Not all of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s songs were good, but the surest way to ruin one of them was when he brought his daughter on to howl her “soulful white girl harmony” thing.
With Carlebach’s death, her career died too. It wasn’t just Kol Isha. If Neshama Carlebach had been genuinely talented, she could have done what she was doing anyway and succeeded at it.
But Neshama Carlebach sucked. She wasn’t the worst singer in the world. But there are ten thousand Jewish girls who can match her pathetic efforts. Take any random woman with four drinks in her trying out karaoke in a bar and you have Neshama’s “soulful” voice.
Without her father’s last name, she would have never had a career. Even with his last name, she couldn’t keep it.
And Neshama Carlebach wasn’t Orthodox. I don’t know why it took her this long to declare for Reform. Her anti-Israel politics and her level of observance was Reform all along. Maybe like Matisyahu she didn’t want to state the obvious because playing Orthodox gave her a certain amount of spiritual cred.
Or maybe she had so few people buying her albums that she was afraid of losing even a handful of them.
Neshama Carlebach has rebranded as Reform. Officially. She’s going Reform for the “spirituality”. Also there’s a whole new Jewish audience there that still doesn’t know how badly she sucks.
But that’s okay.
Reform Judaism’s idea of spiritual music is Baptist choirs. And that’s what Neshama Carlebach does these days. There will be plenty of Reform synagogues with audiences full of aging baby boomers there to listen to her do her white girl “soulful” singing while an actual black guy does the real singing.
Her father would be so proud. Not.