KARNI ELDAD Aduma (Red) (Hatav Hashmini) Singer-songwriter Karni Eldad realized a dream when she set off to Cuba to record her debut album. Although she's the daughter of MK Arieh Eldad, The songs are not political, but rather romantic and often optimistic. She offers 11 tracks of Cuban-style Hebrew and Spanish songs. Going to the source was important for Eldad, and she sought out some of the top musicians in Havana on her trip there, including the flutist from the Cuban Salsa group Cubanismo and the bassist for Pedro Calvo. Her songs are catchy but somewhat lacking. There's no question that Eldad lives and breathes Cuban music, but despite the solid production (she recorded the album in the same studio the mega group Buena Vista Social Club), a degree of pizzazz is missing here. Aduma does, however, offer listeners a good introduction to the myriad of styles that is Cuban music. Eldad employs the slow, romantic ballad style of Bolero ("Simplemente Hablar") and the piano/guitar driven style of Guajira ("Kshekulam Yelchu Lishon"). She also throws into her mix Son (the foundation of modern salsa music), Zapateo (flamenco-derived folk), and Cuban jazz styles of music. Cuban music is known for having many influences, and thus Eldad's Hebrew flavorings to the genre are not out of place. For those intrigued by Cuban music, Eldad scratches the surface in this album of the goodies available. LOO BAAT Women Sing Shem Tov Levi (Hatav Hashmini) The Hatav Hashmini label recently added this sing-a-long album to record store shelves. Composer-musician Shem-Tov Levi, the man responsible for many of Israel's best-loved tunes, recorded a 2003 concert and packaged it for home use. Not known as a strong solo singer, Levi employed the help of top women singers including Lea Shabat, Korin Allal, Yehudit Ravitz, and Dikla to perform from his repertoire. The women both sing solo and perform duets with Levi. Allal and Levi's rendition of "Shir Arash Lenor" is beautiful, while Dikla and Levi's performance of "Lev-Yam" is rather poignant. The 13 tracks here have been featured on soundtracks, solo albums, and collaboration CDs. Because listeners have heard them before, singing along comes naturally. Other songs on the album include "Pesek Zman," "Hanasich Hakatan," "Don Quixote," and "Shuvi Lebaytech." There is nothing extraordinary offered here, but for those with a penchant for national pop/rock, this CD could be a good investment.