Bachurs Can’t Be Choosers

I did a thing…

With the incredible support of the LABA Fellowship, every step of the way, I am proud to announce the release of my newest album, “Bachurs Can’t Be Choosers”. In this project I pull apart the boiler plate narratives I was fed in my upbringing and challenge the notion of Chosenness from every angle. Once we peel back the thin coat of glamor feelings of loneliness, inauthenticity, hypocrisy, resentment and duty shape the complicated relationship we have to this burdensome title. In this album, I try to probe deeper into the universalized experience of seeking meaning in life and the weighted implications that comes with. Being chosen plays with the loss of agency once G-d proclaimed their children Bachur – chosen. As artists, we relate to the feeling of pursuing a calling and funneling every iota of ourselves into externalizing our inner vision. In my album I profile 4 different individuals who carry the burden of being “Chosen” at different stages of their lives and piece together how each of their experiences forced these individuals to truly grapple with their outlooks on life.

The first of these 4 individuals and the album art’s creator is prodigal artist, Milo. He lives life with the alluvion of creativity overflowing into his visual art. In this piece, I investigate the pressure of being treated as a professional from a young age.

Next, I profile the life of the first Jew, Abraham. When Abraham heeded G-d’s call, being Chosen became a consuming concept that informed every aspect of his self-identification. I unpack the vulnerability of putting oneself out there and mull over the cost that being a trailblazer has on the ones closest to us.

I look at Amy Harlib, a senior contortionist who cavorts through life with a chip on her shoulder. In this piece I ruminate on the grueling mental fortitude it takes to go against the grain and maintain the conviction of feeling Chosen, despite society’s persistence in overlooking you and your cause.

The final individual I profile is my father, Rabbi Cahana, who in being brought up by a Holocaust survivor, was taught to interpret every moment of his life as a celestial gift and to cohabit a bubble of radical optimism regardless of what cards he is dealt. This transcendent disposition instilled a deep self-assuredness and ambition. However, when walking through a continually unfolding hagiographic autobiography, the positivity can come at the expense of sincerity. I wrote a trilogy of letters to his mother where the limitations of this life outlook are tested. Through being spared from the Holocaust, an Olympic terrorist attack and a brain stem stroke the certainty of being chosen were simultaneously reinforced and challenged.

I am very proud of this melodic examination of particularistic exceptionalism. Each of the 11 tracks is dedicated to a different one of my LABA sessions, and used these text studies as the starting point to launch into a dialogue with relatable contemporary questions. Throughout the fellowship, every couple of weeks, I was given the opportunity to read texts that I grew up on with uncircumcised eyes. And each unique section called back to previous sessions whilst concurrently reframing and modernising each topic in its own right. We were guided by deep inquisition and didn’t let irreverencial inquiries censor our curiosity. It was such an abundantly creative space and I tried to capture that sense of interconnection and recreation every song. An example of this is the album’s apex, Sincerity III: The Wounded Healer, that is dedicated to our session about Rabbi Yochanan. I use the primordial description of the tellurian attachment to beauty found in the human form to explore my father’s raw confrontation with his own body’s shut down. In this song each of the other 10 songs are referenced and so the lattice that I have created in this song is a signature of my creativity and the poetry that my followers have come to appreciate in me. In this album I paid close attention to detail to allow the piece to function self-referentially and universally, as a cohesive narrative and stand alone artistic pieces, as dense and sonically appealing. I really hope others will enjoy picking out the easter eggs dispersed throughout this project and that it will be as enjoyable to listen to as it was for me to record.

—By Dvir Cahana, LABA NY Fellow 2021