Sabra Sounds: Yasmin Levy, Michael Greilsammer, Rafi Ginat

Sabra Sounds Yasmin Lev

yasmin levy 248.88 (photo credit: )
yasmin levy 248.88
(photo credit: )
Sentir Yasmin Levy (Adama/Eighth Note) The 33-year-old Yasmin Levy continues to wow global audiences with her "world music" tunes. She is back with another CD, which, like her previous albums, fuses Ladino tunes with other genres. Levy's fourth album, Sentir, includes 12 songs, the majority of which she penned herself. On this latest album Levy teams up with in-demand Spanish producer Javier Limon, who coaxes a sensitive performance out of her. There are two duets on the album - one with the Greek singer Elani Vitaly on the flamenco-tinged "Porque" and one in the Ladino love song "Una Pastora" with her late father Yitzhak (production techniques allowed the two of them to "sing" together, even though Levy's father died when she was only 18 months old). Another notable track is the Spanish-language version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which kind of sounds like a synangogue prayer. Musically, Levy puts the Judeo-Spanish ballads to a mixture of Greek, Arabic, Flamenco, jazz, and traditional Ladino tunes. The melodies flow into one another and Levy seems to have found the East-meets-West rhythmic bridge. Throughout the album, the listener is treated to her powerful voice, which has matured from her earlier albums. This new release is mesmerizing indeed. Mitorer (Waking Up) Michael Greilsammer (2Vibes) His name might not have the type of ring one expects from solo acts, but Michael Greilsammer continues to prove that his original reggae-inflected Hebrew-French songs, with a splash of English, are just what the local Israeli music scene needs right now. Lyrically, Greilsammer's songs are often silly and cover the usual topics of love and life. But his debut album is more about the music. On Mitorer, Greilsammer introduces the listener to a unique mesh of melodies. Throughout the album the Jerusalem-based musician takes listeners on special musical journeys through rock, reggae, folk, pop, Celtic and classical genres. He describes himself as the world's first reggae violinist, with a strong pull towards Irish music. His album has already produced a number of radio chart-toppers including the popular "Yalla, Bo'ee" and "Lo Nirdam," and his fresh rendition of "Spaceships." This CD is most definitely unusual and highly appealing. Begovah Eina'yim (At Eye Level) Rafi Ginat (Eighth Note) And while most people know Rafi Ginat as the CrimeWatch TV impresario, five years ago he showed his musical side on the CD Bechirot Ishiot. Ginat again puts his velvety, deep bass voice in the spotlight on his new album Begovah Eina'yim. The CD includes favorite folk-soul tunes like "Mack the Knife," "Let My People Go," "Dance Me To the End of Love," and "If I Had a Hammer." While he's no Pete Seeger or Leonard Cohen, Ginat's versions are persuasive. There are also a few Israeli classic songs in the mix including Haim Hefer's "Yechezkel." Musically, you couldn't ask for a better backup band. Ginat managed to hook up with Blood, Sweat & Tears, one of the longest standing American 'jazz-rock' bands around. Ginat actually started his entertainment career at the end of the 1960s as a singer in the group Habroshim. After the band broke up, Ginat jumped to television and his musical vocation was pretty much sidelined. He has often been asked to record compilations, but takes time to comply. His latest album is deserving of praise but not quite extraordinary.