Exile And Redemption is a fitting description for a time of social distance, but have you ever attended a Neo-Hasidic Rock Opera? Enter Philadelphia-based songwriter Aryeh Shalom, a man of shattered dreams and transformation, who draws from Hasidic legend and existential family struggle to create a visual album that is Broadway meets Baal Shem Tov (the founder of the Hasidic movement).
As Ringo Starr once said, “Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues”. Traumatic life events make for heartfelt ballads. Imagine having your children ripped away at the beginning of your divorce leading to a manic-depressive hospitalization. The creation of “Exile And Redemption: A Neo-Hasidic Rock Opera”, has seen two marriages, the birth of three daughters, two divorces, and the passing of Shalom’s mother. Now we are invited to experience expressions of this journey.
The album, co-produced with Barrie Maguire (Amos Lee, Natalie Merchant, Wallflowers), was originally meant to be a lone conceptual album exploring the mystery of Judaism and the meaning of life. But after his second divorce, Shalom found inspiration and solace in a portrait of the Hasidic tale, “The Baal Shem Tov, the shepherd boy & his flute”: folklore depicting the life of an illiterate and ostracized child and his desperate attempt to transcend and connect to God.
Aryeh Shalom’s music is reminiscent of Dylan, Marley, Stevens & The Grateful Dead’s prophetic spirit, and like The Beatles, stylistically, his music might be considered Adult Contemporary Rock and Baroque Pop: “A fusion genre that combines rock with particular elements of classical music.” – Wikipedia
“Exile And Redemption: A Neo-Hasidic Rock Opera” is composed of 12 songs and music videos encompassing one epic story. The first debut single and corresponding music video “A Little Peace In Our Time”, will be released on Tuesday, September 15. The second chapter/music video will premier along with the full debut album on Tuesday, October 13. Additional chapters/music videos will premier once a month over the course of the year. “Exile & Redemption” will be made available on Amazon Prime in its entirety as a full length feature at the end of 2021, and is currently being adapted as a live “Broadway-style” musical production.
In a generation where we are surrounded by daily reminders of being alone, Shalom’s debut visual album aims to strengthen and raise the spirit of the heart-broken and solitary individual – through thematic music and timeless tales of G-d’s unwavering immanence and unconditional love throughout our lives trials and tribulations.