It was early 2000 and my brother had been after me for several years to record an album of music from the Temple in Jerusalem, circa two thousand years ago, but I needed inspiration to undertake such a project.
My work at IKAR, a synagogue in Los Angeles, provided the needed spark. The melodies I have composed since arriving as Hazzan, tunes geared toward lifting our congregation in joyous and soul-stirring prayer, lent themselves well to the ancient Hebrew Psalms and biblical verses known to have been chanted by priests and Levites in antiquity. And while we have no idea what the melodies of that epoch sounded like, the songs reflect how I perceived our ancestors communicating through song to God.
Years of channeling both Jewish music and deep meditative music by artists I love and admire, like Peter Gabriel, served as a good starting point. Add to that a touch of poetic license and a melange of instruments that resemble those known to have been played inside the Temple itself and you get: JUDEO.
Download the iTunes album booklet here