Monday, January 23, 2012

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Chanale

By Amy Deutsch at 11:02 am
A mom, a rock star, and an Orthodox Jew.
Chanale Fellig is a mom of two, and a Jewish rock star. But a very specific kind of Jewish rock star. Chanale is Orthodox, and follows a law called kol isha, prohibiting men from hearing women sing. We’ll let her tell you more about that in her own words below.
But even though she only plays for 50% of the population, she has a huge following. She’s just come out with her fifth CD and her first music video, called Taking Over My Heart. We’re kind of fascinated by her and we bet you will be, too.
1. What inspired you to get into music?
Growing up with six girls, we spent a lot of time singing and dancing in our kitchen to all kinds of Jewish music. Back in the eighties, practically all the Jewish music was by male soloists or boys choirs. Then Ruti Navon, a superstar from Israel, became a Ba’alat Teshuva (converted to Orthodox Judaism) and began performing for all-female venues. The first time I saw her perform, I was absolutely amazed.  I remember being mesmerized by the glamor, the passion and the confidence she had. And it was all in the realm of modesty! She wore a great big curly wig, sang with enthusiasm and made all these women so excited and happy. All of 10 years old, and I wanted in.
2. Why perform just for women and girls? Can you explain kol isha to our readers and why it’s meaningful to you?
In my opinion, singing for an audience of only women is the greatest experience a female singer can have. Women connect faster, emote deeper, and enjoy more thoroughly when they are in a room filled with only women. As a songwriter I write songs specifically with my female fans in mind so I can perform them completely focused on each and every woman and girl in the room. I don’t consider kol isha a restriction, but rather a privilege. My songs (“Perfect By Design”, “My Business”, “Her Home”) have always been custom-designed for women and I love this niche in Jewish music.
3. How did having kids change your music?
Having children has cracked my heart wide open and I am sure my fans will notice that in my latest album. My kids have taught me that life is precious and that motherhood is an all-encompassing experience that I cannot separate from my music. I sing from my heart, and my heart is filled to the brink with love for my children. So that’s what you’re gonna get from me right now.
4. Clearly you love your kids, but are there any annoying habits they’ve recently acquired that drive you nuts?
In the last few weeks, their new shtick is running out of bed, (holding hands), giggling like maniacs, like two partners in crime. I think they believe I will be less angry if they come out together, a united front, and although I can’t get enough of their cute faces, I honestly would like them to get into bed and STAY THERE!
5. On a purely superficial level, what are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing a sheitel (wig)? Are there no bad hair days?
As a girl my hair was always long and curly and had to be revived every morning or stuffed into a ponytail. My curly wig rests comfortably on a stand, and is not subjected to all the “dirty work” parenting consists of. (Really? Do I have to expand?) Most days, a wig is the answer to my prayers, instantly glamorizing my denim-skirts-and-hoodies look. As the official face of Milano wigs, I am working with them on customizing something super special for on-stage, when I need all the help I can get transforming from Mom to Star. So in my world, sheitels are a lifesaver.
6. Are you your daughters’ favorite singer? Or have they fallen to the way of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber?
My daughters are definitely fans of their mom’s music but I can’t say they haven’t been exposed to a little Taylor Swift on the side.  I AM guilty of telling them she is Jewish, though… offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children--including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies...and advice from Mayim Bialik.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Monsey Moment Take Two

Dearest Chanale!
I am responding to your performance at A.S.H.A.R. on Sunday night.I was moved by your music! Not only by your stunning voice and musical talent, but what I saw in your personality was very inspiring!I felt in your energy a lot of integration and spirituality!I would like to request please your free download song, that you offered there.I also want to comment on your blogs in your web; I liked them! Very intelligent!

Your concert was great! It was my first time seeing you in person AND singing so last night was a great night for me. Thank you so much! Your songs were great as always and thanks a lot for autographing my program

Your singing is very energizing and effective. No one else can get meto dance at a concert like that!


Hi I was at your concert yesterday in Monsey. You truly are an

inspiration to young girls your songs boost self confidence and loveof yidishkeit! I would love the download for apple ipod you mentioned yesterday! Where can I buy your CDs I would love to get for my nieces!

Hey Chana’le
Nice to see you tonight. You made my girls, and especially my youngest’s (year!!)I’m so happy I bought the new CD. Need something new to listen to in the car.Its been a full year of “I don’t need a license” Its really special how you take the time to make all the little nudniks happy. They all left on a high! Thanks again for a great evening.

You were so amazing tonight in Monsey by chabad! i just love your cds! i bought the new one.. keep it up you've got a gift from Hashem

Last night was the annual "Women Uniting Through Song" concert in Monsey.  I'm calling it annual because after experiencing a Monsey audience twice, I'll be making sure there is 'chazaka' only so this special night becomes one we can experience over and over again for years to come.

Here's how it all went down.

 This is Esther Freeman. Talented and gorgeous, she was brilliant. If you can get your hands on her new single release, do so 'cuz she is making music that MOVES people. The tear-wrenching, gut-busting, soul-searchin' kinda stuff that only a truly gifted from G-d woman can write (and sing). 
This is the Kol Isha Choir. What can I say? I'm a basket case for harmonies and they didn't hit an off-note. Pure vocal perfection. Their sweet voices filled the hall, corner to corner, and not a woman in the audience breathed until they were done. I kid you not. These gals got the crowd sitting silently like first graders on the first day of school (who have an awesome captivating teacher).
Then there was the gorgeous sparkly curtains that glowed like the brightest Chanukah Menorah in town and Esther sparkled her way through a gorgeous set of 4 powerful ballads.
These are some of the cuties in the audience. The girl in the middle? I sang at her Bas Mitzvah not long ago. Hi Rosie.
By the time I got onstage, the audience had warmed up (literally too, it was frigid in New York last night and it took some time until the heat kicked in) and were ready to absolutely live in the moment.
Malky sat in the front row and sang every word to every song. I kid you not. See Malky in purple argyle sweater.
See Malky onstage. She sang amazingly. I almost surrendered the mike to this natural tenor.
The girls agreed. It was hysterical. Maybe fifty adorable girls, red-faced, and smiley, jumping up and down like little jack in the boxes in front of the stage. I wanted to scoop them all up in a bear hug. We were totally on the same page. Until I realized some of their mothers went to school with me....
My grandfather's sister Morah Blanka. In the flesh. At my concert. My life is complete.
I leave you with my #1 fan Tzurty. I know she is for real cuz she had me sign her guitar. With a permanent marker. Now that is love.
Next Motzei Shabbos is the Russian N'shei Event where me and my choir club will be performing. It is in Crown Heights, Lubavitcher Yeshiva at about 8pm. I will update the details later this week if you would like to attend. I am going to miss these girls when we're done. 
We'll get you some video from this concert soon. Til then, have a great week.