And now, introducing Gad Elbaz
Eva Broman, following the discussion about Matisyahu on the Jewish-Music list, forwarded this:
After all the discussion about Matisyahu's success, I thought it might be interesting to read about another a young artist that apparently is rocking the Israeli Haredi community, selling in numbers that many secular artists can only dream of in a small market like the Israeli one:
Pop Star Rocks Orthodox Jewish Community by Scott Wilson, Washington Post, Nov 12, 2005
Gad Elbaz is the son of former secular Mizrahi singer Beni Elbaz, who now sings only religious material. I have one of Gad Elbaz's CDs, and I'd say that apart from the lyrics (which are too difficult to understand for my beginner's Hebrew), Elbaz doesn't sound that different from the current crowd of secular artists doing Western rap/R&B/modern pop balladry with a Mizrahi touch. He has also recently recorded a duet with mainstream star Shlomi Shabat (on Shabat's "Chaverim 2").
All this actually reminds me of the successful gospel groups of the seventies (e.g. The Staple Singers) who put religious/spiritual texts to current soul backings, with wah wah guitars and all.