Matisyahu, a Hasidic Jew who sings reggae, played the Belly Up Tavern twice last year. Both shows sold out. Buoyed by his big radio hit "King Without a Crown," he returns February 20 for the Bob Marley Day Festival at the Sports Arena. But, according to contract demands for the concert, his religion may complicate logistics.
Born Matthew Miller, the 26-year-old dub-style singer is a member of the Lubavitch Hasidic Community based in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Last year, he told an interviewer that he does not appear onstage with female singers because his religion doesn't allow him to hear women sing. According to a person connected with the Sports Arena show, no songs by female artists may be played on the Sports Arena house PA sound system before or after Matisyahu's appearance.
Matisyahu's agent referred all questions to Shore Fire Media in New York. Last week, Michael LaVigne of Shore Fire sent an e-mail that read, "I can't address that directly, but from a religious standpoint, I can say that Matisyahu follows orthodox Jewish law, which states that a woman's singing voice is holy and that Jewish men may only hear the singing of women in their immediate family -- wife, mother, sister."