Erez Safar

Yemenite Jewish Music, ‘Set To Beats’

Erez Safar helped put Sephardic musical culture on the map, and in the process honored his mother’s heritage.

Special To The Jewish Week

At the beginning of the new millennium, just out of the University of Maryland, Erez Safar was establishing himself as something of an outlier in the Jewish music scene here. Based in Brooklyn, he was an outer-borough guy in a scene dominated by Lower Manhattan. He was a creator gliding easily between hip-hop (as DJ Handler) and jazz/klezmer/progressive rock (as a drummer with Juez, which sounded like a funky blend of Lenny Pickett, the Microscopic Septet and the Klezmatics). He started his own record label, modular moods, and he helped a lot of rising artists break through, most notably the black and Orthodox hip-hop singer Y-Love.

“I wanted to shine a light on [a different] aspect of Jewish music,” Erez Safar said.   Courtesy of Erez Safar

Project Runway, Sephardic Style

Annual Sephardic Music Festival branches out with art rave, fashion show.

Special To The Jewish Week

The phone is ringing. There is a new CD to promote. There are the usual last-minute changes in the Sephardic Music Festival to be arranged. A new music video has to be shot this week. A fresh pot of coffee needs to be brewed.

And the baby is crying.

Erez Safar, founder of the Sephardic Music Festival.
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