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Endnote: The Shy Son; Uri Davidi Back Where It All Started; Entertainers' Go-To Songs

Riki Goldstein

“In 1967, my father was musical director at Camp Kol Rinah and was recording an album for the camp. He insisted I sing a solo on that album”

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

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The Shy Son

Of the four sons of chazzan David Werdyger z”l — Yisroel-Aryeh, Chaim, Mendy, and Mordechai, Mordechai (aka MBD) says he was the only one who was so shy he never wanted to sing or perform in public. “My brothers used to sing occasionally at different functions, but I stubbornly refused. In 1967, my father was musical director at Camp Kol Rinah and was recording an album for the camp. He insisted I sing a solo on that album, but the album’s director, Yaakov Goldstein, didn’t like the idea and threatened to quit if I sang solo. Ultimately though, it was my father’s decision and in the end he prevailed. That was my first studio experience.”


It’s Still a Glorious Day to Send Up a Kite

Sheya Mendlowitz was at a family simchah when he heard a young man named Avrumy Kalter sing.

“Avrumy’s voice had a unique quality about it, and he’s a musician as well, so I asked him to come over to my house so we could talk music,” Sheya says of the musical shidduch everyone’s talking about. “We spoke about his musical taste, and Avrumy said he admires Abie Rotenberg’s songs.” Sheya introduced Avrumy to his close friend Abie, and that meeting resulted in a collaboration — the remake and release of an Abie Rotenberg favorite, “Little Kite,” originally recorded on Journeys II in 1993. New arrangements by Yisroel Lamm and vocals by both Abie and Avrumy Kalter combine under Sheya’s sure hand for a new-old Journeys-style experience — soothing and stirring at the same time, with a bit of nostalgia for old-time Journeys fans sprinkled into the mix.


Uri Davidi goes back to the stage where it all started

The title track from Uri Davidi’s album, Halevai, has so far been requested by over 50 schools in America and Israel as a theme song tune. “Halevai,” written by Yitzy Waldner with lyrics by Miriam Israeli, is an energized, upbeat prayer of longing for Geulah and a return to the holy city of Jerusalem. Davidi, who now lives and learns in Lakewood, says that as his calendar fills up with weddings and concerts, one meaningful occasion was the opportunity to go back to his hometown of Los Angeles, to sing at a dinner for Toras Emes.

“I was standing on the stage where I had first sung in choir as a kid. I sung in that choir from fourth grade to eighth grade and that night, I felt like I was back where it all began.”

This year, he’ll be taking part again. His alma mater is one more school borrowing “Halevai,” and he’ll be adding fresh lyrics on a special music video together with the Toras Emes school choir.

The Song I Sing

You spend your days and nights in the studio or on the stage, playing your songs, perfecting the next album, tweaking the niggun you hope will be the season’s big hit. But when you’re finally on your way home, which song do you find yourself humming?


Singer Beri Weber:
I do a lot of hisbodedus, and I always begin it with Yosef Karduner’s niggun “Ta’isi K’seh Oved Bakesh Avdecha” (“I have wandered like a lost sheep, seek Your servant”). When I’m happy, I find myself humming the Baal Shem Tov’s “Niggun Mashiach.”

Singer /bandleader Shloime Dachs:
“Vezakeini” by Baruch Levine. I’m still constantly singing it at weddings. Songs with that kind of longevity don’t happen often in this generation, but “Vezakeini” has a lot of power and emotional appeal.

Producer Naftali Schnitzler:
It’s really funny, but I always find myself humming and singing “Hakol Yoducha,” composed by Yanky Daskal. It came out when I was a child, and I remember how I loved it. It was probably at the time when I really got into music, and this song sank in and always plays in my head.


Singer/composer Ari Goldwag: 

Usually something current. Mordechai Shapiro’s song “Machar” is in my head at the moment. At other times I suddenly find myself humming something and I realize there’s a message to me in that particular pasuk. 


Arranger/composer Yisroel Lamm:

My favorite piece of music — Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Arranger Yitzy Berry:

“Someday We Will All Be Together.” We’re all over the place and we’re each caught up in our own problems, but deep inside we are always yearning for that day when we’ll be together again, united and strong.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 697)

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