Since its release in 2006, Nicolas Jolliet’s rendition of the Kol Nidre for Sitar and other exotic instruments  called “Kol Nidre Goes East,” has been attracting increasing  critical and popular acclaim.  I have established this web-site to make available without charge both the Jolliet Kol Nidre and “Kol Nidre in Kabul,” a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary on the unexpected arrival of the Jolliet Kol Nidre in the war zone of Afghanistan.  This is the first time that the Jolliet rendition and the documentary have been brought together on one website.

This web-site also provides a wealth of information on the composition, the composer, the production,  the Kol Nidre, and supporting links, which can be easily readily accessed at the top of each page: “Welcome”, “Kol Nidre Goes East, “CBC Outfront Documentary”, “Links” (an ever-growing,  eclectic collection) and ” Contact”.

Keep in touch.

Harold Levy. hlevy15@gmail.com


Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University: “Kol Nidre gets a Caribbean beat” Sometimes the unexpected comes with the daily mail. This recent addition arrived just in time for Yom Kippur. It  features Nicolas Jolliet a talented guitarist, sitarist,  and composer. The Kol Nidre has fascinated composers for centuries. Now it has caught the attention of Guitarist and Sitarist Nicolas Jolliet. Using the sitar, surbahar, tabla, oud, dumbek and other exotic instruments, this CD was recorded on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, and evolves from traditional ragas into a seductive Reggae beat. The subject of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, it was played at a Yom Kippur service held at a U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Jolliet Kol Nidre was written in two parts. The first,  although  innovative, closely follows the original. The second part is a freer interpretation using the richly textured sounds of the East.  Click here to listen to this beautiful rendition of one of Judaica’s most iconic songs.


I-Tunes customer reviews of “Kol Nidre Goes East”  published under the heading, “Kol Nidre gets a new twist.”
“I’ve always loved “Kol Nidre” at synagogue when the cantor sings it. The beautiful melody easily gets stuck in everyone’s heads. This rendition of Kol Nidre is not only new, but phenomenal. I love the subtle reggae feel and the instrumentals. This is a great version of Kol Nidre and a must-get.” Currliq.

“Nicolas Jolliet has done an excellent job at rendering this classic tune for the sitar and giving it a distinct eastern feel. Tremendous!” Antimidas.


Jewpop: Le site qui voit des juifs partout. Music. Best of Kol Nidre;  Kol Nidre, l’une des plus célèbres prières de la liturgie juive, sera entendu ce soir dans toutes les synagogues lors de la célébration de l’office du soir de Yom Kippour. Jewpop a sélectionné les plus belles et les plus étonnantes interprétations et adaptations de cette mélodie………Plus étonnant, ce « Kol Nidre Goes East », rencontre improbable entre liturgie juive, musique indienne et… reggae, réalisée par le guitariste et joueur de Sitar Nicolas Jolliet, d’origine suisse.

(English translation): Kol Nidre, one of the most famous prayers of the Jewish liturgy, will be heard this evening in all synagogues for  the celebration of  Yom Kippour. Jewpop selected the most beautiful and most astonishing interpretations and adaptations of this melody ……… more astonishing, this “Kol Nidre Goes East”, achieves an improbable confluence  between Jewish liturgy, Indian music and… reggae, carried out by the guitarist and  sitarist Nicolas Jolliet, who is Swiss.


A sincere life: (September 24, 2012):  “The musical structure of the traditional Ashkenazi Kol Nidre is built upon a simple groundwork, the melody being an intermingling of simple melody with rich vocal figuration. The opening of Kol Nidre is what the masters of the Catholic plain-song term a “pneuma”, or soul breath. Instead of announcing the opening words in a monotone or in familiar declamatory phrases, a cantor or hazzan of South Germany long ago prefixed a long, sighing tone, falling to a lower note and rising again, as if only sighs and sobs could find utterance before the cantor could bring himself to inaugurate the Day of Atonement. This tradition survives today in most synagogues. The traditional tune is beautiful, and these two less traditional instrumental versions two of my personal favorites–one played on a sitar by Nicolas Jolliet …and one for cello and piano by Ben Zebelman.”


Reform Judaism Magazine: 10 Kol Nidre Tracks: “Track 10. Guitarist and sitarist Nicolas Jolliet of Psycho Key explains that he was drawn to the “spiritual and musical power” of the tradition Jewish melody.


Reform Judaism Magazine: A conversation with Marsha Bryan Edelman. “Has the melody crossed over into pop culture?” “Al Jolson sang it in The Jazz Singer, the first “talking” movie. Neil Diamond sang it in the 1984 remake. The Kol Nidre theme is now part of pop music as well. Perry Como recorded the Kol Nidre (with Johnny Mathis doing “Eili, Eili, Lamah Azavtani” in his 1956 album I Believe). In 1968 a rock band called the Electric Prunes produced a “composition” called “Release of an Oath” and subtitled “The Kol Nidre: A Prayer of Antiquity,” but its title track by David Axelrod featured an English adaptation of the text, and the music was only loosely based on the MiSinai tune. Perhaps the most outlandish performance of Kol Nidre I’ve heard was recorded on an island in the Caribbean by a band playing sitar, tabla, oud, dumbek, and other exotic instruments.”


Wikipedia: “Musician and filmmaker Nicolas Jolliet uses the sitar, surbahir, tabla, oud, dumbek and other exotic instruments in his “Kol Nidre Goes East”, which was recorded on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and evolves from traditional ragas into a seductive Reggae beat. It is housed in the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University.”


Kol Nidre: Solemnity and Song; By Mark Mietkiewicz. Published by the Dayton Observer on September 25, 2011. “The memorable melody was first notated in 18th-century Berlin but it is not known when it was first sung. The Protestant German composer Max Bruch (1838-1920) arranged Kol Nidre into the cello concerto that is familiar today. However, Chazzanut.com points out that Bruch “did not consider his Kol Nidre to be a Jewish composition, but just an artistic arrangement of… a folk tune (http://bit.ly/nidr05).” There is no shortage of gifted singers who have performed this incredible prayer. A search in YouTube will deliver you to versions by Moshe Oysher, Mordechai Ben David, Neil Diamond and yes, Perry Como. As well, there are many moving instrumental performances including one by Jacqueline du Pré (http://bit.ly/nidr06). Other versions merit mention. There is the classic by Al Jolson (http://bit.ly/nidr07) and a wonderful performance by the magnificent Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt (http://bit.ly/nidr08)…Max Bruch doesn’t have a monopoly on Kol Nidre. Jerusalem’s Jewish National & University Library presents other melodies recorded in Jerusalem, Italy and Morocco (http://bit.ly/nidr12). And for something very different, you can listen to…Nicolas Jolliet’s reggae version using sitar, surbahar, tabla, oud and dumbek.


Jewci: (Tablet Magazine); “I really like Kol Nidre so much and I’m really looking forward to the service tonight. It’s so heavy and really pulls at my heart, but/and synagogues sound so beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I wanted to sneak a little listen to Max Bruch’s arragement of the Kol Nidre. Here’s a pretty version by the Vienna Philharmonic Women’s Orchestra, here’s a men’s a capella version, here’s a Moroccan version sung by Eyal Bitton, uh, and here’s you’re just a click away from a sitar version of the Kol Nidre that turns sort of jam-bandy reggae-ish, if that’s your bag. As for alterna-versions, I suppose, if I must, my vote would go to Meshuggah Beach Party’s version– they’ve only slapped their Shalom Alechem onto YouTube, so you’ll have to score their CD to make the Kol Nidre happen, which you can get, right here. I have it and I can personally vouch for its wicked awesomeness. Ben Sidran does a great jazz version on the Life’s A Lesson CD, Eddie South has a sad little violin version, Alhambra does a nice one, too, on the Art of Judeo-Spanish Songs CD.”


Psycho Key: Jolliet has also incorporated Eastern instruments into the five CDs already produced by Psycho Key, the band he and his singer/poet/songwriter wife Kyra created, which also features guitarist Clint Adjodha and drummer Aza Naya. Of particular note are: Regal II in the Album “Sweed”, Le surdoue and On The Wild in “Jetty”, check out the website at:


Harvest; Aluku Liba: Movies directed by Nicolas Jolliet which feature his original compositions.



From the ancient Kol Nidre to post-modern aerial  videography: Nicolas Jolliet discovers new worlds.


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