How does a rabbi’s kid from New Jersey get swept up in a Brazilian musical wave? Meet singer-songwriter Avi Wisnia.
Special To The Jewish Week
If singer-songwriter Avi Wisnia’s new CD “Something New” were a tapestry, when you turn it over you would see a bright yellow-green thread running through every song, a skein of Brazilian jazz steeped in bossa nova and samba. That is a nice musical preoccupation to have under any circumstances, but as one critic asked recently, How does a rabbi’s kid from New Jersey get hooked on bossa nova? And we do mean hooked: Wisnia did his undergraduate work at NYU’s Albert Gallatin School on Brazilian music, language and culture.
Twenty-nine years ago, Brooklynite Nate Sheff went on his first date with a girl named Mimi. He took her to The Bottom Line Cabaret, a hip, intimate and affordable new venue for live music on the corner of West Fourth Street, in the then-desolate West Village. Folk-rocker Eric Anderson was headlining. There was no drink minimum.
A few weeks ago, Sheff took his and Mimi's elder daughter Shana and her husband to the Bottom Line for a WFUV-FM listening party. Sheff spotted Bottom Line co-owner and Brooklyn native Allan Pepper at the door.