So we did an email mini-interview with Ruby Harris. Best known in the Jewish market for his work with the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, Harris is a multi-instrumentalist who plays smoking Chicago-style Blues violin, Celtic music, Klezmer, and much more. His Electric Violin Blues Review CD, "Almost Home" features legendary musicians "Pinetop" Perkins, Sugar Blue, Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport, and Hamid Drake. We've had the pleasure of playing with Ruby several times and it's always been fun.
Here it is:
Dm: What do you consider to be Jewish music?
RH: Music from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 Tribes, Moshe, David, etc, music from the Levites in both Temples, music from Jewish communities in all the Diaspora such as Babylon, Spain, Sephardic and Ashkenazic areas, Chassidic music, and, since 1900, Klezmer, Yiddish, Israeli, Catskills, Yeshivish, Shlomo Carlebach, Jewish Rock, and now Jewish hip hop, and any music that mentions the word “Chopped Liver” or “Halvah”.
Dm: How do you approach creating/playing Jewish music?
RH:I take all of the above, and start jamming on it. Plus, I try to let some spiritual thoughts inspire me when I see a Torah thought or some Jewish current events that I’d like to express musically. Then with the help of an instrument, tape recorder, computer, ruach hakodesh, and pen and paper, I start the process rolling to completion and publication.
Dm: Can you share some contemporary Jewish music artists whose work you like? Who would you consider to be some of the most creative Jewish music artists working today?
RH: Chaim David, Moshav Band, Klezmatics, Shlomo & Eitan Katz, Soulfarm, Klezmer Conservatory, Blue Fringe, Shelly Lang, Pey Dalid, Peter Himmelman, Yitz Rosenberg, Oneg Shemesh, Haim Moshe, Ofra Haza (A’hs), Neil Sedaka, and any offshoot of the DYB.
Dm: What Jewish music projects are you currently involved in?
RH: Many: almost finished with my upcoming CD “The Wind and the Rain”, the Nigunnim of Ruby Harris, many other recordings in progress, plus work on many artists’ CDs, plus a constant performance schedule of concerts and simchas.
Dm: Will there be a Diaspora reunion?
RH: Yes, there are plans for most of us to get together for concerts, such as myself, Rabbi Moshe Shur, Chaim David and Ben Tzion Solomon, but no definite plans at the moment. I did a show in New York recently and Simcha Abramson showed up and jammed with us. Great to see him! I also played a few events with Rabbi Shimon Green, who is better than ever. Everybody is so busy with their own projects. However, we could be persuaded...