Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

His Own Song

Barbara Bensoussan

Eli Schwebel may hail from a family of Jewish music stars, but it took years of struggle before he found his own voice and could sing the tunes of his own heart.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

“Ani Yosef,” the first track of Hearts Mind, Eli Schwebel’s new album, launches with a hushed, unearthly sort of sound. When the vocals start to intone, they have the haunting melody of a voice crying out in the wilderness. The refrain whimpers softly, “I’ve been alone / I’ve been afraid / I’ve been locked up and thrown away.” Then the music slowly swells into a self-confident declaration: “Now I am free / I know who I am / Ani Yosef, od avi chai?”  Hearts Mind is not Schwebel’s first album. But it’s the first one on which he composed, arranged, and sang all the tracks, and that first song gives us a clue into the journey that produced this outpouring of talent and soul.  Now 34, Schwebel went through many long, sometimes dark, years of soul-searching to find his unique path in the Jewish world and the world of Jewish music. Both he and his music have emerged triumphant, flush with the satisfaction of having found their true north. At six-foot-two, Eli presents himself as an exuberant, gentle giant of a man, nattily attired in wool trousers, a striped blue shirt, and a charcoal cardigan (the aqua-colored socks and scuffed brown wing tips hint at a playful, arty side). While he’s currently living near his grandmother and other relatives on the West Side of Manhattan, he’s come down to Flatbush to meet with Mishpacha in his parents’ home, in their gracious living room dominated by a grand piano.  “Hundreds of songs were recorded on that piano,” points outLebaSchwebel,Eli’s warm, hospitable mother. “That piano used to stand inLarryGates’s studio, where a lot of Jewish music was recorded. When the studio shut down, we bought it from them, and moved our old piano to a different room.” Many a popular Jewish song was conceived in this living room, either by the Schwebels or their friends, and it was here that they together withSheyaMendlowitz conceived the idea to produce a HASC concert.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"