Lipa Schmeltzer Updates Chasidic Music

The Gothamist has the fascinating story of Lipa Schmeltzer, a member of the Skver sect of Chasidic Judaism.

The singer/danger/songwriter is trying to modernize the music of the ultra Orthodox and Chasidic communities. The story, written by Batya Ungar-Sargon, also tells of the unsuccessful efforts of the religious authorities to suppress him. It’s a definitely worth reading.

Here is a passage from near the beginning:

Schmeltzer has aptly been called the Lady Gaga of Hasidic music. Known mononymously as “Lipa” in Orthodox and Hasidic households from the U.S. to Israel, Schmeltzer’s catalogue is widely played at Orthodox weddings, from the most conservative to the most modern. His music videos have hundreds of thousands of hits, his songs have millions of downloads. He is perhaps the only celebrity who transcends the many divisions of the Orthodox and Hasidic communities.

And yet, since the beginning of his career, Schmeltzer, now 36, has been dogged by opposition, his name virtually synonymous with controversy.

Above is “Mizrach.”

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