By: Nathaniel Ribner  | 

Just in Time for Sefira: The Return of the Y-Studs

It’s that time of year again, the Omer (between Pesach and Shavuot), when we take a hiatus from our usual playlists and break out the ol’ A Cappella music. From the groups who started it all, such as The Chevra and A.K.A. Pella, to the more recent artists, such as Six13 and Shir Soul, our iPhones and computers have been playing the same material into our thirsty eardrums for years. Sure, there’s the occasional holiday parody that we’ll send as a holiday card to our cousins in the Midwest, or share on our friend’s Facebook wall, but our community needs a spark. We need something new… something that’s been missing in recent years. We need some premium Y-Studs A Cappella music.

After a long, long wait, the Y-Studs are back to answer that call. To catch you up, the Y-Studs were established in 2010 and quickly emerged onto the A Cappella scene with chips on their shoulders, having been perceived as “that other guys’ group at YU.” With their powerful soloists and diverse song choices, the ‘Studs proved many haters wrong. After two years of hard work, the Y-Studs released their first album, Take Me Home, in 2012. The compilation received critical acclaim, and even featured two songs that were selected to the BOJAC (Best of Jewish A Cappella) CD. “Ahavat Yisrael,” better known as “Baneshama,” was played at numerous summer camps, and gave a silky-smooth taste to lovers of Israeli music. Their controversial reggae-inspired rendition of “Bilvavi,” a beloved ‘slow-shira song,’ was ranked number two overall of BOJAC submissions, and showed that A Cappella groups can pursue different feels for songs rather than simply adapting the sounds of each original piece.

After inspiring many, however, the Y-Studs ran into a problem that so many college groups face today. Many of the group members graduated and subsequently left the group, making a rebuilding year or two imminent. Although the group found a lot of talent at YU, it was difficult to maintain popularity and work their way back up to high musical performance levels without their motivated founders. But the boys finally regained the attention of the public eye at last year’s Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut ceremonies at Lamport Auditorium at YU. Displaying a completely new cast of ‘studs’ led by Musical Director Nathaniel Ribner and President Jason Katz, the Y-Studs put forth performances that raised eyebrows. They were also featured at a Northern Ontario Pesach program. Those performances signified the filled-with-potential second generation of the talented bunch. Which leads us to the Y-Studs today, a time when the group is gaining international recognition and performing from coast to coast—a new era that the group is calling the “Days of New.”

On Chol HaMoed Pesach, the Y-Studs gave us a heavily anticipated gift of new, quality all-male college A Cappella music in the form of an EP (extended play). The EP features hits like Avicii’s “The Days” as well as Gad Elbaz’s ever-popular “Hashem Melech.” The Y-Studs have more surprises on this gem of an album, but you’ll have to pick it up on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. to hear what we mean.

They sang beautifully at this year's Yom HaShoah “I Am Never Again” program, and are sure to rock out at this week's Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut.

Stay tuned for news about a concert promoting the new EP by liking them on Facebook and following their YouTube channel. You won’t want to miss it. The new age of the Y-Studs has begun. Get ready for a wild ride.