(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- When the singer known as Matisyahu first headlined a concert on the Jersey Shore, he cut a strikingly unique figure in pop music — a skilled specialist in reggae/ hip-hop beats (and a beat-boxer of rare form), who delivered his boundary-busting hit "King Without a Crown" while attired in the traditional black garb, long beard and sidelocks of his Hasidic faith.
When the frequent favorite of New Jersey audiences returned to coastal Monmouth County in the wake of Sandy's transformative force, it was as a performer re-shaped by his own personal "divine mission" — a beaming presence in frosted blond hair and colorful clothes, whose clean-shaven face was as naked as his stripped-down arrangements of songs from his appropriately titled 2012 release, "Spark Seeker."
Fervent fans of the artist born Matthew Paul Miller know that the phenomenon of Matisyahu runs far deeper than the fluctuations of facial hair and fashion. On the night of Thursday, December 5, 2013, the Center for the Arts at Monmouth University is proud to host the Grammy-nominated artist's Festival of Light Tour, an annual Hannukah event now in its seventh year, celebrating the Jewish holiday during the winter months. Matisyahu's Festival of Light performances will feature sets that include material spanning his entire career.
The 9 p.m. concert, a highlight of the 2013-2014 Performing Arts Series at Monmouth, will be presented at the Pollak Theatre on Monmouth's West Long Branch campus — one of the Garden State's premier rooms for acoustic music, and the setting for some memorable "unplugged" sets by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn, Colin Hay, Billy Bragg, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, actor-singer Jeff Daniels and many others.
Just as the Matisyahu of a decade ago was no mere "novelty" act, the ever-evolving performer of 2013 is a man whose crossing of categories has earned him a place among the most intriguing music makers of the 21st century — and has trumped any obsessive online controversies over his spirituality, and the face that he chooses to present to the world. Incorporating the lessons of a truly dazzling array of influences — from the old-school dancehall of Eek-A-Mouse and the new-wave pop of The Police, to the jam-band jazziness of Phish and the traditions of sacred hazzan singing — Matisyahu offers one of the most stylistically expansive worldviews of any musician today; making him right at home within Monmouth University's international showcase for the arts.
Tickets for "An Acoustic Evening with Matisyahu: Festival of Light" are priced at $40 and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.
About Monmouth University
Monmouth University is a leading private institution that offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The University provides students with a highly personalized education that builds the knowledge and confidence of tomorrow's leaders. Located in West Long Branch, New Jersey, Monmouth University's magnificent and historic campus is approximately one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia and is within walking distance of the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Monmouth University is listed in U.S.News & World Report's "Best Colleges" and the Princeton Review's The Best 378 Colleges, and is recognized by the latter as one of the country's top "green" colleges. To learn more, visit us at www.monmouth.edu.