Matisyahu heads Gibson Ampitheatre concert to raise volunteerism

Known for his alternative reggae-rap style as much as his outward faith and facial hair, Matisyahu has been touring the world and building a solid fan base. He is set to go back on tour in December. Before then, Matisyahu will be performing an acoustic concert, co-headlining with Israeli pop heartthrob Moshe Peretz at the Gibson Amphitheatre with tickets going for $18.

The catch? The attendees must volunteer their time to charitable causes.

“I was involved with volunteer work growing up, I think it’s definitely a positive thing,” Matisyahu says in an interview with the Corsair. “To get people thinking of other people. To get people to see the entire spectrum.”

The event is being organized by the Israeli Leadership Council, a Los Angeles non-profit organization focused on bringing together the L.A. Israeli-American population towards philanthropy and activism.

According to a story in the Jewish Journal’s Tribe Magazine, this event is the grand kickoff for the Council’s I.L.Care community, a network that matches prospective Israeli and Jewish-American Angeleno volunteers with organizations based on interests.

“My personal life is centered around my family and Judaism is our backbone,” Matisyahu says. “I feel like it’s more [like] a part of a larger community, a world community. Between my fans and my music, that’s a big part of my life as well.”

Matisyahu began listening to reggae in his teens and fell in love with it, writing songs, rhymes, lyrics, and poems. “I didn’t make a conscious decision to do that, it just happened,” he says. “When I hear something that I like, I incorporate that into my sound. I just want to hear something that is moving to me.”

Recently experimenting in the studio with computer-generated pop songs - as opposed to his usual backing of live instruments - Matisyahu has been at work with many collaborators, including Bruno Mars. “It’s fun, it’s exciting and enjoyable music with deeper themes running throughout,” he says of his forays into catchy melodies with flavor and full force. “It’s good to try to expand a little bit.”

Having recently moved to California from the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, Maisyahu says he feels that “it’s a little bit more isolated.”

He remains that he will “always have some involvement with the Jewish community,” wherever he may be.

When speaking of Los Angeles area incidents at synagogues in the spring, such as a fire in Hollywood and a pipe bomb a few blocks away from SMC, Matisyahu says, “Sometimes crazy things can happen, but you can’t focus on that kind of stuff too much.”

Tickets for this show on Sunday Nov. 20 at the Gibson Ampitheatre are available through the I.L.Care website.