Marilyn Lerner & David Wall,
Still Soft Voiced Heart
(Traditional Crossroads, 2001)

Vocals and piano support and give way to each other in Still Soft Voiced Heart by Marilyn Lerner and David Wall. There is a focus and intensity to their music that is amazing to hear.

David Wall has an incredible voice and his sound varies to fit the song. It adds such a rich dimension to the songs and Marilyn Lerner matches him step for step at the piano. All of the songs are sung in Yiddish -- they were based on Yiddish poems -- and the lyrics are listed in both Yiddish and English.

The CD opens with the fluid sound of "All My Yesterdays Were Steps." In "Trili," Wall's singing makes the song dance. There is a touch of starlight in "Anointed by the Moon," which is part jazz, part waltz and full of magic. "Miles Away from Myself" is a tightly woven dance that is always on the edge of bursting out.

They follow that with the grand sweeping sound of "How Through Green Grass Fields." "To a Woman Socialist" is a graceful waltz full of love. There is darkness in "My Shadow" that the piano brings out in full. You can taste the depths of "Every Being" and know it is full of wisdom.

There are jagged edges in "The Wind" that tear through you and yet it is beautiful, too. "The Singer" paints a picture that could easily be a self-portrait of Wall. The words gently fall on you in "From Both Ends of the Earth I" and its intensity carries you away. "From Both Ends of the Earth II" continues where the last song left off, the music filling you with itself.

"Anthem" is a strong a cappella song and "Rusishe Sher" is a lovely piano solo. The CD closes off with a song of farewell in "Softly Let Us All Vanish."

Still Soft Voiced Heart is CD full of music of the heart. The songs will leave you awestruck so sit back and let the music in.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 27 July 2002

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