7 Shvat 5781 / Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | Torah Reading: Bo
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The Breslov Bar Band    

The Breslov Bar Band

The Breslov Bar Band is a perfect fusion of two spheres - traditional Hasidic music on the one hand, and a thoroughly contemporary appeal on the other…


Chol Hamoed Succoth - the intermediate days of Succoth with their nightly music-and-dancing celebrations of Simchat Bet Hashoeva, is a time when everyone appreciates a good band. Chol Hamoed Succoth is also the time of Rebbe Nachman's yahrtzeit, so a good band with a Breslever slant is in special demand.

I'd like to introduce you to one such band - the "Breslov Bar Band".

Inspired by the music of the Breslever Chasidim, the Breslov Bar Band explore Breslov melodies, old and new, crafting inspired arrangements of these powerful songs.

Led by Binyomin Ginzberg on vibrandoneon (a unique mouth-blown variation on the Argentinean bandoneon) vocals, and keyboards, the Breslov Bar Band crosses musical boundaries, blending diverse musical influences and styles into remarkably organic settings of these special tunes.

Binyomin has been called “one of the most interesting and engaging musicians in Jewish music today.” The musical director for JewishMusician.com, he has played with numerous Jewish music artists in the traditional and New Jewish music scenes. He is an in-demand keyboardist, vocalist, and bandleader on the NY-area simcha circuit and has taught Chasidic music at KlezKamp and Yiddish Summer Weimar.
He grew up with Chasidic nigunim and has been performing them since he began playing music.

His interest in exploring Breslov music in particular, began when he noticed that Breslov seemed to be the only Chasidic group whose members are producing music that is intensely personal, stylistically unique, and yet still immediately identifiable as Breslov music. From folk to rock, punk to trance, and more, there are creative Breslov musicians whose recordings are individually distinctive and yet clearly recognizable as Breslov music.

The concept behind the BBB’s approach is to take Breslov nigunim, and use the musicians’ musical influences and ideas to shape the arrangements and create powerful, heartfelt, passionate performances of these songs.
Initially starting out as a quintet on their first recording, “Have No Fear”, the group has expanded into a sextet, featuring Allen Watsky on guitars, Yoshie Fruchter on bass, Rich Huntley on drums, and Zach Mayer on baritone saxophone. The band members have diverse musical interests and influences, but share a love of Chasidic nigunim. They blend rock, reggae, punk, ska, jazz and Middle-Eastern influences with strong backgrounds in klezmer, and Chasidic music.
To date, the band has released two albums of their arrangements of Breslov songs. The first, “Have No Fear”, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim. The album title references Rebbe Nachman’s well-known teaching: “All the world is a narrow bridge; the main thing is to have no fear!”
“Have No Fear” was well received. One reviewer wrote: “The Breslov Bar Band is a perfect fusion of these two spheres - traditional Hasidic music on the one hand, and a thoroughly contemporary sensibility on the other… While the band moves between styles from song to song, the overall aesthetic is one of intelligent and energetic rock music, only with Jewish music modalities rather than Blues as its foundations.”
Another wrote: “There’s a remarkable range of music in this set, from meditative pieces like “Adir Ayom,” to the full throttle rock n’ roll religious devotion expressed in “Ani Ohev Et Hashem”, to the reggae of “Mi Yiten”…
Last monthy, the band released their second album, “Happy Hour.”  The album title is based on a concept that Breslov Chasidim place strong emphasis on -- living joyfully. This approach is rooted in the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the movement’s founder, who famously taught: “Every hour is Happy Hour!” (OK, he didn’t exactly use those words. He did teach, “Mitzva gedola lihyos besimcha tamid – it is a great mitzvah to be constantly joyful!” There are many inspiring Breslov trachings about the importance of joy and a positive approach to life.
On their albums, the band covers a wide range of Breslov nigunim from including Shabbos and Motzei-Shabbos zemiros, dance nigunim, Uman melodies, and debkas from the Meron repertoire.
Thus far, the band has mainly focused on older melodies, but they have also recorded a few songs by contemporary Breslov artists too, including arrangements of Adi Ran’s “Ani Ohev Et Hakadosh Baruch Hu” and Yisrael Dagan’s “Nitzachti Va’anatzeach.
The band is available to perform at concerts as well as at weddings and private events.
You can find more information about the Breslov Bar Band and contact them through the band’s website: www.BreslovBarBand.com
We wish them every success!
Mi Yiten

Oy Gevalt


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