San Francisco, USA – Five Souls Music has released
Richard Kaplan‘s second album, Life
Of The Worlds (FSM CD 510). The noted cantor, teacher, and ethnomusicologist
has embarked upon a spirited exploration of sacred music from throughout the
Jewish Diaspora. Fans of the late
Haza will revel in his treatments of Sephardic, Mizrachi, and Ashkenazic
material from Yemen, Afghanistan, Morocco, Andalusia (Spain), and Eastern Europe
– songs of exultation, grief, love, and longing for the divine. Fronted by Mr.
Kaplan’s high baritone, the tunes are interpreted by a hand-picked
ensemble of master musicians via acoustic arrangements with a slight jazzy edge.
The CD is accompanied by a 32-page booklet, which includes detailed song
descriptions. All lyrics are provided in the original languages with
transliteration plus complete English translationsWhile every selection on the album has intense personal meaning for Mr. Kaplan,
he is especially passionate about the 4th track, Kinah Lekhurban Gan Eden. In
it, ancient laments about the destruction of the Two Temples are transformed
into a modern prayer for the endangered larger temple that is Gaia, or Mother
Earth. “I re-sculpted this piece over a period of years,” he says, I describe
this genre of song as an “eco-lament.”
Richard Kaplan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been successful as a
R&B singer, stand-up comedian, college professor, jazz pianist, early music
practitioner, and narrowly avoided superstardom as a member of Michael Janusz’s
“Morning of the World” group. In 1997, following years of intensive study, Mr.
Kaplan was named cantor of Temple Beth Abraham, a Conservative synagogue in
Oakland, California, a position he still occupies. Mr. Kaplan’s debut CD,
Tuning The Soul, (1999) received rapturous print reviews and major radio
airplay, selling thousands of copies despite a lack of formal distribution. He
is currently giving workshops and concerts, and making bookstore appearances,
throughout Cthe United States.