Singing to a Jewish Beat

November 29, 2012 by Michelle Coleman
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Over 1000 adults and super excited kids thronged into Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall on Sunday evening to watch Jewish a cappella group the Maccabeats in concert.

Maccabeats in concert photo: Paul Topol

The concert was hosted by St Kilda Kilda Hebrew Congregation with guests of honour David Southwick MP and Victorian Multicultural Commission Chairperson Chin Tan.

It was hardly your average pop concert: The music wasn’t too loud, the language was clean and the entertainment wholesome. The performers themselves – neat haircuts, white shirts and ties – were just the sort whom your bubbie might meet in the street and exclaim, “have I got a nice Jewish girl for you”.

Originally formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group, the Maccabeats rose to fame with their Youtube video of “Candlelight”, a Chanukah themed parody of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”. To date they have released several single and two full-length albums, which they were keen to promote at the concert.

Their performance was certainly impressive. They have good voices and incredible vocal percussion skills, all employed in a polished and professional manner. Committed to the philosophy of Torah u-Madda – the integration of traditional and secular wisdom and culture – their concert comprised American, Jewish and Israeli songs as well versions of popular pieces, such as “Lecha Dodi” sung to Leonard Cohen’s iconic “Halleluyah”.

Unfortunately the sound quality of the microphones wasn’t great but the energy of the performers, together with the enthusiasm of the crowd nevertheless made this an entertaining and enjoyable event.

Rabbi Glasman, Chief Minister of St Kilda Shule, said: “The concert was absolutely sensational on so many levels, not just their brilliant musical talents. The Maccabeats engaged the audience incredibly throughout their entire performance. Most importantly, there was a huge turn-out of youth who just raved about the Maccabeats and who thoroughly enjoyed every second. They were pining for more after the concert ended.”

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