RebbeSoul
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RebbeSoul

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"Change The World With A Sound album review"

Ben Jacobson, Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2006
The stage name of Los Angeles' Bruce Burger is RebbeSoul, a play on words based on the Beatles' immortal Rubber Soul album title - itself a play on words referring to footwear.
Burger's RebbeSoul persona is a project manager extraordinaire, having overseen production, programming and sampling for this album. He performed most of the vocals and main instruments as well, with the help of an army of multi-cultural session players.
Change is a high-concept project. Originally released in 2003, it was recently repackaged and reissued. Burger has crafted an infectious mixture of sounds and ideas to make a post-Hassidic, pan-spiritualist electronic world-beat meditation suite.
He has accomplished this thanks to an approach that echoes Shotei Hanevuah's mixtures of ethnic, folk and hip-hop influences, upbeat, often silly chant styles, and rich, multi-layered production value. On "Tzamah L'Cha Nafshi," a high-pitched choir, Eastern instruments and an electronic beat set the stage for Prophet X's guest rap.
With its acoustic guitar - and accordion-driven balladry, "Rock of Ages" is one of the few straightforward songs on the disc. Carlebach's "Esa Enai" is completely revamped and given a synthed-out thump beat arrangement, with Neshama Carlebach providing an effective guest vocal.
The album closes with a Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi-read monologue on the "Reincarnation of a Melody," which feels like a Hassidic legend written by Allen Ginsberg and leads into an the phoenix of resurrected melodies, a Pink Floyd-like "Avinu [Malkenu]."
- Jerusalem Post


"Change The World"

Cat Delaney, Lucid Forge (Canada), Sunday, March 5, 2006

If the title of this album sounds idealistic, and it is, but it's quite serious about carrying through on its message, that the universality of music can change the world, or at the very least, how we view the world. 

In this album I heard jazz, folk, rock, even rap. The music being played is in its most global form but with a linear message. A quick word of advice, this CD is not to be used as banal background music, so please give its due and listen like you mean it.

The music that influenced RebbeSoul (known to friends as Bruce Burger) are audible, and quickly apparent: Led Zeppelin is there; and Jimi Hendrix, too. But their influences are nuanced within the framework of a statement steeped in Judaic heritage, proud but not bold, spiritual but not drowning in religious tones. Most importantly: it rocks!
Years ago, Burger stumbled upon a traditional Hebrew prayer called “Avinu Malkenu” and was consumed by the “haunting beauty” of it that he produced an acoustic instrumental version, which was met with rave reviews. Since then it has appeared in different incarnations on every album he has recorded.
 
If you don’t speak Hebrew though, it doesn’t matter. This is about us, as in the big “us”, not about individuals, biases, cultural clashes or any of that other clutter that junks up our daily lives. This album is about how we are more alike than different. Listen to the bond forming; this is human glue.
The range of instruments is staggering. Forget guitars and bass, here we get balalaika and mandolin. The musicianship that RebbeSoul demonstrates is outstanding, whether it’s the almost honky-tonk, brassy Middle-Eastern percussions found in “Tzamah L’Cha Nafshi” or the flamenco-style guitar in “Qaafilah.”
RebbeSoul also includes a new version of “Rock of Ages,” a song often called one of the most powerful ever written. On this disc it’s got an element of sound that can almost be described as East Coast, as well as a hint of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” The seventh track, “Shmelke’s Nigun,” was an instrumental track, quick, jazzy, and with remembrances of a day I spent in Jerusalem in ’72.
It’s polished, professional, and finished off with stellar production. My only criticism is that the poignant lyrics are not printed in the liner notes.
RebbeSoul dedicates this album to “peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world”, and precedes that with a moving blank verse in justification of the CD’s title: “While the Baal Shem was praying, / he climbed a ladder of prayer / reaching a place where he saw / a golden bird, whose lovely song / would bring tranquility to all who / heard it… He knew that if its song / were brought to the physical world, / it would surely bring peace and / change the world with a sound…” Amen, brother.
4 stars
- Lucid Forge


"Pull Quotes"

Change The World With A Sound

RebbeSoul crafts an energetic sound ...packs an eclectic armament ...from Jewish and Arabic music...RebbeSoul forges a danceable fusion defying easy categorization - Popmatters

Soulful mission: RebbeSoul dedicates his long-awaited CD, Change the World With a Sound, to peace in the Middle East and throughout the world. This fusion of traditional Hebrew melodies and rock makes for a stylish Middle-Eastern groove. RebbeSoul's goal to foster unity through music is aided by a stellar backup band that includes... Deep Den of the Jerry Garcia band and Steve Carter of Spearhead. Shalom. - Halifax Herald

Despite the efforts of groups such as the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars and the Klezmatics, the term "Jewish music" still evokes an image that's more Fiddler on the Roof than MTV. Los Angeles-based RebbeSoul may be the artist to change that. The first song on this CD is a Lubavich melody attributed to King David, but RebbeSoul's sizzling rock guitar and tight rapping by Prophet X would have the king shaking his thing. Other songs range from the dub feel of "Kaddish" to the folk-rocky "Shalom" and "Rock of Ages." Perhaps my favorite is "Eliyahu," with a stripped-down funk groove, soulful Hebrew vocals by Lynn Rose, and some tasty hand drumming. - SpinTheGlobe.com/ KAOS

It's a thick and soupy blend of Middle-Eastern percussion, growling rock guitar, plucked balalaika and funk bass that builds to a perfect simmer... "Kaddish",... a meditative instrumental piece over recordings of Kaddish prayers from all around the globe, to powerful effect. - Splendid

Step Into My World (Common Tongue)

Common Tongue is one of the most eclectic, visual landscape invoking, and imaginative groups that I've heard to date… The vocals are amazing and the multiethnic blends of music create a completely new aura for your music experience. You wouldn't expect all of these styles to fit together so eloquently. The music is funky, intelligent, and very unique. Their "Planet-Hop" style has a great appeal for music fans from many different genres… Simply put, it's a great experience - Michael Allison - THEGLOBALMUSE.COM


The first live performance I have been to recently to give me chills. – Timothy McCrary – The Connection Magazine


This CD charmed my headphones off me. My long-forgotten rock 'n' roll soul was stirred by the wailing guitar of "White Rabbit." World music with a counter-culture twist. – Sprout, Radio-V


Truly a fusion of styles, the music blends elements of middle eastern sound, Russian balalaika playing and of course a hint of klezmer dance action into a modern pop sensibility. One of the biggest surprises on the album is the cover version of the all time best ever Jefferson Airplane track 'White Rabbit'. Underpinning the moody build up of the song is some delightful Arabic style percussion and sensitive acoustic guitar… Bright, clear and progressive in the true sense of forward reaching, I feel that this disc is a success and hope to hear more from the band. – CB, Acid Attack Music

RebbeSoul-O

"An outstanding acoustic guitarist, Burger also plays balalaika and mandolin while singing in both Hebrew and English. His compositions take acoustic rock into a mystical realm, and the traditional tune Avinu shines in an arrangement that fits wonderfully with the gorgeous melody." - Playboy

“RebbeSoul-O is a collage of music and narration accented with hip jive, sing-a-longs and audience participation. The strength of this... cabaret performance is the beauty of its musical sound... created live with classical guitar and balalaika blended with pre-recorded music combining various string, keyboard and percussion instruments.” - Drama-Logue

Fringe Of Blue

"Rises to a majestic rock opera crescendo with sizzling guitar licks" -San Francisco Examiner

“Avinu... a stirring electric rendition. It’s cool. It’s Jewish.” - Billboard

“Superbly produced... with a heavy dose of jazz and... world music... Fringe Of Blue is a spendid work.” - New York Jewish Week

“... reaches deeply into the Jewish musical past, yet stretches to embrace modern expressions” - NAPRA Review

“I love this record! ... Though completely contemporary in arrangement, beautiful songs... easily retain their deeply powerful, heartfelt inspiration and spiritual import. ... Burger is able to make truly unique world music that is
completely enjoyalble for all ages.” - New Age Retailer

RebbeSoul

“Burger does a fine job of being a one-man show... when you’re through listening... you can’t help but feel you’ve somehow made a new friend.” - Music Connection

“Burger blends melody and electricity... there’s a depth of soul that sucks you in.” - Gavin Report
- Assorted


"Trio Concert Review"

...the West Coast trio wasted no time in getting the crowd going.
On the first number -- a traditional Sabbath prayer set to galloping rhythms -- Burger and his pals had a handful of folks up and dancing within the first few notes.
By the second -- another traditional, "Kol Dodi" -- Burger's arrangement had turned the mellow love poem into a genuine booty-brandishing experience.
Passing out egg-size shakers to the audience, he had them chanting and shaking back in no time over the high twang of the balalaika. - Chicago Tribune


Discography

RebbeSoul
Fringe Of Blue
RebbeSoul-O
Change The World With A Sound
all by RebbeSoul

Step Into My World by Common Tongue

Tracks can be heard on the RebbeSoul website: www.rebbesoul.com.
Some can be heard in the audio section of this EPK.

Change The World With a Sound albums received substantial college radio airplay. It was #1 on the CMJ world music charts. Avinu on the RebbeSoul album was on heavy rotation on P1 radio stations in the US. It was the most requested song in San Francisco's KKSF's history.

Photos

Bio

Recording artist and producer, RebbeSoul's releases include RebbeSoul, Fringe Of Blue , RebbeSoul-O, and the most recent Change The World With A Sound which hit #1 on the CMJ (college radio in the US and Canada) World Music charts. The music of RebbeSoul is world fusion stemming from the Jewish Diaspora, a mix of ancient and modern, a blend of East and West, featuring Russian balalaika, Greek bouzouki, electric and acoustic guitars, hip-hop rhythms, Middle Eastern percussion, flamenco cajónes, and soulful vocals. RebbeSoul has been featured in Billboard magazine, on CNN International, National Public Radio (NPR), interviewed on the CBC of Canada and VTV’s Gabareau Live, named to the Starstreams top 20, and written up in of hundreds of publications to date. Several record companies including Island and Rhino Records have licensed his tracks for use in compilations as have film and TV studios, most recently When Do We Eat and the American Film Institute in their Tribute To Barbra Streisand.

RebbeSoul and his six-piece band have played LA’s House Of Blues and Knitting Factory, New York’s Wetlands and Knitting Factory, San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, the Seattle Center, and many other popular venues including colleges and universities. He is the star of the one-man show, RebbeSoul-O, which was nominated for three Valley Theatre Awards. RebbeSoul with a pair of percussionists form the RebbeSoul Power Percussion Trio that play special events suited to ethnic, acoustic music. RebbeSoul is also the bandleader and producer of the planet hop band, Common Tongue featuring players from The Jerry Garcia Band, Spearhead, and Strunz and Farah. Their release is entitled Step Into My World.

There is a video on this EPK. For more, please go to: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rebbesoul&search_type=&aq=f