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   24 Nissan 5774 / Thursday, April 24, 2014 | Torah Reading Kedoshim       
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HomeJudaismJewish CultureBreslev Presley
Breslev Presley
By: Tal Rotem

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Performing artists are spiritually-thirsty people. During the last three decades and the closer we get to Moshiach, more and more of them are discovering the sweet light of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev.  One of them is Nachman (formerly "Ricky", see image at right from the "old days") Farner.

Nachman Fahrner is a contemporary religious Jewish singer, guitarist and songwriter. His style is Rhythm & Blues and early Rock’n’Roll. His voice and style are carbon copies of Elvis, and that's why we gave him the nickname of Breslev Presley, especially since the lyrics of his songs in recent years reflect the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev.

Born on September 21st 1972 in Paris, Nachman grew up in France and Austria. His maternal grandfather is a Holocaust-survivor who married a Gentile after the war. Due to certain circumstances Nachman’s mother received a Jewish orthodox education despite not being Jewish according to Halacha. Nachman’s parents were members of a Jewish congregation and raised their children with a love for Judaism and Jewish values.

Nachman started singing and playing rhythm-guitar as a child after discovering Elvis Presley from listening to his parents' record collection. He began to perform at school events and at private parties. At age eleven he began teaching himself lead-guitar by playing along with records of Memphis Slim, Elvis Presley and blues legend Luther Allison. An face-to-face encounter with Allison left a profound impression on the young teenage Nachman. While shaking hands, Luther looked at their black and white hands and said: "Black and white - that is what Rock and Roll is all about." Around this time Nachman also discovered the music of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Nachman's career as lead-guitarist took off when he joined the "Roadrunners" in 1988, performing blues and rockabilly in Austria. In 1990 he was hired by the French rockabilly band "Jim and the Beams", and stayed until 1998. The band toured the European continent, performing primarily for biker and rocker audiences. He also joined the Parisian gypsy-jazz scene through a family-friend, jazz-guitar great Patrick Saussois, incorporating this style into his guitar-playing. He was in demand as a guest-player, playing with acts such as rockabilly icon Claudia Colonna, and French rockers "Hotel Du Nord".

In the mid-Nineties, Nachman discovered Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch’s “Nineteen Letters” which sparked an interest in Orthodox Judaism. In 1999, upon reading “Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom”, he declined an offer to join Patrick Saussois' band in order to travel to Israel and convert to Orthodox Judaism. He converted in 2000 and got married in 2001. He studied in Bat Ayin, Emanuel, and Kollel Or HaNeelam (Jerusalem) in the chabura of Rav Michel Dorfman of blessed and saintly memory, and even learned together with Rav Shimon Shapira. He maintains a close friendship with Rav Gedaliyah Fleer, whose neighbor he was for ten years.
 


 
Above: Nachman Fahrner, Tekoa, 2010

 
As a righteous convert immersed in the study of Torah, Nachman didn't feel that it was proper to drag the Elvis within him to the Torah study hall, so he put his music aside. At the time though, little did he know that Rebbe Nachman encourages us to bring everything we have and everything that's "us"- even the mud on our shoes - into the service of Hashem. So, after not playing for several years, Nachman picked up the guitar again thanks to the persuasive efforts of Rav Fleer and Rav Cohen of Riverdale. Since then, he has been teaching guitar and performing in Israel and Europe. He was the founder and leader of the "Jerusalem Swing Jam".
 
Earlier this year, Nachman released “Azamra”, a collection of songs written during hitbodedut. I especially enjoy "One Little Hour"; this is a Moshiach-age rocker theme. Here are the lyrics:
 
Everything is quiet and I’m sittin’ at home The door is locked and I shut off the phone This next hour belongs to you alone I’m gonna sing and shout, I’m gonna sing my song.
 
In this one little hour I’ll open up my heart to You In this one little hour I want to be completely true After one little hour everything seems brand new
 
After one little...
 
One day I’ll sit there & I can’t say a word The next I sing and I chirp like a bird One thing I knows that is always true My heart yearns just to be with You
 
In this one...
 
One day I’ll sit there & I can’t say a word The next I sing and I chirp like a bird One thing I knows that is always true My heart yearns just to be with You
 
In this one... 
 
One Little Hour


 
Another one of my Fahrner favorites is "Policeman's Choice", a moving ballad that tells the story of how Nachman's grandfather survived the holocaust. You'll love this:
 
Policeman's Choice


 
Nachman is currently a semicha-student in Yeshivat HaMivtar and preparing a new album. If you'd like to book him for a performance, contact Nachman@fahrnermusic.com.
 
We wish continued success!


 

   
 
 


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1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  is breslev.co.il selling the disk?
yehudit, 12/18/2012 9:36:34 AM
     
 

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