Saturday, January 7, 2012

!!!! הרב יאיר כלב הורס את ניגוני חב"ד





If you know Nigunei Chabad, and specifically these few, take a listen.

I'll start with the positive aspects of his renditions.

Many people who are not שייך to Chasidishe Nigunim because they're too פארגרעבט and they're נשמות too coarse to be affected by the pure form - they need to have the music diluted. Reb Yair fills that need. He also apparently is mekarev many Yidden to Yiddishkeit through this form of neginah - sort of like what others do with their lectures and speeches. No real harm done here, per se'. Then there are those who like the kind of folksy music that Reb Kalev plays. They may be full-fledged frum Jews who may not necessarily be פארגרעבט, but they too cannot appreciate a nigun without it being brought "into the 21st century." I've met some of these people, and I've sent them the original version of the nigun, the one that awakens love and fear of Hashem and a will to return to him - but they like the guitar and the nice beat. גיי לערן מיט א גוי ברטנורא. So despite the fact that they get a distorted - and just plain wrong - idea of a Chabad nigun, I guess this is a good thing? בעסער ווי גארנישט???

The negative aspects - I think - speak for themselves, but maybe I should enumerate them, so that we know for sure where I stand on this very important issue. There's the fact that it was composed to be sung a certain way, don't change that, out of respect to the composer. No less than would be expected from the composer of any old song, Jewish, Chassidish, or, להבדיל, not. But especially when speaking about a chassidishe nigun from generations past. The nigun was composed under the purest of thoughts and the holiest of intentions, once tampered with there go the thoughts and intentions! What's left? not much. And then there's what the nigun seeks to accomplish. געגועים, מעורר זיין א טיפע התעוררות תשובה, and many, many more. For that you'll need to Frierdige Rebbe's explanations, and I don't know them offhand for these particular nigunim. There's no way in the world that those feelings are left intact after the nigun has been rearranged like that! So what's left? some good guitar and a nice beat, but the Chabad nigun is GONE!

Then there's my "favorite."



It's murder. Plain and simple. דער בחור האט געקוילעט דעם ניגון, מ'דארף אים זאפארט איינזעצן!!! What are those weird sounds coming out of his mouth?! How do you take a slow-paced nigun and throw it off the cliff like that? Where did he get this idea, and why has he been allowed to do this for quite some time now?! I only discovered this very recently and have made it one of my life's missions to stop the evil being done here - albeit by a very well-meaning and good man.Why have others not done anything to stop this injustice?! I see where MBD got his inspiration from when he recorded the nigun "תלמידי הצמח צדק" on his most recent CD. So now we have this travesty perpetuated for all eternity, where even unsuspecting Lubavitchers who have no interest in Neginah will suddenly like their nigunim because MBD made it cool and hip. And the source is our friend R' Yair Kolev. I realize it'll be quite difficult to make the point to those of you who are not behavent with Nigunei Chabad to realize what he's done here, without bringing the real version of the nigun, so I'll try and find those for you. But until וועט איר מיר מוזען גלייבן אפ'ן ווארט.

Here's YK's Youtube channel, there's lots of good listening. It's just not very authentic, that's all. And MBD's new CD on MostlyMusic. Enjoy them both!


(Nigun courtesy of "Nigun a Day" Blog

47 comments:

Mottel said...

Old news. Back in Poland I found his CD. From what I hear, he tried to make a kumzitz in Bronuy. It didn't turn out so well.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

and you allow this to happen, Mottel?!

Mottel said...

I wasn't there. I don't like his music.

Babruisker said...

Niggunim are "open source" and subject to interpertation. Abish brodt gives every sobg he sings the basal treatment.

For some reason you were never bothered by lechaim tish and their hungarian take on russian niggunim. It sounds just as fremd to the russian ear as yair kalev, if not more.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

who said I wasn't bothered? just because I didn't blog about it? There you understand that it's their take! YK says it's authentic!!!

vos veist a Babruisker vegen Lubavitch

Babruisker said...

Those pure niggunim you so romantisize about also developed much in their history.

Interestingly, Karliners sing the tune of "atoh hokel" to a much faster beat, is it less authentic?

Anyway, Choni milecki is the king of moden interpertations, and also, you gotta love Berry. Webers cover of the"other" mogimeinu tune.

Anonymous said...

Relax hershel leben!
First off you have to agree that he has a "goldeneh" voice as mrs pitkin would say.

Second, isn't this part of הפצת המעייענות? It's just maybe a bit more "chutzoh" than what you're used to.

I sincerely believe that it won't change the way it's sung at chasidisher farbrengens.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

that's a voice? that's 50 years of cigarettes singing!!!

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

so I condemn them all, Choni and the whole lot of them!

Anonymous said...

Hirshel, i couldn't agree with you more!

Shall we start a petition?!

Zeir sham said...

He loks very מגשם and sounds worse...he advertises a lOt in חבד pubication in e israel.

Anonymous said...

Arop fun zinen! Using words as evil etc. You are so intemperate, and now I get why your site is the breeding ground for the most raidcal hate spewing anti Lubavitch type, since the owner is not beyond sounding off inanly. Just ranting with no intelectual discussion.

Did you ever read Chabad org, on the way they Modernize oor Chaisdos to make it appealing to the modern ear? Yanki Tauber etc, this is no difference.

And BTW, did you know that the Rebbes fathers Hakafah niggun is originaly a slow song and was transformed into something different as Reb Yoel Kahan once showed me.

Anonymous said...

Hershel, you obviously don't know a voice from a croak. I'm telling you it's a voice.
You seem to be stuck on the "heimesheh" idea of a nice voice, which has to be thin & nkavoh like.

Anonymous said...

the murdered nigun (HYD) you posted, was then performed by MBD at the same fast speed on his latest CD...

Anonymous said...

the kol dodi is not bad

Ende Tsadik said...

I just listened to his dalad boves.

I can't agree. He has a full throated masculine voice which won't appeal to those who fall for the squeaks of Beri Webber and Shloime Gertner. My criticism is that he's too respectful of the songs. They need jazzing up for contemporary tastes and a clarinet would bring out their flavour far more than an electric guitar which he doesn't do too well either.

Yidel said...

I guess I"m "fargrebt"!
I think he sings very well, you need to like a more masculine style. ala the famous Israeli singer "Arik Einshtein".
Maybe I've listened to much goyishe music.

Anonymous said...

Why is taking a "slow paced" niggun and making it a little lively worse than taking a chazzunishe Sheyibone Bais Hamikdosh - slow paced as well - and singing it like a "fast forwarded" tape player at a dizzying pace or repeating the "fal" in lekatchlieh ariber 10 times over at the speed above the highway limit?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

yea, right. full-throated, masculine voice. I dare you to ask him what his voice was like 40 years ago, before the cigarettes. That's not a natural voice. sorry.

klainer said...

Hirshel,
Heichal Menachem has hundreds of niggunim recorded by eltere chassidim. Maybe you could use your good offices and make them available to the listening audience so they could compare the real thing with the store-bought brand.Othewise,there is nothing to compare to and there is just alot of talk...

Ende Tsadik said...

I'm not sure what you mean by 'natural'. If wine matures in a cask is its taste not natural? If the wood of a violin is treated is its sound no longer authentic? How about a chazan swallowing an egg yoke? This is his voice and it has its appeal especially for folk tunes. Does is trouble you how Dylan or Springsteen or Leonard Cohen acquired their growls and groans?

Anonymous said...

just listened to these clips and I feel your pain. his kol doidi is a travesty. when u speed it up, the time required for the dveikus part gets lost. if u don't understand the problem with this, check out the FR's sichos about niggun and it's power. this is l'havdil like using main street in disneyworld to describe main street in small town, USA.

Anonymous said...

tzig: "Many people who are not שייך to Chasidishe Nigunim because they're too פארגרעבט "

Is this the new lubab, HEBREW! nigunim will bring the masses to chsidu! a-broch-of-a-zinu-chsidus.

beidem said...

Anon 7:39
There is an obvious difference between a song and an intellectual concept.
The idea of a Mashal has always been around. Shlomo Hamelech, the chacham mikal adam, had the ability to give 300 mashalim for one concept, to draw it down into lower, more down-to-earth analogies, for simpler people to be able to comprehend the idea. That is the "watering down" of Chassidic concepts you will find on chabad.org etc.
A song though, is an expression of the soul. Hirshel's point, (I think,) is that a niggun which is an expression of a pure and noble heart refined by years of working on acquiring midos tovos, ahava and yirah, convey those feelings, only when sung as written/composed.
Yair Calev is not giving a mashal to convey the depth of the song. He is giving his own interpretation, with his own feelings, which are, due respect, quite different then were intended by the composer....

mochinrechavim said...

Is there another name for the niggun "hatzemach tzedek" ?

Anonymous said...

Anon
"Is this the new lubab, HEBREW! nigunim will bring the masses to chsidu! a-broch-of-a-zinu-chsidus."
New Luban old Lubab u need to be healed with your ossesions

Mendel K. said...

Hirshel, first of all, thanks for posting about this. It's been bothering me for a nice while now. A few points:
1) You seem to be hurt, and understandably so, by the music RYK produces. You even seem a bit upset at him. But i think it's important to remember that he believes he is singing Chabad Niggunim authentically. He sings in this way not b/c he is evil, but simply cuz that's all he "hears" in the Niggun. He is not aware, it seems, of there being more depth in a Niggun. The same goes for many of those that prefer his version of Niggunim.
2) I believe that if the Niggunim were presented properly and professionally, there would still be a large following, even today.
3) To further your point: The versions that MBD and others sing on their albums are becoming more and more distant from the original. Meaning - if it would stay at the RYK version, it wouldn't be so bad. But the problem is, it doesn't stop there. Each one makes his subtle changes that change the true character of the Niggun.
4) Having said that, i do think that it must be brought to people's attention that this is NOT Chabad Negina in its true form. And for that i thank you Hirshel, for helping to make people more aware.

There are several more points to be made on the topic, but those are some starting ones.

Anonymous said...

This post exemplifies something I have noticed in contemporary Ultra Orthodoxy. Music is seen a referendum on values. Whether its Lipa, Niggunei Chabad, Shwekey, etc. there is a fixation on music as reflecting something much more important than just entertainment. I am sure some Modernist composers would be jealous! Music is also political. For instance, take Mordechai Ben David's recent statements. Take the recent crises over the use of synthesizers, gyrations and non Jewish tunes. Sure, there is precedent for this in the Jewish tradition-- people have always wondered which tunes are best for synagogue use, for example. But the fixation? I'd have to say its sui generis. Does it have to do with non Jewish celebrity culture? Probably. But maybe it also has to do with the decline in value of other forms of authority. If we look at Torah authority or pesak Halacha, increasing literacy has led to a great shift to strict Halacha. But it has also led to fragmentation and a consumerist ethos. I can shop between Abadi, Elyashiv, Aviner and Machon Shilo nowadays without leaving my computer. Perhaps this puts the burden on the cultural aspects, such as they are, of frum life. For instance, concomitant with the focus on frum music is a focus on frum food. It used to be the case that Rebbes had a large Kigel. Now there is a product called "Rebbeishe Kigel." I guess the consumerism allows us all to feel authentic without pinning ourselves down to one authority or another. And so we can also embrace the freewheeling Lipa ethos, such as it is, eat some Rebbeishe Kugel and feel authentic. For someone who says, authenticity is to be found in a R Chaim, a real seder niggunim, or adhering to the shalosh shavuot and recruiting your wife into the skinheads, this is actually a threat. Hence, the recurrent importance of music in a frum culture where all forms of authority are fragmented and consumerist.

BelzFinAMool said...

עס דערמאנט מיר פון א יונגע ברוס שפרינגשטיין אדער דער צימערמאן פון מינעסאטע וואס האט זיך געדרייט פאר א צייט אין 770

BelzFinAMool said...

וגם אני מוסף על החתימה הנ"ל אז מען דארף האבען א חבד"סקע יו טוב טשאנעל

מענדל said...

הירשעלע
דאס וואס דו שרייבסט אין דעם פאסט איז אמת. איך האב שוין פון לאנג געהאט דער טענה אויף אברעמעלע פרידמאן וכיו"ב.
בנוגע די איידלקייט פון ניגונים דארף מען זען קונטרס ומעין מאמר א' אות ב' און אויך דער הקדמה צו ספר הניגונים.
דאס וואס דו שרייבסט בנוגע זיין קול האט ניט קיין שייכות צו דעם עצם ענין און עס פארפירט דעם געשפרעך, עס איז א ענין פון טעם און אין דיעותיהם שוות.
עס בלייבט נאר צו זיין אן אפקלאנג צו די אלע וואס בעטן אז דו זאלסט צושטעלן ווי אמת'ע מנגנים זינגען די ניגונים אויפן עכטן חסידישן אופן.
מענדל

Anonymous said...

...you use the title harav so lightly...

Yaacov Dovid said...

I would be most grateful if someone would provide examples of what he considers to be a proper, authentic, deep and ruchnios version of Chabad niggunim (or niggunim of other Chasidus)--whether for sale, download, or in whatever form. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Hirshl for this important post. Where is Aguch of Israel, which officially overseas the Va'ad Seder Hanigunim (going back to Zalmanov days), on this issue? Why are they not consulted before such revisions of nigunim are made? Or at least get authentic ba'alei menagnim to look it over? YK is a BT for G--'s sake! What mesorah does he have with Chabad nigunim??

& especially the Tzemach Tzedek's nigun! Whoever remembers singing this nigun at the Rebbe's farbrengen at the siyum of the Yomtovdike farbrengens (Simchas Torah, Acharon Shel Pesach etc.) would shed a tear like I did at this travesty! A gelasener nigun blaybt gelasen! We know how upset the Rebbe was with the clumsy-jazzy arrangements & slightly picked up tempo of a couple of the American Nichoach recordings of the Lameds.
Kol shekeyn this corruption.

Like the other singer with a similar voice, the mishichist Moshe Yess, YK should stick to nice folksy Magama-like songs. Or at least follow Yitzchok Fuchs & make his own compositions.

- ZIY

pitputim said...

It's horrible. Reminds me of the re-mix phenomenon. Those who didn't hear the original won't be any wiser. It's as decrepit as the disco version of popular classical music; a purists nightmare.

He should write his own stuff. Is nothing holy?

Heichal Neginah said...

audio.chassidus.com/audio/nigun/

Here you'll find echte chassidishe niggunim, gezungn mit a chassidishe taam by some of the ziknei anash, with commentary by R MM Lipsker, Shliach in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Anonymous said...

Or simply Chasidus Oifn Telefon: 718-735-7333. section Heichal Haneginah.

- ZIY

Anonymous said...

I too can attest that a few weeks ago an Ungarishe Willi-bred friend came over to me moley hispa'alus & told me about this new Tzamach Tzadek nigun he heard sung by MBD. When I asked him which nigun & he started singing it like a nigun simchah, I cut him short & explained to him that this is a slow nigun with much dveikusdike hergesh. At first he wouldn't believe me ("How can that be, MBD sings it fast!") - until I sang it to him the right way (adagio) & he conceded that the slower way sounded the right way.

- ZIY

Yaacov Dovid said...

I'm very interested to hear the niggunim on audio.chassidus.com/audio/nigun/

but I get a "ram" file that doesn't connect to anything (in both Firefox & Explorer).

I would very much appreciate the guidance of a mumcheh!

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Yaacov D
Have you "realplayer" installed on your computer?

Yaacov Dovid said...

Hirschel Tzig,

Thanks, I installed Realplayer, and as of now has solved the problem.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

very you welcome

Anonymous said...

the murdered niggun:

http://audio.chassidus.com/audio/nigun/06-08-Chassidim-of-the-Tzemach-Tzedek-Heichal-Neginah.ram

Dov said...

R' Berel Levin a"h once said he is happy many of the nigunim he taught didn't catch on among the hamon am, because they killed the ones that did and there is no reason to think they wouldn't have killed the other nigunim as well.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

you mean Zalman Levin?

Moti said...

This is a Chabad nigun, no?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juO8l1cFDKI&feature=related

Dov said...

Zalman Levin's cousin Berel Feitel's, lived in England.