I bring it up, because the blogosphere is buzzing (well, PT and DM are buzzing, anyway) about this Brody post that discusses Karduner.
If you scroll down, you'll find this confusing sentence:
Yosef Karduner from Bet Shemesh, Israel. A "chassid" in every sense of the word; when he's not making one of his rare appearances on stage, he spends his time learning Torah or walking the Judean foothills singing his heart out to Hashem in personal prayer. Listening to such a vocalist is directly conducive to faith and spiritual gain. [emphasis mine]In a word: Huh?
Look, the boy can sing. No argument. And, I wouldn't object to spending an evening with his music. Still, is it really "directly conducive to faith and spiritual gain?" That's quite a sales pitch, a sales pitch I don't think the Truth in Advertising czars would accept.
In fact, the breathless certainty of the Bordy-blurb remindes me of those hucksters who promise long life, vitality, and amazing weight loss if you buy their potions. Only now, the promise is "faith and spiritual gain." Please. Still it's a comforting and reassuring message, isn't it? Don't worry about studying torah. Don't worry about mitzvot. Kick the cat. Steal from your neighbor. Have another brew. No worries, bro. The music of Yossi Karduner will carry you home.
As I hope you've realized, this is utter hogwash.
Music, on its own, can not deliver spiritual gain. There are no shortcuts to spirituality. People (like Lazer Brody?) often confuse spirituality with the warm and happy feeling you get after a big plate of cholent, or a few rounds of zmiros. They're wrong. Spirituality isn't a feeling. It isn't an emotion. It isn't anything you can touch or feel. Spirituality, remember, isn't material.
All Yossi Karduner - or any musician - can do is make you feel nice. If you never do anything with that nice feeling, you have not made spiritual progress. The idea is to harness that good feeling -wherever it comes from; music is just one source - and use it in service of the Torah. A musician can spiritualy improve me only if his music inspires me to do soemthing like study torah, or daven with additional concentration or perform acts of charity. If I don't do anything with the warm, fuzzy feeling, all I have is a warm, fuzzy feeling. And that's not worth anything, spiritually speaking.
Question: What is the difference between an athlete who uses music to pump himself up for the big game, and the yeshiva bochur who uses music to psych himself up for shabbos (excuse me, to put himself into a shabbos frame of mind?)
Answer: Nothing. Both ar eusing music as a tool, because that's all music can be. A tool. It's a means. Not an end.