Saturday, July 14, 2007

Baal Haturim on Music

Not being allowed to listen to music until Tisha B'av makes us realize how much "addicted" to music we are and how much we enjoy it.

The Baal Haturim on Parshas Matot comments that the word "LeAnot" appears twice in the Tanach; once in this passage (that speaks of cases in which the wife has vowed and the husband has the power to cancel the vow) and once more in Tehilim "(Lamnatzeach) al Machalat LeAnot", where it refers to a musical instrument. This indicates that if a woman vowed not to listen to musical instruments, her husband can defer her vow, for her vow is considered to be a vow that causes personal affliction to her (The husband may only cancel vows that affect their relationship or a vow that inflicts personal affliction to his wife).

May the days of Eternal Joy come fast and we will all rejoice with Mashiach, dancing with the most beautiful music of all times.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Deal With Joel

In the YG post thread yesterday:

Joel: "(...) Perhaps you should have a top ten list of your favorite 90's songs. It would encourage dialogue of differing opinions."

YK: "(...) I like your sugestion and I have an idea. Write a list of your all-time top ten favorites and briefly explain why you like each song. I will do the same and I'll post both lists so we can compare. Deal?"

So a deal is a deal, so here it is my list and Joel's list, in the next two posts.

I realize that they are long posts and I apologize for that, but I couldn't figure out a better way of doing this.

Feel free to disagree and criticize the selections - the intent was to expose two (totally different :) points of view.

YK's All-Time Favorite Jewish Music songs

1. Vezakeinu Lekabel Shabatot– Composer: Yossi Green. The older this song gets, the more I enjoy it. I’m not choosing this song particularly because of the arrangement or the singer; I just think this is a song that symbolizes the spirit of Shabbes. Oif Simchas released a new version of this song in their third album.

2. Hu Yigal – Singer: Dedi. Composer: Yishai Lapidot. In the mid-90’s Dedi skyrocketed in the industry and injected new life to JM. Hu Yigal is an energetic song, with a great background choir and it symbolizes the impact Dedi had in JM.

3. Hisnaari – Singer: Avrumi Flam. Composer: Yoel Kalek. This three-part song is a masterpiece composed by Yoel Kalek, the son of Yigal Kalek of the London Boys Choir. The arrangement by Lamm is simple but appropriate for this song and the Belgium-based choir, directed by Yoel, is awesome – I love their sound. This is surely Avrumie’s best song ever and he should have repeated this joint-venture with Yoel in all his albums.

4. Haleluka – Singer: Yehuda. Composer: Boruch Levine. Yehuda is a multi-talented musician who sings, produces, arranges and even composes most of his songs. His arrangements are original and refreshing and he has worked his way to become an extraordinary vocalist. This song is perfect from all sides – the song, the vocalist, the arrangement (Yehuda introduced in this song the Scottish pipe) and the choir.

5. Meheiro – Singer: Shwekey. Composer: Yitzy Waldner. Shwekey’s is not very smooth and I usually get tired of listening his songs after a while, even though they are good. But Meheiro is an exception. I think any other singer wouldn’t make this song sound as special as Shwekey did. It’s the right song for the right man.

6. Ekrah – Singer: Shalsheles. Composer: Y. Rosenthal. As you all know, I’m a big fan of Yitzhak Rosenthal’s music. I think this is his best song so far and I love to hear and sing this song. I once posted a sample of Kol Halayla’s Acapella version of this song that is simply marvelous and it convinced me this song is a classic (way better than AKAPella’s version).

7. Dido Bei – Singer: Avraham Fried. Composer: YG. The great lyrics, gathered by YG from a Gemara I believe, and the great choir complement Fried’s great vocals in this song. Another great classic composition of YG that cannot stay out of this list.

8. Ato Bonim – Singer: Yeedle. Composer: Hillel Palai. This was Palai’s debut in JM and he managed to create a new style of song – the “Ato Bonim”-type-of-songs. This song was an instant hit and most singers today include one song like that in their albums. Great lyrics and very skilled arrangement by Moshe Laufer.

9. Moshiach – Singer: MBD. Composer: Rosemblum?. No need for explanations. This song has been the symbol of JM for decades and, needless to say, it was of the biggest hit songs of the past decades. MBD sang this song again in his Kumzits album and it still sounds great.

10. Uvnei Otah. Singer: Carlebach. I couldn’t leave without including a Carlebach song. He deserves to have a separate list of all-time best songs but I have to choose one and I selected this one because it was one of his last and greatest compositions. Towards the end of his career, Reb Shlomo started to compose more intricate songs like this one, a three-part song that is not so easy to sing, unlike his other songs. Even so, everyone loves to sing this song anyways because it is a special piece and very energetic.

Disclaimer: My list is not in order of importance. It's just my top-ten favorites. I know I left many out and that not all of them are necessarily hits, but I made my selection based in the overall quality of the songs, taking to account the vocals, the song, the choir, the arrangement and my personal feeling for the song.

Joel's All Time Favorite Jewish Music songs

10. Oh Yerushalayim - Yehuda!
My favorite song from a very diverse artist. "Oh Yerushalayim your city is my destiny". Very meaningful lyrics and a very catchy tune.

9. Hinei Anochi- Tzlil V'zemer
A mid tempo beautiful classic from the choir always in MBC's shadow.

8. Hafachta- Diaspora
A great rock song from the first jewish rock band. Great guitar riffs. A true anthem about Jerusalem. Blue Fringe did a great cover, but not as good as the original.

7. Torah Hakdosha- Shloimy Daskal from the Siyum Hashas
Shloimy redid an MBD tune for the Siyum Hashas. With arguably the best voice in JM today he changed the lyrics for the event commerating the Holocaust and honoring all those who completed shas. Almost all the lyrics were changed, and it became an instant classic.

6.Sholom Aleichem- Regesh
An easy choice. This song is universal sung in most jewish homes at the friday night meal. Its a great nigun, and it has stood the test of time.

5. Torah Today- MBC
I could have chose many songs from Miami, but this is my favorite because it has a great sound and a good message.

4.Shema Yisroel- Shwekey
This combines the writing skills of Abie Rotenberg and the vocal skills of Shwekey. An unbelievable story and a heartfelt performance by Shwekey.

3.Im Eshkacheich- Shlomo Carlebach
Sung at almost every wedding its a true classic.

2. Chazak- Avraham Fried
His biggest hit! By far

1. Jerusalem Is Not For Sale- MBD
My favorite song from the king of JM, even if he steals some songs. The lyrics have their original meaning and a new meaning in 2007. Very catchy tune and very eloquent lyrics.

Obviously I left many great songs and artists out, but I had to pick my 10 favorites. I used songs from the most influential artists with a couple exceptions and didnt use one artist more than once.

As per Joel's request, here's his top ten English songs (not including the ones from his original top ten). feel free to comment.

Joe Dimaggios Card
- Journeys
On Giant Shoulders - Avraham Fried
City of Gold - Blue Fringe
Deaf Man in the Shteeble - Country Yossi
Let my people Go -MBD
In Israel- Sam Glaser
Chazak Ameinu - Voices for Israel
Jerusalem is Calling - Diaspora
Together - Yeedle

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lev Tahor & Pink Floyd?

Two weeks ago I was talking to my cousin and I suddenly heard a familiar tune playing in his computer. It was the intro of Lev Tahor's Gut Shabbos (click here to listen), from their latest album. Well, I was wrong. A few seconds later I found out that it Pink Floyd's High Hopes song (hear it!).

Comparing the two identical intro's I actually prefer Lev Tahor's - using the lower octave sounds better in this case, I think.

Benny Friedman’s Kulanu Nelech Album Review

Benny Friedman’s latest album, Kulanu, is out on Spotify, and as a paying subscriber I enjoyed listening to this album quite a bit, to the e...