Under the Mediterranean Sky
(Hummingbird Productions, 1999)

Have you ever wanted to take a trip around the world but could not afford the plane fare? Then take that $20 burning a hole in your pocket and pick up Tsufit's Under the Mediterranean Sky. If I could only describe this album with one word, it would be "odd" ... but, given more room to elaborate, I would say "odd, but in a good way."

Tsufit (don't all the big stars only use one-word names?) is a Mediterranean-born, Canadian singer-songwriter who has recurring comedic roles on two television programs and has a law degree. This should clue you in to how diversified this woman is. The album goes from ballad to folk, serious to silly, discussing life, love, and a mother who calls everyday to make sure she's eating right. Her voice blends well with the instrumentals, with gypsy beats, accordions, and music styles that range from the Middle East to eastern Europe.

Accompanying Tsufit are Tony Quarrington, who produced Willie P. Bennett's Juno award winning album Heartstrings in 1998, a multi-instrumentalist and heavy duty on guitar, Zeke Mazurek on violin, Joe Macerollo on accordion, Paul Bailee on percussion and Tom Skublics on clarinet. They combine their talents on Tsufit's version of classic Hebrew Chassidic tunes such as "Erev Shel Shoshanim (Evening of Roses)," and the Hebrew Peace Medley, consisting of songs that go from sad ballads like "Higiya Michtavech (Your Letter Came)" to rousing numbers that are sure to have you singing along, such as "Oseh Shalom (He Who Makes Peace)." Tsufit carries on a conversation with her mother in "Broccoli's On Sale at Dominion" -- the only thing missing is to let her know she's wearing clean underwear. And just in case there's someone out there you don't particulary like anymore, she includes the sour-sweet revenge song "How Does It Feel."

Tsufit has a style and humor that makes a good CD, but would translate even better on the stage. This reviewer recommends you keep an eye on this artist, as she has the talent and humor to go far.

[ by Timothy Keene ]