(photo credit: Courtesy)
The hottest and most interesting sound on the radio at the moment belongs to the new band Bussa. The group surprises with its fresh, Bossa Nova-infused renditions of classic Israeli songs. Shoshana Damari, Asaf Amdursky, Mashina and Yehuda Poliker have all been given Brazilian-style makeovers here.
Musicians Yael Kraus, Noa Golendeski and Michael Frost present passionate, youthful versions of songs such as "Kalaniot," "Madua Lo Bat" and "Shemesh Shemesh."
And while the phrase "cover song" sometimes takes on a pejorative connotation and the original recording is regarded as the definitive version, Bussa's takes are not just tributes to the originals. Bussa's songs are wholly originals themselves. The music here mixes Bossa Nova beats with jazz inflections. The resulting sound is pleasant, refined and gentle.
If you're looking for a holiday gift, this CD would make a great present for just about anyone.
Kochav Nolad 6 - Highlights Live
Since I ignored the sixth season of A Star is Born on television, the latest double album with highlights from the show doesn't stir up any memories of who sang what, wore what and was with which partner.
Judging this release as a regular album, the overall conclusion is that it's a boring one. The renditions of popular Hebrew pop-rock songs by these up-and-coming singers are unexciting. The only heartfelt songs out of the 38 tracks are "Bidyuk Kmo Pa'am" (Just Like It Once Was) and "Hal'a" (Onwards) by contest winner Yisrael Bar-On. Both songs, which are full of emotion, were composed by the 19-year-old, who has been dubbed the Israeli Bob Dylan. Bar-On's lyrics tell about his life story of leaving a religious household to pursue his music in the more secular realm.
Other than Bar-On's output, there are no standout songs here and the double CD is disappointing.
Layla Tov - Children's Songs
OVADIA HAMAMA, SHARON ROTER
Make room in the bed, the delightful new album Layla Tov is a great CD for children and adults alike. Songwriter-musician Ovadia Hamama and singer Sharon Roter team up on this new album of children's bedtime songs to great success.
The album opens with a prayer "Hame'eer Leolam Kulo" (from the bedtime Shema) with guest singer Berry Sakharof. This choice should not be surprising to those who have been following Hamama's career. Last year he released the album Heaven and Earth, in which he took well-known prayers - including the huge hit "Ana Bekoah" - and creatively outfitted them with modern beats.
Here, Hamama turned to Roter to sing his lyrics, and the choice was a wonderful one. Roter's innocent and angelic voice is perfect for this CD. Musically, the album is a calm one with clean, precise and spiritual tones.
The second track on the album, "Yareah Kerah," is a mixture of song and storytelling. The lyrics are respectful to children and don't talk down to them.
Some songs explain why there is darkness at night while others present the opportunity for fantastic dreams. The songs here are of a high standard and could very well become classics. The album should be a fixed part of every household (with or without children).