High Holy Revival:
The Afro-Semitic Experience Gets Age-Old Prayers Dancing in the Aisles on Further Definitions of the Days of Awe
For The Afro-Semitic Experience, there is dancing before the temple of sound. The kings and queens of the Cotton Club trade eights with the rock stars of cantorial music’s golden age. Booker T and the MGs and Astor Piazolla inspire new visions of High Holy Day chants.
Joined by the last of the old-school cantors, Jack Mendelson, the group lays down Further Definitions of the Days of Awe, live explorations of Jewish liturgical music, jazz, Latin vibes, and soul. Innovative technique and rock-solid roots get feet tapping and spirits soaring.
Creating new settings for the midnight prayers of Selichot, the service that marks the beginning of the most holy time of the Jewish liturgical year, The Afro-Semitic Experience returns worship to its creative, vigorous roots. It celebrates the intersection of gospel spirit and the passion of hazzanut (an ancient Jewish style of cantorial singing). It finds powerful new points of contact with the divine.
“Prayer and study are a major tenet of all three Abrahamic faiths. That’s great, but to get there, worshippers often got rid of cathartic experience,” reflects group founder, bassist and composer David Chevan. “But we need the dancing at the temple, those ecstatic moments. That’s really where we’re coming from.”