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was an Orthodox Jewish singer-songwriter and guitarist, known for introducing the electric guitar to Jewish music. Piamenta plays rock and roll tunes, often infused with heavy rock licks and extended guitar solos – all while dressed in Jewish Orthodox religious clothing and singing Biblical Hebrew lyrics. Piamenta has been widely acknowledged by rock critics as a guitar virtuoso.
In addition to being an original songwriter, Piamenta covers others' music in the religious Jewish music category – his album Songs of the Rebbes includes various Lubavitch, Belz and Sephardi nigunim and Zemirot – as well as secular American music, such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. Piamenta has described his music style saying, "I do klezmer with electric guitar."
Personal lifePiamenta was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1951 to Yehuda and Genia Piamenta. In 1962, when he was 12 years old, Piamenta moved with his family to Tel Aviv, Israel. There, he received his first guitar from his uncle,Albert Piamenta, an Israeli saxophonist. Growing up, he practiced traditional Judaism.
In his 20s, Piamenta moved to New York, together with his brother, Avi Piamenta, with the intention of working on a joint album with American saxophone player Stan Getz. The album was a success but Piamenta disapproved of the entertainment industry lifestyle and turned to religion, joining the Orthodox Jewish community. He married his 16-year-old cousin, Vivian, and they raised six children together. He separated from his wife in 2005.
Piamenta lived in Flatbush, New York, for over 20 years before moving back to Israel "to live close to his father." Piamenta has said that he has moved to Israel permanently. He said, "My father, who is 80, called me in New York and said, 'Come back to Israel, be with me a little.' He never talked in that tone before, and I decided to come back. All my life I have played and made music and I won't stop. Now I will play in Israel and form a band and go abroad for gigs wherever I am invited. My base from today on is Tel Aviv." His father, Yehuda, has since died.
In August 2014, Piamenta – together with Avi Piamenta and Naftali Kalfa – released a single, "Yaancha," calling it a "prayer for Piamenta's recovery." On April 14, 2015, Piamenta's Facebook page disclosed that "Yosi is not doing well" and asked fans to "Please pray your hearts out." On April 17, 2015 Piamenta fell into a coma; he woke up from the coma two days later. Piamenta has cancer and has undergone surgery at the Sheba Medical Center. He passed away in New York, on August 23, 2015.
Music careerIn 1974, Yosi Piamenta formed a band with his brother flutist Avi Piamenta. By 1976, the brothers had been discovered by Getz, who invited the Piamentas to record with him in New York. Piamenta was 26 years old when he arrived in New York set out on a tour with Getz throughout the United States. After the tour, the Piamentas joined Getz on tour in Israel. After recording an album with Getz, Piamenta became a bal teshuva, an observant Orthodox Jew.
Piamenta's fan-base is bifurcated. A majority of Piamenta's large fan-base appreciate Piamenta as an iconic Jewish musician and attend his live performances at religious events and Jewish concerts and weddings; but Piamenta has also attracted a fan-base sub-culture following of his music who particularly enjoy his take on rock, blues and his lengthy guitar solos that Piamenta usually plays only at smaller concerts held in bars and clubs. In addition to his live performances, Piamenta has also released a series of widely received studio albums that can be found in many Jewish home in the US and Israel. The Piamenta Band has been one of the highest requested musicians for Jewish weddings over the last century. Most, but not all, of Piamenta's concerts and albums have been performed or recorded in conjunction with his brother, Avi Piamenta.