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There’s not a single song of her father’s or a single word of Hebrew on Neshama Carlebach’s new CD. Yet Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s enveloping spirit, both personal and musical, infuses her breakout project, wrapping it in the kind of warm embrace he was famous for. In fact, the album’s most striking feature — her collaboration with the Bronx-based Green Pastures Baptist Church Choir — is a nod to her father’s philosophy of reaching out to people of all religious and ethnic stripes.
The new record, “One and One,” is a “big departure from my father’s stuff. It’s a huge creative step for me, to be able to express my music in that way,” said Carlebach, a soulful singer who has gained a strong following of her own over five previous records. Rev. Roger Hambrick, the choir’s director, and 40 choir members joined Carlebach this week at Manhattan’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun for a CD release concert. Her sixth recording, “One and One” features the choir on two songs.
“The choir had been singing my father’s song, ‘Lemaan Achay’ [For My Brothers’ Sake], for years at their church,” said Carlebach. “I was very blessed to become connected with them at a Martin Luther King event [a few years ago], when I was asked to sing with them.”
Rev. Hambrick, for his part, first heard “Lemaan Achay” at a rally following the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo, where Rabbi Avi Weiss, senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, performed the song.
“I was impressed with the song, but I didn’t know who wrote it,” said Rev. Hambrick, whose choir has performed many times at the Riverdale shul. “But Rabbi [Shmuel] Herzfeld [associate rabbi of the Hebrew Institute at the time] gave me a CD of Shlomo Carlebach. I listened to it and taught it to my choir.”