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Yaakov Shwekey

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Yaakov Shwekey
Born Yaakov Choueka
1977
Jerusalem, Israel
Residence Deal, NJ
Occupation vocalist
Years active 2001 - present
Religion Orthodox Jew
Spouse(s) Jenine Shwekey
Signature

Yaakov Shwekey (Hebrew: יעקב שוואקי‎, last name was originally spelled Choueka) (born in 1977) is an Orthodox Jewish American recording artist[1], and musical entertainer. Through his father, he is of Egyptian and Syrian Sephardic heritage, although his mother is Ashkenazic.[2]

BiographyEdit

Yaakov Shwekey was born in Jerusalem, Israel, and lived in the Bayit VeGan neighborhood. When Yaakov was 8 the Choueka family moved to Lakewood, New Jersey. Yaakov's career began when he and his brother Yisroel Meir sang with the Miami Boys Choir for a short period of time. As a young man Shwekey learned in Rabbi Menachem Davidowitz's yeshiva (TIUNY) in Rochester, NY, and for a short time in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel of Toronto. For a period of time he was an unofficial wedding singer. His debut solo album, Shomati, was released in 2001. To date, nine albums have been released, including both albums of original songs and compilations of covers (an album of wedding songs and an album of kumzitz songs.). His most recent album, titled Ad Bli Dai (August, 2009), contains thirteen songs, including songs composed by Yossi Green, Yitzy Waldner, Baruch Levine, Yochanan Shapiro, Moshe Wertzberger, and Yonatan Razel. Shwekey has headlined numerous concerts, including 3 HASC concerts and an OHEL concert.

Musical StyleEdit

Yaakov Shwekey is a singer and his music and songs are composed by others. His albums are produced by Yochi Briskman, and distributed in the US by Aderet Music, and in Israel by Greentec. Many different arrangers have arranged his albums including Moshe Laufer, Mona Rosenblum, Yanky Briskman, Leib Yaakov Rigler, and Yisroel Lamm. Until 2006 Shwekey’s primary studio was “Studio X” (run by Yochi Briskman, engineered by Zohar "Baba" Buerger), today, most of his recording is done in his private home studio.[3]

Rajem - Especial Yom Kipur03:29

Rajem - Especial Yom Kipur

Some of Shwekey's songs have garnered a substantial following. His most famous song is Racheim composed by Pinky Weber. The lyrics are from the prayer after eating, asking God to have mercy on the Jewish nation and the city of Jerusalem. As Shwekey describes this song, "It’s a prayer. It’s not just a song. We connect with G-d and ask Him to have mercy". In 2008/2009 Vehi She'omdah, composed by Yonatan Razel and debuted on his Live in Caesaria concert DVD, and later rerecorded on Ad Bli Dai became a major hit. Many of his songs, including Shomati composed by Yossi Green and Im Eshkacheich, from Psalms 137, have found considerable popularity as Jewish wedding songs.

Concert ControversyEdit

In August 2007, Yaakov Shwekey & Avraham Fried were slated to headline a major concert in Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium. The event was produced by Moshe Ben-Zimra and billed as a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Leading chareidi Rabbis, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the Gerrer and Belzer Rabbis, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, and Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinberg signed a ban which appeared in the chareidi press forbidding participation or attendance of the event or similar events.[4]

Yaakov Shwekey issued a response that he had already posed the question to his rabbi, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, when a earlier concert featuring him, along with Mordechai Ben David, was also banned. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef responded that there is absolutely no prohibition as long as it is a completely separate seating event.[5] Neither Shwekey nor Fried pulled out of the concert.

YAAKOV SHWEKEY BEN BAG BAG 1349 CTV04:24

YAAKOV SHWEKEY BEN BAG BAG 1349 CTV

Personal lifeEdit

Yaakov Shwekey lives with his wife Jenine, and four children in Deal, New Jersey, and learns in a local kollel. He supports his family through his albums, performances at Jewish weddings, and concerts. Jenine is also the founder of "Special Childrens' Center of Lakewood" (aka "The Center"), a respite and support program for special needs children. Jenine works at The Center, is director of a school in Deal and heads a camp in the summer. Shwekey volunteers much time and energy to this philanthropic endeavor. In an interview with the Yated Ne'eman, Shwekey said "I’m convinced that the success I’ve experienced in my music career is all because of our work with these special children".[6] Jenine has also been chosen by L'Oreal as one of the ten contestants for the 2008 "Woman of Worth" contest.[7]

Shwekey's older brother, Moshe Dovid Shwekey lives in Cleveland, Ohio and has composed a number of songs for his albums. Shwekey's younger brother, Yosef Chaim Shwekey, has also embarked on his own musical career under the name "Yosef Chaim", with his debut album "Lo Lefached", released in June, 2009, and produced by Moshe Laufer.

Shwekey also performs at fundraisers for charitable organizations.

DiscographyEdit

  • Shomati, 2001
  • Shwekey 2, 2002
  • Besimcha, 2003
  • Yedid (Shwekey 3), 2004
  • Behisorerus, 2005
  • Live in Paris, 2006
  • Leshem Shomayim (Shwekey 4), 2007
  • Live in Caesaria, 2008
  • Ad Bli Dai (Shwekey 5), 2009
  • The Shwekey Collection (Israel Only), 2009
    File:B'ni - Yaakov Shwekey

In addition, Shwekey appears on the following albums:

  • Vishuvu El Hashem (Rav Shmuel Brazil), 2000

(Kechu, Kerasicha, Im Eshkachech, Shuvi Nafshi, and Yerushalayim)

  • Dance With Neginah 5 (Neginah), 2001

(Zoche)

  • Dance With the Stars, 2002

(Zoche)

  • The Best of The Best 2 (Gideon Levine), 2002

(Al Tiktzof)

(Racheim)

(Mama Rachel)

  • HASC 18 (HASC), 2005

(Ben Bag Bag, Mama Rachel, Shomrim, Rebono, and Finale)

  • Vezakeni (Baruch Levine), 2006

(Vehu Keili)

  • Eternity (Oorah), 2006

(Eternity)

  • Highlights - HASC 19 (HASC), 2006

(Yedid, and Finale)

  • Harei Yehuda (Yehuda Gilden), 2008

(Yehi Shalom)

  • Hasc 22 (HASC), 2009

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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