By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Music is the pen of Gad Elbaz’s soul. Blessed with a gorgeous voice and an abundance of talent, the Israeli-born superstar describes himself as “an Orthodox singer with an unorthodox approach to music.” Gad’s style and versatility is clearly out of the box. As evidenced by his discography of chart-topping CDs, sell-out concerts, and international fan base, Gad has achieved the pinnacle of success. But Gadi chooses to dedicate his G-d-given talents to a loftier purpose.
“I am here to make a difference,” he told this author. “I believe that music helps people bridge the gap between their different viewpoints in life. I was the first Jewish singer to introduce modern music into the world of Jewish music. I am a chozer b’teshuvah–I learned in Chabad and other yeshivot,” says Gad, who, together with his lovely wife and beautiful children, is deeply committed to Torah and mitzvot. “I see what is taking place in secular society, the harmful influences kids are being exposed to daily. The dangers are pervasive and it’s all around us. Our kids are vulnerable, and they listen to music with highly inappropriate lyrics. What makes my music unique is that I have taken it to the next level. By making Jewish music relevant to today’s youth, we can accomplish so much; we can unite Jews from every background.”
Gad adds, “One of the most rewarding aspects of performing at a concert is seeing Jews of every persuasion–chassidim with peyot, yeshiva bachurim, Sephardim, Ashkenazim, secular Jews–all singing and smiling, in a show of achdut.”
At the tender age of four, Gad began to sing and write music. He first performed professionally with his father, Benny Elbaz, a popular Israeli singer, accompanying him on the hit song, “Father, I Love You.” After being featured with his father on four CDs, Gad broke out as a solo recording artist, recording five albums of his own. Gad’s music internationally captivates both the observant and secular listener, by mixing original and biblical texts with ballads, harmonies, Middle-Eastern rhythms, and modern pop. Many of the songs are a collaboration between Gad and his wife, Moran, where he composes the music and she writes the lyrics.
In August 2009, Gad had a historical and riveting performance at the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater in Caesarea, Israel. The purpose of this show was to bring religious and secular Jews together in a show of unity through music. He has the distinction of being the first religious Jewish singer to ever perform there. Additionally, Gad invited secular Israeli singers to join him in performing at this historic event. This concert has been recorded by Channel 24 of Israel, and has been broadcast on that channel frequently.
Gad is reaching audiences worldwide as his music and message of achdut are being embraced by the global Jewish community. In 2009, he began a multi-city world tour to promote his message.
“My goal is to help people renew their faith through music and empower them to live their lives with an open heart, faith in themselves, and faith in Hashem.”
On Sunday, November 13, Gad will be joined by fellow international superstars Dudu Fisher and Lipa Schmeltzer–a unique celebration of religious pride and unity. Get ready to experience “The Power of Unity,” a historic musical event, focusing on the eternal nature of the Jewish people who continue to flourish against all odds. The event, which will take place on the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, will open with a guest appearance from the Holocaust Survivors Band, recently returned from their first trip to Poland.
Today, Gad Elbaz is considered one of the most recognized names and faces on the Jewish music arena. His music videos have received millions of hits and his original songs are played the world over. Gad’s demand and success is ever expanding.
L’Chaim, Gad’s highly anticipated new album, has been generating excitement long before its scheduled Chanukah release. Unique in content, concept, and design, L’Chaim is representative of Gad Elbaz’s affinity for being “out of the box.” Daring to tread where no one in the Jewish music industry has before, Gad and his team at Zoab Entertainment have produced an album that is truly groundbreaking. “We believe that this will be the most successful album in the history of Jewish music,” said a member of Gad’s teams. Each of the songs that this author previewed is a standout in its own right, and showcases the artist’s gorgeous voice. “L’Chaim,” the title track, is the perfect panacea to beating the winter doldrums; you will want to get up and start dancing! Savor “If Only,” “Como Vivir,” and “Baboker,” and you will understand why Gad’s fan base is ever growing. (Chances are you’re already one of this gifted artist’s myriads fan!).
Unique in appearance as well as in content, L’Chaim represents an aesthetic achievement. The album cover has the appearance of a cork; the CD is a USB in the shape of a cork, featuring the new L’Chaim album as well as The Best of Gad Elbaz music. Whoever coined the adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover” obviously did not see or listen to L’Chaim!
Several of the songs from the album already have videos on YouTube. L’Chaim, the video created for the album’s title song, a stunning product of filmmaker Daniel Finkelman, is a joyous celebration in contrasts, as energy, nostalgia, and klezmer, together with past and present, come together in an exuberant celebration of life in a Ukrainian village.
While visiting an antique shop, Gad is suddenly catapulted back through generations to a 19th-century shtetl. It is a kinder, gentler era, where the villagers are content with their simple lifestyle. Thrust into this unfamiliar setting, Gad is warmly welcomed by the villagers and their rabbi, Nissim Black, and together they capture the euphoria of a bygone days, where all one needed to be happy was a big smile and a hearty glass of spirits on which to make a heartfelt L’Chaim.
In our fast-paced, frenetic world, overburdened by gadgets designed to make our lives easier, L’Chaim captures the purity of days gone by and the deep longing for the most elusive goal of all–true happiness.
Gad Elbaz has been an ambassador of achdut and a source of inspiration, infusing the global Jewish community with hope and happiness through his musical message of the power of unity. May Hashem continue to bless him with much hatzlachah in his endeavors and nachat from his family.
For tickets and more information about “The Power of Unity,” go to www.DuduAndGad.com, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 347-471-0064. L’Chaim will be available at Judaica and Jewish music stores prior to Chanukah.
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative-media consultant, lecturer, and educator who writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com.