Gershon Veroba
Photo: Elizabeth Marie

Is this pop hit kosher?

A taste from a new pop album that offers 'Jewish' covers for popular songs, from The Bangles to Backstreet Boys

"Kosher" covers for international music hits are not a novelty in Jewish music, and countless songs have already been "converted to Judaism" for the ultra-Orthodox sector.


Admittedly, the genre may not represent creativity and originality at their best, but still there are times when a more professional product emerges. An example for this is the album "Second Impressions" by New York-based singer and producer Gershon Veroba.


Veroba's version of 'Walk like an Egyptian'


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Although in the past he produced "kosher" versions for popular hits, two years ago Veroba released a solo album titled "Reach Out" and it seemed that he was headed for a career based on his own materials.

In a conversation with Ynet Veroba admitted that he did not really want to make the new album, but was persuaded to do so after pressure from his audience whom he did not want to disappoint. "If people enjoy it so much, why not give it to them?" he said.


Veroba stressed that the new album was produced at the highest professional level, and that a lot of thought has been put into the lyrics, which are probably the most important part of the project. "By the way," he added, "these are not parodies but an attempt to give new meaning to songs of a non-religious nature and adapt them for the Jewish-religious audience."


Most artists, said Veroba, were either positive or indifferent towards the initiative to '"convert" their songs, while some "made life tough." For example, in order to get permission to use the song "Incomplete" by the Backstreet Boys Veroba had to get the signatures of 10 different people.


How did you decide which songs to "convert"?


"It's very hard work. We had close to a 100 songs from which to choose… sometimes people think that it's enough to include the words 'Torah,' 'mitzvah,' 'Messiah' and 'oy vey' and then they'll have a good Jewish song, but it just doesn't work like that. There has to be a musical justification for changing the lyrics."


The new album, which was recently released in the United States and is being distributed in Israel by RNY Productions, includes 12 pop hits from the years 1976-2007. Among them are the Backstreet Boys' "Incomplete"; "Everybody Knows God Rules the World" (based on Tears for Fears' song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World); and "Run from the Egyptians" (based on The Bangles' "Walk like an Egyptian).


Run From The Egyptians/ The lyrics

All the old paintings on the tombs

Don’t have our ancestors in the shot

They carry bricks, they’re falling down

dying on the spot

Slavedriver man by the Nile

He whipped me and now he turns to you

400 years

The suffering’s all we ever knew


Time for us to board the bus. Say

”Run from the Egyptians”


Saved by the water, Moshe

Grew up to be our super man

Walked up to Phar’oh

Said: time for the Jews to leave the land

The king kept changing his mind

His hardened heart brought the plagues of ten

Darkness & death

Came down upon all Egyptians


Royal swells in the king’s hotel say

”Run from the Egyptians”


The recipe for the bread, eighteen minutes,

maybe less, no more

Don’t you complain

Your life will be better than before

They want us back, we won’t return

we trust in one god. His name is one

He split the sea

Egyptian guards drowning as they run


Children of Israel rejoice and thanking Hashem

they see the light

They sing and dance

Accepting the Torah Moshe writes


Philistines in smithereens know

No fun for the Egyptians

Run from the Egyptians


פרסום ראשון: 06.05.09, 14:50
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