Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Yedid (Yaakov Shwekey)



Artist’s web site: Shwekey.com

Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy



Shwekey 3. Even if I don’t write this review, it will be the hottest seller of the year, purely by virtue of name recognition alone. How Yaakov Shwekey managed to beat out so many other newbies and wannabes and become the fastest rising JM star of the 21st century is fodder for another essay.

I loved Shwekey 1. Did not like Shwekey 2 at all. Was apprehensive about Shwekey 3. BH it didn’t disappoint; the good-to-nottoogood song ratio is about 70/30. I can sense some instant hits and we might yet be surprised with some sleeper hits. What’s ironic about the album is that I just don’t like much of Side A and LOVE almost everything on Side B! My favorite songs are Ben bag bag, Yedid, Moshiach, Shma Yisroel, Al Chomosayich, Im Eshkochech, and Yiru Eininu…

The best part of this album is Shwekey’s voice. It’s amazing. It’s stronger than ever, richer, and he sings with more heart and soul we’ve ever heard him, yet he doesn’t screech like he did at times on Shwekey 1.

I do not have the CD insert as I received an advance copy, so I don’t know any of the credits besides for the composers.

I adopted a different format for this review, as you shall see. I might just use this format for every review as it’s much easier and I don’t have to repeat myself with the same superlatives again and again. Enjoy!

~1~
Song : Hu Yiftach (Libeinu B’soroso)
Composed by: Moshe Laufer
My rating: 6.5
General: This will probably become a hit song just because it is the first song on the CD. It’s a regular lebedige song.
Positives: Shwekey puts a lot of heart even in this lebedige song, and ends on a very nigh note very beautifully.
Negatives: It’s not a very original song, and the arrangements are very typical. I didn’t like it at all at first listen, but it’s grown on me. Compared to Shomatee and Pisom, I’m surprised this got the first slot. There are better songs later in the CD. But I guess they didn’t ask for my opinion :D.

~2~
Song: V’harev (Nu HaShem Elokeinu etc)
Composed by: R’ Moshe Dovid Shwekey
My rating: 8
General: Slow, heartzige niggun with a lot of unbelievable Shwekey gefeel. Probably comparable to Av Harachamim and/or V’Na Al Tatzricheinu.
Positives: A lot of Shwekey heart. This will become the slow favorite for Shwekey die-hards. Not my personal favorite on the CD as far as the song goes, but the Shwekey gefeel is amazing. Beautiful falsetto ending.
Negatives: This song took a long time to grow on me. Once again, points off for unoriginal possuk and tune. The music is great but I have this distinct feeling of already having heard it already somewhere, especially the opening riffs. Anyone with me on this?

~3~
Song: Ben Bag Bag (omer, hafoch bo hafoch bo…)
Composed by: Pinky Weber
My rating: 7.5
General: An improvement over the first 2 songs; the cd begins to pick up a little. It’s a medium-fast song; faster than a hora yet not a real freilach. It’s a really fun song.
Positives: I like the tune a lot and the arrangements are really good. The middle part has a pseudo-middle eastern feel to it. The “bo bo bo” is very original. I can see this becoming a wedding hit. It’s an enjoyable song, easy to learn and fun to sing along.
Negatives: Somehow I keep thinking of Yisroel Williger’s song “hafoch bo hafoch bo” and trying to decide which one I like better. Also “ben bag ben ben bag bag omer omer” becomes a little cumbersome after a while and too tongue-twistery after a bit.

~4~
Song: Sameach Tesamach
Composed by: Yitzy Waldner
My rating: 5
General: If this was meant to top Meheira from the first album, it didn’t come within 200 yards of it. It’s a slow song with the words “Sameach Tesamach.” It will be loved by someone and disliked by others. I’m in the second category.
Positives: I guess the only positive thing about this song is Shwekey’s powerful voice and the gorgeous harmonies.
Negatives: I can’t bring myself to like it. I dislike slow wedding songs. Meheira was a rare exception. Also, the high part of the song reminds me very much of another song which I can’t place my finger on. Maybe someone out there can help me out.

~5~
Song: Yedid (it’s from gemara Menuchos: Yovo Yedid ben Yedid, Vivneh Yedid L’yedid, Bchelko shel yedid, vischapro bo yedid)
Composed by: Yossi Green
My rating: 9
General: Ahhh, now youre talking! Another Yossi Green hit. I love it. I can just see it become a wedding favorite Great hora style song with excellent arrangements.
Positives:. Points for extreme originality -- never heard the possuk in my life. Very catchy lyrics and great to sing along to. Great choir work too.
Negatives: It is a tongue twister, but a pleasant, easy one.

~6~
Song: Moshiach (B’sho she hakodosh boruch hu…)
Composed by: Pinky Weber
My rating: 10
General: I smelled a Pinky production way before I knew who composed this gorgeous song. From the first word I just knew I was in for a hit. This is my favorite slow song on the album. It starts with a little chazanus so it might be harder for wedding singers to do this song, although I think in chasidishe circles it will definitely be a hit. If youre a fan of the Pinky style, this song will catch you right away. It was one of those songs I loved at the first listen.
Positives: It’s just plain a gorgeous song. The words are original – I don’t think they’ve ever been used before, and it brings out the best in Shwekey’s voice. The song goes from slow chazanus to just slow hartzig to medium fast. It’s very original, very gorgeous, and a tear jerker if you like slow songs. I absolutely love it… Pinky+Shwekey can only = perfection. This song seriously doesn’t bore me and as I said before, is my fave slow song on the CD (besides the English song, which IS my favorite song on the album!) You can’t be bored for too long because it picks up tempo after a few minutes and then slows down again, so it’s always changing. The song is over before it begins – not too long at all.
Negative: If you don’t like chasidishe-style and chazanish-style songs, this one might rate low on your favorites chart. But not me!

~7~
Song: Rabbi Akiva (omar rabbi akiva)
Composed by: Eli Laufer
My rating: 7.5
General: Another hora song. Excellent, original arrangements. I especially love the piano.
Positives: It’s a cool song because it’s not what you’d expect from an Omar Rabbi Akiva song – it’s a heartzige hora, and I like the intro a lot.
Negatives: My favorite Omar Rabbi Akiva will always be Yossi Green’s version on Ohad’s tape. The tune of this one isn’t very original nor does it offer anything unusual or new.

~8~
Song: Shma Yisroel (English song)
Composed by: Tune: Yitzy Waldner. Lyrics: Bella Levitan/Abie Rottenberg. Child soloists: Ushi Briskman and Benny Rishty (yes, from MBC – he was on Shalsheles III as well, I didn’t know he was that good…)s
My rating: 11
General: Words will not suffice to express the effect this song had on me the first time I heard it. I was electrified. Tears were pouring down my face by the time the chorus came around. It tells the story of a mother (or father?) who gave his/her child to non Jewish neighbors for safekeeping through the war and when an askan came back to reclaim the child, the owners of the house refused to admit there was a Jew in the house, until the parent said “Shma Yisroel” which jogged the child’s memory. The tune is just stunning; it will stir your heart. The lyrics are great too; did you expect anything less from Abie?
Positives: As I said above, it’s just a stunning piece. It’s probably the hit of the entire album, although English songs tend not to be used much. I wonder if Shwekey will manage to sing this at any of his concerts, esp. this Succos – that would be a treat. It’s just amazing how Shwekey never wanted an English song on his tapes, until Abie heard him sing in Yiddish on Shwekey B’simcha, nabbed him for “Mama Rochel”, which became such a runaway hit that now Shwekey has a real English song on his new album… This song will make you cry and uplift you at the same time.

CHORUS: Shma, Shma Yisroel
Know that there is, but one G-d above
When you feel pain, when you rejoice,
Know how he longs to hear your voice
HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem Echad

Just a take-your-breath-away song.
Negatives: Can’t find a single negative thing to say…

~9~
Song: Al Chomotayich (Yerushalayim, hifkadeti shomrim etc.)
Composed by: Yossi Green
Rating: 11
General: It seems that Slot #9 has been reserved on Shwekey’s albums for the prerequisite Sefardi song. You liked Ki HaTov? Well get ready to get your socks knocked off – this song makes Ki HaTov sound like “Tzavei, Tzavei...” It’s Yossi Green at his middle-eastern best!
Positives: WOW… it’s an amazing song. It’ll have you bopping along from the first beat to the last. The choir must have had a ball singing, because they are very high spirited. The song is very original and so authentically Middle Eastern it’s hard to believe that a native of Williamsburg composed this :). Shwekeys’ voice takes on a Sefardi quality and it’s just a blast to sing along.
Negatives: Couldn’t find anything negative on this song :).

~10~
Song: Im Eshkochech (Yerushalayim)
Composed by: Yochanan Shapiro
My rating: 7
General: After such a fast paced song as Al Chomotayich, you need something serious to settle back down with. I like this song a lot.
Positives: Although the market is saturated with Im Eshkochechs, we can never have enough. If this is the Yochanan Shapiro of “Acheinu” fame, I’m glad he’s being picked up for more composing gigs. It’s a very nice song.
Negatives: The tune is very similar to Shloime Dachs’s Im Eshkochech.

~11~
Song: Yiree Ainainee
Composed by: R’ Moshe Dovid Shwekey
My rating: 8
General: The man of many hats sings an authentic chasidishe song. I never thought his brother could produce a song that sounds like it was a Wertzberger composition :). I don’t doubt for a second that this will become the next Chasidishe wedding hit.
Positives: It’s amazing to hear Shwekey sing like a born-and-bred Willy boy. What a true chameleon :). It’s a lebedige song and a real treat. It has all the inflections you might find on a Camp Shalva or an Eizik Honig tape.
Negatives: People who don’t care for chasidishe style songs might find this too typical.

Total Ratings: 90/110

In summary, Yaakov Shwekey is certainly deepening his mark on the JM scene with this, which completes the trifecta of the Briskman/Shwekey collaborations. The cd is a guaranteed runaway hit. I am curious to hear which songs others out there like and dislike. Comments are welcomed. Also remaining to be seen is what direction Yaakov Shwekey will choose to take his career in after this. I will certainly stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Sefirah Kumzitz



Artist’s web site: Nochum Stark.com

Album can be previewed/purchased Here


OK, GUYS , HERE IS MY REVIEW ON NOCHUM STARK'S SEFIRAH TAPE. I'M NOT AS ELOQUENT A WRITER AS MINDY, SO I HOPE MY REPORT DOES THIS TAPE JUSTICE....BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING!

HERE GOES...........

TWENTY- SEVEN MEN CHOIR (SOME NAMES SEEM FAMILIAR) AND THEY DO AN AMAZING JOB THROUGHOUT. NOCHUM' S VOICE IS FANTASTIC HERE, NOT OVERPOWERED BY THE CHOIR...BLENDS RIGHT IN. PRODUCED BY TZVI SILBERSTIEN...ANYONE EVER HEARD OF HIM BEFORE?? ON TO THE SONGS...

1- AL HATORAH- SUNG BY NOCHUM- SHORT BUT BEATIFUL. THE HARMONIES ARE BETTER THAN ON THE ORIGINAL TAPE.

2- ONOH HASHEM- NOSSON SCHWARZBERG- WOW! GREAT VOICE. I ALWAYS LOVED THIS SONG, THE CHOIR DOES A FANTASTIC JOB ON IT. (UM, LADIES, WE GOTTA SING THIS AT OUR KUMZITS)

3- VEHAREV NU- NOCHUM AGAIN- ADD IT TO MY LIST OF FAVORITE SONGS. I LIKE IT BETTER THAN ON THE ORIGINAL TAPE. (NOT TO SAY, IT WASNT GOOD THERE, BUT NOCHUM'S VOICE IS MORE POWERFUL HERE, NOT OVERPOWERED BY THE CHOIR, AND THE HARMONIES ARE FANTASTIC!)

4- HASHEM SEFOSAI TIFTACH- NICE SONG, BUT KUPPY SOUNDS BETTER WHEN HE DOES THOSE HEARTZIGE SONGS AT PLAYS (AS AN ACTOR. ) (DID ANYONE EVER HEAR THE WAY HE SINGS "OIDCHA HASHEM" ON THE SPANISH INQUISITION?... WOW! )

5- MI ADIR- MY FAVORITE SONG OFF NOCHUM'S ALBUM. THE HARMONIES HERE ARE EQUISITE ( SPELL CHECK?) . I LOVE THIS SONG!

6- ILON- SUNG BY THE CHOIR. IT IS A BEATIFUL SONG, AND THEY DID A GREAT JOB ON IT. I LOVE THE ECHO EFFECT. THERE IS A BOY SINGING ALONG WITH THE CHOIR, BUT HIS NAME IS NOT ON THE TAPE INSERT. (IMO, I DON'T THINK MUSIC WILL ADD MUCH TO THIS SONG, BUT I MIGHT BE WRONG.)

7- RETZEI- DONE BY NOCHUM . I LOVE THE WAY NOCHUM HARMONIZES FOR HIMSELF (MULTIPLE VOICES.) I CAN LISTEN TO THAT PART OVER AND OVER.

8- ZECHOR- DONE BY KUPPY. I'M NOT CRAZY OVER THIS SONG, (THE SECOND PART REMINDS ME OF AN OLD AVRAHAM FRIED SONG). ALTHOUGH KUPPY AND THE CHOIR DO A GREAT JOB ON IT.

9- TFILOSI-NOCHUM OF COURSE. ZEVY DOES PART OF IT, ALTHOUGH BY SOME PARTS YOU CANT DIFFERENTIATE, CUZ THEY SOUND EXTREMELY SIMILIAR - WOW! I LOVE THIS SONG!

TO SUM IT UP, TO ALL OF YOU GUYS WHO USUALLY CHEAT ON SEFIRAH...(AHEM, MYSELF INCLUDED) GET THIS TAPE!!!!!! AND TO THOSE WHO DON'S CHEAT...GET IT TOO!!! IT'S WORTH BUYING!

***
Comments on this review can be left below.

Acheinu (Shapiro Brothers)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy



I owe you guys a review of Acheinu, the beautiful CD by the Shapiro brothers. Life has been so hectic lately but I finally found some time to write about it.

The concept of five brothers doing a CD together is a rather nice one. I’ve never heard of this singing family, but the Lifestyle magazines article gave me some insight into them. The brothers are Yisroel Meir, Yossie, Yochanan, Ushi and Aaron Shapiro. According to the article they’ve been singing all their lives – they sang for Pirchei, Amudei Shaish, 613 Torah Avenue and others. They always knew they would eventually sing together on their own album. After composing many songs over the years they finally chose the best ones but didn’t know where to begin to have it produced. Then at a friend’s wedding the five brothers sang Aishes Chayil during the meal, and Yochi Briskman just happened to be among the guests…He was very impressed and offered to produce the CD for them.

Yochanan Shapiro composed most of the songs, besides for Refoainu which was composed by Yossie. Unfortunately I do not know who has which voice, and I wont even bother trying to learn/differentiate between them, but I do know that it has a very beautiful and unique sound. Group albums are always more pleasant to listen to than solo albums, and these five brothers produce a beautiful sound together. They even have their father and one grandson guest solo in Bni, which is their most beautiful and most popular song. I was amazed to learn that their father Rabbi Yerucham Shapiro is the administrator of BY of BP – I did not know that!

Anyway, let’s move on to the songs themselves. Out of all 10 I don’t think there is a single filler song. Each one is carefully composed, orchestrated, arranged, and presented. It’s great stuff!

1. Ki Lo Yitosh – a fast, upbeat, catchy tune which will have you dancing in your seat. I love the music, especially the violin. I like the “Am Yisroel Chai V’Kayom thing stuck in the middle. The lyrics match the tune and it’s very nice.

2. Aishes Chayil – as I said above, it’s the song that caught Yochi’s attention and was the catalyst for the CD. It took a while for the song to grow on me because it’s a little bit too long and drawn out – 6 ½ minutes – but it’s a beautiful rendition of Aishes Chayil nevertheless.

3. V’chulum Mkablim – this falls into the genre of the ‘semi-fast/semi-slow’ songs a la Gadol from Shalsheles etc. Nice tempo, great arrangements, good vocals. I think all five guys all had a good chance each to solo a bit on this song so you get to hear each of them, all of whom have beautiful voices.

4. Bni – this is probably the centerpiece song of the album. This song got me hooked on the tape in the first place. As mentioned, Boruch, Yossie’s son has the child’s solo and Papa Yeruchom Shapiro has the grandfather’s solo. It’s always nice to have a three-generation song and in this case it’s almost “di gantze mishpacha” since five brothers sing it. It’s 5 ½ minutes long but every moment of the song will keep you glued to your seat. It’s very hartzig and really gorgeous. Probably the best version of Bni I ever heard. I love it.

5. Ki Saytzay – this is a very unusual lyrical selection, and very original. I enjoyed it a lot but since the possuk is unfamiliar to me I find it hard to sing along without the insert. Excellent lebedige song, and points for originality. I love the violins at the beginning as well. As I said before the arrangements on the album are exemplary and I love the instruments that were used. Very lebedig and very catchy – I think it’s a hit. Nice nananas, nice ending – probably the best fast song on the album.

6. Kavei El HaShem – this is probably the most typical song on the album. But once again I adore the violin intro. It’s the music that makes this album stand out.

7. Maher – Very nice slow song with a lot of heart and cool piano work which I really love.

8. Invei Hagefen – Great hora style song. Great electric guitar intro and beat. I really like this song and can see it being a wedding hit. Although it may sound like something you’ve already heard before, it has its own unique twist and is very enjoyable to bop along to.

9. Refoainu HaShem – beautiful song, this one composed by Yossie Shapiro. It really brings out the essence of the tefillah to hashem for a refuah. I really loved it. Very heartzig, very well done. Truly a beautiful song. It’s amazing; usually most cd’s have the quality of their song decline as they approach the end, but this tape kept consistent throughout. Some of the best songs are towards the end! I liked the “Rofei Cholei Amo Yisroel” verse. The vocals, harmonies, and arrangements are exquisite on this song. My second fave slow song, after Bni. Truly a heartstring-tugger.

10. Uvnei Yerushalayim – Very catchy way to end the album. Great variation on UVnei Yerusahalyim – perfect closer song. A real toe-tapper. It truly sums up the tone of the CD; mellow, heimishe music, yet with a modern twist and a contemporary flavor.

Contact info for the cd is projectprod@aol.com

In closing I’d like to state that I enjoyed this breath of fresh air and I think by now most of you have heard enough cuts on the radio to know that it’s a great CD and worth buying. I wish the Shapiro family a lot of luck and I hope this is not the last we have heard from them. I also hope we hear them do some radio interview one of these days. Thank you!


***
Comments on this review can be left below.



Aneini (Sruli Ginsberg)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music


Reviewer: Malky



My opinion on “Aneini”

Hi all!

This is the first time that im writing up a report on a tape and I hope I will do a good job, cuz I’m not the best writer but I am a big fan of JM so I don’t think it can be too bad.. Right?

A new British singer on the market, a great singer with a great future. A confident singer, just what we need. I just wonder why there isn’t a picture of him on the insert, Id love to see him. Anyways on to the songs.

OK here goes

1. Chaim

A fast lebedige song composed by Yishai Lapidot with his typical yet original lebedige style. Great job on the intro, lively music, drums and all. Excellent musical background effects, it has a nice ending too. And a very good song to start a tape. This song is gonna be a hit and I can imagine hearing it at weddings. Ill rate this song a 9.

2.Lumu Sishon

A beautiful slow song. Another one of Yishai’s compositions, though I’d never guess that he composed it, I’m used to Yishai doing fast, lebedige, tempo songs. But it is a very nice song and you can hear how Sruli puts his heart and soul into this song, and this is gonna be a nice wedding song. Although I don’t usually go for slow songs, this one is different, it’s just too beautiful. The only thing I don’t like about this song is the other ppl doing mmmmmm’s in between, otherwise it’s a great song with a beautiful intro and nice musical background effects. Ill rate this a 10.

3.Yeverechacha

The second I heard this tape, I knew it must be one of Lipa Schmeltzer’s compositions. He has a certain way of composing songs, which I call “short stops” he does no more than 2-3 words per line, and stops abruptly. Great intro with the drums But I wouldn’t put this song amongst my favourite ones, it’s nice and fast and Sruli does a great job on it. But I’m not crazy over this song. Ill rate it a 7.5

4.Velo Omar

A great lively song composed by Yossi Green. Great lively intro as usual. Excellent Musical effects. This is my second favorite song of this tape. It’s quite fast, lively And good. Sruli comes through very clear on this song, and it’s got a nice ending too If there is too much to add you keep quiet, I’ve got nothing more to add to this songIt’s just too good. I’ll rate this song a 10.

5.Zeh Hayom

Another song composed by Yossi Green. It’s got a good intro. I’m not crazy over this song. It’s not too fast and not too slow. And it sounds a little too typical. But again Sruly brings out the best in it, with his great voice he can make any song better. It does have some nice music in between. But I wouldn’t rate it more than a 6.5

6. Limos Hamoshiach

In my humble opinion, this is definitely the hit song of the album. The intro is just rocking. The song for itself is lebedig and full of tempo. And by this song you can see what a great composer Sruly himself is. Besides for his great voice which just rocks in this song and comes through very powerful and strong. When he does the high part, the Boi Neshir, It sounds a lot like Avraham Fried, which is one of my favorite singers (I know that most of you will disagree with me on this point but you actually don’t have to agree, I am just voicing my opinions, I like A. Fried better than: yes…… MBD, I know that MBD is THE king of JM but I’m not crazy over him and I usually wouldn’t go for a tape of his.) Anyways back to our song, I can hear this being sung at weddings as well. I have no complaints on this song. The only thing I would recommend is that the position of this song should be changed with the first song on the tape. It’s my favorite song. Lively musical effects. Ill rate this song a rocking “12”

7.Aneini

Another beautiful slow song composed by the famous Pinky Weber. It has a pretty nice intro and again you can hear with how much heart and feeling Sruli sings it. I wouldn’t say that its depressing, music dosent depress me. But makes me in a better mood and this song can also do it even though it is a slow and very moving song.Nice music in between and nice ending. But in NO WAY would I say that this is another or a substitute of Racheim. I’ve come to the conclusion that NOTHING can replace Racheim. Racheim is just very unique and original. It is in a way similar to Racheim as its composed by the same person but yet it is unique and different. Again this is just my humble opinion and you don’t have to agree with it at all. But it is a beautiful song and very emotional. I’ll rate it a 10.

8.Lehagid Baboiker

This song makes me laugh. It is so different than all the other songs on this tape, but again for a tape to be good we need a taste of everything. This song actually comes from Munkatch, but it’s not something special. Just a plain old typical song. And he sings it the heimish way too so it sounds even more heimish. It has a nice intro though and nice music in between. And I like the men singing. It’s got a nice ending to it too. Ill rate it a 7.

9.Adon Olam


I This is a very interesting song composed by Sruly Himself which makes it unique since he didn’t compose any other songs except for Limos Hamoshiach. It’s nice and slow with a nice intro and nice musical effects. But somehow this song sounds very radio-ish. I don’t know if it’s the way he sings it or the way the men sing in the background. But it looks a little radio type. Anyways it’s still pretty nice. And I would rate it an 8.

To sum it all up. This is an excellent, lebedige, tape and that’s why I like it so much. Id much rather go for fast lebedige songs than slow ones. A slow song has to be very nice that I should like it. I don’t know if you realized but on every song I wrote that the intro is great and it takke is. And a lot of times the intro can make all the difference in a song. When I hear an intro that doesn’t look too nice, I don’t even bother hearing the rest of the song. I just fast forward it. So it makes a lot of a difference and this is what makes this tape so good.

So whoever did not go out and buy it yet. Go right away. I recommend it to everyone who likes lebedige songs. I think it’s quite a hit album.

Sruli You are doing a great job! Keep up the good work!!

Malky

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Comments on this review can be left below.


Ashrecha (Michoel Pruzansky)



Artist’s web site: Pruz.com

Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy


It’s finally here! Michoel Pruzansky’s long awaited album, “Ashrecho” – yes, the one for which Ari Goldwag wrote “My song on Pruzansky's album? anyone know about it? if YOU know anything, let ME know. Thanx.” LOL : -) . Well, Ari, and everyone else, here it finally is. An album worth waiting all this time for. The amount of dedicated hard work that Pruz’s team put into it, is evident in the quality of the songs, the vocals, and the music. I am really impressed. It’s been just ages since a really good solid album came out on the market; there was mamish nothing of note released in the past six months. FINALLY, something good to listen to!

In today’s JM world there are basically two genres: the old-fashioned, “typical”, yeshivishe style, and the newfangled “new and different” style. If you’re the kind that doesn’t enjoy old-school wholesome kind of Jewish music, this album isn’t for you. But if you’re bored of every new singer and group trying to outdo each other with innovative new styles, and crave for some good old-fashioned, singable songs, here you go!

This CD takes on the predictable pattern of: Song 1 – fast hora, hit of the tape; Song 2 – beautiful slow song; Song 3 – kumzitz style song;, Song 6 – hora – and so on and so forth. As I was listening to the cd, I kept waiting for the inevitable filler songs. But they never came. Every single song is solid, singable, and beautiful. The crème de la crème of composers all have a song or two on this cd: Eli and Moshe Laufer, Yossi Green, Yitzy Waldner, Ari Goldwag, and even a newcomer to the scene.

Michoel has one advantage over some of the newcomers; he already has experience. He’s sung on plenty of simchas, and performed with the Miami alumni a couple of times. I’ve seen him; he’s got great stage presence. He has the confidence, the ability to hold a crowd, and wow, a strong voice to boot. So IY”H when he hits the concert arena, he won’t be one of those guys who “has a great voice but needs to work on his stage presence”, because he already has it. I think that his stint with the Miami alumni is going to be very helpful towards putting him on the map; many people know about him and his album because of those concert appearances.

Interestingly enough, with many of the recent new singers, their slow songs were their strength on their cds. In this one, even though the slow songs are beautiful, the fast songs are really fantastic. It’s been a while since the Jewish Music market had some good, solid, lebedig songs. About time!

Ashrecho also has one unique feature which I don’t think I’ve seen on a cd before: It coincidentally has four Yerushalayim songs! Ha. Maybe the cd oughta be called “Yerushalayim”.

The tape was produced by Yochi Briskman and arranged my Moshe Laufer. Eli Laufer arranged the choir.

On to the songs:

Song 1: Ashrecho composed by Eli Laufer In my opinion, this is the hit song of the album. The words are: Pas Bamelach Tochel, U’Mayim Bamsuro Tishteh etc.. It’s a “fast hora” – not fast enough to qualify for a fast song, but faster than a hora. I really like it. Michoel’s voice is amazing; he sounds like MBD with even more strength! Although he probably doesn’t have the highest range, he hits the high notes very well. It’s not your typical tune, yet very easily singable. This is one of those songs that will sing in your head for a long time, and you will find it very hard not to dance along with it. I rate this song a resounding 11!

Song 2: UVnei compose by Yitzy Waldner Here comes your inevitable first slow song. It’s gorgeous! The words are: Viliyerushalayim Ircha b’Rachamim Toshuv etc. etc. Michoel has a lot of gefeel and its evident in this song. I rate this song a 9.

Song 3: Simchu Yerushalayim composed by Pinky Weber Wow. What a destined classic. This is one of those “new-genre” songs; like Godol from Shalsheles, V’Atah Kisvu from Menucha – I don’t know what this type of song is called, a ballad, a waltz, whatever. The words are something completely new. It’s from the Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Haftora: “Simchu es Yerushalayim V’Gilu Boh Kol Ohaveho Sisu Itoh Mosos Kol Hamisabelim Oleho” and the high part is: “K’Ish Asher Imo Tenachamenu Ken Unocho Anachemchem Uviyerushalayim Tinuchomu.” It’s a really fantastic song, and I hope it will be picked up, because it deserves tons of airplay. Once again, Pinky at his best! Michoel does some great harmony on himself, and it’s just gorgeous. I rate this song a 10.

Song 4: Hareini Mezaman composed by Moshe Laufer. Another slow song, but not slow enough to depress you. There isn’t much choir work, and you have a chance to see Michoel’s range and hear his heart and soul come out in this song. I rate this song an 8.

Song 5: Yosis Alayich by Eli Laufer The requisite wedding song – one of the two only real fast songs on the tape, and what you would call a very typical song. Very nice clarinet work on it; sounds like a lebedigeh chasidishe niggun. I can see this song being sung at weddings. I’ll rate it a 7.

Song 6: Da Lifnei Mi composed by Yossi Green You can see right away that this is a Yossi Green composition. (His voice is heard clearly in the choir : -) ). This is a hora song, and the tune is great. I like the intro very much. There is some really good choir work and “nah nah nah”s. Yossi’s voice adds tremendously to this song. There are also some great harmonies. Also, the word “hu” is sung very creatively. I rate this song another 10.

Song 7: Ko Omar by Yitzy Waldner Another slow song, with a very nice guitar intro. A rather typical song, but Michoel gives the slow songs his whole heart and neshama, which makes it for very pleasant listening. He sounds particularly good when he sings the high parts, which bring out his gefeel. There is some very nice electric guitar work and violins on this one. It ends beautifully on a very high note. I rate this song an 8.

Song 8: Im Atem by Isaac Altman Here comes another new composer face on the block. I love this song! I think it belongs a little earlier in the album, in my humble opinion. The words are pretty original too: Im Atem Mshomrim Neiros Shel Shabbos Ani Mareh etc. etc. (It’s from Midrash.) It’s a very catchy tune and the choir work is great. As I said, the fast songs on this cd are are fantastic, and this one is no exception. I rate the song another 10.

Song 9: Yerushalayim by Ari Goldwag The long awaited song of the album. I thought it would be featured way earlier in the album. I was surprised that it’s put so late. It sounds pretty much exactly like he performed it on stage, with the backup choir and all. Really gorgeous song. In my opinion it needed a little more music. It has virtually no rhythm in the beginning, although the piano is really beautiful. Once again Michoel’s full range and true heart and gefeel come out in this piece. I rate it a 9.

Song 10: V’haveeainu by Eli Laufer If there is a filler song on the cd, it’s probably this one, but it’s not a bad song to end the tape with. This is the fourth Yerushalayim song on the tape, and the 2nd fast song on the tape. The choir work is cute on this one. Nothing majorly earth shattering about this song, but nothing bad either. I rate it a 7.

89/100 – not bad at all for a debut album : -).

So guys, here you finally have yourselves a solid tape with gorgeous vocals and beautiful songs. I highly recommend it. And I can only wish Michoel a ton of hatzlocha as he embarks on his solo career.

***
Comments on this review can be left below.



Avinu Malkeinu (Avraham Fried)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Gedaliah


I promised I would review this album since there hasn't been much discussion about it in the 5 months since its release. Although we haven't talked much about it, we never know what our lurkers are interested in. So here goes.

This review will be a bit different from my previous reviews since I'm dealing with a completely different type of JM. These are not songs composed to provide "kosher entertainment" (as Rabbi Leff put it); rather these are niggunim specifically designed to bring people closer to Hashem. Avraham Fried does a stellar job singing these niggunim; he says in the CD insert that he grew up with these songs and wants to share with JM-listening world the spirituality of Chabad niggunim. Avremi G provides the album with pratically perfect arrangements, modern enough for contemperary listeners to enjoy, yet compatible with the style of the niggunim.

In comparison to AF's last niggun release "niggun HaBesht", i think he chose a much bigger variety of niggunim on this album, making it more enjoyable. Also Avremi G's arrangements make "Avinu Malkeinu" the perfect addition to any JM collection. Now on to the selections.

1. Reb Shlome's Niggun: The trademark niggun of a melamed named Reb Shlome "Der Geller". This lively dance tune (and i mean Chassidishe dancing), gets the album off to a great start. The music is great on this track too. My only problem is that it goes on for a tad to long(it's nearly 6 minutes), but nevertheless, it gets you in the mood. 7.5/10

2. Avinu Malkeinu Medley: A beautiful medley of slow niggunim featuring Avinu Malkeinu, anim Zemiros and Ki Anu Amecha. Avinu Malkeinu and Anim Zemiros are two of my favourite Chabad niggunim bichlal, not just on this album. AF sings them both soulfully, with his whole heart, although I think Anim Zemiros could have used a bit more harmony. Ki Anu Amecha was not the niggun i was expecting. i have heard a differnt rendition which I like bettter. This one is more of a chant. It's alright. Overall rating of ,medley: 8.5

3. ein Od Milvado: A levedige niggun celebrating Hashem's oneness and how everything else in thw world is "Hevel Havalim". I like how the tempo changes at differnt intervals throughout the song. Children's choir is ok. the song ends with everyone singing and clapping A Capella. 8.5

4. higoleh Nah: A gorgeous slow melody marking the arrival of Shabbos. This is my favourite slow selection on the album. It has a really nice tune, great harmonies; an authentic niggun in true AF style. Also it doesn't go on for to long which makes it more enjoybale. 9.

5. Karahod! Now this a unique one. I think of it as more of a musical comedy routine than a song. It starts off with jazz-type music, creating a sense of informality, like everyone's at a party. (The insert says that this is occasionally performed at intimate Chassidishe weddings) AF plays the role of a newcomer from the town of Pahotzik. Everyone (choir) exchanges Sholom Aleichem, ask him where he's from etc, then they ask what people do in Pahotzik. To which AF answers: "Men zogt l'chaim un m'iz freilach un men geit a Karahod." (We say l'chaim and we're happy and we dance a Karahod.) then the tempo changes a couple times with eevryone singing men zogt l'chaim etc. Then, the jazz kicks in again, a bit faster than ythe intro this time. AF goes into English, "We say l'chaim etc." Then he starts this sequence about drinking mashke and something esle (still trying to understand it..); he goes crazy a little bit, giving the impression that the party-goers are becoming shikker. Then they revert back to the original chorus and end of with a contented sigh and the jazz conclusion. This gets a 10 for originality both music-wise and content-wise, and i think AF did an exceptional job creating the environment this "niggun" represents. It's no wonder it got high ratings on the Mitzad!

6. Torah Medley. A fast Torah-themed medley featuring the niggunim Sisu V'simchu, Mah Yisron and Torah Tziva. This medley has more of the tempo-changing stuff which i think may be this album's trademark. Not much to comment, except I really like Mah Yisron, it has a cool beat (although i don't know if i should tor efer to niggunim as 'cool').Basically this is a very good example of lebedige chassidishe niggunim. 9. (just fyi, the insert says that AF was taught Mah yisron from a Rabbi avrohom Ber Blesofsky. Now, I have a Dinim/Chassidus teacher named Rabbi Avrohom Ber Blesofsky. I doubt it's the same guy, since i would have assumed he would at least mention he's from Melbourne. But I wonder if it is.. I might ask him..)

7. Niggun Hachono. This is the prelude niggun to the holy "forbidden niggun" of the Alter Rebbe. I've sung the hachono niggun many times at Farbrengens etc. A great example of Hisvaadus, niggunim that Chassidim sing when they come together to discuss Chassidus, or other divrei Torah. I heard on a jmintheam interview with Avraham Fried that he doubts he will ever record the "Forbidden niggun" (which is only sung at special occasions, eg. chasunos and then end of a Yom Tov); it wouldn't be respectful. Very nice niggun, and once again it doen't go for too long. 8.

8. Adon Olam. A nice waltz with chazonus interludes originating from the Russian town of Nevel. This isn't one of my favourites, but i it moves along quite nicely. AF does a great job harmonising with himself. All in all a nice tune. 7.5

9. Niggun Simcha. An intersesting selection compared to the other two Niggunei Simcha on niggun Habesht. It's a little different, not as fast. not much else to comment; it's an ok selction. 7.

10. Poltava Niggun. I don't like this one very much. It's a bit too slow and whiny for my liking. This niggun originates from Poltava, Ukraine in 1882, and was oft sung by the Rav, Reb Yaakov Mordechai on Shabbos Afternoon. i'm not really into the REALLY slow niggunim. 5.5

11. Grand Finale. Wow, they really mean business!! Compared to the lacklustre 3-song final medley on Niggun HaBesht, this is truly amazing. The selections are: Ki Elokim- fast paced niggun to the tune of "dayeinu"; Chotsh Mechudi- a nice Ukranian hora; Der Rebbe Hot Geheisen Feeilich Zein- another hora; Modzeh Modzeh Dringzadal-"a fiesty Russian funke-tune" (quote from insert); Vayehi Bimei Achashveirosh- An extremely lebedige niggun that REALLY gets you in the Purim mood!; Then there's about 3 wordless niggunim-pretty good, then E Vad'ye Mih Neutonim- this one's weird, the owrds are hard to understand; and finally Ki v'simcha- a great way to finish the medley. they end off by AF shouting "ein Od milvado" and the music finishing. Excellent music and singing- 9.5.

Every album has it's "shtick" and Avinu Malkeinu is noe xcpetion. At the end of the album there are brief 5-second snippets from Ein Od, R' shloime's niggun, Torah Medley and Karahod.

Overall rating of album: 90/110 or 82%.

In conclusion, if you enjoy, Chassidishe niggunim,this is the album for you. AF makes it sound very authentic. And you aren't famailiar with niggunim yet, now would be a good time to start. Niggunim are definitely an example of REAL JM, designed to bring people closer to Hashem.

Gedaliah

***
Comments on this review can be left below.


Avinu (Shloime Dachs)



Artist’s web site: Shloime Dachs.com

Album can be previewed/purchased Here

Reviewer: Mindy



Here is a quick review of Shloime Dachs’s new album, “Avinu.”

I must admit that at first I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t blown away by the songs I initially heard on the radio. But Shloime was right; you have to hear a CD thoroughly 2-3 times before passing judgement. Even though my mistake earned me a free CD and Shloime’s friendship, I’ll try not to be biased and be truthful about the album.

I usually have a hard time liking solo albums because they generally bore me. You all know that I go for group acts, choirs, and all star albums above solo acts any time. But like Acheinu, almost every song on the album is a hit. I was very impressed with the CD; many moving slow songs and lively catchy songs. Of course Shloime puts in his unique hartzigkeit into his delivery, making the CD for very pleasant listening.

Shloime had said a while ago in several interviews (I remember a Dov Hikind interview clearly) that this is gonna be a “new, up-to-date”, sort of reinvented, hip Shloime Dachs. I didn’t find it to be the case too much, although some of the songs do have a more contemporary flavor which reflects the current trends and consumer demands in the Jewish music industry. Ain Lanu, Forever, and Avinu might be characterized as the “new” Shloime style, but the rest of the album is consistent with Shloime’s usual style. Unless, perhaps, I haven’t really been following him too closely the past decade and don’t know much about his “style” (but I do believe I have some knowledge)….

The cd insert has some interesting things of note: The front cover is a picture of Shloime in Tallis and Tefillin – now we are all privileged to see Shloime’s elbow. (just kiddin). His credits are a veritable who’s who in Jewish music: He thanks Nachum Segal, Hersh Einhorn, Shelly Lang, Aaron Teitelbaum, Yisroel Lamm, Suki & Ding, Sheya Mendlowitz, MBD, Avremel, Dedi, Yisroel Williger. Mendy Wald, Michoel Schnitzler, Lipa Schmeltzer, Avrumi Flam, Shlomo Simcha, Yossi Green, J.J. Fried, Yossi Tyberg, Rivie Schwebel, Moshe & Eli Laufer, Adam Melzer, Yochi Briskman, Avremi G., Shloime Ash, and a whole bunch of other names in the business…. Wow. I guess he knows everyone and everyone knows him :) Just imagine a concert with all of the above referenced people. You’d need the Giants Stadium. And who wouldn’t go?

By the way I was very surprised when I put the CD into my computer that Windows Media automatically filled in the names of the songs for me. I wonder if someone ALREADY put the information in so that WMP was able to supply me with it, or if it’s programmed into the CD?

I forgot to mention that the CD has an interactive clip that can be viewed on your pc. It has links to see other cds of his, his site, his email address, etc., and there is a 7 minute VERY MOVING video clip sung to his Im Eshkachech song which I think will touch every heart. I was crying when I watched it! It’s beautiful. I like this new trend that Gideon started with interactive clips on the cd.

OK. Here is a brief rundown of the songs: (I”ll try to keep this review short although it’s already a page long!)

1. Ain Lanu
This hora opener is the true hit of the tape. Although I had criticized it at first, I fell in love with it after several listens. It’s lebedig; it’s fun; it’ll have you off your feet and dancing in no time. The music is full and rich and great. I think this is a new wedding hit, and will become Shloime’s new “signature song” – his new “K’Ish Echod” if you will, and I think it’s a masterpiece.

2. Ani Maamin
This interesting song starts off slow and suddenly becomes lebedig. I like this song a lot. Isn’t it funny how Ani Maamins can be slow and fast and they sound great in both tempos!

3. Forever
This is absolutely my favorite song on the album. I think this has become my new theme song in life. I find the lyrics beautiful but, oh, the tune! It’s so haunting and sweet…. Here are some of the lyrics:

Father dear, I await so anxiously To see a world of peace a world of unity All the wars, all the lives that we have lost Can never be replaced, and oh! At what a cost

Chorus:
Keli Lama, Azavtanee? Father dear, where are you? Can’t you see me?

It seems like forever now Oh won’t you please just show your face Take us by the hand and say “We’re going home!”

It seems like forever now Oh won’t you please just feel your pain We beg, we ask, we pray Please bring us home and show your face

…..

We can dream, we can hope for times of change When evil men will pay, and only good remains We will laugh, when you stage that final play To even out the score, and we’ll no longer say….

Keli Lama, Azavtanu? Father dear, where are you? Can’t you see me?
***
I’m telling you I love this song… I can listen to it again and again… the tune is exquisitely haunting, and fits in so well with the words… It’s so different, not your typical one, and the music is simply gorgeous. I think this is my favorite song off the album… Yitzy Bald composed the lyrics and the tune on this one

4 Ma Rabu
This is the song on the Arutz Sheva charts. This track is not my personal favorite and I think Kobi could’ve chosen a better song, like track 1, or maybe track 6. This song is a medium fast song – not a slow hora, more of a slow fast. I think I hear Gideon Levine in this song, if I’m not mistaken.

5 Im Eshkachech
I heard the song for the first time at the Pataki rally and I wasn’t too impressed then, but the song started growing on me after I watched the video clip. The visual effects made me realize the significance of the words and how well they fit with the tune. It’s a very heartzige piece, and I suspect that this song will find its way to the next Chupah songs collection…

6 Avinu
This title track is suprisingly a half Yiddish half Loshon Kodesh song. I love it!!! It’s my 2nd favorite song on the tape (1st place goes to Forever). The words are: Tatte Zeeser Helf Shoin Alleh Yidden, Helf Shoin Daina Kinderlach, Avinu Malkeinu, Malei Yodeinu Mibirchosecha. The Yiddish words are very tastefully chosen apparently; it is pronounced the same way in the Litvish and the Chasidish dialects, so it’s easy for it to be sung in all kehillas and the song doesn’t make anyone feel “left out”. This song is the most daring and “different” one on the album, and I really, really like it. I think this song will appeal to a cross section of different people and might become a universally accepted hit song. It’s nice for a change to hear an Avinu Malkeinu fast song!

7 Asher Bara
The song itself is nice, but I personally am not crazy over it. For starters, Asher Bara in my taste belongs to be a fast song. Also, somehow in this song I feel like I’ve heard it SOMEWHERE – it’s probably the most typical and un-different song on the album. Oh, well, not all songs can appeal to everyone! Shloime dedicated this song to newlyweds Mendy & Henny Wald and Menachem & Yael Toker. Anyone know if Toker actually got married yet?

8 Bayom Hahu
Nice fast song, composed by Yishai Lapidot – nothing extraordinary, but a nice smooth flowing fast one. Words: Bayom Hahu Yihyeh HaShem Echod Ushmo Echod, Kakosuv B’Sorosecheo, shtait in dain torah… a little bit of a different kvetch there.

9 Yehi HaChodesh
It seems that the quality of the songs begin the decline the later we get in the tape, or maybe it’s my taste, because I don’t think this song is anything special. It was composed by Yitzy Waldner. Definitely not hit material, but good enough to make it on a Shloime Dachs tape.

10. Shomer Yisroel
This is a very nice and moving slow song, not slow enough to bore you, yet heartfelt and inspiring enough to befit the words Shomer Yisroel.

Shloime dedicates this song to the volunteers and staff of all the organizations that help bring a smile to the facts of special children and their families. It is a well known fact that Shloime is very involved with Ohel and does a lot of good with special children and adults, as well as bikur cholim. (He even thanks the bikur cholim crew on the insert).

11 Aizo Hee
The lyrics are pretty original – from pirkei avos, aizo hee derech yeshara sheyavar lo ha’adam, kol shehee tiferes le’oseho v’siferes lo min h’adam. The tune is not majorly original, but it’s a nice song to end off the album. There’s a short piece of semi-chazanus in the middle. Pretty cute to hear shloime dach’s do chazanus – not boring chazanus but cute chazanus. It’s an original idea.

12 There is a hidden track – a short acapella version of Im Eshkachech which is almost nicer than the song itself! A cappella is always beautiful.

In short, (Short? This review turned out to be four pages long!) it’s a great album – a must get for Shloime Dachs fans, and if you’re not a fan yet, you just might be one by the time you finish listening!

***
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Benny K'ton



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy


The Benny Kton story is an interesting one. When Eli was in Israel, Benny called him that he wanted to audition to be part of his techno group. Eli met Benny in a hotel lobby and this kollel guy with his white shirt, black suit and tzitzis did not look like the type of guy who would fit in with a techno group… Then Benny gave Eli a demo cd of songs he had sung and played the instruments for. Eli listened to it and was blown away, and he decided to produce the cd.

This CD is very different from the usual JM fare. It’s a mix of techno music and regular instruments. This style for a CD probably has some kind of an official genre term, but I don’t know what it’s called, so I’ll describe it as a kind of airy/floaty music. It’s extremely relaxing, mellow music, which can put you to sleep if you listen too much to it. The voice is also very soothing and relaxing – sort of Yitzchak Simcha-style. The CD has mostly slow songs, but they’re all good and “different”. I think it shows incredible talent, for one guy to do an album from A to Z. The choir consists of Yehonatan Schwartzmer, Yehuda Peizer, and Shneur Steinberg. Benny thanks his parents and in laws without their names, and I think he is married although he doesn’t mention a wife anywhere. I think he’s trying to stay kinda anonymous; he didn’t appear on any radio shows and is not doing any concerts. He’s just a young man who wanted to share his music with the rest of the world.

Benny’s last name caused quite a stir in the radio industry – Nachum Segal kept calling him K’tahn and K’tohne until Eli appeared on the show and set the record straight. Al Gordon called him – guess what – Benny Kuh-tuhn for the chasidishe listeners! Lol. I guess we now know the pronounciation.

Here we go with the songs. All songs composed by Benny unless otherwise noted.

1. Kel Adon. Composed by Shneur Steinberg. This song is what convinced many people to buy the album. The intro is the same as the first half of Mendy Wald’s Sameach but the tune isn’t remotely similar. It’s a great tune, nice harmony, and very smooth music. It’s just about the only really fast song on the album (besides for the English song) so some ppl were disappointed when it ended up being a mostly-slow album. The music is extremely professional. Hard to believe that one person played all of the instruments. Some of them even sound real. I believe that some of them are real.

2. Rachmana. Composed by Rabbi S. Schechter. This happens to be a beautiful slow song and I really like it. The harmonies are great and it’s a very guitar-based song. Because of Benny’s style, there are no crazy highs or heartrending heartzige songs. All of them are just mellow, relaxing, soothing music. This song however does fall under the category of a heartzige song and I really enjoy it. There’s some really nice acapella towards the end. This song and Ad Heino are my favorite slow songs on the album.

3. Modeh Ani. A slightly up-tempo song, coming off Rachmana, but still not a fast song. But it’s not the moving slow kind, yet not the Shalsheles-Godol kind either. This song is interesting in the fact that it doesn’t really have a high part. The beginning and end of Modeh Ani is sung in the same tune. Think Goldwag’s Aleinu and you get the picture.

4. Vaani Tefilasi. The CD slows down once again. Very nice electric guitar intro. Another nice smooth mellow song. Quite a bit of heartzige stuff thrown in there, with good electric guitar interludes.

5. Can You Please. Here we come to a nice lebedik techno style English song with some otherworldly effects. I like the song a lot but I absolutely do not understand the message, nor do I like the use of the word “savior”, which is a word used to refer to the non Jewish messiah. Whatever this song is supposed to mean, I like the music and tune a lot.

6. V’Chulom Mekablim. Composed by Benny Kton and Yoel Rosenberg. This has a nice choir accompanying the main vocals and this song is actually good enough that you can envision it being on a popular album. Very smooth music and vocals, nice hora tempo, and good choir work. Great beat; you will be tapping to the music throughout.

7. Ad Heino. Composed by Rabbi S. Schechter. Another beautiful slow song replete with those airy, swirly, reverb effects which give the song a hypnotic effect. This song competes with my favorite slow song spot with Rachmana.

8. Nodeh Lecho. Cool rock style song with very interesting/different percussion. This is the “fun” song of the album.

9. Achas Shoalti. This starts with some digitally modified space-age technology and guitar work. At this point the listener can be kind of tired from the slow song string on the album so it’s a little hard to get into this song, but it’s very nice. Cool choir interjections and nice piano work.

10. V’Haer Aineinu. Just when you thought the cd would end off with a bang, comes another slow song. I feel the cd shouldve ended with a fast number. It doesn’t leave you with a feeling of satisfaction – ahhh, this was a good listen; it ends with a song that could’ve done well at number 8 or 9 just as well.

All in all you can see what kind of album this is – a rather relaxing, mellow, smooth, up-to-date technologically album, with plenty of real instruments combined with techno beats. It’s perfect for background listening or when you’re in a relaxed mood (like now when I’m chatting, surfing, and so forth). Benny is a very talented young man who shows his composing, instrumental, and vocal capabilities wonderfully on the album. I hope he does well and we can expect a Benny Kton 2 out in the near future.

***
Comments on this review can be left below.


B'tfilah (Shimshom Delefkovits)



I have not seen this sold on any web site anywhere so I can only tell you to go and buy it in your local store.

Reviewer: Gedaliah


A brand new album from Israel, which I recently purchased, is “B’tfila” from Shimshon Delevkovitz, of Oif Simches fame. The album takes on a unique approach. It is a meaningful project to benefit victims of terror in Israel, especially children, in the form of a musical compilation of hopeful and optimistic songs to bring light and joy into unfortunately many shattered young lives. The main beneficiary of the album is the “Kav HaMe’ach’ed” institute, (with which Shimshon is directly involved) which helps support terror victims both financially and emotionally, with a strong emphasis on focusing on a bright future. In order for others to contribute to this important mitzvah, Shimshon invited a talented crew of Israeli JM stars to perform on the album. Shimshon composed most of the songs, and wrote most of the lyrics. Only four out of the twelve tracks contain traditional lyrics, while the others contain original lyrics in Ivrit which focus on putting the bad behind us and making the world a better place by performing acts of chesed. In this review, I will be commenting on lyrical content in addition to musical content, since the words of the songs are the most powerful element of B’tfila. The music on this album, arranged by Shai Barak, is quite reminiscent of Oif Simchas, with a lot of techno, keyboard and guitar. Shimshon sings on each song, accompanied by an Israeli Jewish Music personality. All compositions and lyrics are by Shimshon Delevkovitz, unless otherwise indicated. (Song scores are out of 10.)

1. Elokai, performed with Udi Ullman. This techno song talks from the victim’s viewpoint, and stresses the point that although life may be hard at the moment, we must pray to Hashem so that things will be better. We also must thank Hashem that we have an institution such as Kav Ha’me’ached which helps put a smile on our face. (The smile is a common theme in many of the songs on the album). This song gives us a timely introduction to the purpose of the album. 8.

2. Gaaguim, composed by Shimon Boskila, performed with Yossi Berger. One of two tear-jerking ballads, this song was written in memory of Avraham Neriah, Tzvi Yaakov Yisrael and Avishai Yosef Shebo, and their mother, Rachel, who were tragically killed in a bombing (or fire, I’m not exactly sure) in their house (Hashem yinakom damam). The words are powerful, a mixture of sadness and hope, as the father who lived prays that his remaining family remains secure and that the sublime Malochim protect the neshamos of his wife and sons. The message is that even though the unthinkable tragedy has occurred, we are still required to continue life and appreciate the good that we have; “Ani lo levad”- I am not alone. The CD contains a video clip of this song, sponsored by the “Krel” clothing company, which depicts the father and husband of the deceased looking around his destroyed house as well as many photos of the boys and their mother experiencing life as happy Yidden. We also see Shimshon and Yossi in the studio recording the song. The lyric “Menaseh le’esoff et hashvarim”-We will gather the broken pieces” becomes a reality in a physical and emotional sense, as we see the remains of the house as well as the kevarim of innocent Yidden. If you thought you had thick skin this song and video clip may prove you wrong and have you crying along. The tune, tempo, music and lyrics are so appropriate for the song, it really brings out what our brothers and sisters in Eretz Hakodesh are suffering through. Gaaguim gets a well-deserved 11, and hopefully no similar song will ever have to be recorded again, since we will be busy rejoicing with Moshiach and Techias Hameisim.

3. Latet Tikva. This solo performance by Shimshon conveys a similar message to that of Elokai, with more emphasis on hope, and keeping a smile on your face. The tune is not as excting though; the verses sound a bit like MBD’s Yerushalayim At Yerushateinu, and the chorus is a little monotonous. However, the important aspect is the lyrics, which gives this song a mark of 7.

4. Yehudoh, performed by the Delevkovitz brothers- Elimelech, Shimshon, Menachem and Yehuda. Family involvement is very important when dealing with tragedies, so Shimshon invited his brothers to sing the praises of Yehuda, as stated in Bircas Yaakov. This is a heavy rock song with a lot of guitar, maybe a little too much, since the song is almost 6 minutes and annoyingly repetitive. The tune doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, and the voices aren’t really that amazing. There is however one humourous aspect at the beginning, when one of the singers goes really low when saying YehuDOH AtOH. You also hear a lot of the heavy Chassidic Israeli komatz and reish. 5.5

5. Nitchazek, composed by “Loazi” (see below), performed with Naftali Gold and Nir Captan. This pop song focuses on the strong need to change the world by strengthening ourselves with mitzvos, in order to bring the Yeshua. When I first heard the song I really enjoyed its hard beat and catchy tune and considered giving it a 10. Later, I became aware that the original song is credited to Britney Spears, (hence the vague “Loazi”) and is called “Stronger”, a song exalting the power of women in dealing with messed-up relationships. When I heard that, I nearly puked and considered giving Nitchazek a zero. I seriously do not think (with no due respect) that Ms Spears is an appropriate influence for a frum album which promotes Chesed and Ahavas Yisroel, among many other desirable themes. However, the power of the lyrics in Nitchazek must be taken into account, and they are written and sung in a persuasive manner, which is the main purpose of the song, to promote strong positive change. The song features some digitalised voice work. I’m rating the song 6.5 for the reasons stated above, and it’s a pity since I really did initially enjoy the song for its lyrical and musical content.

6. Hayehudi, lyrics written by Yitzchak Weinstock, (Hashem yinakom damo) performed with Itzik Ashuel. The second ballad of the album, Hayehudi was written by a young man, about to enter the Israeli army, who was tragically killed in a terrorist bombing of a train (Hashem Yishmereinu). Yitzchak Weinstock was but 19 years old when his trip to an army course was cut short by ruthless murderers, 10 years ago. This song was found among his possessions, and Shimshon Delevkovitz composed a tune for it. The song discusses the esscence of Yidden, who mean well and are always pursuing protection for and peace in Eretz Yisroel. Unfortunately, “kach zeh nigzar,” we have gone through so many trials and tribulations in the lead up to Moshiach, and, paraphrasing the lyrics, “Today the world seeks a Jewish soul.” We are constantly under subjugation, and our only hope is to daven to Hashem. The lyrics are beautiful, and profound, especially to have been written by a teenager. The tune however isn’t as powerful as Gaaguim, so this song gets an 8.5

7. Atoh Kidashto, performed with Mendy Jerufi and child soloist Ari Rosner. A nice song from Shmoneh Esrei on Friday night with Mexican carnival style music. Ari Rosner, who is one of the new Miami Boys Choir members, is also Shimshon Delevkovitz’s cousin, so this track involves more family. He sings the first two low verses, and unfortunately the part doesn’t show off his voice that much. Shimshon and Mendy sing the rest of the song, and I was hoping for Ari to join them but he never comes back. This is one of the songs where I like the music better than the tune and singing. The tune isn’t all that exciting. 7.5

8. Chesed, composed by Tzvika Pik, Yiddish lyrics by Yossi Roterman, performed with Yisrael Parnes. A catchy 70’s style rock song, Chesed is a bilingual praise of dedicated individuals who give up their time day and night to help others in need. The recurring theme is “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” synonymous with “di velt darf shtark tzi zeiere chasoodim”. Kabbolah and Chassidus teach that Chassodim performed by Yidden in this world are a mirror image of the Supernal Chesed, the figurative right arm of Hashem, and the source of the neshamos of baalei chesed is in Hashem’s middah of Chesed so “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” is true in more ways than one. The verses are in Ivrit and describe someone who experienced true Chesed first hand. The chorus, which sounds hilarious, is in Yiddish, and praises all the Heimishe Yidden who dedicate their lives to helping others. Great song. 9.

9. Ta’amin, composed by Gilad Masemi, lyrics co-written by Heila Palach, performed with Avi Ben Israel. Another song about overcoming hardships and trusting in and hioping for the future, Ta’amin is an average techno/Middle Eastern style song. I’m not a fan of Avi Ben Israel’s voice; it’s a bit too high and mellow for my liking. This song just doesn’t shtum with me. 6.

10. Tefilla, composition by Henry Berter, lyrics by Betzalel Aloni, performed by Oif Simchas and Sagiv Cohen, music arranged by Ron Tichon and Yishai Lapidot. This track is the exact same one on Oif Simchas and Friends. I believe that the song was actually released some time ago and this is an upadated version in dance techno. Really upbeat stuff, great to dance to and very appropriate lyrics. 9.5

11. Rap. English lyrics written by David Nuchburg (aka “Rap D.D.” ), performed with David Nuchburg and “The Chevra” (no relation to the trademarked Chevra). Time for some comic relief! This track is utterly hysterical. The song starts off with a rap beat and a background “check it out” from DJ D.D.. Then you hear a group of Israelis (who call themselves the Chevra) singing “V’ahavta etc, Zeh klal, etc, Omar Rabbi AkivEH (not AkivA) ashreichem Yisrael as the chorus to this wacky rap. The funniest thing is that they’re harmonising with each other, yet they sound half asleep. Then the verses start with David Nuchberg rapping away in his thick Brooklyn accent about Ahavas Yisroel. It’s a riot, and you won’t stop laughing. Two lyrics, which really crack me up are “Put negative feelings on the shelf” which is pretty much the opposite of the philosophy of the common rap. Then you have “Love your neighbour thou shalt not diss!”, which I can never stop laughing to. The entire song is hilarious with Shimshon having a few solos here and there. Definitely worth buying the album for this song, you’ll be on the floor. 10.

12. Shema Yisrael, composed by Tzvika Pik. While I’m neither a fan of this song (it’s the same one that Dedi sings), nor a fan of its trance techno style, it does wrap up the album nicely with our final tefilla, acknowledging Hashem’s oneness. The trance intro lasts 1:25 and Shimshon sings the song solo. 5.5 The final mark for B’tfila, based on individual song scores is 78%. However, bear in mind that buying B’tfila comes with a fringe benefit- the mitzvah of chesed and tzedokah. Here we have a most dedicated individual, who is using his musical talent to bring simcha to downtrodden children, which I think is an unbelievable achievement to be commended by all. May we be zoche for all the positive hopes and tefillos of this album be fulfilled now, so that the terrorised children will have an even bigger simcha to smile sing and dance to, the coming of Moshiach, bimheiro b’yomeinu.


***
Comments on this review can be left below.


Biglal Avos (Shlomo & Eitan Katz)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Artists’ Web site: Shlomo & Eitan Katz

Reviewer: Shani


i've been meaning to do this for a while, since not too many of you have this album. Being that some of you will see Eitan perform motzei shabbos, i figured i'd get it out now...so now you'll have an idea what to expect i guess. i won't be there, i'll be in ny I"YH 5 days after the concert- talk about frustrating! oh well such is life- i guess it wasn't meant to be... anyway…

This is an album for guitar fans...if you like guitar and you haven't heard this, check it out, cuz this is one for you. if you're not so into guitar and you haven't heard this, check it out anyway, cuz there's a lot here that you still might like. And anyone else who has heard it or owns it, please feel free to add corrections and thought/comments.

The thing to remember about this album is that its a combination of the efforts of two brothers- which is a beautiful thing. The songs were composed mostly by them- 5 by Shlomo and 3 by Eitan- and they both play guitar on it, so aside from a few other people (co-producer Josh Young), this is largely the work of their hands.

The insert happens to be pretty nice. there are pictures of them in the background, with the songs over them...there's a pic i guess of them when they're little...pretty cute! there's also more pictures on the back.

Another thing that got me was that even if i wasn't too enthusiastic about a particular song- the harmonies pretty much made up for that, so that there is pretty much something to like in each song.

oh yeah, and there's 'a very special guest appearance by Avshalom Katz'- piano and keyboard.

keep in mind this is all my opinions....here goes..

1. Biglal Avos- Biglal avos toshiya banim v'savi geulah l'vnei v'neihem...this one was composed by Shlomo and Eitan together...no question my favorite song on the cd- apparently others agree. It starts out with the high part, then goes to the low- all the words are sung in both parts. one of the fastest songs on the cd, but really not that fast. Points for the catchy tune. This is the first and only one i heard Nachum Segal play (until the interview), i was hooked right away. awesome song, good music...this one's an 11/10.

2. Asher Bara- Shlomo's composition...kinda carlebachy, but a lot of the cd is...maybe cuz of the guitar? no intro in this one, the music and singing start together. not so my speed, but again, this is just my opinion. i'll give it a 7.

3. Koli- composed by Eitan. possibly my favorite slow song on here. He sings it kind of soft, with feeling. one of the more mellow tracks... this one's an 8

4. Ka Ribon- tied with #8 for my second favorite song...i like songs w/ longer lyrics, not just a few words repeated. points for a fun, beaty intro, sounds like bongos. This is one of the more upbeat, faster tracks. full 10

5. Kol Dodi- interesting word mix, starts w/o drums, slow, mix of lyrics- kol dodi hinei zeh ba from shir hashirim, then eishes chayil mi yimtzah, oz v'hadar l'vusha from mishlei. This one's also slow, and a little more plain than the other ones- points off. 7

6. Hinei-Shlomo. singing starts kinda slow but gets a little faster- it's one of the more upbeat and fun songs. points off for too short lyrics IMO...hinei lo yanum v'lo yishan shomer yisrael...repeated throughout, with a 'Ribono Shel Olam' in the background at some point...but the song isn't too long so its ok. 7

7. Haisa- composed by Rabbi Boruch Chait...heres one for you shael :) from tehilim i dont think ive heard another song w/ these words...haisa li dimasi lechem yomum v'layla, v'omar aili kol hayom ayai elokeka. This is another slow one, sung kinda like #3. no drums as far as i can hear. ok for a slow song. 7

8. yedid nefesh- eitan, second fave w/ #3 It's kind of a slowed down fast song- thats what came to mind when i was thinking how to describe it...i dont know the terms- what kind of song it really is, etc. very nice 10

9. Shuvi Nafshi- by Eitan...probably the longest one, it's over 6 minutes. To me this one sounds kinda dveykus-like, so its kinda different than the other slow songs, maybe better. second favorite slow song. 9

10. Chemdas Yamim-Reb Shlomo Carlebach. points for a creative intro...its sounds like square dancing. A Carlebach tune all the way. It's beaty and kinda jumpy...i can't really think how else to describe it. 8

11. Ki V'simcha- by Shlomo. kind of slow-paced, you hear mainly guitar. An appropriate one to end the cd. 6

if i added right, thats 90/110-- not bad at all...Eitan feel free to correct or add anything. everyone have fun at the concert!

~shani

***
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Bkavor (Kol Achai)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Special Guest Reviewer: ARI GOLDWAG


Ari Goldwag's (un)official review of the all-new Kol Achai CD "B'karov"

I would like to begin the review with a disclaimer. It's now sefira, so my review may not be as precise as if I was actually listening to the CD as I was writing the review, but be that as it may, I have time now, and probably won't have time later. End Disclaimer.

Before beginning the actual review of the fourth album of Kol Achai, I would like to mention a few things about this unique group. Kol Achai, as the name implies, is the sound of three brothers, Yossi, Boaz, and Yitzchak Goldshmid. The songs are composed by Yitzchak, who plays guitar on the albums (Avi Singolda plays as well). His strongest compositions are the slow ones, which is why we find mostly slow selections on each of the four albums. The three brothers have been singing together literally all their lives, and that special chemistry truly comes across in their performances, both live and recorded. To me, there is only one group in Jewish Music that impresses me whether it is musically or vocally, and that group is Kol Achai.

About the CD - the album contains 11 tracks. 10 songs + 1 bonus track (migdol Jam session). 9 out of 10 songs are composed by Yitzchak. The 10th is the Crakow Niggun of Shlomo Carlebach, sung as their signature A Capella song (more on that later). The musical and vocal arrangements are done by Leib Yakov Reigler (who did all their albums, and also Dveykus 6 and 'Nissan'). Some of the vocal arrangements were also done by Yitzchak. It was recorded in Creative Audio, Jerusalem. There are some really nice liner notes, written by their "fourth brother" Meir Weingarten. He introduces us to the brothers and gives some keen insights into each of the songs.

The first song on the album is Od Yishama. This song is dedicated to Nachum and Staci Segal - composed for their wedding 13 years ago. This song actually veers (in my opinion) from the normal Kol Achai style, but it just proves their versatility at performing different genres of music. The style is somew hat reminiscent of something we've heard on Lev Tahor 2 in say a refoeinu or aneni, but it is a fast, upbeat song. The song itself is very pleasant. One of the things that strikes you right away is the very different sound of the compositions, not your typical Jewish Music - fresh sound - doesn't remind you of something you've heard before. Nitsan Ein-Habar does some really nice sax solos in this song. I rate this song a 7.5

Next song is Amech Ami - the trademark of the word selection of Kol Achai (as is everything about them) is originality. The words were those said by Ruth to Naomi - your nation is my nation. It was written for the wedding of Boaz, who married American (they're all Israeli) and stayed in America for a time because of his wife - "Ki el asher telchi Elech" "wherever you go I will go."It's a very emotional slow song. Trademark Leib Yakov key change, with two flutes (courtesy of Nitsan) into the modulation. Really classy - beautiful harmonies (duh). This song rates an 8

The third track is "B'karov" the title track. When I first heard it I was very confused. It starts off slow, then gets faster. After a few listens it really grew on me, to the point where I was singing it everywhere and it was literally stuck in my head. It's upbeat and lively, arranged mostly with guitars. This song rates 7

Rachmana is the fourth song on the album. This song is up there - probably the best on the album. Very moving - the words are expressed very well by the composition. It asks Hashem, the one who answers poor people and the broken hearted, to answer us. It has three parts, and the third part is just a niggun. It is a soul-stirring piece, sung with a lot of heart. At the end of the song a choir sings, and I think I would have preferred to hear just Kol Achai, and no choir, but it's still really nice. This song rates an 11.

Song five is Va'ani Tefilati. A nice major song. Doesn't strike me as an outstanding song. Rates a 6.

Next song is Sim Shalom - Grant peace! The major theme of the album is the current matzav in Eretz Yisrael, and almost all the songs are prayers. This one is upbeat and gets you moving. Again it is arranged with a lot of emphasis on guitar. I believe the general feel they want to give is the type of 60's folk music sound. Meir Weingarten (their "fourth brother" and co-producer) also told me that the focus here is supposed to on the harmonies, and I suppose this is why the guitar is used a lot in the arrangement and general sound. I rate this song 8

The next song is R' Shlomo Carlebach's famous Cracow niggun. It is performed A capella and the arrangement is done beautifully. The song is familiar, but Kol Achai doesn't let you get bored. The song totals 4 minutes 49 seconds and keeps you on your toes throughout. I rate this song a 10.

Od Hayom (more unusual and original lyrics) is the eighth selection on the album. signature Kol Achai smooth style. Very pleasant slow, mellow song. Get's a 8.5.

Song nine is the most unusual on the album - the words are Migdol Yeshuot malko etc... It is sung in a swing Jazz style. Really a lot of fun to listen to - you can tell they had fun in the studio. One thing to look out for - at one point the words are v'oseh chesed limshicho - so the harmony goes "V'oseh oseh oseh oseh chesed" but they make the word oseh sound like Yossi - one of the brothers. It's very cute. this song rates a 8.5 (kudos for originality in style).

Last song on the album is Sei saviv. Another moving slow Kol Achai song. It was composed by Yitzchak on the birth of his daughter Adi (one of the words in the song is Adi, which means jewel), and during an interlude you can hear him singing her name behind the na na's of his brothers. Very emotional and special touch. Towards the middle the drums come in and out - a bit unusual, but gives extra umph to the song. rates an 8.5

Bonus track 11 is a 'jam session' - a reprise of the song migdol. Here we find each of the musicians taking a solo - you get to hear Nitsan (clarinet/sax), Yaron Gottfried (piano), Aryeh Volnitz (bass), Avi Singolda (guitar), Avraham Felder (trumpet). A lot of fun (again) to listen to. Also, at the very very end Kol Achai says the words "three, four," and if you listen very closely you can hear me in there, with my American accent! I happened to be in the studio when they were recording parts of the album, so I was zoche to be on it for exactly 2 seconds!

In summation, this is another great addition to the Kol Achai collection, and in my humble opinion should be up there on everyone's purchase list - it has great songs, great singing and great harmonies. If you enjoy slow heartfelt music with very professional vocals, go out and get it!
***
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Chashmal



Artist’s web site: Chashmal.com

Album can be previewed/purchased Here

Reviewer: Mindy


Okay, so today all day I listened to Chashmal. And I'm finally going to write my review!!!
The first time I listened to it I had to gasp for air. I thought I had put on an FM radio that was playing Hebrew music!!!!! But the second time I listened to it I loved it instantly. Yes, this album is definitely not the usual yeshivishe sound. But then again, isn't this what Chashmal was set out to be? When people claimed that the Chevra was goyishe music, they were way off base, b/c that's not what the Chevra intended to be. When someone purchases Chashmal, on the other hand, they know what they are in for. This tape replicates the secular music sound, with a very heimishe flavor.
The music is fantastic -- I love electronic music and I think the musical arrangements on this album are more than cool. the vocals are astounding -- Michael Elias has a range I've never heard in my life. Being that he has an extensive background in the non-Jewish music world, it is very apparent in his singing. But I love the way he sings, and his harmonies are unbelievable.
Who this album is NOT for:
~ someone who ONLY can stomach Yeshivishe MBD/williger/miami music
~ someone who thinks the Chevra is goyishe music -- if you think the Chevra crossed a boundary then this is certainly not hte type of tape for you.
Who this album IS for:
~ People who are ready for a change and can swallow a 'different' kind of beat.
~ People who like 'alternative' Chasidic music like Glaser, Karduner, Sarachik, etc.
~ People who are into secular music.
Who can BENEFIT greatly from this tape:
~ People who love secular music. If someone NEEDS to have his or her musical needs satiated by a rocky and jazzy sound, then listening to Chashmal instead of FM radio is a wonderful thing. This album has the potential of turning many teens back on to Jewish Music.
Now, on to the tracks themselves:
My absolute favorite, hands down, is Hazmana (track 7). I LOVE it! It's so different -- text from a weddign invitation? How creative! The beat is fantastic.
Second favorite is ribono Shel Olam (9), the sefardi sounding song. It's not as secular sounding as some other songs, and I love the message of it. The harmonies are super.
Other favorites: Me'eyn Olam Haba (1), Asher Bara (2), which I think has potential of being a wedding hora and actually sounds pretty yeshivish, (4) Lakol, (5) Sim Shalom, (6) Shivti, (8) Talmidei Chachamim -- a remake of a David Werdyger classic which is redone very well and sounds very yeshivish.
I like 8 out of 11 tracks, not bad!
So this is THE "Chashmal" I've been waiting for, for so long... and I am glad I made this purchase!
MINDY the Music Critic
****


1-MAYAIN OLAM HABO- COMPOSED BY AFF3. I LIKE THIS ONE. GOOD TUNE MUSIC IS GREAT. HARMONYS ARE FANTASTIC.
2-ASHER BORO- GREAT HORA. ROCKY BUT STILL WITH YESHIVISHE SOUNDS.(OY OYOY) I CAN JUST PICTURE MICHOEL SCHINTZLER DOING A FANTASTIC JOB ON IT , AND PPLE WHO REALLY LIKE TO LIVE IT UP AT WEDDINGS, WILL LOVE THIS.
3-SHIRU LAHASHEM- GREAT HARMONIES. THOUGH IM NOT CRAZY OVER THE SONG. HALF THE SONG IS DONE IN SEFARDI HAVARA AND HALF IN REGULAR.
4-LAKOL- GOOD SONG . SOUNDS LIKE A YISHAI LAPIDOT COMPOSITION.
5- SIM SHALOM- NOT CRAZY OVER THIS ONE. AND I DONT LIKE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE VOICES HERE.
6- SHIVTI- GREAT SLOW SONG. I LIKE IT.
7- HAZMANA- INTERESTING WORDS. ALTHOUGH TUNE IS GREAT. THIS IS DONE IN HEBREW ACCENT, WHICH IS A GOOD IDEA CUZ I CANNOT PICTURE THE YESHIVESHE TRIO DOING THIS..
8-OMAR- TOOK A CLASSIC OLD TUNE AND MODERNIZED IT GREAT JOB FANTASTIC HARMONIES
9-RIBONO SHEL OLAM- NOT CRAZY OVER THIS SONG. ALTHOUGH I LIKE THE INTERLUDE WHEN SOMEONE DOES A REAL SEFARDI SHTICK. YOULL KNOW WHAT I MEAN IF YOU HEARD IT.
10- M'ARBA- DONT LIKE IT
11- HAVDALA- GREAT SONG. SOUNDS LIKE A REAL SHLOMO CARLEBACH CLASSIC HIT.

THEY GOT SOME GREAT VOICES THERE. I LOVE THE SOPRANO VOICE. WHICH I ASSUME IS MICHAEL ELIAS. WOW! GREAT RANGE.
WONDER IF THIS ALBUM IS GONNA START A NEW TREND IN JM?????




Dveykus 6



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Gedaliah


I realised that writing an entire review would take a lot of time and thought so I've decided to make a few comments about the newest D'veykus album "Yehi Sholom".

The music arrangements are done by Leib Yaacov Rigler, someone I've never heard of. But his arrangements are quite good. This album has a variety of different sounding songs. You've got the typical d'veykus songs mostly composed by Abie Rottenberg: Yehi Sholom, Min Hameitzar, Shomer Yisroel, Rachem, Poseach Es Yodecha and Lomo. Yehi Sholom is undoubtedly the best song on the tape. The harmony is great as is the tune itself. Min Hameitzar sounds abit like "Bo'ee B'sholom" from Vol 4, but it's still good. Shomer Yisroel has a small children's choir; it's an okay song. Rachem is very nice and Poseach Es Yodecha sounds a tad like "Tzomo Nafshi" from Vol 1. Then you've got the not-so-typical-d'veykus songs: Hamedaber composed by Boruch Levine. This is a calypso song and really un-d'veykus. But they do a pretty good job with it with lots of harmony. Hamavdil sounds very Chasidic and a bit more like Kol Salonika. Nevertheless it's a great song. Mi Lashem Elai is ok, the first part sounds almost exactly like U'vou Haovdim" which I think is sung by Carlebach. Keitzad Merakdim is a great song with cool trumpet and trombone sections. It resembles somehting from Uncle Moshy but I can't place it.

All in all it's a very good album and I think D'veykus are trying a few new song styles. Oh yeah it has the traditional D'veykus overture at the beginning. I will give "two thumbs up" for this tape. Well, it looks like this did turn out to be a review.

Gedaliah

***
Comments on this review can be left below.


Eftach Pi (Yehuda!)



Artist’s web site: Yehuda.org

Album can be previewed/purchased at Yehuda.org or Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Gedaliah


Gut voch peoples. As I promised, I am reviewing Yehuda!'s latest album.
Let's get right into it. The songs are very good; the fast ones are very lebedig and the slow ones are genrally very nice with great harmonies. But the thing that really deserves commendation on this album is the music. Yehuda! arranged ALL the music and you can clearly see the talent this guy has. The music is very sophisticated, a mixture of digital music and real instruments. In comparison to the previous album Kol Yisroel Chaverim, the singers sound a lot more 'into' it and they seem to be enjoying what they are singing, which is always a good sign. One of the problems here however, is that certain songs, especially the slow songs, resemble other songs, or songs on the same album. The weird thing about it is that most of them have different composers. Maybe it's the way Yehuda! sings them?? I don't know.

And now for analyses on each of the songs or Eftach Pi B'nituach:

1. Eftach Pi composed by B. Puloni/Yehuda!
I really like the music on this song. It's jazzy with cool horns and a samba beat. It also contains words from Reshus L'chassan Torah which I don't think has been sung before. Point for originality. Vocals are good, harmonies are good etc etc I particularly like the intro music which is repeated a few times throughout the song. 9/10.

2. Vehoair Eineinu composed by Pesach Woznica
When I first heard this song on yehuda.org, I knew I had to buy this CD. THis song is really beautiful; kal vachomer the harmonies!! My mother heard this song and wanted to know if it was D'veykus (that's a compliment). What more can I say, this song is amazing. 10/10

3. Mi Chomocha composed by Pesach Woznica
This song is gr8! Surprisingly, I like the techno bits and the whole song is very lively, modern disco, very Yehuda!ish. I particularly like the percussion interlude in the middle of the song. There's an electric piano part that I know I have heard before in the goyish music world... 9/10

4. Acheinu composed by Yehuda!
This song is OK, not brilliant, sort of a typical slow song; the kind of thing you'd expect from Dachs or Wald. Not much else to say.. 6.5/10

5. Eliyahu Hanavi composed by Peretz Katz
This song is cool! It has a beat that I haven't yet been able to identify; sort of a hard reggae (I'm probably off on that). I don't like the techno intro; it's weird. But the rest of the song is great. the tune is really good. The first part, Eliyahu Hanavi etc sounds almost exactly like the goyish song "That's the way uh huh uh huh I like it uh huh uh huh" for those who are familiar with that (don't know who sings it). There's a really cool three-part harmony at the beginning of the second round. Overall a whopping 8.5/10

6. Yehi Shalom composed by Yehuda!
This song is sort of a letdown. The initial tune starts off really nice but as soon as the sax comes in I suppose I could call this song "Kol Yisroel Chaverim the second". The harmonies are kimat the same and the Hashem Oz part is mamish a carbon copy. This is weird because Zale Newman composed Kol Yisroel and he produced this album... Anyway, it's a pity because the first part is really good. 7.5/10

7. Keitzad Merakdim composed by Zale Newman/Yehuda
Nice calypso chasuna song. Music is cool especially the horns. Vocals are pretty good too. Just btw (and this is the didkduk freak coming in) it is gramatically incorrect (I think) to say "Kalla NoEH" becase NoEH is Zachar (MBC says it like that too) It should be Kalla No'OH (how D'veykus pronounce it). Overall 8/10

8. Mi Bon Siach composed by Yehuda!
This song was written for his kalla and debuted at their wedding, so the CD insert says. The song is very romantic and fits the occasion perfectly. The music is very climactic and I can imagine it being played at a chupa. The tune is really nice. 9/10

9. Kah Keili composed by B. Puloni
Pretty good song, I like the oriental intro and interlude. The beat's good too. Tunes nice,THE WHOLE TIHNGS NICE! although it sounds a bit like Mi Chomocha. Overall 8/10

10. Im Eshkachech composed by Y.C. Bloch/Menachem Shiner
I don't know why this song isn't clicking with me yet. The tune's pretty nice but it seems to be lacking something, I don't know what. the harmony's good though. It sounds similar to Mi Bon Siach and Yehi Shalom. Overall 7/10

11. Shema Yisrael composed by Malkiel Avraham.
This song's in Ivrit. It's ok but it's basically conveying the same message that all the other English/Ivrit songs do: "We've been in Golus for 2000 years. So let's stand united so Hashem will send Moshiach now." I know that's what we pray for every day and it's an integral part of our lives, but it's sort of run of the mill. The lyrics are creative though; very poetic. 7.5/10

12. Shir chodosh composed by Yisroel Boruchov
This is the same song as on All Star but with different arrangements. The beginning is drawn out a bit too long but otherwise I like it very much. Cool tune and I think it's a better version than the one on All Star. 8/10

Overall the album gets 98/120. That's pretty good. Let's hear it for Yehuda!!

Yoish I've been rambling for ages. Have a gut Voch

Gedaliah

Esgor Pi.



Reviewer: Leah




My initial impressions:

The first song (Eftach Pi)is okay, not so great in my opinion, but it might need some adjustment time; we'll see.

The second (Vehoair) is very nice and original, until the end when it gets very electric guitarish.

Mi Chomocha, #3, is a little weird, but it is upbeat and adds into Adar's simcha...It sounds like a lot of his other fast songs.

Number 4, Acheinu, isn't available, but I heard a clip on mostlymusic under the wrong title. It sounded like a few Acheinu's mixed, yet nice. All Acheinu's are nice. It remains to be determined how good it is until I've heard the song in its entirety.

Eliyahu Hanovi is number five, and is also very upbeat. It has the sounds of his album Oh Yerushalayim. His voice is also synthesized here. It is completely different than the rest of songs with these words. Another one that will take time getting used to. BTW, I happen to like slower songs better. It's kind of funny that he includes the lyrics "Maiofeila L'orah" two songs in a row.

The next one is Yehi Shalom, currently unavailable, but until I hear it I'm gonna bet I'll still like Shalsheles's version the best. We'll see...AND, my friend's bringing me Shalsheles 2 at the same time she's trying to get me this album, so maybe I'll have both at once. :)

Kaitzad, #7, is very "weddingish" (I like using the suffix "ish" a lot!)I like this fast song. It is a ton of fun. It stopped abruptly, but I think that's his site or my player, not the actual song; it was too abrupt.

~side tangent: the cover is cool/kewl and different than his rest. maybe he has another designer.:)

Mi Ban (another wedding song, not that he got married recently or anything :) ) and Ka Kaili are blanks for now waiting to be filled in. So is Im Eshkachaich.

Eleven is Shema Yisroel. Starts off jazzy. I have the feeling he likes the jazz feel. It isn't in English; it is in Hebrew. They just provided the translation. It's ok cuz I like trying to translate Hebrew (without cheating) on my own. So it'll be fun listening to it. I did it with Dedi's Ten Lanu Tikva. But I digress...I DO like this song. A lot.

And the final song Shir Chodosh is on mostlymusic under another heading (Acheinu?), but other than that I don't know much about this one.

K, that's my two cents for now.

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Emes (Shloime Kaufman & co.)



Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com

Reviewer: Mindy


Alright, everyone, I'm finally gonna write my long-awaited review of "EMES". I'm actually sitting on the city bus on my way to work, and at least I'll spend my 40-minute commute productively. Incidentally, I'm the only passenger on this bus, so I made myself all comfortable, took off my jacket, Mailstation on my lap, and listening to music :)

Emes is not just another one of those cd's put together by a group of yeshiva guys, although it may seem so at first glance. Although it is the combined effort of a group of friends, in this case, the result was ultra professional. It is far from a sub-par type of cd. On the contrary, the talents each of the friends bring to the album only enhance it. And for a change, it's not another production of expensive songs bought off from the same composers, played by the same musicians and arranged by the usual arranger, resulting in another typical sounding tape. It's all done by the Emes "Band". When the person or people singing on the album are involved with the production details and music details to the fullest, the results are amazing, as we've seen with cds like Lev Tahor and have yet to see with Lishioscho Kivini, etc. So, this album is again, "different", self-produced, composed, played, arranged, and tweaked. It feels more wholesome, more genuine.

Before I begin analyzing the songs, I must say a word about the vocals. I am really, really impressed by Shloime's voice. (It reminds me a LOT of Ari Cukier's, and that's a big compliment!) It's soft, soothing, and smooth. He doesnt have a crazy range, but a really excellent melody voice. (He does hit the high notes easily.) The backup vocals really enhance the melody, and I'm sorry I can't tell who's who, but I know that Shmuel Ziegler the drummer did some of them. Speaking of the drummer, the drums on this cd are truly outstanding. Kudos.

Oh no. There goes my grand plan. My discman batteries are dying!! I totally forgot to bring along another set :-\. Okay, let's see how much I can construct now from memory, and I'll do the rest later at home.

1. Od Yishoma, composed by Yitzy Bald, and Shloime dedicates it to his brother, sister, brother-iin-law and sister-in-law. I like this song a lot. It's one of my favorites on the album. I think it was the first song I heard of the album and I immediately liked it. It's mellow, smooth, and has great harmonies. It's semi-fast; not too fast yet not a hora. It features some great saxophone too. I rate this song a 10.

2. V'Ashiva, composed by Shmuel Rosenberg. A slow song, this falls more under the typical category, but it's sung with real heartz. It is one of those songs that you somehow think you've heard already somewhere. I also noted that Shloime has a propensity to sing his shvas as chiriks (Vee'oshiva instead of V'Ashiva, BeeMishpot instead of B'Mishpot, KeeVorishona instead of K'Vorishona), and that kinda gets me nervous because it comes across as a little unprofessional. But all in all it's a very nice song, the kind you want to listen to again. I'll rate it a 7.

3. Modeh Ani, composed by Yaakov Majeski. Hmmmm, is that Yaakov Majesky formerly of MBC, from the talented Majesky family? I wonder. Anyway, this song is basically the foudation of Emes, there's a whole story behind it which I'll let you read about in the music magazines like Country Yossi :-). The song starts off with very clever guitar play. Once again this song falls into the semi-fast semi-hora category. It has some great harmonies and backup vocals. I enjoy this song a lot. It's a very singable and cute song. Also one of my favorites on the album, I rate it a 10.

4. L'shem shomayim, composed by Yossie Newman. Now, this is a confusing song. It's another slow one, and it also has the Veeeee phenomenon (Veeeetzidkosom vs. V'Tzidkosom, Zeechus instead of Zchus). I don't like the low part... it's waaaaaay too low and seems to be going nowhere, but when the high part starts, the song becomes beautiful. Really relaxing and sung with a lot of heart. I'll rate it another 7.

Okay my batteries are BH working again, let's move on to song 5.

5. S'u Shearim, composed by Meir "Mark" Kaufman. This is a real "old school style" song, and I like it a lot. It starts off with some really cool clarinet bars, and the drums are really excellent. There is a child soloist at the beginning, Zev Kaufman, who is apparently not related to Shloime (anyone know who he is?). Interestingly enough, the song is nothing majorly special, very predictable, yet I really like it. It's virtually the only really fast song on the album (besides for song 9, which is also pretty fast). I'll rate it a 9.

6. Emes, composed by Yossie Newman. Another one of my favorites, which I guess can be classified under what I think should be coined the "EMES" tempo (semi-fast semi-hora) although I think this one happens to be more of a full-bodied hora. The first time my mother heard the song on Al Gordon, she commented on how fast the words were sung! I think this is a very clever and creative song. The words fit in so cleverly into the tune. "Emes, Emes-Ashrei-Ish, Sheyishma, Ashrei-Ish-Sheyishma -- pause -- L'mitzvosechaaa...." cool. It's certainly something different, something I don't think I've heard before. This song rates another full 10.

Okay I'm about a minute away from my destination, time to put on my jacket and stash away my stuff; I will write about songs 7, 8 and 9 on the way home. **

Well, here I am on the train at 5:15 pm, homeward bound.... let's see if I can do songs 7, 8 and 9 in the next fifteen minutes :) (the train ride is way shorter).

7. Shavas Aniyim, composed by Yossie Newman. One of the former members of this group told me it reminded her of some song I am not familiar with. I will have to ask her again. Another nice slow, soothing, relaxing song. I'll rate it a 6.

8. Yigdal, composed by Baruch Levine, who in my opinion is an excellent and very underrated composer. I think he composed for Dovidovid as well. This song happens to be my favorite slow song on the album. Recently, it's gotten plenty of airplay on Nachum Segal's shows, which it well deserves. Moishe Kaufman is a soloist on this song, and I gather that he is a relative of Shloime's, maybe his brother. In any event, it's a beautiful song and done very well. It's a slow song (I don't quite get why there are two slow songs one after the other or why this song is so far in the tape) but a really pretty and soulful one. I'll rate it a 10.

9. Aseh, composed by Yossie Newman. Another semi-fast song, but more fast than hora. A soloist on this song is Avram Zamist, who is known by quite a couple of people in this group. It's a nice song, not my favorite, but a great way to end the tape on an upbeat note. Rate this a 6.

If you add up the points, this tape rates a 75 out of 90, not bad!

In summary, Emes is a great CD which I really enjoyed. It falls more under the category of slow to medium paced songs with only one or two really fast songs. It offers relaxing and mellow kind of music and is the result of a creative effort of a group of friends with wonderful results. Get your copy today, and enjoy!

(Okay, here I am, at my destination.... home sweet home! Thank you, Emes, for making my commute more interesting today :))



***
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