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Podcast: Yair Harel on Haim Louk’s Masterful Jewish Music

August 12, 2022 | By: Yair Harel

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Just as Israeli society has become more at home with Judaism, so too has Israeli music. Across the Israeli music scene, songs and albums infused with religious themes, language, and sentiments have become far more popular in recent years. And a similar movement can be seen in Israeli culture; once dominated by an Ashkenazi elite, Israeli music now relates to its Arab neighbors as much as it does to the musical traditions of Europe and America.

Haim Louk, a Moroccan-born rabbi, prayer leader, and musical virtuoso, is one of the main reasons that Israeli music is now more at home with itself. On this podcast, we’re joined by the Israeli vocalist and musical director Yair Harel, who takes us on a listening tour of Louk’s music and his artistic formation. Though religious in nature, Louk’s music can, as Harel shows, be easily grasped by non-religious audiences—so much so that one can’t truly understand much of Israeli popular music today without understanding Louk’s influence.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as the original Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof and “Above the Ocean” by Evan MacDonald.


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More about: Religion and State in Israel  • Tikvah Podcasts  • Zionism