Manu Lafer

Músico e Compositor



Frum is Manu Lafer’s pop and world music tribute to traditional Jewish prayer and music, recorded in New York. Although it is mainly intended for children, it also serves as a playful and educational stimulus to curiosity in adults.

Frum is a word with two meanings: a derogatory term for the stereotype of the observant Jew, but also a term of praise for those who live by this ancient tradition and are familiar with its culture and the art of its music.

The album contains 12 songs, reflecting the 12 tribes and their flags, each one with its own colors and symbols, imagined as described in the Midrash (part of the Oral Tradition) and displayed in the folder designed by Spett Art Studios.

“Frum” is also the name of one of these 12 songs. Written from the perspective of a father to his very young son, it was inspired by Randy Newman’s moving “Memo To My Son”. Newman, by the way, belongs to a family that has been successful in Hollywood and, not by chance, had his greatest hit on Toy Story, the Disney movie.

“Frum” speaks of parents’ ability to learn from their children, as well as everyone’s dream of boldly traversing the boundaries of the universe (like Superman’s cradle spacecraft or Star Trek’s spaceship mother). “Frum” and “Zhonguo”, both in English, together with “A Lente do Homem” (loosely translated as “Man’s Lens”), in Portuguese, join the main core of the nine Hebrew songs.

“Zhonguo” is about the Jewish presence in China and, reproducing the Talmud, the fundamental part of the Oral Tradition without which there would be no Judaism. It discusses the true color of the skin, a concept that allows us to understand that Jewish presence in such an unwelcoming environment. “A Lente Do Homem”, here in an Eastern European dancing mood, is Lafer’s best-known song and has been covered by Cris Aflalo, Monica Salmaso, Ná Ozzetti and Mateus Aleluia.

The songs in Hebrew comprise one by Dorival Caymmi (with lyrics by the poet Yaakob Shabtai) and eight from the liturgy. Seven of these belong to the weekly Shabbat service and Psalm 139, for which Lafer wrote the tune in honor of the Steinsaltz family, completes the ensemble.

The Jewish presence in pop music, which is not as well-known as it is in classical, folk or in the American Songbook and jazz, was studied by journalist Scott Benarde. In Frum, the arrangements were pop oriented (to make it different from the records that successfully use the erudite, folk or jazz styles) and written by producer Sandro Albert. Albert created the introductions, intermezzos and codas for the songs, opted for a surprisingly rarely used instrument – the oboe – throughout the tracks, played by exquisite erudite musician Michelle Farah.

Swami Junior recorded the acoustic guitar faithful to the conception and birth of the song Zhonguo. Amos Hofmann is an Israeli who moved to the US and is internationally acclaimed as an expert on oud, an instrument that Brazilian arranger Lincoln Oivetti had already used in Lafer’s song “Ta Shema”, included in the album of the same name, that originally caught the ear of John Pizzarelli, with whom Lafer has being collaborating ever since. Lionel Cordew (Spyro Gira) and Bashiri Johnson (Michael Jackson) are among the greatest names in the world, in drums and percussion.

Vocal virtuoses Darryl Tookes and Sachal Vassandani had their vocals enhanced by the energy and joy of Pam Steebler and Iara Negretti. Eletric bass, by Alex Blake, and acoustic bass, by Michael O’Brian lead all the songs confidently.

1. Frum
No Tony, No Grammy, No Emmy, No Oscar
No Score, No Nobel, No Prize
When people stare, they tug and seize
The good extracted from them

How come, they don’t know me?
I’ll never repair them
Our Joys, Our Pains, Our Blessings
There was a day i couldn’t walk
And now who’s crawling with me?

I father my father, My mother inherits
From me or actually you
The sun exists, It moves and sings
Or waits in silence with us

Life is better than a miracle
Me and your mother dance
Running away, Coming back and again
On endless earth, As a soul does to GOD
Bold as a pod, Out-and-out as a tot
Where no man has gone before,
With no harm in his realms

Humming the through and the words of a tune (2x)
Only you can talk me through
Frum, Frum, Frum, Frum, Frum, Frum, Frum

Manu Lafer – voz

2. Zhonguo
Jew the world
And world the Jew
Shanghai, Kaifeng, Harbin, Hong Kong

Our skin’s not dark as a cushite,
Not white as Ashkenaz
We’re kins of many skins

Manu Lafer – voz

Where to find

Tratore Deezer ITunes Spotify

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