Israeli Songs
(ARC, 2004)

Shir offers an introduction to Israeli music with a mostly modern slant on Israeli Songs.

Shir -- which, appropriately, means "song" in Hebrew -- comprises five musicians with varied backgrounds and based in London. Formed in 1997 by Maurice Chernick, the group performs at concerts, festivals and other functions across the United Kingdom and in Europe.

The selections offered here are predominately upbeat in style and include a generous assortment of both traditional prayer and secular songs, ranging from familiar classics like "Hava Nagila" to the more esoteric "Lcha Dodi," a liturgical poem for the inauguration of the Sabbath.

Members of the group are Chernick, clarinet and vocals; Ivor Goldberg, guitar, cumbus (a Turkish lute), nageni (a type of lyre) and vocals; Piotr Jordan, violin; and Steve Rose, bass, percussion, melodica and cumbus. Since making this CD, Shir has been joined by percussionist Ronen Kozokaro.

Employing both European and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, the group provides an enjoyable listening experience spanning the diverse Jewish musical tradition. Liner notes include translations of lyrics from Hebrew to English.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
John R. Lindermuth

14 May 2011

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