[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Rabbi Gaylia R. Rooks and Steven F. Stuhlbarg have been friends for most of their lives, but in addition to their friendship, they are also creative partners, writing and performing Jewish music as the group Driven Leaf.
On Sunday, August 19, they celebrated the release of their second CD, Sukkat Shalom: Shelter of Peace, with a Israeli-style community dinner at The Temple and a concert that showcased a lot of the music on the CD mixed in with samplings of work from their earlier CD and some of Stuhlbarg’s solo guitar works.
For this performance, they were joined by Irina Bernadsky on Ukrainian mandolin, Kathy Karr on flute and The Temple’s choir, Shir Chadash.
It is obvious from the concert that Stuhlbarg and Rabbi Rooks enjoy a wide variety of styles of music and they enjoy writing in many of them. The selections ranged from a bluesy rendition of Psalm 150 to a layered and nuanced Kol Ha-N’shamah that oozed Middle Eastern flavor to V’shamru with a Spanish feel to Lo Yisa Goi with an American folk sound and more.
Sukkat Shalom is available at The Temple for $18, and all money from the CD sales goes directly to the WHAS Crusade for Children.