Rapper Eprhyme performs at Sandy’s Row shul
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Eprhyme playing to the galleries at Sandy’s Row at the launch of Open Jewish Culture. Photo Yakir Zur
Music of a less traditional kind filled a historic East End synagogue on Monday night as a performance by New York rapper Eprhyme launched the Open Jewish Culture festival.
More than 60 people, young and old, danced around the ornate bimah and ark at the 250-year-old Sandy's Row Synagogue - the capital's oldest Ashkenazi shul - as Eprhyme incorporated Michael Jackson samples, jazz, funk and klezmer beats.
His lyrics covered kabbalah, Jewish identity, radical politics and climate change.
The rapper, aka Eden Pearlstein, had previously been touring with actors and musicians for young Jewish collective Merkavah Theatre, narrating its Purim hip-hop Megillah at synagogues, the Jewish Community Centre and King Solomon High School in Redbridge. He says rapping allows him "to stay connected to myself, to God and to my community".
Boris Johnson's adviser on arts and culture, Munira Mirza, formally opened OJC, a month-long showcase for Jewish arts, culture and heritage in London.