Buy Joey’s six albums below!

Nigunim Vol. VI: “By the Waters of Babylon” (2017)

By the waters of Babylon, our ancestors hung up their harps in the willow trees, refusing to play sacred songs as they marched into exile. There they left the mythical harp that David had played upon. That harp hadn’t even needed to be played upon by a person to make music – at midnight, the North wind, which contained the very spirit of life itself, would blow upon its strings, allowing it to make music on its own. These sounds inspired David to compose his psalms and praises.

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 Ever since that exile, we have been searching for our mystical music, trying to find the sacred songs that we left behind. Some of our most determined ancestors even walked up and down the rivers surrounding Babylon, looking up into every tree, hoping to rediscover the magnificent harps that might still hang there. Nevertheless, we know that we can’t reclaim all that was lost throughout the ages.

Fortunately, the mystics teach that it doesn’t take finding David’s harp itself to find our music – it just takes getting together and opening our ears. When we gather together to sing, the secret is that we actually become the Harp of David.

My prayer is that as we learn to reclaim our own songs, we can also learn to hear the voices and songs being sung by all people, and indeed by all of creation. As we sing here, “Kol HaN’Shama T’halel Ya, Halleluya, (Psalm 150) “All spirit and breath praises the Divine, Halleluyah!” Though we may vibrate individually, we can yet resonate together.

We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed paying it!
-Joey Weisenberg

Featuring Joey Weisenberg and The Hadar Ensemble:

Joey Weisenberg: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Drum (on Nola Nigun).
Yosef Goldman: Harmony Vocals, Lead on “Shokhein Ad”
Deborah Sacks Mintz: Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocals on “Eil Adon”
Anat Hochberg: Harmony Vocals
Eleonore Weill: Harmony Vocals, Wooden Flute
Yoshie Fruchter: Harmony Vocals, Upright Bass
Myk Freedman: Lap Steel
Sam Weisenberg: Tapan, percussion
Jake Shulman-Ment: Violin
Ilusha Tsinadze: Banjo
 

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Nigunim Vol. V: “Songs from the City of Brotherly Love” (2016)

It’s special to sit down and sing with old friends! Bearing melodies and harmonies, folks traveled from as far as New Orleans and Philadelphia to make this music together. On one night, a twenty five person spontaneous Jewish choir joined us, including many from Mechon Hadar’s Spiritual Sounds Laboratory, and thus we were able to capture some of the amazing and unscripted sounds of everyday people singing together. Thanks to all who made this music!

Featuring Joey Weisenberg and The Hadar Ensemble:

Joey Weisenberg: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Drum
Yosef Goldman: Harmony Vocals, Lead on “Bei Ana Racheitz”
Deborah Sacks Mintz: Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocals on “Tzama Nafshi” and “Adon Olam”
Eleonore Weill: Harmony Vocals, Wooden Flute
Yoshie Fruchter: Harmony Vocals, Upright Bass
Myk Freedman: Lap Steel
Sam Weisenberg: Tapan, percussion
Jake Shulman-Ment: Violin
Ilusha Tsinadze: Banjo
 

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Nigunim Vol. IV: “Brooklyn Spirituals” (2014)

These recordings capture Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble performing “Jewish Spirituals” live at Brooklyn’s oldest synagogue.  You can hear older styles of Jewish music – nigunim (wordless melodies), z’mirot (Sabbath-table melodies), choral music, and traditional nusach (prayer chant) – organically melding with the spontaneous improvisation, liberated harmonies and indie soul music of the Brooklyn soundscape.

The words, mostly taken from traditional liturgy, all reflect a yearning to discover the eternal spirit that runs through the world.

Featuring Joey Weisenberg and The Hadar Ensemble:

Joey Weisenberg:  Lead Vocals, Telecaster, Cajon
Mattisyahu Brown:  Harmony Vocals, lead on “Higale Na”
Deborah Sacks:  Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocals on “Lincoln’s Nigun”
Eleonore Weill:  Harmony Vocals, Wooden Flute
Yoshie Fruchter:  Harmony Vocals, Upright Bass
Myk Freedman:  Lap Steel
Sam Weisenberg:  Tapan, percussion
Jake Shulman-Ment:  Violin
With Special Guests:
Ilusha Tsinadze:  Banjo
Jean Rohe:  Harmony Vocals
Richie Barshay:  Percussion
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Nigunim Vol. III: “Live in the Choir Loft” with the Hadar Ensemble (2013)

This music is the result of an eight month weekly residency in the “Choir Loft” at the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

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 More than one hundred and fifty years ago, the space was designed for a choir to sing “from on high” down to the congregants. This year, a group of Kane Street congregants cleared out what seemed like a century’s worth of accumulated shul accoutrements and reclaimed the loft as a space for music – only this time, our band brought the audience up to the loft with us!  The loft itself – with its beautiful acoustics, grand view, and the lovely group of supporters – became the creative soil in which the music could develop and flourish.

Like the space, the music itself comes from older eras, but is reclaimed in 2013 Brooklyn.   Older styles of Jewish music – nigunim (wordless melodies), z’mirot (Shabbos table melodies), choral music, and traditional nusach (prayer chant) organically melt into the spontaneous improvisation, liberated harmonies and indie soul music of our Brooklyn soundscape.  Using my open-ended compositions as starting points, this incredibly sensitive group of musicians and singers improvised and invented arrangements on the fly.  That open process left us vulnerable to making mistakes, but also left open the possibility of moments of unscripted surging beauty and power.  The rumbling cars, chirping birds, cracking voices, audience shuffles, and other sounds of the real world added their unique flavor to this recording, which was recorded live and presented here with nothing added or taken away.  We hope you enjoy it! – JW

Featuring:
Joey Weisenberg:  Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin
Mattisyahu Brown:  Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocals on #7,10.
Deborah Sacks:  Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocals on #7,10.
Eleonore Weill:  Harmony Vocals, Wooden Flute
Yoshie Fruchter:  Harmony Vocals, Upright Bass
Myk Freedman:  Lap Steel
Sam Weisenberg:  Tom Drum, percussion
Jake Shulman-Ment:  Violin
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Nigunim Vol. II: Transformation of a Nigun (2012)

For this second recording for Mechon Hadar’s Minyan Project, we once again wanted to capture the feeling of friends singing together, but this time we brought our instruments along for the ride, too!

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These melodies incorporate the spirit and style of traditional Jewish singing – a reflection of our immersions in rich traditions of nigunim (wordless melodies), nusach ha-t’filah (prayer chants and improvisations), and klezmer music (instrumental music) – while also leaving room for the other music that pulsates throughout our local Brooklyn musical landscape, including Balkan music, blues, bluegrass, classical, flamenco, and soul music. Performed with an improvisational flair and a meditative approach, this music includes a few dveykus nigunim (melodies that elicit a desire for connection with our mystical Source), a few funky foot-tappers, a few pieces in which the electric guitar replaces the lead singer, and a few songs that might have belonged on 1970’s Israeli Pop Radio, if only they hadn’t been sung with a Milwaukee accent. Thank you for listening, and enjoy!
Joey Weisenberg: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Telecaster
Mattisyahu Brown: Harmony Vocals
Myk Friedman: Lap Steel
Yoshie Fruchter: Harmony Vocals, Mandolin
Benjy Fox-Rosen: Bass, Harmony Vocals
Sam Weisenberg: Drum Set, Harmony Vocals
      1. Min Hameitzar
      2. Gowanus Nigun
      3. HaYam Ra'ah Vayanos
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Joey’s Nigunim Vol. I (2011)

Joey Weisenberg’s Spontaneous Jewish Choir

For this album, the first recording for Mechon Hadar’s Minyan project, we wanted to capture the sound of spontaneous Jewish singing, pure, simple, and unaccompanied, and to create a recording that would be enjoyable to listen to while also serving as an accessible learning tool for average people who want to sing. Here’s the result – an eclectic mix of singers, both professional and amateur, from varying backgrounds, pouring their hearts into song. Indeed, the focus here is on the sound of collective musical invention, not necessarily perfection.

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The melodies are set, but the musical arrangements are created in the moment, as a result of a careful process of the singers listening and responding to each other. You’ll hear us taking musical risks, which sometimes result in unscripted moments of serene harmony or mini train-wrecks, but either way, it’s compellingly, undeniably real. We hope that this album can provide an inspirational (and attainable) singing model for communities throughout the country, demonstrating the beauty that’s possible when people come together with their ears open, ready to GO FOR IT AND SING. Thank you for listening, and enjoy! –JW
Featuring Joey Weisenberg (Vocals) with 20 Singers:
Elise Bernhardt, Mattisyahu Brown, Cantor Jen Cohen, Robbie Dvorkin, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Yoshie Fruchter, Eric Gold, Yosef Goldman, Cantor Matthew Klein, Dr. Chaim Kranzler, Annie Lewis, Aviva Richman, Shoshi Rosenbaum, Arielle Rubenstein, Lani Santo, Gella Solomon, Deborah Strauss, Miriam-Simma Walfish, Jeff Warschauer, and Sam Weisenberg.
      4. Breishit Rikud Nign
      5. Ilu Finu
      6. Bell Road Nign

Joey’s Nigunim now available for purchase and download.

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