oySongs - Love Jewish Music


Robyn Shippel
If the first word that comes to mind when you hear Shabbat Shalom is "HEY", then you are in good company. Arguably one of the most important Jewish holidays, Shabbat is the cornerstone of Jewish life. Some of our earliest and fondest childhood memories are centered around the dinner table celebrating Shabbat. The candle lighting, the blessings over the bread, wine, and our children - the songs with melodies engrained in your brain for life - it all reminds us how great it is to be Jewish, and for Robyn Shippel, it is the reason she gets excited to play music every week.

Robyn's musical career started in preschool when she was awarded the "Best Singer" award growing up in what used to be the thriving Jewish community of Miami. Educated in the same manner as most conservative Jews, Robyn started her education off in the local Jewish day school. It wasn't until middle school that she got recognized for excellence in the Miami Choral Society's Girl's Choir, and was accepted into the Talented Music Program at Southwood Center for the Arts. She began guitar lessons immediately after, transitioning from choir singer to guitarist in Highschool. Consequentially, she was asked to join SEFTY (Southeast Federation of Temple Youth) as the chapter's Songleader, which led her to spending two summers leading Camp Coleman in song. At this point, Robyn's career path was already defined or so she thought.

She entered UGA as a voice major but wound up graduating as an early childhood educator. The unique combination of singer/artist and school teacher helped her land her first gig as the Religious School Music Teacher and Specialist across the three campuses of Atlanta's MJCCA Preschool program where she still spreads ruach in many children's weekly Shabbat celebrations.

It wasn't until many years later by perchance happening, producer and drummer Bram Bessoff enrolled his daughter into the MJCCA SunShine School program, where Robyn and Bram first met. "After seeing the way these kids would get so worked up every Friday for Shabbat Sing, I just knew someone had to record this." said Bram, a long time veteran of the Atlanta music community, drummer for Soup and partner in SoundArt Records. Spending eight years touring in an alternative jam rock band, Bram was looking for a new project that was more in line with his taste for rock. Centering it around Shabbat was the unexpected part, "As of lately, I've been singing a lot of classic Jewish prayer melodies from my childhood in my head, but I would hear them set to a rock n roll soundtrack. In many ways, it was a reminder to get myself and family active in Judaism again, Robyn became the catalyst." Rather than just recording another kid's album of traditional Shabbat songs, Bram and Robyn set out on a two year journey with co-producer Steve Sparks to create a record that both Children and adults can enjoy together.

The result was Shabbat Rocks, a Judaica rock record perfect for the whole family. Kids will love singing along to the traditional melodies. Parents and adults will appreciate the rock and roll approach to the music. The album features six traditional Shabbat celebration songs along with the Friday night blessings, including an original song arrangement of the Childrens' blessing, all suitable for enhancing your weekly Shabbat rituals.

"We don't know what is in store for my future as a contemporary Jewish artist," says Robyn, "We're just doing that feels right and natural to us, spreading the joy of Shabbat to all who want to celebrate. Who knows what is next, perhaps Chanukkah rocks, there's always Purim and the double live album we'll need to record in order to cover all of Passover. There is so much to celebrate in being Jewish and so much music for us to record and perform; it could keep us busy for a lifetime."

Robyn is currently working on a tour to help spread the word of Shabbat Rocks across the nation. Learn more online at www.shabbatrocks.com, Join "The Kibbitz" to get all the news and gossip on Robyn while you visit the website. CDs are available for purchase online and Robyn runs many programs for your congregation or organization to raise funds through the sale of her CD and live performances. For booking, fundraising and general inquiries contact SoundArt Records at info@shabbatrocks.com.

View all albums by Robyn Shippel

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