Two New CD Reviews
I have always appreciated the beauty of Chabad's niggunim and felt that over-produced recordings that feature the use of synthesizers did them a great disservice. The 2001 piano renditions of these niggunim contained on "Songs of Our Souls" by Richard Samuels was the last time in my memory that someone did these niggunim justice.
C Lanzbom and Noah Solomon's recent release "The Chabad Sessions", however, has once again allowed us to appreciate these niggunim for what they are. In the liner notes, Noah Solomon wrote, "Although we took some musical liberties with intros and the music surrounding the melodies, we tried to keep the purity and essence of the songs true and as close as I remembered from my childhood."
Elsewhere in the liner notes Noah Solomon's explained the source of his affinity for Chabad niggunim:
"With this recording I went back in time to my early childhood years. My parents moved to Israel when I was four years old and we settled in Moshav Modi'm. I was sent to a Chabad School in the nearby city of Lod. Singing is a big part of the Lubavitch traditions: it was there that I first experienced singing spiritual melodies within a large group."
I highly recommend this CD. What makes it so enjoyable are Noah Solomon's vocals and the high quality of the musicianship. I especially liked the Sephardic feel to the songs "V'Chol Karnei" and "Ato Hokeil" which features a slide guitar accompaniment.
I am ashamed to admit that I had never listened to C Lanzbom and Noah Solomon's music until I heard this CD, but now I will be sure to check out their other CDs as well as the CDs from Soulfarm.
Overall Rating = A
I had great hopes for the new CD "Ananim" from The Nochi Krohn Band. While I listened to this CD for the first time as I ran on my treadmill, and another few times commuting to and from work, my overall impression did not change.
Unfortunately, not too many songs on this CD stick out in my mind as being memorable. Much of it sounds similar to other recent Jewish music releases.
"V'Nikasi" is by far my favorite song on this CD, and I was amazed when I read the liner notes that explain the story behind it,
"On December 1, 2001, my brother Shimshi and I went with our friend Reuven to a busy outdoor cafe in Yerushalayim. The cafe was crowded that night, and our usual table outside was unavailable. We opted to sit inside, directly behind our regular table, rather than wait until our table became available. Soon after we sat down, two suicide bombers blew themselves up thirty feet away, killing eleven. Miraculously, the three of us walked away without physical injury. As for the two young men sitting at our usual table: one suffers from severe brain damage to this day, and the soul of the other was taken back to our Creator. I dedicate this song in the memory of Moshe Michael Dahan z"l, Hy"d."
I would like to give this CD a higher review, but I cannot. There is certainly potential here still waiting to be tapped. Perhaps we will hear this in their next release.
Overall Rating: B-
Update: After listening to this CD again today I determined I was a bit harsh with my review and have updated the overall rating to a B-. Songs such as "Mah Rabu", "Ki Heym Chayanu", and "Uvney" are certainly worth listening to.