At certain times in the past, the Bar Papas associated the song Shema with a dirge. It had a certain folksy/acoustic feel that brought to mind the word ‘dirge’ -that is until they realized the word is more associated with songs for the dead.
Like we mentioned elsewhere, these guys weren’t musicians in the traditional sense so the way they compartmentalized their music led to such, shall we say, inconsistencies….
Shema is very far from a burial march. It’s a walk of life and a declaration of the One creator, his judgment and mercy packed into one.
It’s roots were in Detroit, it matured in the woods around Tzfat, and came to life in Jerusalem.
Originally, the song began with an additional finger picking segment by Shimshon which led up to the current beginning. Towards the end, it also had an additional 5 minutes of some kind of wave motion melody which went on and on, and on. Needless to say, in order so there would only be one ten minute track (Hodu) on the album Shema was edited down but in the process it brought out many of the nuances which make this track a powerful expression of solidarity with old school Bar Papas music making and the wonders of the studio.
The first part is a process of concentration before declaring ….שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל
After reciting the first paragraph of the Shema there is the custom of saying the verse בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד – “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever” silently.
Through a melodic symphony of flutes, trumpets, and a bit of stream of consciousness slide guitar the Bar Papas express in their own silence the angelic meanings behind those holy words.