Friday, January 11, 2013
BDE: R. Shalom Levine OBM – the Other Half of Megam
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our good friend Rabbi Shalom Levine a”h better known as the surviving half of the duo known as MEGAMA—his partnerMoshe Yess was niftar about two years ago. As thousands of fans worldwide will attest, the signature chemistry that defined Shalom and Moshe can only be expressed as magic.
The two met in Yeshiva D’var Yerushalayim in Israel where Levine—a classically trained viola player, became Yess’s mentor in halacha and eventually his musical partner in the groundbreaking group Megama. Their vision was to communicate the
beauty and timeless values of Judaism with a musical style that was a blend of decidedly contemporary Amercian idioms including folk, R&B, Blues & Rock.
Because this was decades before promotional/marketing ‘tools” like email, viral videos,
social media etc Yess & Levine had to rely on something way more visceral to get their ‘brand’ out there… their talent. Their easygoing performance style and warm friendly charm translated well on stage and resulted in over 3 1/2 years of almost constant touring & recording. One whirlwind tour included 32 shows in 29 cities in 42 days. Shalom told us in an interview just two weeks ago that what made Megama the success it was, was the amazing degree of synchronicity these two stellar talents shared. Yess used to compose the songs himself without Shalom. He then brought the song to Shalom and played it for him. Shalom would listen intently then play it back to Moshe on his viola usually with one or two changes or tweaks, to which Moshe replied PERFECT!
Gershon Veroba posted on Facebook “ I was so lucky to have known Shalom in my lifetime and I’m devastated that our reunion was cut so short. We spent time together in the studio just 3 weeks ago for the upcoming YESS TRIBUTE Double-Album and I’m glad he had a chance to hear it and perform on it. A, a great musician a greater man…I’ll miss him.” While Levine is unfortunately gone, his music will live on thanks to the aforementioned Tribute album which brought the much sought after Levine out of “retirement” to record a performance in memory of his student, partner and friend May his neshama have an a aliyah and may we be zoche to the coming of Moshiach –-accompanied by the music and founders ofMEGAMA.
In the video below The Megama Duo explore Jewish music as they journey through the ages during a show in the 80′s