Sabra Sounds: Hagevatron and Shimrit Orr

One of the country's leading songwriters, Shimrit Orr has left an indelible mark on the local music scene.

Shimrit Orr 88  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shimrit Orr 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
HAGEVATRON Giva'h Achat (Hatav Hashmini) In the wake of The Gevatron's Israel Prize Life Achievement Award (2007) and the group's much talked-about collaboration with rapper Subliminal on the official "Bat Shishim" song for the country's 60th anniversary celebrations, the kibbutz folk singers recently released a new album called Giva'h Achat. This is the ensemble's 17th album and its first in four years. It includes both previously recorded and newly recorded songs. After 60 years in the business, these folk singers are still in fine form and their vocal harmonies layer well. Moreover, the group has proven that despite an evolution and revolution in the popular music field, its Land of Israel tunes hold. In fact, listeners might very well find it difficult not to get up and do a folk dance around the living room. The Gevatron's East European folk music sounds are still catchy after all these years. The beautiful title-track song, "Giva'h Achat," which was composed by Shlomo Artzi and was the first single off the new album, quickly found a niche for itself on local radio rotations. The CD also comprises the original version of "Bat Shishim" (60 Years Old). And, of course, there are songs written especially for the group ("Yam Hashibolim"). Over the years, the iconic Gevatron has served as a muse for dozens of singing groups and bands. Younger singers still have something to learn from this group. This new album only adds to the Gevatron's contribution to Israeli culture. SHIMRIT ORR Od Tiree Et Haderech (Hed Arzi) One of the country's leading songwriters, Shimrit Orr has left an indelible mark on the local music scene. The Hed Arzi record label recently released a double album of 42 songs penned by Orr. In Orr's case, the apple didn't fall far from the tree: Her father, Ya'akov Orland, was an Israel Prize-winning poet. The CDs open and close with beloved songs by the defunct Halav Udvash (Milk and Honey) group - "Yachad" and "Hallelujah." In between, there are such gems as "Tzarot Tovot," "Yesh Lecha Shemesh," "Laila Bahir" and "Ani Hozer Habayta." Some of the songs here were recorded especially for this album, including "Balaila Bati el Hagan," which Orr sings herself. Most of the songs, however, were taken from other recordings from over the years. Choosing which songs to include here couldn't have been an easy task. The prize-winning Orr has penned hundreds of songs for singers and bands during her career. Almost all of the songs on this compilation topped the charts upon their releases. Orr's "Hallelujah," of course, won Israel the Eurovision Song Contest in 1979. Singers included on this collection include Ilanit, Gali Atari, Shula Chen, Tal Sondak and Yizhar Cohen, among many others. It's easy to see why Orr's songs remain popular. They are of the sing-along variety with catchy choruses and peppy beats. This compilation comes with a song booklet that includes tidbits about each of the songs and the album on which they appeared.