understands that music can speak in a language all its own and even if someone does not understand her lyrics' language of Hebrew they can still know and appreciate her work.
Alberstein and her band demonstrated this phenomenon Sunday night with a moving performance at in Deerfield.
Smiling as she sang, Alberstein played guitar and sang a mix of traditional Jewish and original songs before an estimated audience of 500.
“About half of those here tonight are Israeli,” Michael Lorge, the event’s organizer, said. “People who really knew her when they were growing up in Israel, for that generation, this is important music.”
Alberstein’s band was made up of herself on guitar, two other guitarists and a percussionist. Some songs also featured a ukulele and tambourine. Her band mates at times backed up Alberstein’s smooth, strong alto voice with rich, even harmony.
Some in the crowd sang along and at one point Alberstein requested the audience sing a simple melody with her.
Alberstein performed a 90-minute set of 18 to 20 songs and an encore, enthusiastically requested by the audience. She sang all but one song in Hebrew, the other in English, but despite any possible language barrier, the sentiment of her songs was clear.
She gave short introductions to most of her songs in English. Her story behind each song told one thing, while the emotion behind her voice and the band’s strong performance told another. Some followed characters in narratives while others told of a more peaceful world she someday hopes to see.
“I’ve been a fan since I was a kid,” said Mike Kramer of Skokie. “She reflects a sweetness of Israel in the 60s and 70s, when the country was well on its way, but it still seemed new.”
Rabbi Karyn Kedar thanked the audience for coming, saying music is an important part of faith. “Music crosses all boundaries,” she said. “We are uplifted to another time and place. We’re bridging Earth and Heaven with music.”
Eric Schor of Deerfield had never heard Alberstein’s music before but wanted to experience it. While he understands Hebrew, he said he feels her music transcends language. “I thought it was incredible,” he said. “Her voice is amazing.”
Lorge feels Alberstein uses music to communicate on many levels and for a greater good.
“Chava (Alberstein) understands the power of music and the abilities of music,” he said. “She is someone who shared great historical moments with us.”
The concert was a prelude to the coming Greater Chicago Jewish Festival June 10. The event is organized solely by volunteers and is completely not for profit according to Lorge. He emphasized the importance of a sense of community among the Jewish population in the area.
“Whether you’re liberal, a dove or a hawk on Israel, we are all part of that community,” Lorge said.