Safed-Based Band

A new band called InGathering based in Safed consists of four musicians: lead singer and songwriter for the group Baruch Emanuel Erdstein, Yonatan Razel, Ben Canar, and Shachar Kaufman. Ingathering released a debut album in 2008 called Connection. The group draws on a variety of musical styles including funk, rock, reggae, ethnic, and jazz. The band attempts to weave into their music mystical themes relating to Kabbalah and to world redemption.

Diverse Influences

The fledgling band has been influenced by such diverse musicians as Gil Scott Heron, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Toots Hibbert, and The Allman Brothers Band. The songs contain material from classical interpretations of kabbalistic texts. Erdman says the band's goal is to help, "jump-start the redemption," and terms the band's product, "some really high conscious music."

At the start, Erdman decided to compose songs in all Hebrew, but at some point, the songwriter decided that adding in some English would give the music a wider appeal that would attract a larger world audience. Erdman went all out in his efforts to give the band's music a spiritual presence.

Much of the music in Connection was recorded in the forested areas of the northern Galilee overlooking the tomb of the great kabbalist Yonatan Ben Uziel. Uziel was considered the translator of the written Torah and illuminated some of the more mystical aspects of the Jewish holy books. Erdman hopes this newest music project follows suit by offering a taste of the original Torah texts.

Novel Instrumentation

InGathering employs the use of some novel instruments, such as a shofar on the song called Neshilat Nefesh. Erdman explains that the shofar has always been used as a tool to awaken the Jewish spirit. One can also hear the saz, a Turkish string instrument, similar to the mandolin, but quite long-necked. There's also a lot of oud, courtesy of Ben Canaar, whom Erdman terms the "mastermind of music on the album."

The fusion of funk, rock, and Motown on the album gives a clue to the band's name: Ingathering. Erdman explains that the idea of redemption is defined by bringing diverse people together. He tries to create an exemplar of this through musical fusion—different genres and various ethnic instruments. The music must be seamless in order to get the idea across that opposites can achieve unity for a holy cause.

Erdman feels that every Jew is sent into our current exile in order to find something that must be emphasized and brought to the whole of the Jewish people. Since Erdman hails from the Detroit area, he brings the sound of Motown to the Jewish music sphere.