Matthew Paul Miller, better known as Matisyahu, doesn’t play by the rules. This Hasidic Jewish reggae artist blends his traditional Jewish roots with hip hop beats and a reggae style to create a genre that is all his own. Matisyahu plays the Egyptian Room at the Old National Theatre (Murat) along with Tea Leaf Green, a San Fran based jam band Wednesday, July 13. Tickets to this Indianapolis music event are $23 in advance and $25 at the door. Head to Indianapolis downtown to enjoy something truly different!
Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Matthew Miller was raised as a Reconstructionist Jew in White Plains, New York. As a youngster Matisyahu proclaimed himself a Phish-head and garnered musical influence from the jam band Phish, who he followed on tour. In 1995, his high school offered a program that gave students a chance to explore Jewish heritage over two months. During this time, his understanding of the faith grew, prompting him to adopt Orthodox Judaism. In 2001 he became a Ball teshuva, meaning “one who has repented” or “returned to God.”
After he adopted Hasidism, Matisyahu began studying the Torah at Hadar Hatorah. While their he wrote his first album, under the influence of musicians like Bob Marley, Phish, God Street Wine and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. In 2004, he signed with the not for profit record label JDub Records, whose mission is to promote Jewish musicians. Under their umbrella, Matisyahu released Shake Off The Dust…Arise. The next year his musical hero, Trey Anastasio of Phish, invited him to play a guest spot with the band at Bonnaroo. Matisyahu had arrived.
Since then, the Hasidic reggae musician has toured the United States, Canada and Europe, with a number of stops in Israel. Throughout his globe trotting, he never plays on Fridays, as an observance of the Sabbath in his faith. However, he made one exception when playing Fairbanks, Alaska in 2007, because the sun did not set until 2:00 am.
His artistic style fuses contemporary rap, beatboxing and hip hop with the more traditional jazz discipline of scat singing and Judaism’s hazzan style of songful prayer. More often than not, his songs are set to a reggae background, giving him a swinging style when performing. “All of my songs are influenced and inspired by the teachings that inspire me,” says Matisyahu. “I want my music to have meaning, to be able to touch people and make them think. Hasidim 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 word can’t.”
Hear this wonderful musical anomoly at the Egyptian room at the Old National Centre with jam band Tea Leaf Green.
Tea Leaf Green
This San Francisco based jam band has been making music together since 1996. With more than a decade of experience under their belts, they have been going strong since their formation at San Francisco State University, where the student band members first converged. Though the band began by producing big sweeping songs like “Professor’s Blues” and “Asphalt Funk,” over time they have pared down their sound to feature more focused songwriting with frenetic soloing.
In the early 2000s, the band was an integral part of a burgeoning San Francisco rock scene that focused on improvisation and experimentation. Since then, Tea Leaf Green has performed across North America and Europe.
Don’t miss this incredible double header featuring Tea Leaf Green and Matisyahu at the Egyptian Room in Indianapolis downtown. Located a stone’s throw away from the Indianapolis cultural district, Mass Ave. Take a stroll on the avenue before the show and grab dinner at any of these Indianapolis restaurants. Afterward, grab drinks at any of these Indianapolis bars.
Matisyahu and Tea Leaf Green
Wednesday, July 13 at 7:30 pm
Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
502 North New Jersey Street