Yofiyah / Kabbalistic Kirtan
reviewed by Hanna Tiferet
Yofiyah / Kabbalistic Kirtan, 2004
To order the CD, send check or money order for $20.00 ($18.00 CD plus $2.00 shipping in US) to:
P. O. Box 12356
Philadelphia, PA 19119
It came in the mail, a gift from a friend who helped to produce the album. I put it on and was joyously surprised to be lifted up and carried away by this very fine recording, the best I've heard in many years. Some might find it repetitive, but that's the nature of chanting. It takes you deep into the sounds of the words, creating a peaceful vibration that stirs the heart to open. Based on the practice of Hindu Kirtan, Kabbalistic Kirtan is a "call and response" pattern in which the leader calls out a line and the community responds. The intensity builds and there is a spiraling, swirling, absorbing sensation that actively involves the leader and the congregation until they almost become one.
Yofiyah is a fine vocalist and her message reveals a deep wisdom and understanding of the sacred texts she sings.. Her voice is resonant, inviting, and moves easily in Hebrew and Aramaic from the the melody line to exotic improvisation. Her Kirtan band is very skillful in communicating this style of music and carrying the songs forward. They establish a world music sound with their Far Eastern instruments that is both pleasing to the ear and energizing to the spirit. AND this is a high quality production which is clear, balanced, and imaginative.
The overall theme of the chants is Love and the Beloved. Each one seamlessly flows into the next, creating a recording that makes you want to listen and sing along, over and over again. Some of my favorites include Dodi Li and Echad b'Echad. What begins in a sensual and soothing manner builds into a spirited, uplifting, dynamic experience of the One. I highly recommend this CD!
Reviewed by Hanna Tiferet, 13 Mar 2005. E-mail Hanna Tiferet.
Personnel this recording:
Lenny Seidman: tabla, frame drum, dholak, madal, chimes
Joseph Tayoun: darbuka, riq
Roger Mgrdichian: oud
Amira Dvorah: bansuri (bamboo flutes)
Mirabai Groff: finger cymbals
Andrew Bleckner: harmonium
Cheikh Ndoya: bass
- Dodi Li (from Song of Songs) 7:34
- Hamakom Hazeh (from Genesis) 13:07
- Echad B'Echad (from Zohar) 10:32
- Yishakeni (from Song of Songs) 11:13
- L'chad Dodi (from Friday night liturgy) 9:00
- Ahava Raba (from morning litury) 8:12
- Harachaman (from Friday night liturgy) 11:00
- Oseh Shalom (from morning liturgy) 4:10