Yosi Piamenta

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Yosi Piamenta
Piamenta performing at a concert in Jerusalem's Old City in 2009
Piamenta performing at a concert in Jerusalem's Old City in 2009
Background information
Birth nameYoseph Piamenta
Also known asYosi Piamenta
Born(1951-11-29)29 November 1951
Jerusalem, Israel
Died23 August 2015(2015-08-23) (aged 63)
New York City
GenresJewish rock, blues rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, nigunim
Occupation(s)Musician, guitarist, singer-songwriter, artist
Instrument(s)Vocals, fender stratocaster guitar
Years active1972–2015

Yosi Piamenta (Hebrew: יוסי פיאמנטה; 29 November 1951 – 23 August 2015) was an Orthodox Jewish singer-songwriter and guitarist, known for introducing the electric guitar to Jewish music.[1][2] Piamenta played rock and roll tunes, often infused with heavy rock licks and extended guitar solos – all while dressed in Orthodox Jewish religious clothing and singing Biblical Hebrew lyrics.[3] Piamenta was widely acknowledged by rock critics as a guitar virtuoso.[3]

In addition to being an original songwriter, Piamenta covered others' music in the religious Jewish music category – his album Songs of the Rebbes includes various Lubavitch, Belz, and Sephardi nigunim and zemirot[4] – as well as secular American music, such as Eric Clapton,[4] Carlos Santana,[5][6] and Jimi Hendrix.[7] Piamenta described his music style saying, "I do klezmer with electric guitar".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Piamenta was born in Jerusalem in 1951 to Yehuda and Genia Piamenta.[8] In 1962, when he was 12 years old, Piamenta moved with his family to Tel Aviv. There, he received his first guitar from his uncle, Albert Piamenta, an Israeli saxophonist.[7][9] Growing up, he practiced traditional Judaism.[9]

In his 20s, Piamenta moved to New York together with his brother, Avi Piamenta, with the intention of working on a joint album with American saxophone player Stan Getz.[9] The album was a success, but Piamenta disapproved of the entertainment industry lifestyle and turned to religion, joining the Orthodox Jewish community.[10] He married his 16-year-old cousin, Vivian, and they raised six children together; the couple separated in 2005.[7]

Piamenta lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, for over 20 years before moving back to Israel to reside near his father.[8] Piamenta said that he moved back to Israel permanently. He said, "My father, who is 80, called me in New York and said, 'Come back to Israel, be with me a little'. He never talked in that tone before, and I decided to come back. All my life I have played and made music and I won't stop. Now I will play in Israel and form a band and go abroad for gigs wherever I am invited. My base from today on is Tel Aviv".[11] His father, Yehuda, has since died.[8]

In August 2014, Piamenta, together with Avi Piamenta and Naftali Kalfa, released a single, "Yaancha," calling it a "prayer for Piamenta's recovery".[12] On 14 April 2015, Piamenta's Facebook page disclosed that "Yosi is not doing well" and asked fans to "Please pray your hearts out".[13] On 17 April 2015 Piamenta fell into a coma; he woke up from the coma two days later.[14] Piamenta underwent surgery for cancer at the Sheba Medical Center.[15] He died in New York on 23 August 2015.[1]

Musical career[edit]

In 1974, Piamenta formed a band with his brother Avi, a flutist. By 1976, the brothers had been discovered by Getz, who invited them to record with him in New York.[16] Piamenta was 26 years old when he arrived in New York and embarked on a tour with Getz throughout the United States.[16] After the tour, the Piamentas joined Getz on tour in Israel.[16] After recording an album with Getz, Piamenta became a baal teshuva (observant Orthodox Jew).[7][16]

Piamenta's fan base was bifurcated. A majority appreciated him as an iconic Jewish musician and attended his live performances at religious events and Jewish concerts and weddings. Piamenta also attracted a fan base that particularly enjoyed his interpretations of rock and blues, and his lengthy guitar solos that he usually played only at smaller concerts held in bars and clubs.[16]

In addition to his live performances, Piamenta released a series of studio albums that can be found in Jewish home in the US and Israel.[16] The Piamenta Band was one of the most-requested groups of musicians for Jewish weddings for many years.[17] Most of Piamenta's concerts and albums were performed or recorded in conjunction with his brother, Avi.[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Let's Dance with the Piamentas (1981)
  • Ezreinei K-l Chai: A Medley of Chassidic Hits (1982)
  • Mitzvah (1984)
  • Tismach (1988)
  • Piamenta 1990 (1989)
  • Songs of the Rebbes (1991)
  • The Way You Like It! (1995)
  • Strings of My Heart (1997)
  • Big Time (with Avi Piamenta) (2000)
  • Piamenta Live NYC Performance
  • Sason V'simcha: A Piamenta Wedding (with Avi Piamenta) (2003)
  • Live at Crash Mansion (with the Heavenly Jams Band) (2004)
  • Sameach - Sephardic Dance Mix (with Avi Piamenta and Shlomo Haviv) (2004)
  • Yihiyu Leratzon (with Naftali Kalfa) (2007)
  • Yosi's Niggun (by Avi Piamenta & Achiya Asher Cohen-Alloro) (2016)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hasidic Musician Yosi Piamenta Dies at 64". Arutz Sheva. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Famed Musician Yosi Piamenta Releases Song Yaancha as a Prayer for his Recovery". Yeshiva World News. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b Ramirez, Chris. "Rocking All Night, in Hebrew". New York Times. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Gehr, Richard. "Yosi Piamenta". The Village Voice. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  5. ^ Pareles, Jon. "Reviews/Music; Introducing Hasid Rock". New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  6. ^ Wieder, Paul. "A blast from the electric shofar". Jewish World Review.
  7. ^ a b c d e Ben Bresky. "Interview with Jewish Guitar Hero Yossi Piamenta". Israel National News. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Baruch Dayan Haemes. "Boruch Dayan Hoemes: Yehuda Piamenta OBM". Crown Heights Info.
  9. ^ a b c Bresky, Binyamin; Turner, Tzvi. "Interview with Yossi Piamenta". Cleveland Jewish Radio. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Yosi Piamenta Info". Facebook. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  11. ^ Col Live. "Piamenta Strung out". Chabad Lubavitch Community News Service. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Song is Prayer for Singers Recovery". Chabad Lubavitch Community News Service. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Yosi Piamenta". Facebook. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Yosi Piamenta, 'Hasidic Hendrix,' in Coma". Tablet. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Yosi Piamenta Wakes From Coma". COLLIVE Community News Service. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Guitarist Aims to be Original". Lawrence Journal World. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Yosi Piamenta". Facebook. Retrieved 15 November 2014.

External links[edit]