Hélène Trio / Voyage
Review by Keith Wolzinger
Hélène Engel Trio
Voyage is the aptly titled album from Montreal-based Trio Hélène Engel. Voyage takes the listener on a journey through the Jewish musical world. The versatile Engel sings in Yiddish, Hebrew, French, Ladino, and English. With the help of Henri Oppenheim, the arrangements have an authentic sound unique to each region visited by these songs. The album touches on the music of Poland, Ukraine, Morocco, Spain, France, Russia, Israel, and North America.
Voyage is the fifth album by Engel, though her first with the current Trio, which was formed in 2005.
The first track, "Introduction," starts with the sounds of a noisy club audience, who gradually gets quiet as the band starts to play and Engel appears and begins to sing wordlessly. From there we are along for the ride as Voyage goes on its globetrotting adventure.
The musical styles vary, but the high level of musicianship is steady throughout. The backing by Oppenheim, violinist Marie-Niege Lavigne, and guest guitarist Jean Desrochers, is a perfect match for the voice of Engel. The instrumental solo breaks are well done, and I especially enjoyed the jazz violin work by Lavigne on "Bai Mir Bistu Sheyn."
The CD insert is a four-page booklet with French and English bios of the band members and a brief description of the album. The lyrics, translations, and information about each song are available on Engel's website. They are quite extensive, with the lyrics being translated into French and English.
If you like a variety of Jewish song styles, and a classically-trained voice backed by a great ensemble, then have a listen to Trio Hélène Engel. Bon Voyage!
Reviewed by Keith Wolzinger, Oct 21, 2007
Personnel this recording:
Hélène Engel: vocals
Henri Oppenheim: accordion
Marie-Neige Lavigne: violin
Follow links to listen to songs, courtesy of CD Baby
- Rabbinical suite - Suite Rabbinik (trad.)
- Le Petit Juif - Little Jewish Man (Danielle Messia)
- Fel Shara (she was walking in the street) (trad.)
- Arum dem fayer (Around the camp fire) (trad.)
- Maguen Ossim (Protector of the Weak) (music: Engel; lyrics: Mardochée Astruc)
- Cuando el Rey Nimrod (When King Nemrod …) (trad.)
- Shalom Rav (Sovereign source of Peace) (music: Engel; words: trad.)
- Bay mir bistu sheyn (For me you are the prettiest) (lyrics: Jacob Jacobs; music: Sholom Secunda)
- Lomir zikh iberbetn (Let's make up) (trad.)
- La Cannelle et le Cumin (Cinnamon and Cumin) (Danielle Messia)
- Sapozhkelekh (Little boots) (trad., after Broyna Sakina)
- Mipi El (Nothing is like You) (trad.)
- Kesl Gardn (Castle Garden) (Lyrics: M. Rosenfeld; Music: M. Warshawsky)
- Bublitshki (Little Bagels) (trad.)
- Ocho Candelicas (Eight little candles) (Flory Jagoda)
- Helene's nigun (Engel)