May 25, 2024
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A New Spin on “Dreidel”

Teaneck–David Ross, founder and leader of Jewish wedding band and a cappella group Shir Soul, likes to take music that sounds familiar and spin it in creative ways that haven’t been heard before. That’s what he’s done with his new single, “Dreidel,” that most famous of Chanukah songs that pretty much everyone knows. “This song is fun, happy and relatable,” said Ross, who lives in Teaneck. “I enjoy taking accessible songs and doing them with a twist.” His latest twist is quickly finding a large, enthusiastic audience.

The popular a cappella single (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtlLHwk9_Rw) features four singers (Ross along with Jeremy Schonzeit, Jesse Shore and David Droz) switching vocal parts as they pass the dreidel, which creates a fun, almost interactive experience. This version is a mashup “Dreidel” with classic Chanukah songs “Mi Yimalel,” and “Ma’oz Tzur.” Each singer takes a turn at each of the four parts: Melody, harmony, bass and beat box, and each part is identified onscreen to highlight the unique arrangement.

“It’s different and cool,” said Ross. “That’s the experience I’m trying to create, and it seems to have struck a chord!” Within a couple of days of being posted on YouTube, the video was viewed about 6-7,000 times, and has been viewed 246,000 times in combination with other postings of the video.

“I really enjoyed creating this,” said Ross. “It’s gratifying that the response has been so overwhelming.”

Growing up in in Ardsley, NY, in Westchester County, Ross began to cultivate his musical talents at an early age. As a student at Ardsley High School, David was the lead singer and guitarist in the Saw Mill River Band, a rock group he formed with three childhood friends. The band went on to record an album, David’s first, and he was forever hooked on music.

Having reconnected with his Jewish roots as a teenager, David sought to incorporate the soul and passion of his musical youth into his Jewish faith. Nearly 10 years later, his first solo album, entitled “The Power to Be,” realized that goal. Originally featured on the all-star compilation album Voices for Israel, benefiting victims of terror, “The Power to Be” has since appeared on radio, in concert and on DVD.

With his eclectic mix of rock, pop & soul, Ross has shaped a new musical genre–Jewish R&B. A fusion of driving backbeats and rhythms, his sound captivates and energizes audiences. Ross has inspired audiences all over the world, from across the US in cities like New York, Miami, Detroit, LA and Chicago, to international venues in London, Melbourne and Jerusalem. He is also a record producer, composer, conductor, arranger and educator with international credits and music degrees from Binghamton University and Columbia University. His musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton and John Legend.

Ross founded Shir Soul (www.shirsoul.com) in 2006, performing a comprehensive range of musical styles and genres from elegant cocktail music to sophisticated chuppah music, from lively Jewish simcha dancing to a rocking American set. An album is on the horizon for Shir Soul. This single is available on CDbaby and will also be available on iTunes and Amazon this week.

By Lisa Matkowsky

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