Let Us Break Bread Together
Further Explorations of the Afro-Semitic Experience
 More of this Feature
• Part 2: How it Came Together
  Related Resources
• Jewish/Israeli Music
• African Music
• Jewish Music 101
 Elsewhere on the Web
• David Chevan's Official Site

David Chevan and Warren Byrd are responsible for a major attack of Afro-Semitism.

Wait -- before you rush to contact the Jewish Defense League, let me explain that the Afro-Semitic experience is a combination of these two musician's ethnic and musical backgrounds. Chevan, a Jewish bass player, and Byrd, an African-American pianist, perform original and traditional sacred songs from both of their heritages on Let Us Break Bread Together.

The album is the second release from the duo. Performing sacred music since 1997, they have reached audiences of all faiths and races. Their collaboration demonstrates a feeling of solidarity between the Jewish and African-American cultures. Breaking of bread is a symbol of fellowship and community in both sacred traditions, yet the idea of gospel music and Jewish songs as part of the same repertoire seems like a very innovative -- and potentially controversial -- idea.

Chevan is an Associate Professor of Music at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, and has written and published many articles on jazz history, and has been involved with several musical projects in addition to the Afro-Semitic Experience. Byrd also has a strong jazz background and is an accompanist for the School of Hartford Ballet, the Hartford Camerata and the Greater Hartford Academy for the Performing Arts, in addition to being an adjunct Professor of Jazz History at Briarwood College.

I asked Chevan and Byrd about their musical collaboration, the evolution of the Afro-Semitic Experience and reactions to their blending of faith and culture.

Next page > How it Came Together >