Kaddish Para Daniel by Benjamin Lapidus
Fuiste una perla, Daniel a ti te canto, You were a pearl, Daniel, I sing to you.
The tragedy of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder struck a nerve deep within me and it took me a good deal of time to be able to articulate (even to myself) the emotional jumble of sensations. As events unfolded I felt as though I had known Daniel Pearl very well because I could understand his path in life and what he stood for. Here was someone who was conveniently essentialize by his killers and viewed as a Jew when his essence was truly universal and transcendent of race, religion, and political ideology. I wrote Kaddish para Daniel and performed it only once never thinking that the Pearl family would ever hear it. It was a deeply personal way of mourning the man, the senselessness of his death, and honoring his legacy. Ultimately, I decided to record the piece on my most recent record, Herencia Judia. The CD highlights the intersection of Jewish liturgical music and Spanish Caribbean music.
The piece is a guaguancoaCuban rumba) that begins with the sung half-kaddish. I chose the half-kaddish because all Jews sing the melody when praying and the mourners kaddish is only read by mourners since Jewish mourners don't sing during the period of mourning. The second half of the song (in Spanish) describes my feelings of shock, sadness, and anger while pointing out that Daniel Pearl was indeed a pearl whose legacy stands for morality, faith in fellow man, family, and the pursuit of the truth. Singing this song brings back all of the emotions and memories associated with Daniel Pearl, someone who I did not know personally, but who I felt as though I had known my entire life.