Everyone was trying to find themselves. To find meaning. To stay sane.
It was a time when so much of our regular lives was shuttered. Musicians were among those hard hit by the shutdown, both economically, with concerts and recordings cancelled, and emotionally, from finding their creative outlets stopped in their tracks.
At some point I recalled that over 30 years ago I had written a song to the words of the prayer — recited three times a day — for health and healing.
Refaenu. Heal us.
For some reason, I had never done anything with the song. Even my wife and kids had never heard it.
With the kind sponsorship of my mother (may she live and be well), I decided to give a little work to the musicians, arrangers and studio personnel, and hopefully provide some small inspiration to the public, by recording and releasing Refaenu. I called on my dear friend Rabbi Motti Kornfeld, whose rich and distinctive voice has graced dozens of recordings over the years.
For me, this was the first of many magical reconnections which took place in the course of recording. Motti and I partnered on an album 40 years ago — in 1980-81, and it was so special to be back in the studio with him. His voice has only aged in the manner of a fine wine, and it’s even more intoxicating than ever.
Refaenu received an exceptionally warm welcome, and was widely shared on Aish.com, BaltimoreJewishLife.com, WhereWhatWhen.com and other sites. The response encouraged us to take the effort further, and expand the adventure into a full album (if they even call them that anymore!).
My goal — along with giving myself a creative outlet and a way to consider this Covid period as a constructive one — was to give a pick-me-up to listeners, musicians and friends during this slow time.
I found that as the project progressed, more and more of it involved inclusion of — or tributes to — past personal and musical influences and friendships. So I touched base with a variety of people whose paths I had crossed over time, and offered them to be involved. Almost without exception, they were excited to take part.
In the course of the recording, numerous musicians who came into the studio remarked that the music sounds, as they say in Hebrew, “K’mo Pa’am”. It’s a phrase which is hard to translate, but it essentially means “like the good old days.” After a number of musicians used almost the same words, we came to realize that that’s the essence of the album. A throwback to a time where songs were meant to be sung rather than performed. A time when the music was beautiful and sincere and melodic and easy to learn.
And that’s how K’mo Pa’am became the name.
We hope that just as we have re|connected with man through this journey, it will also help us — and others — re|connect with the One Above. To that end, we have made the entire album free of charge, available now at staiman.com/music, and soon to be available on Spotify, Apple Music and other online venues.
We hope it will help take you back. And we hope it will help take you forward. We hope it will raise you up and bring a smile to your lips.
That will be our greatest reward.