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Music

 

We are a community of singers, poets and bards. Our music draws from the great mystical and chant traditions, creating sounds at once ancient and modern.

The Epichorus

The New Shul is at the forefront of new Jewish music. Rabbi Zach began studying classical guitar at age 6, and moved on to rigorous study of the Oud (Arabic lute) with Lebanese master Bassam Saba, more than ten years ago. In 2012 he formed The Epichorus — they are the house band for all of our services, and perform their unique blend of Middle-Eastern/Indian fusion music across the country, in concert halls, synagogues, museums and universities. They released their second record, Najara, with National Sawdust, a leading Brookyn presenter of new music; we know of no other synagogue that has a house band with a record on a secular label. Our musicians are lineage holders of traditions from India, Egypt, Greece and Syria, on Oud, Violin, Accordion, Hammered Dulcimer, Qanun, Kora, Percussion and Upright Bass.  The Epichorus music always graces our ceremonies – come ready to be transported by ethereal music reminiscent of a loftier home.

Below are the albums that have been created in our midst. We are honored to visit other communities to present workshops and concerts, and to share all that we have learned. Sheet music is available upon request.

NAJARA

Najara is the most recent album from the Epichorus, released by National Sawdust, February 2018. Najara was a 15th century poet and Kabbalist who traversed ethnic and religious spaces in the service of music. We felt kinship to his border-crossing spirit, and we brought his poetry to life, with new melodies.

The Maqam Project

There is a custom popular among Jewish Middle-Eastern communities, to ascribe a musical scale to every portion in the Torah. We created a video for every single portion in the Torah, pairing that music with poetry and wisdom for the week. Check it out here. After we finished the project, we chose our favorite pieces and created a two-CD set. Reach out if you’d like a physical copy.

Precession

A wedding gift from our rabbi to his beloved. This music is fit for that occasion.

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ONE BEAD

The first studio album from the Epichorus includes prayer songs in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The quiet contemplative sound is perfect for yoga and shabbat settings.

 

 
The Jews of the Arab world, from Aleppo, Cairo, and Damascus, were great lovers of this music, and they came to assign musical modes to each Torah portion, based upon the colors of the weekly wisdom. I thought – why not create a modern articulation for this beautiful practice of joining music and word? This is MAQAM. You have arrived at the Place. Welcome.
— Rabbi Zach Fredman