various artists,
A Jewish Odyssey: A Celebration
of Music Around the World

(Putumayo, 2000)

A Jewish Odyssey provides a fascinating journey to back to the roots of the Jewish culture via inspiring folk music, bouncy ballads and fast-paced dance tunes.

Chava Alberstein, one of Israel's popular singers, teams up with one of America's leading klezmer bands in "Di Goldene Pave," which translates to "The Golden Peacock" to start us swaying. The beat picks up in English band The Burning Bush's performance of "Rad Halaila," a song with all the life and energy of the ever popular "Hava Nagilah." Italy joins in with its top Jewish music ensemble, KlezRoym, which contributes "Fel Shara," a spirited love song in the Sephardic tradition.

Uri Caine, an avant garde pianist, teams up with Moroccan singer Aaron Bensoussan for the Zohar Project and their "Shabbat Medley," a basically traditional song with modern influence. The lustrous voice of Ofra Haza, a Geffen recording artist world-renowned for both her Yemenite and cross-over pop songs, lives on in "Rachamim." Sadly, the beautiful Ofra passed away on February 23, 2000, but her passion for her roots achieves immortality in her music.

Uzca, a New Yorker born to Jewish immigrant parents, gives us "Kona Hora," a lively tune which swings on the strings of a violin. "Meron Nign," a traditional instrumental, jumps and jingles from the fingers of the talented Klezmer Conservatory Band. The voices of Janet and Jak Esim blend beautifully on "Ija Mia Mi Kerida," or "My Dear Daughter." This duo hails from Turkey and is instrumental in a revival of Turkish-Sephardic songs.

Born in Chile and raised in Greece, Spain, Italy, Peru and the Philippines, Consuelo Luz's gem of a voice has many international facets. She sings of the stars in "Las Estreyas." Canadian band Finjan follows Luz, continuing their klezmer revival efforts with another spirited instrumental, "Dancing on Water." Fortuna, a Brazilian artists who performs in elaborate Sephardim stage shows, sings the popular "Shalom Aleichem (Peace Be With You)," in sweet, but solemn style.

Putumayo World Music has reached out to all corners of the world for Jewish music and brought the strands together in this neatly wrapped package of Jewish passion. As the Jewish people hail from extremely diverse cultures, many flavours of the world can be enjoyed at once in this stimulating musical journey.

[ by Lynne Remick ]



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