Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Remembering Diaspora.

Recently, Neil Harris posted a great music video from the original Diaspora Yeshiva Band playing one of their classics, "Hafachta".

I am a huge fan of Diaspora - particularly Ben Zion Solomon's songs - and listening to them always brings me back to one of my most precious childhood memories: the Diaspora Yeshiva Band's reunion tour, which paid a visit to sleepy little Cleveland one winter night, a blew a fourth-grader's mind, never to be the same again.

My best friend and I sat a few rows from the stage, near the aisle, in the auditorium of the Frank L Wiley School in University Heights. I had been to the public school several times - for Uncle Moishy concerts, a few Yavne High School productions (that's what happens when your sisters are G.O.'s) - but nothing prepared me for this.

Up until that point, I had never heard anything like DYB, certainly not from a Jewish band. And yet, here were bearded, yarmulke'd men wearing standard yeshiva garb, completely rocking out! With "HU! Yiftach Libeinu", the band kicked off the night and seamlessly ripped through an awesome set. Song after song, the Band brought their inimitable style to the table, as two nine-year-olds head banged, air drummed, and played air bass like stoners at a Rush concert. When Gedalia Goldstein threw both drumsticks high in the air, only to catch them in time for the last crash of the cymbals, I totally lost my equilibrium.

Our third grade rebbe was seated behind us, and got a kick out of the spectacle. Even now, when I see him, he reminds me of that night with a big laugh, " you remember that concert? You and your friend went nuts! It was great!"

I nod in agreement, as always. It was great. And although over the coming years I attended numerous concerts from many talented (and some not-so-talented) bands, nothing compares to that transformative experience.


Nathan said...

awesome. Love them. Never got to see them live, sadly.

Neil Harris said...

Great post! I saw the Reunion tour in Toronto, as the Motzei Shabbos event at an NCSY convention.
It was great.
I'm blessed that I live several blocks away from Ruby Harris (no relation) and have gotten to see him play quite often in recent years.
My son (in 5th grade) as been singing Hafachta since he was 5yrs old and I've slowly gotten my 3rd grade carpool girls into it as well.