(photo credit: Courtesy)
Good things come to those who wait. Yehudah Katz, lead singer of Reva L'Sheva, has been waiting for four years to produce a new studio album.
"I was waiting for material I thought would be worthwhile," says Katz, who is originally from
The result may well be the band's best album yet.
Ve'sham Nashir (There We Will Sing) is Reva L'Sheva's sixth CD. Released October 11 by Noam Hafakot, the album is a rich combination of strong vocals, well-honed, high-energy instrumentals, and powerful spiritual lyrics. Yet at the same time, the overall tone of the recording is sensitive and intimate.
The album's themes are hope and glory, so to speak. The 12-year-old religious rock band, which has six members, has produced an album that is a blend of ballads, rollicking rock 'n' roll and original renditions of Shlomo Carlebach songs. It conveys a message of joy amidst sadness, rays of hope streaking through a curtain of chaos and confusion. It sings of God and his presence in Israel and in our hearts.
With eight original songs and four Carlebach numbers, the album is life-affirming. It resounds with a call to come together and celebrate God, love and this country.
The title track, for example, speaks of the yearning for the Temple to be rebuilt. With a rousing ethnic Irish American flavor, the song depicts the journey of the Jewish people on its way to the Holy Land. It ends with a powerful blast of voices chanting in unison "u'virnana na'aleh" ("and we will go up with joy"). To give the chorus a fitting sense of scale, Katz used four voices and mechanically multiplied them by 10.
The only English-language song on the album, "Jumpin'," with a powerful vocal by Chanan Elias, continues the theme of the ingathering. It speaks about the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and their passage into Israel.
In "Tamid Besimcha" (Always Happy), Eliezer Blumen renders Reva L'Sheva's quintessential message: Try to connect to the happiness of the world rather than to its sadness. Blumen's tasteful, wailing guitar work on this album is reminiscent of the best work of Carlos Santana and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.
Katz's composition "Tefilat Haderech" ("Travel in Peace"), written while crossing the border from Croatia to Serbia, is a reminder that God is with us, no matter where we go. Not something to be taken lightly or for granted, we need to invoke the words of the prayer to connect with Him.
The songs "Bo'i Kala" ("Dancing for the Bride") and "Mi Adir" ("Overall"), which is delicately accompanied by mandolin and flute, celebrate the joy of interpersonal relationships. This is yet another way in which to seek and fulfill our capacity for happiness.
In that vein, the cover of the album is taken from a painting done by Katz's wife, Michelle. In the picture, the figures gathered in front of the Western Wall are cloaked in an aura of sadness. However, a reassuring ray of hope shines through the darkness.
And that, as always, is the message of Reva L'Sheva.
Relaying that message in full force are Katz, doing vocals, guitar, and mandolin; Eliezer Blumen on guitar and harmonica; Elias doing vocals and keyboard; Danny Roth on drums; Adam Wexler on bass; and Nitzan Khen Razel on violin. And for an extra touch of ethnic flavor, the band's former percussionist, Yitzhak Attias, was invited to add his special talent to the mix. Number six for Reva L'Sheva sounds like a keeper.
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