Transforming Torment Into An Aspirational Message, Singer/Writer Neshama Carlebach Navigates Life’s Complicated Moments With Grace, Dignity And Empathy
Transforming Torment Into an Aspirational Message, Singer/Writer Neshama Carlebach Navigates Life's Complicated Moments with Grace, Dignity and Empathy
"I had to rip my own soul apart to find and then reclaim my own voice"
By Speaking Her Truth, She Seeks to Inspire Those in Need of Elevation
10th Album 'Believe' Evokes Amy Grant in its Combination of Pop Melodies and Spiritually Uplifting Themes
On her new album 'Believe', singer/writer Neshama Carlebach mines an episode of personal torment to create a 12-song collection of original music that is inspiring and uplifting – "In many ways it is clear that I had to rip my own soul apart to find and then reclaim my own voice." For Carlebach, 'Believe' is an affirmation and a message to others who hope to overcome life's challenges.
The album is a warm embrace, delivering an array of songs that lift the spirit. From the anthemic 'Hear Our Prayer', featuring a gospel choir led by Pastor Milton Vann, to highlight track 'Always With Me', with its pop/country vibe that recalls mainstream crossover artists Amy Grant and Shania Twain, with a bit of Bette Midler mixed in; from the hopeful 'Shine' to the intense 'How Long', which focuses on recent school shootings, Carlebach has created music that speaks to the part of us that struggles, loses hope, needs inspiration and ultimately, seeks elevation. She aims to embolden listeners to believe they are ready to share their best selves with the world. Listen to streaming versions of the aforementioned tracks, here:
Always With Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV6UY4OW7S8
Hear our Prayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVgVsIDneiE
How Long https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxmLrATxaPY
Over her storied career, Neshama Carlebach has sold over one million albums and has toured the world. Her style finds its home amid various genres including classic Hebrew folk songs, contemporary pop music, jazz and gospel. As the first then-Orthodox woman of her generation to perform for a mixed-gender audience, she is a strong advocate for religious pluralism and human rights.
'Believe' is her tenth release and is available now. She comments on the genesis of the project: "Believe is the recording I was born to create. It took me ten recordings and two decades to get here, but here I am. Believe, for me, is living proof that we are all able to transform pain into strength if we only choose to. Each of the songs on this recording is an expression of a special moment in my life's journey. In many ways it is clear that I had to rip my own soul apart to find and then reclaim my own voice. Believe comes from that place of triumph and transcendence, and I am so very grateful. I hope this album will inspire others to speak their truths, to sing, to dance, to cry and to believe."
As alluded to above, Carlebach has endured personal challenges over the past year…in a very public way. In articles below, she offers an intimate look at the process of how to grapple with the unexpected news that someone you love has done something bad, and how to love the person but not their actions, simultaneously. Carlebach has managed to transcend the moment, finding catharsis through her music, and through an honest dialogue with her fans about an unfathomable situation. She acknowledges, "This past year has changed me. I am grateful for the lessons, for the tears, for the growth, for the music that poured through my heart." Learn more about the story in recent articles and postings, below:
'Believe' Song Notes – Written by Neshama Carlebach
Believe - To believe is a choice, to believe is to celebrate that we can transform our deepest pain into our highest strength. Some days this takes great effort, but I know, I feel, I believe, that we will find our way.
Don't Let Me Go - What happens when we feel the universe has broken up with us? When we feel cast aside and cast away from all goodness? It is at that breaking point when we find both the vulnerability and courage to scream "Don't let me go."
Hear Our Prayer - Saying "Amen" to the prayers of others, especially, when they are from a different culture and mindset, is more important today than ever before.
How Long - We are bombarded with news of anger and aggression, not only between strangers, but also with our closest others. This song is my attempt to bring awareness, healing, and inspiration where they are most needed.
Praise - This traditional Hebrew prayer has always meant so much to me. Sometimes words get in the way of all we really mean to say. In these verses, we pray that we can somehow find the right words, that we have the strength to express our deepest truths, and that somehow, even as we waver and stumble, that we might be heard.
Always with Me - This is a love song, a love letter, an acknowledgement. The words are to my children, to my father, to my husband, to God. There have been many times I have felt abandoned in my life; this song reminds me that I am never alone.
Shine - We all need that one song that uplifts the spirit and reminds us to hope and dream. This is that song for me. It reminds me, no matter what, that we have the power to choose to transcend the darkness, to rise above, and to shine.
My Light - We are in alignment with our best selves when we are in the light. In that space there is no room for fear; there is compassion, there is strength and there is hope.
Thank You – I first performed this song in the home of one of the most glorious people I've ever known, only two days before she passed away. It can be so hard to feel gratitude in the face of death and loss. I learned the depths of what "Thank you" really means on that day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghyYPw4ujKg
Only Love - This is a meditation, a melody that has entered my heart and blood. It's so deep and so simple, we need to love, we are love. If only we could really believe that….
The Highest Place - The Hebrew words of this song are a call to action, a holy challenge. We must find a new song that will lift us higher and we must do it together, collectively. We cannot reach that highest place alone.
Soul - My parents named me "Neshama Tehora"- "a pure soul"- based on this prayer. It took me many years to begin to love my name and to own their optimistic vision of what I would be. This is the first time I have ever sung my own name. It was intense but also redemptive.
'Believe' was released March 29th and is available on all digital platforms. Jackie Tepper is Executive Producer, and Album Producer is Beth Styles.
Neshama Carlebach – Biography
Neshama Carlebach is an award-winning singer, songwriter and educator who has performed and taught in cities around the world. Neshama has sold over one million records, making her one of today's best-selling Jewish artists in the world.
She collaborates with musicians of different faiths, and partners with organizations, synagogues, and churches. Neshama has been a cornerstone of major Jewish music festivals across the U.S. and globally, performing in front of thousands at an interfaith peace summit in Mt. Fuji, Japan, at the gates of Auschwitz on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and at countless concerts and gatherings for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
As the first then-Orthodox woman of her generation to perform for a mixed-gender audience, Neshama is a strong advocate for religious pluralism and human rights. She has sparked public conversations with brave forays into the place of women in Judaism and today’s world.
Neshama was one of the creators and performers of the musical Soul Doctor, which ran on Broadway. In November 2016, she was inducted into the Brooklyn Hall of Fame, where she received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her work.
Since her debut album, Soul, in 1996, she has released 10 records, each showcasing her vocal range, power, versatility, and her unique blend of various genres including classic Hebrew folk songs, contemporary pop music, jazz and gospel. Her most recent release, Believe, includes 12 all-original tracks and features her band and a new gospel choir led by Pastor Milton Vann.
Neshama began training as a singer and actress at the age of five. As a teenager she performed alongside her father, the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Today she lives in New York with her husband Rabbi Menachem Creditor, and their five children.
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