone, to make friends with everyone, everywhere. He touched many. He also wrote over 2000 songs and this is my humble performance of his profoundly simple yet deeply spiritual music that truly alludes to something From Another World.