This year The Philadelphia 76ers Organization have been making a lot of interesting moves to bring fans to games for better and worse. Ticket prices have been rolled back significantly, they have hosted a special Ladies Night at the stadium, and in the best move so far they brought back “The Answer” Allen Iverson. But on January 13th they’ll be doing another interesting and cool move by bringing in Matisyahu to perform after their Jewish Heritage Night.
Matthew Paul Miller (born June 30, 1979), better known by his Hebrew name Matisyahu, is an American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician.
Known for blending traditional Jewish themes with Reggae, rock and hip hop sounds, Matisyahu is most recognizable for his single “King Without a Crown”, which was a successful Top 40 hit. Since 2004, he has released three studio albums as well as one live album, two remix CDs and one DVD featuring a live concert. One of his newest most popular songs is “One Day”. Through his career, Matisyahu has worked with Bill Laswell and reggae producers Sly & Robbie
His songs are almost entirely in English with a few words of Hebrew and Yiddish sprinkled in. His reggae vocal style is along the lines of traditional Rasta Roots stylings mixed with dub sound. The easiest comparison would be similar to the conscious and cultural sides of Buju Banton, Snow, Sizzla, Capleton, or Junior Kelly, but with the upbeat message of Luciano, Bushman and Everton Blender, and vocal dexterity of Barrington Levy. The production of the tracks draws from King Tubby, Augustus Pablo, Mikey Dread, and Linval Thompson. Similarities to the Foundation Sound of the late 1970s and 1980s would be accurate, and comparisons to Morgan Heritage likewise, would not be wrong.
However, he mixes in contemporary stylings of rap and beatboxing, similar to Sublime, as well as the traditional Hazzan style of Jewish cantors and Hasidic nigunim. The generally critical New York Times’ Kelefa Sanneh notes that “His sound owes a lot to early dancehall reggae stars like Barrington Levy and Eek-a-Mouse.” The Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Pang has described a Matisyahu performance as “soul-shaking brand of dancehall reggae, a show that captures both the jam band vibe of Phish and the ska-punk of Sublime.” Reviewers generally agree that Matisyahu may disappoint reggae purists, but acknowledge the unique blend of musical traditions that Matisyahu harnesses generally please the people who see his performances. Matisyahu’s style has been compared to Jew da Maccabi, an Orthodox Jew from Florida who includes religious lyrics within a musical style derived from hip-hop.
Matisyahu has stated that “All of my songs are influenced and inspired by the teachings that inspire me. I want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think. Chasidism teaches that music is ‘the quill of the soul.’ Music taps into a very deep place and speaks to us in a way that regular words can’t.”
In 2004, Matisyahu, after having signed with JDub Records, a not-for-profit record label that promotes Jewish musicians, released his first album, Shake Off the Dust…Arise. At the time a relatively unknown musician, he did not rise to prominence until Bonnaroo 2005, when Trey Anastasio of the band Phish invited him a guest spot on his set. This would prove to be the event that launched his career.
In 2005 and 2006 he toured extensively in the United States, Canada and Europe; and made a number of stops in Israel, including a performance as the supporting act for Sting in June 2006. In late 2006, he released No Place to Be, a remix album featuring re-recordings and remixes of songs from all three of his earlier albums, as well as a cover of “Message in a Bottle” by The Police.
The live version of the song King Without a Crown, broke into the Modern Rock Top 10 in 2006. The accompanying video and album, Youth, produced by Bill Laswell, were released on March 7, 2006. On March 16, Youth was Billboard magazine’s number-one Digital Album. In 2006, he appeared once again at Bonnaroo, this time performing a solo set in front of an estimated crowd of over 10,000 people. His third album, Light was released on August 25, 2009, along with the live EP Live at Twist & Shout.
Philadelphia 76ers Press Release
Grammy-nominated recording artist Matisyahu, who blends traditional Jewish themes with Reggae, rock and hip hop sounds, will perform live after the Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks game at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday, January 13, as part of the Sixers’ â€œJewish Heritage Night.â€
The Sixers will also offer kosher food in the 11th Street Atrium from the award-winning restaurant Max & David’s.
Few artists make an impact as complete as the one Matisyahu made with his Top 40 hit â€œKing Without a Crownâ€: Here was a true original, the song announcedâ€”a Hasidic Jewish musician from New York City singing reggae songs about his religious devotion. Fans responded to this one-of-a-kind voice, driving Youth, Matisyahu’s Grammy-nominated 2006 studio disc, to the top spot on Billboard’s reggae albums chart. That album, as well as Matisahu’s previous recording â€œLive at Stubb’s,â€ went Gold.
His new album, â€œLight,â€ which debuted in the top 20 on the Billboard charts, is out now on Epic Records. Produced by David Kahne (Paul McCartney, Regina Spektor, Sublime), Matis recorded the album in Brooklyn, NY and Jamaica and got an assist from several guests Stephen McGregor, Sly & Robbie, members of Fyre Dept. and Fishbone, and others. The result is a bold new direction for an artist who has transcended cultures and genres.
Matisyahu prides himself on his close relationship with his fans, and has excelled at using today’s social networking tools to keep fans apprised of his whereabouts while on tour, as well as encouraging them to promote change via his â€œOne Day For Changeâ€ partnership with Kenneth Cole.
â€œAll of my songs are influenced and inspired by the teachings that inspire me,â€ said Matisyahu. â€œI want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think. Chasidism teaches that music is â€˜the quill of the soul.’ Music taps into a very deep place and speaks to us in a way that regular words can’t.â€
â€œJewish Heritage Night is an opportunity for the Jewish community to come together and enjoy a night of Sixers basketball,â€ said Sixers Senior Vice President Lara Price. â€œIn addition, our fans can enjoy a free post-game concert with one of the top touring musicians in the country, Matisyahu.â€
Discounted ticket packages which include a 76ers T-shirt in Hebrew writing are available for Jewish Heritage Night through most synagogues in the Greater Philadelphia Region. Individual game tickets are also available by visiting Sixers.com, by calling 1-800-298-4200 or by stopping into the Wachovia Center box office.
Tickets for the game against the Knicks and all remaining home games are available now and can be purchased exclusively through ComcastTIX at SIXERS.COM, by calling 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wachovia Complex box office.