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Singer Matisyahu, Keeping It Kosher

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Matisyahu is the world's first Hasidic Jewish reggae star. His rap and beat-box skills are featured on his first wide-release album, Live At Stubb's.

Born in 1979 as Matthew Miller, Matisyahu lived the hippie lifestyle as a teenager, eventually dropping out of high school to follow Phish on one of their massive national tours.

But after a trip to Israel awakened his spiritual side, Miller spent time in the American West, taking in the wonders of nature -- and honing his music and lyrical skills. It marked a major turning point for him, and provided the inspiration that led to his new career as Matisyahu, the Hebrew form of "Matthew."

The result would have been hard for anyone to predict: a 25-year-old man dressed in traditional Orthodox syle -- flat-brim black hat, white shirt, a beard -- winning fans with an energetic display of his two passions: dancehall reggae and Judaism.

This interview originally aired on July 29, 2005.

Copyright 2005 XPN

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.
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