Karen Hart is a musician who is focused on merging Jewish music with gospel music. Recently, Hart performed a “Salute to Joni Mitchell,” a tribute to her idol, at “Jeffest” in Santa Monica, and it’s pretty great.
Hart, who was interviewed at the Jewish Journal, said she wants to use music to feel more connected to her roots:
“I never felt connected to the God part. What I loved most was listening to the cantor sing. To me, it sounded like the Black singers I was exposed to, the wailing, the sliding from one note to another.”
She went to explain how she got her start:
“I hit the road and played in any club that would have me. I’d go into the club, talk to the manager and ask if I could play there. If I was going to make it as a songwriter, L.A. was the place to be.”
Somehow, she ran into Joni Mitchell at a store and gave her one of her CDs–a dream come true for anyone meeting their idol. Of her music, Black gospel singer Josh Nelson has said:
“Gospel is closely connected to the African experience of slavery in America. It’s a bittersweet sound because without such hard experience we could never have the good music. That kind of hardship is so close to the Jewish experience. Jewish people have always been isolated within communities in Europe over centuries.”
You can listen to some of her songs below: