DUDU BARAK Lach Od Ashir Alpayim (Hed Arzi) Fans of "Land of Israel" (Shirei Eretz Yisrael) music will rejoice upon listening to this new collection. These 44 songs are all recognizable and great sing-a-long material. The double album opens with "Hayom Hayom" sung by Dorit Reuveni and Pikud Mercaz Trio and continues with such folk nuggets as "Prachim Bakaneh," "Israel Sheli Hogeget," "Shalom Al Yisrael" and "Shiru Shir Lashemesh." While Dudu Barak's songs are an integral part of the Israeli music landscape, for some reason this lyricist-composer has remained relatively anonymous. Instead the singers who voiced his compositions - Ilanit, Yehoram Gaon, Yardena Arazi, Miri Aloni, Boaz Sharabi, Hagevatron, etc - are celebrated. Barak, who was born in 1948 in Jerusalem, began writing songs at the age of 18 and never looked back. Today he is one of the last songwriters of his genre. His songs are simple in structure and the lyrics speak of the experience of living in Israel and the desire for peace with Arab neighbors. These songs take the listener back to the early days of the state when communal singing was the form of entertainment. Anyone who spent time in youth movements, on kibbutzim or listened to military-entertainment ensembles will enjoy this album. In an interview, Barak once said that he knows people will only celebrate his work after his death. Admirers of Land of Israel tunes should give Barak the compliment of honoring him while he's still alive. This anthology is an amazing collection of nostalgic songs. ZEHAVA BEN Lalechet Im Haor (Self Release) One of the most popular female vocalists in the Mizrahi genre, Zehava Ben enjoyed top-billing status in the 1990s. Her new release, Lalechet Im Haor, was meant to bring some of that glory back. Unfortunately, Ben chose songs that don't accentuate her vocal abilities to their fullest. She is one of the main practitioners of the Turkish style of singing. There is also a good measure of Moroccan influence. Her voice can be very soulful, but on these songs she sounds somewhat drowned out by the music. The music on this album follows the Oriental line, but has also been infused with dance beats. And that's not always a plus. The song "Poge'a Bi" is more irritating than danceable. The same goes for "Ohevet," which also boasts irksome lyrics. A whole slew of top musicians had a hand in this album including Avi Singolda, Tal Segev and Peter Roth. And while their musicianship is good, it sounds as if their hearts are not truly in the music. The best songs on this album are Ben's three duets with Ofer Levi, Arkadi Duchin, and Ethnix. The duets are full of emotion and she and her guests harmonize beautifully together. In fact, her duet with Duchin on the song "Makolet" is the album's shining light. Ben should seriously think of doing a full length album with him.