GROUP BIOS:

Yossi Newman

Eli Gerstner

Yossi Sharf

 

THE NEW SOUND OF JEWISH MUSIC IS HERE!

Country Yossi CoverOver the past - what is it, six years? – Eli Gerstner has come out with 13 successful albums, each one a major, major blockbuster and each one a gem in its own particular genre.

Eli’s soon-to-be-released album, called “Tek-Noy” (more about that name later), in my opinion, is hands down, the most unique and creative venture of his career. In fact, it is probably the most unique and creative album that this industry has ever heard!

Tek-Noy is actually Eli’s secret dream-come-true album. Which is not to say that all his other projects were mere afterthoughts. He loves the Chevra, of course. And he’s emotionally attached to Menucha. He sheps endless nachas from the Yeshiva Boys Choir. And he’s incredibly proud of The Yosis Orchestra and his solo work. But Tek-Noy is different. It’s Eli Gerstner without the frills or the fanfare. It’s Eli making an album for himself.
The album’s name, Tek-Noy, is actually a play on words, yet it fairly accurately describes what the music is all about. In this album, Eli combines the excitement of techno music with the ideals and standards of the yeshiva world. Hence, the word Tek-Noy is a yeshivish version of the word ‘techno’.

At this point, discriminating readers may be shaking their heads in disbelief. After all, it seems fairly reasonable to conclude that the two worlds of techno and yeshivish just don’t go together. That’s like joining fire and ice, day and night, breakfast and dinner. But then, not every discriminating reader knows Eli Gerstner. Those of us who do are not at all surprised that he once again pulled off the seemingly impossible with panache and with flair.

Many of you may be wondering but are too embarrassed to ask: “What exactly is techno music?” Eli explains it this way: “Techno music is basically what we call dance music. It’s electronic music, with a tremendous, tremendous beat.”

The appeal of this genre to a musical whiz-kid like Eli is obvious. “When it comes to acoustic music,” he explains, “you have about ten to twenty instruments that you could use. You’re somewhat limited. But when you’re talking about electronic music there are ten to even twenty thousand instruments/sounds that you can use. We can create sounds that have never been heard before, even in the secular world. To me, that’s the challenge.”

When it comes to experimenting with techno music, Eli is like a kid in a candy store. There are so many variations and so many possibilities. No wonder he worked on this album for close to three years, more than any other project he’s ever produced. This is undoubtedly Eli’s baby and he wants to be sure that it would come out just right.

Eli isn’t really satisfied with the thrill of a high-tech dance album. It’s important to him to remain faithful to the yiddishe ta’am in his music as well. For Eli, the ‘techno’ is only there to enhance the selection of inspirational and hartzig songs. This is, of course, very tricky, but the result is unbelievable! Eli tells the story of a certain famed Chassidishe producer who just recently asked Eli if he could re-record some of his music in an a cappella chassidic album. “I want to take ten of your songs,” he told Eli, “because I believe that they are hartzige niggunim.” Bottom line is that beneath the techno and the synthesizers and the percussion, there’s a genuine neshomo that comes through in every one of these songs. (Look out for this particular a cappella album, to be released later this year.)

Tek-Noy is sung by Eli Gerstner, Yossi Newman (of Yeshiva Boys Choir fame) and Yossi Sharf (EG Production’s celebrated choreographer). Both Yossi’s, or as Eli calls them, “The YO-YO’S” are exhilarated, by the experience of working with Eli. Yossi Sharf says that working with Eli is a very special experience. Okay, so Eli didn’t get much sleep, if any. So he worked twenty two hours straight. So he had vocal sessions that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. “Eli pushes us to do our very best,” he says. “And at the end of the day you realize that it was all worth it. He never settles for second best.”

Says Yossi Newman, “I’m very excited about the sound on this album. Not just because it’s a very different sound, but also because the songs are really beautiful. Songs are the foundation that hold an album together, and Eli somehow just keeps on putting out great songs.”
The hands-down favorite song on this album seems to be “Shenemar”, a fun-filled lively hora. In case you wanted to know, it happens to be Eli’s favorite song as well. In fact, anyone who hears it loves it. Eli confides that “both the Chevra and the Yeshiva Boys Choir were after this song. They knew it would be a hit and wanted it for their albums, but I decided to save it for Tek-Noy.”

Which is not to say that the other nine songs on this album are not gems as well. “Yiram”, the album’s second song, is a classic example of what Eli is trying to achieve. It’s a hartzige song with an unmistakable beat. And “Horiu” takes a totally different approach. It borrows from the Spanish style of music with a strong Latin beat. “Ani Kirosicha” is vintage kumzitz material. A passionate and emotional song. Believe me, your eyes will well up in tears every time you hear it.

Every song on this album is a niggun. Each one has a very special melody. You could just as easily play them in camp as you could dance to them at a chasunah or sing them around the Shabbos table. And their appeal is universal.

Izzy from Sameach Music is eagerly looking forward to the release of “Tek-Noy”, which will probably already be on the shelves in music stores by the time most people will be reading this article. “This album is greatly anticipated,” says Izzy. “It has a refreshing new sound.”

But why take all of these peoples word for it? Consider, instead, what Eli’s toughest critic has to say about this album. We’re talking about Eli himself, the man who will not rest until every note and every nuance is absolutely perfect. Looking back at a career that has spawned the likes of the Chevra, Menucha, and Yeshiva Boys Choir, Eli has a lot to be proud of. Yet when he compares “Tek-Noy” to any of his former ventures he remains resolved. How does he rate Tek-Noy. Without a moment’s hesitation, his eyes light up. “This is my best work,” is all he has to say.
 


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