“We’re self proclaimed hippies,” Doni Zasloff said of herself and her husband, Eric Lindberg. The couple’s love of nature combined with the bluegrass tunes they create resulted in their band, Nefesh Mountain. Besides their love of nature and music the couple bonded over their Jewish faith. Nefesh means soul in Hebrew, which is an ode to their faith.

The Montclair couple will be bringing their music to the South Orange Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Dec. 21, the fourth night of Hanukkah.

Zasloff and Lindberg met through music. The two started as friends, became bandmates and found themselves falling for each other while writing music. 

“The music initially brought us together and Eric has an extensive knowledge and love of bluegrass Americana, and I love that,” Zasloff said. 

She was born in New York and studied theater at New York University. Meanwhile, Lindberg was into sheet music. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he studied jazz performance at Rutgers University. 

Though Zasloff was always into the arts, singing and songwriting came to her in an unusual way.

“When my daughter, Millie, was in preschool, I started singing and writing music for her class,” she said. While most preschoolers sang the stereotypical “Wheels on the Bus” tune, Zasloff wrote original songs for the children. What started as a mother writing music just for her children eventually turned into much more. 

Living in Montclair for nearly 10 years, Zasloff and Lindberg started the band in 2015. Since its inception, the critically acclaimed band has created three albums worth of music. Their most recent release is a live album, “Live From Levon Helm Studios: A Hanukkah Holiday Concert,” which is a compilation of their original songs and some treasured Hanukkah songs, like “Happy Joyous Hanukkah.” 

Since Thanksgiving, the band has been on tour throughout the country, performing in California, Illinois and Tennessee. Now the couple is excited to be returning home to New Jersey for their performance tomorrow, Dec. 21, in South Orange at SOPAC. Both Zasloff and Lindberg are looking forward to seeing familiar faces in the crowd.

“We're just really grateful that we get to be home and we're going to have our family and friends at the show tomorrow night,” Zasloff said. 

Music lovers of all cultures are welcome to enjoy the folksy tunes of Nefesh Mountain. Though they are proud of their Jewish identity, they make it known that their music and shows are for all backgrounds and centers on the three core values that make up the holiday season for everyone: life, love and family. 

Through their music Nefesh Mountain hopes to counteract hate with love. 

“We're not politicians, we don't make speeches,” Zasloff said. “We make music, and we feel a responsibility to be outwardly open about our identity, just honestly, because of everything going on in the world today.”

To buy tickets for the Nefesh Mountain Hanukkah Show visit sopacnow.org .

Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg (COURTESY OF NEFESH MOUNTAIN)
Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg (COURTESY OF NEFESH MOUNTAIN)