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Matisyahu’s unique worldview stems from immersing himself deeply in Hasidic Judaism and Jamaican reggae at the same time. An argument could be made for the intrinsic links between Matisyahu’s twin pillars of faith, but the White Plains, N.Y.–born performer mainly erodes prejudices by virtue of his warm, easygoing stage presence. After displaying some growing pains on 2005’s Live at Stubb’s, Matisyahu put beatboxing aside and wandered down a more conventional reggae path on 2006’s Youth. The singles from Matisyahu’s breakthrough (“King Without a Crown” and “Time of Your Song”) showcase his talent for writing anthems designed to elevate the spirit, but the Youth Dub EP—featuring tracks reconstructed by Bill Laswell—suggested Matisyahu’s true calling might be following King Tubby. Fans will get a chance to hear whether collaborations with members of Fishbone and champion rhythm section Sly and Robbie on his upcoming album, Light, break more borders during the listening party that follows this show.
MATISYAHU PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. AT THE SIXTH AND I HISTORIC SYNAGOGUE, 600 I ST. NW. SOLD OUT. (202) 408-3100.