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New York - VIN Exclusive Interview: MBD Says New Release Will Be His Final Album

Published on: October 2, 2011 01:00 PM
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New York - Thirty eight years after the release of his first album, Mordechai Ben David Sings Original Chasidic Niggunim, the man who has been called the undisputed king of Jewish music has announced the release of what will be his final album.

The album, titled Kisufim, is slated to be released on Tuesday by Aderet Music and will contain fourteen songs, including ten new compositions and four old niggunim, two of which date back a century or more and features significant vocal contributions by the Shira Choir.

Werdyger, who composed several of the songs on Kisufim, described this album as having a very different flavor than his most recent hit album, Kulam Ahuvim, whose songs have proven to be a mainstay on the wedding circuit.

“This particular album is a very warm, chasidishe album, something I have wanted to do for many, many years, and I plan to sign off with it.  It is a mix of new material and old nigunim, with original material by Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, Yitzchak Fuchs and myself.  I am madly in love with it.”

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In an exclusive interview with VIN News, MBD spoke about his decision and the current state of Jewish music.

VIN:  Is this really your last album?
MBD: That is the current plan.

VIN:  Does this announcement mean you are leaving the Jewish music scene entirely?
MBD:  I am only retiring from albums.

VIN: What made you take this step?
MBD:  Putting together an album is too much work. People don’t realize how much goes into an album.  Unfortunately, electronic media has destroyed the CD business and even the biggest secular companies are going under because people just download music they find online.
The way it is right now, it really doesn’t pay to do an album.

VIN: In that case, what does the future hold for Jewish music?
MBD:  Moshiach will come and we will have the music of the Leviyim in the Beis Hamikdash.

VIN:  What are your thoughts on current Jewish music?
MBD: Unfortunately I really have no time to listen and don’t really know what is going on in Jewish music.  I do know that it has taken a completely different direction and Chasidic music is no longer Chasidic music. 

VIN:  What do you think is missing in today’s Jewish music?
MBD:  Hartz, which has to be the main ingredient in any album.  If music doesn’t come from the heart it is nothing. 

VIN: What do you think is the reason you are still around and popular so many years later?  MBD: Siyata d’ishmaya.

VIN: Thank you for your time.

A member of one of Jewish music’s most heralded families, Mordechai Ben David’s musical career began when his father, the legendary Chazan Dovid Werdyger, overheard him playing original musical compositions and suggested he record an album of his own, which was released in 1973.  Kisufim will be MBD’s thirty sixth full length solo album, in addition to four singles and having appeared on over thirty five other albums in his very lengthy career.  MBD has become a fixture on the concert circuit with numerous appearances in the HASC concert series and the annual Chabad Telethon.  Many of his classic songs remain as popular today as they were when they were first released years ago.


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Read Comments (37)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:05 PM bubbygreen Says:

he will surely be missed!!!!

3

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:10 PM Anonymous Says:

smart move. While I like his music, his last few albums have seems to be repetitive and lacked the freshness of his earlier releases. Better to retire while at your peak. There are too many "old rockers" from the 60s and 70s still doing tours and trying to relive the "old days". The good news is that we have such wonderful new singers like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition.

4

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:15 PM Mordechai Says:

As some one who has he same name as him (my name is Mordechai Ben Dovid) i will surly miss him, i wish him much Hatzlacha.

5

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:22 PM MosheBP Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

smart move. While I like his music, his last few albums have seems to be repetitive and lacked the freshness of his earlier releases. Better to retire while at your peak. There are too many "old rockers" from the 60s and 70s still doing tours and trying to relive the "old days". The good news is that we have such wonderful new singers like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition.

I'm sorry but MBD is not on the same page as Lipa, mbd is much higher class then lipa,

6

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:27 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #2: in no way should Lipa be compared to MBD, MBDs songs are outright beautiful and deep, lipa's however- unfortunately- are too often too goyish and not 'toichndig'

7

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:27 PM MBD Fan Says:

Long Live The King!!

8

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:29 PM drivethru Says:

in response to Anonymous, are you kidding me?? if MBD would be releasing albums in twenty years from now I'll still listen to him over ANYBODY. "like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition".realllly?????

9

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:36 PM Anonymous Says:

To Nos. 5 and 6: I didn't intend for this to become one of those "how can you compare sholime to yankel" postings. My only point is that we have great new artists like Lipa, Matisyahu and several others who will continue the tradition of yiddeshe music but with a contemporary flair. If you are one of those who think MBD was "the king" than you are entitled to your tin ear.

10

 Oct 02, 2011 at 01:42 PM eighthcomment Says:

IYH, MBD - Moshiach ben Dovid, will come and we will all sing in the beis Hamikdosh this year! Tehai Shnas Ayin BeAyin!

13

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:01 PM duddy202 Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

smart move. While I like his music, his last few albums have seems to be repetitive and lacked the freshness of his earlier releases. Better to retire while at your peak. There are too many "old rockers" from the 60s and 70s still doing tours and trying to relive the "old days". The good news is that we have such wonderful new singers like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition.

Matisyahoo? Really?

14

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:13 PM shtill Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

smart move. While I like his music, his last few albums have seems to be repetitive and lacked the freshness of his earlier releases. Better to retire while at your peak. There are too many "old rockers" from the 60s and 70s still doing tours and trying to relive the "old days". The good news is that we have such wonderful new singers like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition.

Lipa and Mattisyahu do not carry on the MBD tradition - their singing is sacrilege. While they are both talented singers in their own right, but they lack the heart and vocal dynamic of MBD.

15

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:30 PM FinVeeNemtMenSeichel Says:

All of you hating on Lipa are also asidim litein es hadin.

I play/compose music myself, having done so since I was eight years old. My point is I know music. Love good music, my ears hurt when I hear bad music. I think Lipa's music is beautiful, hartzig and inspirational. And its also cool. I dont care for Matisyahu's music but I don't hate him for it.

16

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:31 PM Benjey Says:

MBD YOU spoiled us for so many years the neshameh and hartz that you put into a song MBD, YOSSELE, SHLOMO, AND FREID are gona go down in history as the greatest singers . yes there could always be another talented singer but like the third yossele told somone claiming to be the second yossele there could be a third but never a second same goes to MBD thanks Mordechai we will miss you.

17

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:42 PM ChochmasIshaBB Says:

Many 'jewish ' niggunim come from peasant songs in Russia / Ukraine and the like . When someone takes music from a 'goyish' song and puts jewish thgoughts/words to it , it becomes jewish. Lipa is great , but MBD ,Avraham Fried and Jo Amar r classics. Mattisyahu was what u call 'alternative music ' and was good at the beg.

18

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:44 PM 2ches Says:

Mattisyahu has absolutly nothing to do with MBD. And lets be honest, as much as MBD is the king, lipa has brought a whole new style to Jewish music which MBD has incorporated into his last few albums.

19

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:50 PM Times Change Says:

Just think.... In 25 years most of the listeners to Jewish Music will think Schwecky & LIPA are from a bygone era. That being said, with Lipa's ability or willingness to adapt, he may be a 'name' longer. Let's face it, when I was growing up the generation before me thought Carlbach was king but I couldn't understand the 'gadlus' in someone who played a guitar, whistled, and needed a haircut.

20

 Oct 02, 2011 at 02:52 PM MBD Big time fan!! Says:

"Mordcha Hatzadik" your albums are amazing and we can never get bored of even one song or Kniench. Your talent has no limits and NO ONE comes close to you. The olem Hanegina considers you as a gift from Heaven. I wish you lots of Hatzlocha and may we still hear you singing at many Simchas to come Ad Biass Goal Tzedek V"ad Bchlal!!

21

 Oct 02, 2011 at 03:48 PM ChochmasIshaBB Says:

Many 'jewish ' niggunim come from peasant songs in Russia / Ukraine and the like . When someone takes music from a 'goyish' song and puts jewish thgoughts/words to it , it becomes jewish. Lipa is great , but MBD ,Avraham Fried and Jo Amar r classics. Mattisyahu was what u call 'alternative music ' and was good at the beg.

22

 Oct 02, 2011 at 05:10 PM UseYourHead Says:

Sadly, there is nobody in the contemporary Jewish Music world who even bears a meaningful comparison to MBD (with all due respect to the many other talented singers we are zocheh to). He is simply unparalleled. When you consider the breadth of styles he has covered through the many decades of his illustrious career, it is almost astounding. The man can do it all, and with superb singing and true Yiddishe ta'am. May Hashem bless him with the ability spread joy Ad Bias Goel.

23

 Oct 02, 2011 at 04:16 PM sabbes Says:

mbd have really nice nigunim!
why is this the last album?

24

 Oct 02, 2011 at 05:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Mordechai ben david obviously appealed to the older generation that liked their nigunim to sound like they were composed for the rebbe's tisch in the alte heim. I've seen the reaction from the younger generation of yeshiva bochurim and BY girls to his music and to them, his sound is like chalk on a blackboard compared to the more contemporary nusach of Lipa et. al.

25

 Oct 02, 2011 at 05:43 PM Authentic Says:

As a follower of Jewish music for many decades, the only one that gets anywhere near the "hartzig" stuff of the legendary MBD is his nephew Yisroel Werdyger, who just gave out his 2nd disc "ashirah va'zamrah"
what reminds me of MBD is the depth of his voice, notably in the song "hineni heani" which we all heard in shul on RH.
and after all, yisroel is a g-son of chazan david, son of mendy, so "the apple doesnt fall far from the tree"!!

26

 Oct 02, 2011 at 06:37 PM cbd Says:

I like MBD but love Reb Avreimel more!
Keep it up both of u!

27

 Oct 02, 2011 at 06:52 PM 5TResident Says:

I grew up listening to MBD on Art Raymond's "Morning Simcha" and "Afternoon Simcha" on WEVD 35 years ago. I still have two of his early albums, "Neshama" and "I'd Rather Pray and Sing". He's brought so much happiness to the frum world over the past 40+ years. I wish him all the best.

28

 Oct 02, 2011 at 07:02 PM BB Says:

MBD is king! He will surely be missed. I seem to remember rumors that "Moshiach" would be his last album. Hopefully he will change his mind again.
And to all of you comparing him unfavorably to other contemporary singers, saying one is great doesn't take away from the others greatness. Each have their own specialty.
Remember it's Tzom Gedalya, not every post has to create negative comments

29

 Oct 02, 2011 at 08:53 PM DrMSPhD Says:

I like some of his songs and some I don't like.

But to take the words from Unsenah Tokef and put them to a eurotrash trancy tune is surely proof enough that he reached his low. For those of you that are saying that he is now at his peak - I beg to differ.

30

 Oct 02, 2011 at 10:16 PM ShlomoH Says:

Reply to #29  
DrMSPhD Says:

I like some of his songs and some I don't like.

But to take the words from Unsenah Tokef and put them to a eurotrash trancy tune is surely proof enough that he reached his low. For those of you that are saying that he is now at his peak - I beg to differ.

Which song and what words are you referring to? I know all the MBD songs and am not familiar with what you're talking about.

31

 Oct 03, 2011 at 01:22 AM BruceS Says:

Yomim al yemai melech toisif...relax people he only said no more CD's!

32

 Oct 02, 2011 at 11:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
ShlomoH Says:

Which song and what words are you referring to? I know all the MBD songs and am not familiar with what you're talking about.

Unsenah Tokef is a tefillah from the rosh hashana muaf and was written by a great tzadik who was niftar al kiddush hashem when he retracted his original willingness to convert to Catholicism. The MBD version gives this standard of old "chazanus" a new feeling by setting is to a very contemporary niggun with a really nice beat.

33

 Oct 03, 2011 at 02:55 AM Der Muzikant Says:

Reply to #27  
5TResident Says:

I grew up listening to MBD on Art Raymond's "Morning Simcha" and "Afternoon Simcha" on WEVD 35 years ago. I still have two of his early albums, "Neshama" and "I'd Rather Pray and Sing". He's brought so much happiness to the frum world over the past 40+ years. I wish him all the best.

So did I and so do I - I remember Art Raymond well and I've probably had to replace Pray and Sing 4 times between the end of vinyl, the end of cassettes and losing a copy somewhere along the way :). MBD had a long and great run but he realizes that he needs to move on at least as far as albums are concerned. Still, he really created the entire genre of frum pop and he will be missed.

Lipa is not in the same league as MBD - he is in a league of his own as he, too, created something new by fusing music and badchonus/comedy. Michoel Schnitzler then joined him and became part of the popular Jewish music world after years of success as a badchan.

I guess MBD's place at the top is now taken by Avraham Fried, whose style really is totally different. Shwekey tries to imitate MBD but really doesn't come close.

34

 Oct 03, 2011 at 04:06 AM CSLMoish Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

smart move. While I like his music, his last few albums have seems to be repetitive and lacked the freshness of his earlier releases. Better to retire while at your peak. There are too many "old rockers" from the 60s and 70s still doing tours and trying to relive the "old days". The good news is that we have such wonderful new singers like Lippa and Matisyahu who carry on the MBD tradition.

Lipa does not come close to mbd as he's a songwriter at best. Mbd should have retired 10 years ago.

35

 Oct 03, 2011 at 04:59 AM RimnitzNews Says:

Mbd. was mashbak from highly rimmtzer rebbe ztkl.for many years,together with his close freind moshe berkowitz,when werld is gavan werld ..

Exclusive on new cd from the King of Jewish Music he is singig highly nigan hazkiri from rimnitzr rebbe zu"e.

36

 Oct 03, 2011 at 10:26 AM PMOinFL Says:

This conversation is deja vu for me!

I remember being fascinated by the Rabbi's Sons when I was growing up. My parents were LIVID! They thought it was pop-music infiltrating our lives.

By the time MBD came around, my parents were of the mindset that the rock-n-roll culture had taken over and that MBD would cause people to go off the derech.

Now, we hold MBD as the standard bearer and the one we compare all others to.

I remember when Lenny Solomon created Shlock Rock, and people were shouting from rooftops that this rock music would destroy us.... and yet it became a most incredible road TO Judaism for the unaffiliated, not the other way around.

Music styles are a reflection of the times. There is no such thing as a good or bad style. It is about personal taste and what reaches your neshoma. For some, MBD's voice and soaring melodies stirred their neshamos like never before, for others it did nothing. That's the MAGIC of music. That's the ART of music.

Just like some people love the paintings of Amram Ebgi, others love Peter Max, while others love Thomas Kinkade. All masters in their own right, the same is true of music.

37

 Oct 03, 2011 at 10:50 AM ShlomoH Says:

Reply to #32  
Anonymous Says:

Unsenah Tokef is a tefillah from the rosh hashana muaf and was written by a great tzadik who was niftar al kiddush hashem when he retracted his original willingness to convert to Catholicism. The MBD version gives this standard of old "chazanus" a new feeling by setting is to a very contemporary niggun with a really nice beat.

I didn't ask for the history of "Unsaneh Tokef". I'm asking you which MBD song you are talking about. I'm not familiar with MBD singing any song to the holy words of Unsaneh Tokef, unless you are referring to his song on "Brosh Hashanah" to a fast moving beat, which was inspired by his learning of Likutai Muaharan of R' Nachman. So please elaborate and explain, because you don't make yourself clear.

38

 Oct 03, 2011 at 10:53 AM ShlomoH Says:

Reply to #36  
PMOinFL Says:

This conversation is deja vu for me!

I remember being fascinated by the Rabbi's Sons when I was growing up. My parents were LIVID! They thought it was pop-music infiltrating our lives.

By the time MBD came around, my parents were of the mindset that the rock-n-roll culture had taken over and that MBD would cause people to go off the derech.

Now, we hold MBD as the standard bearer and the one we compare all others to.

I remember when Lenny Solomon created Shlock Rock, and people were shouting from rooftops that this rock music would destroy us.... and yet it became a most incredible road TO Judaism for the unaffiliated, not the other way around.

Music styles are a reflection of the times. There is no such thing as a good or bad style. It is about personal taste and what reaches your neshoma. For some, MBD's voice and soaring melodies stirred their neshamos like never before, for others it did nothing. That's the MAGIC of music. That's the ART of music.

Just like some people love the paintings of Amram Ebgi, others love Peter Max, while others love Thomas Kinkade. All masters in their own right, the same is true of music.

Well said!!

39

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