Friday, June 18, 2010

Welcoming Shabbat With Adon Olam: Starting A New Series

If your synagogue is anything like ours, the Shabbat service ends with Adon Olam.  This is usually led by a prepubescent boy with questionable pitch, key, and general singing ability.  This is good for the kid educationally, and should be encouraged.  Musically, however, it's not the best way to lift spirits for the rest of Shabbat and the week ahead.

But it's not that way around the world.  Adon Olam has become a staple of many singers, choruses, bands, and other musical troupes, both in synagogue and on the concert stage.

Today we're starting a new series, presenting renditions of Adon Olam from performers worldwide, including traditional and eclectic versions.  We will try to insure that they are sung on key, with reasonable pitch, and provide you with a fun way to start Shabbat.  If we keep the series going too long, we hope you'll tell us "Enough, already!" by your comments and feedback and not by canceling your subscription.

The first of the series is by a Budapest Klezmer group called SabbathSong, with a unique history. As their leader, Thomas Masa, explains on their website, 
In 1998 during the Hebrew language course closing ceremony held in a small synagogue of Budapest we interpreted with my pianist friend, Bence Oromszegi some of our favourite Jewish songs, out of gratitude. The event was recorded by an amateur. By sheer luck, the chief rabbi, Mr. Thomas Raj, listened to the tape and encouraged us to continue more seriously. So we gathered regularly and enlarged the band by new instruments (clarinet, violin, trombone, trumpet, contrabass, accordion, flute).
I sing the songs in original Hebrew and Yiddish language together with my wife, whose beautiful skilled voice gives a very personal and special interpretation of them. Today I can work with 9 wonderful friend musicians, who are mainly symphonic orchestra members.
We hope you find their interpretation as delightful as we did.  Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

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