Friday, March 19, 2004

The Choral Friday Night Davening

MOChassid posts about Neginah's new "Neginah Acapella Singers".
He's troubled by the part of their ad that says "Ask about our original creation - The Choral Carlebach Friday Night Davening Experience". He comments:
Leave it to the shiny shoe music world to ruin something as pure and holy as a Carlebach davening. (I'm sure if it weren't impermissible on Shabbos, they would add digital techno voice distorters). And calling it ORIGINAL? The only thing original is how they can take a davening of depth and beauty (that can rest on its own), and add all kinds of garbage to turn it into an "experience" and ruin it.
The trend of turning tefilah into entertainment is something I've written about before here where I wrote:
With regard to the 'Carlebach-style' davenings, I think that they can also be quite moving, but I've found that in many cases, the atmosphere in 'frum' shuls featuring these is one of entertainment rather than worship. In general, I find that they tend to work better when they are spontaneous rather than when they are scheduled.
Music should be used to enhance the 'tefilos' and not as a distraction from them.
I've written more about my thoughts on these types of davening here with a follow up here.

The trend of marketing "entertainment" for tefilah -- which also exists in a different form with regard to those who bring in big names from the cantorial world as guest Chazzanim -- is not positive.

BTW, MO Chassid points out that the website featured in the Neginah Acapella ad,, doesn't work. This is a common problem in the JM biz. People don't "get" the 'net and think that they can advertise a url without it working, because eventually the site will be up. It's a foolish approach, but it happens quite often. It goes along with the whole "useless website" philosophy, whereby an artist or band puts up a website that is either poorly laid out, hard to use, contains no useful info, or requires plug-ins that most users don't have installed on their computers.