Back in Blue: Jewish rock band Hit decades ago reunites

It’s not quite that Kids on the Block are back together, but it still makes sense.

When Blue Fringe released “My Awakening” in 2003, frontman Dov Rosenblatt had no idea it would sell over 15,000 copies and that his Jewish rock group formed two years earlier would take on the world of Jewish music with a stunning performance at Irving Plaza, Makor Center and the BB King Blues Club in Times Square, as well as venues around the world.

The singer, guitarist, and founder of “Blue Fringe” saw there was room in the market for a Jewish group that sounded like songs that could be on the radio but with ethnic themes. The idea was to add some humor and express the young Orthodox Jews and their hopes for their future. He was joined by bassist Hayyim Danzig, lead guitarist Avi Hoffman, and drummer Danny Zwillenberg. The four met at Yeshiva University in New York in 2001.

“I had no idea the Blue Fringe would get so big or last as long, but we did realize there was a special chemistry at first,” Rosenblatt told JNS in a phone interview from Nashville, Tennessee. I realized that the attraction of the audience was strong.”

The band will gather again to perform at the Sababa Music Festival that takes place June 16-19 in Narusesburg, New York, about three hours northwest of New York City on the Pennsylvania border.

Blue Fringe Then: Hayyim Danzig, Dov Rosenblatt, Danny Zwillenberg, and Avi Hoffman. Credit: courtesy.

“When we first met, I had no expectations, it was a fun opportunity, and it was very exciting to meet again,” said Danzig, who lives in New Rochelle, New York.

Rosenblatt currently performs with Distant Cousins, which he formed when he moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles, and has partnered with Moshav’s Ami Cusack and David Swirsky. All three have a great voice, allowing for rare three-part harmonies.

The Distant Cousins ​​song “On Your Own” was featured in Jason Bateman’s 2014 film This Is Where I Leave You. Other tones are featured in many notable commercials.

In one of the last performances before the pandemic restrictions, the band performed a sensational show for sale at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Blue Fringe had two more successful albums “70 Faces” and “The Whole World Lit Up”. While the lyrics were aimed primarily at the modern orthodox crowd, the sound was fit for radio with a sense of humor.

“Flippin’ Out” was a smash hit about the female theologians embracing each other and talking about a breakup with the singer saying he was feeling “too cocky” or just for wearing white shirts and dark pants. Speaking about that people in Israel are quickly becoming religious, the parents ask when he will come home, and ask them for a loan. The “Shidduch Song” is smooth and sweet, with choppy lyrics, “I’m the only one in the entire Orthodox community that I haven’t worked in…” The song featured a sweet, responsive appeal, and a catchy chorus: “…I got ready on Monday; we went on shidduch Tuesday; we had for Kim By Wednesday only Simcha Thursday, Friday and Shapps. The wedding is on Sunday.” (Note the sarcasm over speed with how some react.)

But the band also had Beatle-esque hits like “Vayivarech” and “Eshet Chayil” with both original English lyrics and Hebrew lyrics a man sings to his wife on a Friday night. The group’s cover of “Eicha”, which has a special tone with text from the Book of Lamentations, was exceptional.

“I think what they did was fantastic,” says Yehuda Suleiman, founder of the moshav band, now called a moshav. Moshav will join Soulfarm and Distant Cousins ​​on June 27 for a concert at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Yehuda Solomon (left) and David Swerki (right) of Moshav will headline a show at the Brooklyn Bowl with Soul Farm and Destination Cousins ​​on June 27, 2022. Credit: Courtesy.

“It’s still time for new groups to appear.”

These three groups formed a triumvirate of Jewish rock power. Solomon gave memorable performances as he had a huge stage presence – a voice somewhat reminiscent of Eddie Vader from Pearl Jam. The group’s songs included “Eliyahu Hanafi” and “Aba Shamoun”.

“I grew up at Pearl Jam, and it was important to me to have fun on stage and make sure the audience not only heard good music, but also had a good time.” The group is working on a new album, and Suleiman is what is needed shezan like that. His brother, Noah, confronts Soulfarm with sexy guitarist C. Lanzbom. The group was famous for songs such as “Oz Vehadar” and “Listen to You”.

The three groups provided tremendous entertainment and generated Jewish pride that showed that Jewish music can be great and sounded at a time when the three groups heralded a wave of Jewish rock bands. It never happened.

“It’s kind of sad,” Solomon says. I’m not really sure why there aren’t more Jewish rock bands. It’s a good question. I can speak for myself and say that I spent a lot of time and effort, and have been fortunate to play with people who have the same vision and understand that you have to be an electrician on stage. I definitely thought there would be others coming, but maybe he talks about the difficulty some have had. But there is still plenty of time for new groups to emerge.”

Moshav boasts a powerful voice not only from Solomon but from Swirsky, and I will never forget seeing her multiple times at the Highline Ballroom in New York City with the audience singing along to the lyrics. Solomon said his favorite video is “World on Fire,” a collaboration between Moshav and Matisyahu, and has racked up 2.4 million views on YouTube. It was one of the most cinematic produced Jewish music videos.

The Blue Fringe caught lightning in a bottle and is the only Jewish music group I’ve ever heard screaming for little girls. There might be a shout out again at this weekend’s festival. Those heading to the Brooklyn Bowl on June 27 are definitely on their way to having fun.

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