June 17, 2024
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Eitan Katz Captures the True Essence of Jewish Music

With six popular solo albums to his credit, Eitan Katz has become a household name, his heartfelt music warming the hearts of Jewish listeners worldwide for years. Born in Teaneck, into a family where music was not a hobby but a way of life, Katz grew up immersed in a culture where song reigned supreme, a treasured legacy passed down through the generations. His father,  well-known chazan Avshalom Katz, shared his talents as a chazan in both Los Angeles and Raanana, with the Katz family relocating between the two cities on two separate occasions.

Having moved three times in his childhood, Eitan Katz found music to be an important element of his life no matter where he lived, and his unique abilities were evident early on.

“I was in choirs my whole life,” Katz told The Jewish Link. “When we lived in Israel I was in a choir that got to perform every time Avraham Fried came. I was maybe 13 or 14. It was exhilarating and very exciting for me.”

At age 16, as a Los Angeles high schooler, Katz became very active in the local Carlebach-style minyan known as “The Happy Minyan.”

“That was when I first started playing the guitar,” recalled Katz. “The rhythm came right away.”

No matter where Katz traveled, first to Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem after his high school graduation, then to Silver Spring, MD, where he spent the next six years, and finally to his current home in Far Rockaway, his music came with him, a crucial part of Katz’s identity that allowed him to share simcha with others.

Katz’s first two albums, Eilecha and Biglal Avos, were released together with his brother Shlomo over a decade ago, establishing both Katzes as talented singers whose Carlebachian style was soulful, every word and every note imbued with deep meaning. Over the years, both brothers cemented their positions in the Jewish music world, with Eitan Katz releasing six more albums:  Boruch Hu, Lemaancha, Live in Jerusalem, Eitan Katz Unplugged, Eitan Katz Unplugged 2 and his most recent musical offering, Shuvu.

While Katz developed a reputation as a world-class kumzitz singer, his albums show his diversity, and the prolific composer has written approximately three dozen original songs. His extremely popular composition Lemaancha has become a staple at chupahs all over the world. After working closely with Nossi Gross of the Zemer Orchestra in Baltimore for years, Katz established the Eitan Katz Orchestra in New York a decade ago. With a group of musicians who frequently work closely together, and an emphasis on ehrlichkeit, the Eitan Katz Orchestra truly captures the essence of unadulterated happiness that permeates every wedding, the notes floating from the bandstand straight to listeners’ hearts. As  a result, Katz has found his orchestra in high demand at weddings all over the metropolitan area and beyond and judging by the feedback he has received from satisfied customers and enthusiastic guests, Katz’s quest to bring a new level of music to the wedding circuit has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

“My style of music takes a wedding to a whole different level of simcha and leibidickeit,” noted Katz.  “I’m out there combining professionalism and class with the highest level of Jewish music.”

Because of his ability to master a variety of styles, Katz can easily transition from the poignant and emotionally charged notes of the chupah to the exuberant dance music that follows later.  As much as Katz’s orchestra is the catalyst that gets the crowd off its feet and onto the dance floor, he is careful to make sure to keep the spotlight where it belongs: on the chosson and kallah.

“We are able to accomplish the greatest music without calling attention to ourselves,” said Katz.  “The band shouldn’t be the star of the show. It is all about the music and we don’t want people standing around the bandstand waiting for the next solo. We want them out there dancing and enjoying the simcha.”

Katz has a very full schedule these days. The father of five learns in Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv in Far Rockaway and in addition to playing weddings also travels all over the country inspiring others in more ways than one.

“I do Shabbosos all over America with singing and divrei Torah,” said Katz. “I’m still very much involved in all of that.”

Day after day, wedding after wedding, Katz works hard to live up to his orchestra’s motto of “Pure Simcha,” also the name of his upcoming, long-awaited wedding album to be released this summer.

“It is a play on words,” explained Katz. “It’s not just that our music is all about happiness, it is also about happiness that is pure.”

For more information on the Eitan Katz Orchestra visit them online at www.eitankatz.com, call 718-770-7973 or email [email protected].

By Sandy Eller

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and many private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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