The Nigun Revival Project: Silent Song
Niggun revival project with Jeremiah Lockwood of Sway Machinery. Listen to Jeremiah Lockwood perform with Basya Schechter at Forward.com
Pharaoh's Daughter on NPR and other podcasts
Check out these podcasts of radio broadcast that Basya and the members of Pharaoh's Daughter have recorded this summer:
PRI's The World - Syndicated on over 130 NPR stations across the U.S., the daily news program, The World, interviewed Basya about her upbringing and her new album.
WNYC's Soundcheck - John Schaefer interviews Basya about Haran, and the whole band plays live in the studio.
WFUV's Take Five - Basya talks with Rita Houston about Haran, and small PD ensemble plays in studio.
National Geographic podcast - An interview with Basya.
Basya performed with Matt Turk and fellow Pharaoh's Daughter member Meg Okura at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday, June 26 as both a celebration of 40th anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem and the announcement of the Oyhoo: NY Jewish Music & Heritage Festival. Pharaoh's Daughter will be performing on Jewzapalooza, Sept. 9th in Riverside Park as one of the featured artists. Mayor Bloomberg enjoyed the show and was given a the new CD Haran.
Well-Attended, Amazing, Delightful, World-Beat, Unprecedented, Encore! Encore!
Those are just some of the words to describe the latest and most successful Pharaoh’s Daughter show ever at the newly opened Highline Ballroom. Basya Schechter and her band of world-class musicians put on a show that highlighted the excellence and scintillating world-beat vibe of her latest album, Haran. The band kept the crowd cheering and yearning for more, and won over a whole slew of new fans. We expect great things in the future from Pharaoh’s Daughter, and look forward to seeing you all at a show soon!
National Geographic World Music Podcast
"This week we talk with singer/songwriter Basya Schechter, who leads the band "Pharaoh's Daughter." This New York City based group fuses Middle Eastern and Jewish sounds with a dark, indie pop sensibility, making music that has traditional roots, and a hip, modern edge."
Spotlight on Pharaoh's Daughter
"Basya Schechter is one of the most talented and creative musicians
that I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Her band, Pharaoh's Daughter,
is a high quality musicial project that's about as close to perfection as
you could ever hope to hear."
Paul Autry, Dec. 2003
"Basya's music borrows echoes from the prayer filled cadences of her youth as
fervently Orthodox girl in the haredi world of Borough Park, Brookyn, weaves them
with Middle Eastern syncopation nad ties it all in with her hip New York Chick's
ironic sensibility to create something totally original."
Debra Nussbaum, JTA
"Her stage persona is as down-home as Phish or Cheryl Wheeler. I was especially
blown by her singing so emotionally and smoothly over such complicated middle eastern
rhythms. What came to mind was Paul Simon's last CD, or the Beatles during their
Indian Raga period, which is pretty heady company indeed."
TIKKUN, Yaakov Gabriel, 2002
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Pink Floyd and PJ Harvey crossed paths in a cafe in Israel and subsequently took a road trip to South Africa? What if they met up with Radiohead in Morocco along the way? The result would be close to what you'll find in Haran, the latest achievement of the Jewish folk group, Pharaoh's Daughter. Infusing an eclectic instrumental blend of traditional Judaic tunes with Arabic rhythm and African beats, Haran is an infectiously beautiful album full of haunting joy. Read More »
- Katharine Heller - newyorkcool.com - July 2007
Thousand-year-old Sabbath songs (zmirot, not Ozzy), Hebrew- and Aramaic-language vocals, and Kabalistic poetry — exactly what comes to mind when you think hip downtown band, right? On their fifth album, the ancient, worldly Judaica that’s inspired the NYC-based Pharaoh’s Daughter blends better than ever with the secular modernism of the indie world. Crisp, pinpoint rhythms, rumbling, insistent bass, and Fillmore-era organ lines flirt with Eastern oud, santur, and kamanche as the reverent gets along famously with the edgy. Front and center is Basya Schechter, the group’s beguiling, much-traveled vocalist, whose malleable, often multi-tracked vocals take flight amid the airtight, shape-shifting ensemble playing. Schechter captivates, whether she’s singing nigun (wordlessly), as on “By Way of Haran,” or retelling the tale of “Hagar” (Biblical, not Sammy). Overt West African and Arabic melodic and harmonic principles inform, respectively, “Askinu,” with its jewel-like kora, and the Ladino folk of “Ven Hermosa.” But the wild jam-band takeoff of “Enpesare,” with its runaway drums and accordion/bass duel, is no less comfortable or unexpected within Pharaoh’s Daughter’s divine communion of the spiritual and the terrestrial.
- by Jeff Tamarkin - thephoenix.com - July 2, 2007 - Rating: 3.0 stars
"The spiritual kid sister of Ofra Haza checks in with something that's Jewish but sure ain't Klezmer. World beat with roots in Aramaic and Kabbalah bases, this is a spirited set that gleefully mixmasters lessons learned as Basya Schechter moved across the world and picked and chose elements she wanted to assemble her identify from. Certainly a spirited set that reflects the youthful, progressive side of world beat, this can be as at home in clubs as anywhere else. Wild stuff that plays with abandon and is sure to grab your ears."
- Midwest Record
"Turkish hash bars meet Hasidic Brooklyn juke joints with '70's era psych rock well in tow. That is the perfect description of what's in store for a listener of the magical journey subtly titled "Haran". Raised among a religious upbringing, the bandleader and vocalist Basya Schechter evokes images of rebellion with her love of Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones. But its rock heroes who've graciously lent their wisdom to her willing ears and lead her to help fashion one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring world beat albums of the year."
- J-Sin, Smother
"Haran was the starting place for the journey of Abraham, and this sumptuous album of Hasidic psychedelic rock ranges just as widely. Pharaoh's Daughter deploy a rich range of musical colours: Ray-Manzarek-style keyboards on "By Way Of Haran", a frenetic hammered santur solo on "Ka Ribon", kora on "Askinu", spike fiddles and ney flutes elsewhere. Basya Schechter's vocals range from wordless nigun to Biblical, Ladino and Kabbalistic texts. Haran is intricately detailed, inventive and endlessly surprising."
- David Honigmann; Financial Times, London
"PD is the magical child of once-Orthodox multi-instrumentalist Basya Schecter. Tonight's the record release for Haran, which sounds even more layered and complex in its Middle Eastern instrumentation and world-beat fusion than her previous (and equally excellent) releases."
- Bosler, Village Voice
Basya and Friends: Uncategorically Awesome
Last night's Pharaoh's Daughter show at the new Highline Ballroom -- a partially Jewcy-endorsed record release party -- made me extremely happy to be alive.
Basya Schechter is the real deal: when she's in the room, sniveling shreds of persistent irony pretty much run for cover. Endless categorizing of this crazy new kind of Jewish identification -- hey, anyone heard of this new magazine called Heeb? Apparently hip kids today are, like, into being Jewish! Maybe they'll all marry Jews and reproduce! Look, a menorah full of dildos! OMG, "vodka" rhymes with "latke"! -- seem ever more inconsequential and lame in the face of such deeply felt, widely-based, religiously unquantifiable, utterly solid music. Not that it's an either/or proposition; there's certainly room for whatever kind of allegedly "hipster" "movement" any Jewish Telegraphic Agency reporter cares to earnestly relay. But it comes down to this: a dozen superb musicians -- from Israel, Japan, Switzerland, America, and Africa -- led in Hebrew, Ladino, and Arabic song by the magnificent, Yeshiva-educated Schechter, is a triumph of substance and style.
That said, Tahl had better be sorry he stood me up.
- Elisa Albert, "Pharaoh's Daughter: For Reals," May 15, 2007, Jewcy.com
"Now compare that to Basya Schechter and her band, Pharoah's Daughter (below) performing Kah Ribon (a piece from their upcoming album "Haran.") Pharaoh's Daughter is one of the truly talented groups producing new Jewish music today, synthesizing a vast array of musical influences (Indian ragas, Arabic folk, hasidic niggunim) to create something both original yet utterly authentic."
- SHALOM RAV: Rabbi Brant's blog
"This highly anticipated release lives every bit up to expectations, and then some. With help from producer Fred Rubens, the album showcases the band's signature Middle Eastern sound with modern-day grit and attitude. It features the earnest vocals and oud and saz playing of leader Basya Schechter as well as stellar performances by core band members playing violin, bass, organ, recorders, accordian, drums, and percussion. Rounding it out are solid guest performances including Alan Kushan on santur, Adam Levy (of Norah Jones' band) on guitar, and others. This music is exquisite but edgy, authentic but contemporary, and absolutely infectious. This is World music at its best--intricate and nuanced, but utterly accessible, blending swirling, syncopated seas of polyrhythm with beautiful, singable melodies. Pharaoh's Daughter's scope may be compared to that of Bla Fleck, who also draws from a wide array of musical traditions and sounds. However, while Fleck's combinations can sometimes sound forced, these always seem to work perfectly. Highlights include a Celtic-infused "Kah Ribon" with santur, Jason Lindner's psychedelic organ over Schecter's oud on "By Way of Haran," Levy's guitar on the haunting "Hagar," and the rich, sensuous violin of Meg Okura on "Samai."
- "A reviewer, a lover of music", 05/16/2007, Barnes & Noble.com
Top 3 Pick in the NY Financial Times
"Editor's Pick. On three CD's as the voice of the group Pharaoh's Daughter, Basya Schechter has written Sephgardic-and Arabic-style pop songs, mined ancient liturgical material, and blended Jewish existentialist prose with modern electronica.
Queen's Dominion is her collaboration with Alan Kushan, a master of the Persian
santur (hammer dulcimer). Schechter plays oud and percussion on this instrumental CD,
which draws on an ensemble of string and woodwinhd players as well as upojn traditions
from Israel and India, Mali and Kurdistan. The result is both intricate and accessible-
never mind that By the Way of Haran is played in the daunting meter of fifteen. In hands
like these, the term "world music" holds and especially rich meaning."
TRACKS REVIEW: Larry Blumenfeld
"Best Middle East Peace Plan.. - on thbier new "exile", earlier haunting
traditionals give way to echoes of Holy Land disharmony in lamentations of placeness,
and timely crises of faith."
Village Voice - Adam McGovern (2002)
"On its third release, Pharaoh's Daughter fuses Middle Eastern and Jewish sounds
with a dark, indie pop sensibility. Programmed effects and beats give the music a hip,
modern edge without sacrificing the founding aesthetic of the band. Hats off to
producer/multi-instrumentalist Frederik Rubens for pulling it off, combining oud,
guitars, sitar, accordion, brass, strings, and more into a seamlessly musical blend.
This couldn't have happened, however, without the evocative singing and songwriting of
Basya Schechter. Listen to tracks like Paradise Hung and Confession and you'll encounter
images that linger long after the music ends. It's hard to imagine a line more arresting
than this: 'I am a fake/A hyper-conscious Jewish fake/With a Catholic habit for confession.'
Keep the disc playing to hear a bonus remix of 'Off and On.'"
David R. Adler, All Music Guide
"I was a little nervous when I heard it described as ‘pop songs’, I was thinking
“Madonna, Celine Dion, or worst yet Bee Gees . You’re a genius, this is astounding,
I’m totally enthralled with your creativity, a wonderful creation indeed."
Jack Sutton, Harmony Ridge Music
"I love exile! It's innocent yet wise. ethereal yet cozy. worldly yet local.
It reminds me of Joni Mitchell's 'Heijira' but with more hope. Can I be on your mailing list?"
Marie Carlisle (fan of exile)
"On Exile, their latest platter, their fusion has been darn near perfected, with
all the elements of Old and New World sounds and styles refined into a nearly seamless,
Jazz Review - Mark Keresman, 2003
"A completely delightful and exquisite gem."
Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
"Exile maintains a poignant worldly feel, at least the world you want to see happen.
Schechter's lyrics are pure poetry inspried by the likes of Oscar Wilde and Jaluddin Rumi,
two writers with the uncanny ability to say so much with so little. The same holds true on
Exile. In a mere 52 minutes a panorama of emotion unfolds like an old friend, a comforting ally."
Global Rhythm - Derek Beres, 2003
Out of the Reeds
"...a remarkable acoustic, world-beat fusion...."
Audition Magazine - Seth Rogovoy
"This is the album that [New York City-based] Basya Schechter was born to make- reverent,
intelligent and exciting settings of classical Jewish Liturgy and folksongs with superb
backing... a bona fide genuine, gilt-edged masterpiece. Five stars."
JEWISH WEEK - George Robinson
"...the hypnoitc and cyclical style... will have you reaching for the repeat button time
and time again... it has a raw, yet sophoisticated flow and is of a caliber I've not heard
in Jewish social music since the days of Hillel and Aviva."
Folk Roots Magazine - Derek Reid
"The best recordings are often very hard to write much about because
the listening experience is so rewarding that you're left almost
speechless, and after all a review is simply nothing more than an
extension of speech. With Pharaoh's Daughter and their recording,
Daddy's Pockets, there's certainly something magical and something
synergistic happening. For a band who originates from New York City
you could never tell, as their music is a hybrid of ancient Jewish and
Mediterranean music mixed with an upbeat, city-like hustle-and-bustle
aesthetic. The combination of all of these elements is certainly
exciting. Pharaoh's Daughter employs numerous exotic elements, from
the flute and tabla to the crumbhorn, and a strangely tuned guitar
beating out all kinds of Middle-Eastern melodies and rhythms.
Especially interesting is the contrapuntal work between the flute and
the acoustic guitar, but at the same time the acoustic guitar creates
an excellent polyrhythmic meditation with the tabla. Daddy's Pockets
is quite possibly one of the finest and most unified band recordings,
and the word band here is the key word, as this reviewer has come
across very few ensembles who have the kind of togetherness that
Pharaoh's Daughter has. This is an excellent recording and certainly
one that will keep you on the edge of your seat for most of the
Matt Borghi, All Music Guide
"Lush, exotic, intoxicating. These are the words that come to mind while listening
to Daddy's Pockets from Pharaoh's Daughter. It's not necessarily rock and roll, though
it certainly shares the sensibilities, and it's not necessarily world music, though it
incorporates Jewish, Indian, and Middle Eastern influences and instrumentation.
Singer-songwriter Basya Schechter draws on the liturgical and musical influence of her
Orthodox Jewish background as well as the influence brought by her travels through Morocco,
Israel, Egypt, Europe, and just about everywhere else you can think of."
Clay Steakley (2000)
"Pharaoh's Daughter is one of the best and brightest groups to emerge from tehscene.
One of the pop records of the year, so keep smiling as you put down your hard earned $14."
Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery (1999)
"Basya Schechter doesn't hold back much from Pharaoh's Daughter's debut CD, and her
fans are the lucky beneficiaries of this generocity."
"Pharaoh's Daughter is a vehicle for the singing and songwriting of Basya Schechter,
who might be described as an Orthodox Jewish version of Sarah McLachlan... fascinating."
JEWISH WEEK - George Robinson