Acheinu (Shapiro Brothers)
Album can be previewed/purchased at Mostly Music.com
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 email@example.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!
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