SOUND OF JEWISH MUSIC IS HERE!
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
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
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,
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
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
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.