Matisyahu: A New Kind of Reggae

Last year I was searching through the now popular Myspace.com and stumbled upon a singer / song writer named Matisyahu. His picture threw me off first as here was a young guy wearing a black hat and a long beard. Then I read his profile and heard his music and I fell in love instantly!

If you have not yet heard any of Matisyahu’s music, you can hear him for free on Myspace.com under his profile. XM Satellite Radio began playing his music on their channel named Ethel or you can buy his CD.

Besides the amazing mixture of ska, reggae, punk, beat box, and vocals, his words flow so naturally, the talent is one not to pass by. While I was listening to the CD yesterday, I knew I had to write at least one blog about this artist.

For any Jew who has gone to synagogue, you will pick up some Hebrew and Yiddish in his song lyrics. If you have ever had the chance to hear a Cantor who has musical background perform a service, you will hear many of the different chants incorporated into Matisyahu’s music.

From the “lah-lah-lah lahs’” of Adon Olam to the “Oy-yo-yohs” of the Kaddesh, Matisyahu has impressed me as a musician and a Jew who has made it into the world of pop culture. In his “King Without a Crown” song, listen carefully as he mentions Hashem’s name and the Moshiac. My husband never really listened to it till yesterday and said, “What did he just say?”

With the artist of Bob Marley being one of his strongest influences, you can hear the similar beats. Done with such class, in great tempos, Matisyahu has my vote for “Musician of the Year.”