Basya is most widely and wildly known for composing for her groundbreaking ensemble Pharaoh's Daughter, a 7 piece world music ensemble that travels effortlessly through continents, key signatures, and languages with a genre-bending swirling neo hasidic chanting sound. Basya Schechter’s earthy, soulful beautiful voice rings out over instruments that form a vibrant collage of East/West, old/new, Ashkenazi and Sephardic enlivened by flutes, electronica and strings.
Her musical journey began in her home in Boro Park in a melodic cacophony of singing shabbat songs in harmony while hammering out rhythm on gefilte fish jars and kiddush cups. After she left her ultra orthodox background, she found herself searching and hitchhiking through Israel, Africa and the Middle East. To mimic the incredible musical sounds she was hearing she began re-tuning her guitar to sound like a cross between Arabic oud and Turkish saz, which inspired harmonic minor melodies, and unfamiliar odd time grooves. A liminal expression began to emerge over which she sang and composed in a style that resonated with Hasidic klezmer, folk, classic rock, worldbeat and other jewish music, yet was of a bigger world.
Basya was the recipient of numerous compositional and project grants from NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts) American Composers Forum (for Trance, and multilayered sound and video installation collaboration with fillmaker Pearl Gluck) and the American Music Center.
PROJECTS BY BASYA
Songs of Wonder
Pharaoh’s Daughter, a 7 piece world music ensemble that travels effortlessly through continents, key signatures, and languages with a genre-bending swirling neo Hasidic chanting sound. Basya Schechter’s earthy, soulful beautiful voice rings out over instruments that form a vibrant collage of East/West, old/ new, Ashkenazi and Sephardic enlivened by flutes, electronica and strings. The band explores traditional, while staying contemporary, the meditative yet ecstatic.
Pharaoh’s Daughter has recorded five albums with a family of downtown NYC stand out musicians, as well as another two albums under her own name. Pharaoh's Daughter has toured Eastern and Western Europe, America, Greece, Israel, South America, United States, Canada and the UK. Some of her favorite NYC venues to perform have included Central Park SummerStage, Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, Joe’s Pub, The Stone, Mercury Lounge and City Winery. The ensemble has been featured on NPR’s PRI and they have been guests on John Shafer’s New Sounds numerous times. They are slowly finishing a new album called “Songs of Desire,” a collection of texts culled from “Song of Songs..” – texts which investigate the story, the power and the mystery of love and desire.
“Pharaoh’s Daughter is one of the most original and exciting groups to have emerged from the new Jewish Music Movement.”
Ben Frandzel, Rhythm
Inspired by the mystical poetry and songs of the Jewish tradition, Darshan breathes new life into ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts through a combination of Rap Commentary and Musical Midrash. esoteric indie rapper ePRHYME, world-soul singer Basya Schechter of Pharaoh's Daughter, and multi-medial polymath Shir Yaakov Feit transform classic Jewish texts and prayers into a truly unique form of Sacred Pop Art For The People.
Darshan is available to perform Live in multiple configurations ranging from sit-down acoustic duets to "plugged-in" big-stage ensembles.
ePRHYME (Eden Pearlstein)
Eden Pearlstein (ePRHYME) is a Brooklyn-based Hip Hop Artist and Jewish Educator. Since the early 2000′s ePRHYME has released numerous critically acclaimed albums on iconic indie label K Records as part of their International Pop Underground Series. Starting in the 2010’s, Eden has worked closely with NYC downtown veterans such as Jamie Saft (Electric Masada), Jon Madoff (Zion 80), Greg Wall (Hasidic New Wave), Basya Schechter (Pharaoh’s Daughter), and many others. Whether rhyming about current events or personal struggles, riffing on a text or reinterpreting tradition, ePRHYME’s “rapid-fire word salads are a humanist vision of…religious consciousness fused with social action, and an uncompromising blend of urban forms and neo-Hasidic spirituality” (The Forward). Additionally, Eden holds two M.A.’s in Jewish Studies from JTS, and is an alumni of Asylum Arts, a global network for Jewish Culture.
“Schechter makes music that is both appealing and intriguing. As an ex-Hasid wielding an oud (a pear-shaped, Middle Eastern precursor of the modern guitar), she is often cast in the role of an exotic Sephardi-Ashkenazi hybrid who blends two flavors of Eastern music — Middle and European — spiced with folk, pop and even African elements. Such worldly eclecticism is tailor-made for a contemporary Jewish musical landscape where Ladino poetry, Hasidic niggunim, or wordless melodies, and elements of every genre imaginable (rhythm and blues, Brazilian samba, North Indian classical music) all play nicely together.”– Alexander Gelfand, FORWARD
“ePRHYME (who was known in a previous life as Eden Pearlstein) writes lyrics peppered with bits of Jewish mysticism and philosophy that fit indy label K Records’ iconoclastic bent…It’s a far cry from the bagels-and-lox Judaism of many Jewish hip-hop acts today, and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air.”-Tablet Magazine
Songs of Wonder
Setting the Yiddish poetry of the revered Civil Rights activist and Jewish philosopher Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel to music, Basya Schechter has created a rich collection of Yiddish songs, colorful arrangements featuring many of the downtown Jewish scene’s greatest musicians. This exciting project blends Pharaoh’s Daughter’s soulful grooves and lush instrumentation with Basya’s lovely voice and Heschel’s powerful poetry.