HomeMarch 2014Love & Light

Love & Light

Channeling divine experience and Jewish mysticism to other people’s ears is a divine calling for Mikey Pauker. Last month, he was part of the Orange County Music Awards’ nominees for best live performers to come out of the county, showcasing his music along with other folk artists at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa.
The Laguna Niguel native could not just keep his studies of the Torah and Chassidic text (which he practices daily) to himself. Instead, Pauker is driven to share his spiritual love and light with the world through his love of writing and performing music.
“When I was a child, I thought Jewish music was a little cheesy,” says Pauker. “Then I found my voice leading a musical evening prayer while working at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa (California), and something just clicked for me. I knew at that moment I wanted to do this for my whole life.”
Since that moment, Pauker has been spreading his unique blend of Jewish-themed reggae folk music around the globe. He had shared the stage with musicians like Trevor Hall, Matthew Santos, Matisyahu, Idan Raichel and The Local Natives, among other artists. He has captivated audiences at some of the biggest festivals happening today with performances at SXSW, a prime time spot at Jacob’s Ladder Festival in Israel and headlining the Steven Gottleib Music Festival.
“I am determined to make the whole world feel connected to Jewish music and closer to what you would call the ‘Spirit,’” said Pauker. “I want my music to connect with all people and spiritual denominations and remind us all that, in the end, all souls end in the same place.”
Pauker released his full-length album “Extraordinary Love” on Shemspeed Records on October 1, 2013.  His blend of folk, electronica, pop, hip-hop and reggae, woven together by his sense of divine experiences with ancient texts is an excellent example of this artist’s love of Judaism and many different styles of music.
“The Jewish mysticism in my music is not overly blatant, so it speaks to a broader audience,” explains Pauker. “I feel I am an educator as well as a performer. I want to show how powerful Jewish music can be.”
This album features many special guest producers and performers that Pauker admires for their music and messages. Jamaican dancehall artist Tj Di Hitmaker and ex-Israeli artist Lior Ben-Hur are some of the musicians joining Pauker on some of his recordings.
The song “The Light,” featuring ex-Hasidic, gay rapper Y-Love, is a “folk meets hip-hop” track, a musical illustration of Pauker’s love that knows no boundaries. Hip-hop producer Diwon (Y-Love, Bonhom) helped Pauker bring together his songs full of rhythms and layered in electronic beats over the main foundation of acoustic folk.
Having just returned from the esteemed Limmud International Conference set this year at the University of Warwick in England, Pauker is settling into his inspiration to connect the world with Jewish music. Over the course of the Conference that took place December 20 to 26, Pauker played five gigs for Limmud’s 2,500 participants and also taught a workshop on writing Jewish spiritual music.
“As a touring recording artist, I find performing at Limmud to be a ‘Golden Opportunity,’” says Pauker. “I am grateful for the opportunity Limmud has given me. Having just joined this niche of Jewish spiritual music in the past 5 years, I was honored to receive the invitation and jumped at the opportunity.”
Limmud is a festival/conference where all denominations of Jews come together to engage in deep social, spiritual, formal and experiential learning sessions. There are world-class speakers, rabbis, publishers, visual artists, recording artists, educators and enthusiasts who participate by facilitating sessions or who just go to learn.
“I already have been invited to participate in a handful of other Limmuds all over the world,” explains Pauker. “I also have a lot more to come locally. I look forward to sharing with the community in Orange County where I am now.”

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