Jewish girl groups are few and far between, but one all-female band making a major impact on Jewish music are Texan quartet Divahn.
The four-piece, who hail from Austin, have been together since 2000 and have received plenty of plaudits for their self-titled debut album, which blends middle Eastern and Sephardic sounds with traditional Hebrew melodies.
The result offers a fresh, original spin on Jewish music, with highlights including the lively Va'armetem Zavakh Pesakh, and the Latin-tinged Cuando el rey Nimrod. The sound is further enhanced by the use of some unusual instruments, including the tabla, a type of drum from South East Asia, and the doumbek, a percussion instrument popular in Arabic and Balkan music. Songs are also performed in a variety of languages, including Hebrew, Persian, Turkish and Aramaic.
So who are the ladies behind Divahn? Well, they're fronted by Galeet Dardashti, who plays guitar and drums as well as singing. She founded the band along with fellow percussionist Lauren DeAlbert after they met at the University of Texas in 2000 – cellist Amy Sue Barston and violinist Lila Sklar complete the line-up.
Although she has a degree in anthropology, it's hardly surprising to see Galeet's career taking a musical turn since it runs in her family – her late grandfather was a well-known cantor in Tehran and her father has also worked as a cantor – and when she was younger Galeet toured the US with her family performing Jewish music. She says that the band is aiming to "shatter the stereotypes" of Jewish music. Given how eclectic their album is, Divahn are certainly doing that.
For more information: www.divahn.com