SABABA FEATURED IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL!
Sababa: Awesome Teen band
| Written by amy sessler Powell | Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 6:00 |
Janna Sokolow, Lauren Sliva, Sam Feinstein, Amy Sokolow and Gabe Goldman of Sababa pose before a gig at Cohen Hillel Academy.
Jewish Journal Staff
Lately, it seems that Sababa, the local teen Klezmer band, is everywhere — Brooksby Village, the JFNS annual meeting, Latkepalooza and so on.
"In the last three months, we’ve had two or three gigs a month," said Amy Sokolow, 17, lead vocalist and guitar player for the band. "Originally, we had only seven to eight songs. Now, we have two full sets."
The band has played at the Topsfield Fair, at many local temples and they will play their first bat mitzvah in the near future. They play community gigs for free as a way to give back.
"It has definitely met and gone even further than my expectations of what I would have wanted from this band when I started it," said Sam Feinstein, 17, of Peabody, founder of the band.
The band emerged from the JamSpace project through the North Shore Teen Initiative, and has since taken on a life of its own. The members are all local Jewish teens, involved in music at their schools and synagogues. They came together through either JamSpace or their knowledge of each other from the Jewish and musical communities.
Feinstein started the band with Amy Sokolow of Lynnfield. They soon added Lauren Sliva, 16, of Peabody, who plays the alto saxophone with Feinstein in many of the Peabody High School bands, and also plays for the Temple Beth Shalom ruach band. Earlier this year, they added Janna Sokolow, 14, on the keyboards. When Tali Weinstein of Marblehead moved to New Jersey, they added Gabe Goldman, 11, of Peabody on the drums. Goldman plays with Sliva at the temple.
A few months ago, Rich Sokolow, a band parent, musician and president of the JFNS, asked the band if they wanted some help, and that’s when things really turned around for Sababa, the Hebrew word for awesome.
Rich Sokolow said he got involved at the suggestion of Sam’s late grandfather, Sumner Feinstein, who had seen him lead musical programs at Temple Ner Tamid. Sokolow helps with the musical arrangements, equipment and sound checks, and booking of gigs. He communicates with the other parents, who all have to be "roadies," since the teens are too young to drive.
Amy Sliva said the kids sound so good "because they love what they are doing, As parents, we are their biggest fans and the first ones up dancing, but it’s such a nice opportunity for them."
Playing multiple gigs in the Jewish community been an interesting experience for the teens.
"I think it really opened my eyes up to how big the Jewish community is and how much they enjoy music. It is Klezmer music and a whole new style that I wouldn’t have recognized if Sam had not invited me, and really interesting and fun to play," Lauren Sliva said.
Sam Feinstein attended the BIMA summer program at Brandeis University for students to pursue artistic growth in a Jewish setting. After his second summer, he came home and told his dad he wanted to start a teen Klezmer band.
"I thought, good luck, it’s hard enough to start a rock band, let alone a Klezmer band," said Steve Feinstein.
The parents praised the work ethic of the teens. "Everyone thinks they want to be in a band until they realize how much work is involved," said Steve Feinstein.
The teens practice at least once per week for as long as three hours, but the expectation is that they will have practiced on their own and learned their parts, so they are ready to practice as a group.
Their repertoire includes Klezmer, Israeli music and some inspirational pop music like "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen or "Calling All Angels" by Train, and other songs with upbeat and spiritual messages.
In addition to playing at the recent Y2I Chanukah party and Latkepalooza community Chanukah celebration, they also played with Rick Recht in a concert at Congregation Shirat Hayam as part of the Rockfest sponsored by NSTI.
"I love the concerts we do for little kids or senior citizens. They always seem to appreciate it. I didn’t think that we were going to be as good as we are and that we would get so much local notoriety. We have learned a lot about performing, being in a group, compromising and arranging instrument parts. It’s been a learning experience and helped me meet a lot of local people," Amy Sokolow said.
I think it really opened my eyes up to how big the Jewish community is and how much they enjoy music.
Last modified on Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 06:00
Sababa's Sax player lauren sliva featured in jewish advocate article!
sababa's music director rich sokolow and his work with american idol finalist erika van pelt and north shore teen band sababa featured in journal
L-r: songwriter Richard Sokolow, record producer Anthony Resta, engineer Karyadi Sutedja and "American Idol" finalist Erika Van Pelt at the recording studio.