Diwon as 36 under 36

Diwon born, Erez Safar has just been nominated as one of the 36 under 36!!! check it here
Here is what they wrote:
Erez Safar, 28
Musician (aka Diwon / d.j. handler),
music entrepreneur pushing the crossover envelope

He has had his hand in so many Jewish music events in the city, each done under different names, that — nooo! — it can’t be all one person. Indeed, it is: Erez Safar, the 28-year-old budding music mogul sometimes known as d.j. handler, sometimes Diwon, is the man behind the Sephardic Music Festival, the indie label Modular Mood Records, and, his latest venture, Shemspeed.com, a Web site devoted to Jewish music. And ain’t that a surprise too: he grew-up in a military family (his father, now retired, was an officer in the United States Navy), living on bases across the country and abroad. His first tape cassette was by Motley Crue. He didn’t get into any kind of Jewish music until college, having grown up on hip-hop and rock.

But a little higher education was all it took. As a deejay for the University of Maryland’s radio station, he was given an album by Yuri Lane, a vocalist who mixes chasidic chants and hip-hop beats, and began putting Lane on his playlist. Then he looked into klezmer music, even adding a few riffs into his rock band’s repertoire. But Safar is a Yemenite Jew, on his mother’s side. So in a short while he delved into that lesser-known musical heritage, and has been exploring it ever since. The first big event devoted to Yemenite heritage was the Sephardic Music Festival — in its fourth year this coming December — but he’s also been involved with Sephardic music as the multi-instrumental act known as Diwon, the name for traditional Yemenite prayer songs.

Safar says that his true passion remains performing Yemenite sounds with his own distinctly American ones, from hip-hop to jazz. The label, the new music website, the festival—“it’s just the front end of what I do,” Safar says. “It’s just the business.”
Music role model: John Zorn Favorite hip-hop act: Beastie Boys Craves: Jachun, a Yemenite Sabbath bread loaded with butter and oil, and cooked for hours.
—Eric Herschthal


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