Interview with the Business magazine
A Synthesis of Talent & Professionalism to Create Your Perfect Event
What is your musical background?
I’ve been strongly drawn to music as long as I can remember. As a teenager, I learned to play the keyboard and guitar. I also composed songs which I taught my family and friends, and we would sing them together.
A few years ago I decided to take my hobby a step further. I spent a lot of time becoming a more polished and professional player, and started playing at events. Since then I’ve gained much experience playing at events and simchas.
At what type of events do you play?
Mostly I’ve been playing at bar mitzvahs, but I’ve also played at events like sheva brochos, simchas bais hashoavas, Purim parties, Lag Ba’omer celebrations, dinners etc. Recently, I’ve also started playing at weddings.
Do you play and sing alone?
Yes, but not necessarily. I’d say that for an event like a bar mitzvah, most people hire a one-man band. For a bigger event, like a wedding, I recommend adding a singer and depending on the budget, an additional instrument.
Who is your client base?
Most of my clients are from the charedi/yeshivish community, whether Israeli or from overseas. I was born in the US and I grew up in Israel. I speak both Hebrew and English, so I’m comfortable with both Israelis and “chutznikim”. I think it’s important that the band be familiar with the world of the family celebrating the simcha.
What type of music do you play?
I adapt the music to the occasion. I play different styles, but specialize in “yeshivish” style – chassidic music.
Do your clients select the songs they want before the event, or do they leave the decision in your hands?
Before every event, I meet with the ba’al ha’simcha and plan the schedule for the evening: the timing of the speeches, the dancing and the meal, the style of the songs, and whether there are particular songs that they want played at a specific point in the event.
Do you bring recorded music with you to events, too?
I do so when the client requests it. But I usually play on my own; I make sure to be updated with the latest songs.
Which are the most popular songs?
There are the standard songs that people always want – like Ki Hirbeisa, or songs that have a coordinating dance like Baruch ha’Gever. Obviously there are also the hits that come and go. The latest most popular song is Ribbon ha’Olamim Yadati.
Do you interact with the guests throughout the evening?
Yes. I’m open to the guests’ suggestions and requests – obviously, subject to the instructions of the host of the simcha, with whom I maintain close coordination.
In what way does music add to an occasion?
I find that music plays three main roles at an event. The first and most important is for the dancing, which is almost impossible without music. The second is as background music during the meal. It creates a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. The third is at the end of the event, when people sometimes want slow, kumzitz-style songs.
You mentioned the background music that creates a pleasant atmosphere. Why is it that some events are impossible to enjoy, because the music is so loud?
Three elements are needed to ensure that that doesn’t happen. First of all one has to have professional equipment. There are high-quality systems; they cost more but produce a clear, pleasant sound.
The second element is professionalism, because even if you have a high-quality sound system, you have to understand how sound works and how to adjust it for optimal results in each setting.
Lastly, you have to be attentive to the audience, in other words you have to listen to them and consider their requests.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy making the baalei simchah happy, making the guests happy, and getting them to dance and enjoy themselves.