Jewish music has long been in the foreground of Jewish and Israeli art alike. Like all other types of music, Jewish music and Israeli music has changed with the times and with the cultural trends of its listeners giving it a unique sound in today’s music industry.
The earliest forms of Jewish music were of course prayers chanted in Synagogues around the world. Those with the best of voices were able to make these prayers into true Jewish music with rich melody and haunting echoes.
Modern Jewish music and Israeli music however, only truly developed with the founding of Israel and the collective art of a smattering of world cultures. Early immigrants to Israel were members of cultures that spanned across the entire world, and they all brought these influences to Israel to create Israeli Jewish music.
Israeli music in Hebrew was used in Israel’s early days as a way to help the population learn the revived language with greater efficiency. Along with Israeli movies, youth were able to learn the new language with ease. Songs from this period are often referred to as ‘Folk’. Such Jewish music was highly popular on the Israeli Kibbutzim where promotion of Israeli culture was popular and will was strong to make Israel as Israeli as possible.
Israeli music has since changed drastically. Israeli Jewish music has modernized itself with heavy influences from America and Europe as well as Eastern touches from Israel’s Yemenite, Moroccan, and other multi-cultured population.
Misrachi, or Eastern, Israeli music in Hebrew has become a widely popular genre that is heavily laden with singers with clear voices who often use melodies of traditional Middle Eastern music. Popular Misrachi artists include Eyal Golan, and Moshe Peretz.
Israeli music includes several artists who take on a more modern style to push the boundaries of all music, not only Israeli Jewish music. One such artist who has become popular with international audiences is Idan Raichel. As an alternative styled artist, Raichel produces music of all genres and collaborates with artists from around the world to create all different genres of Jewish music. His main focus no matter what the style of music is his strong and touching message of peace.
Jewish music is not limited however to Israeli Jewish music. Many Jewish artists have gained a wide following across the United States and other countries in the international community. Reggae sensation Matisyahu is the perfect example. With music in English that includes certain prayers or lines in Hebrew, Matisyahu grew up listening to Reggae in the Bronx and lives life as a religious Jew while performing Reggae Jewish music.
For more forms of Israeli and Jewish art check out Jewish books and Jewish Judaica.