MRM Music, the same outfit responsible for the last two Lipa albums, a bunch of Soulfarm productions, dozens of chassidishe compilation albums, and anything with the words “Super Collection Mix” in the title, has produced dozens of holiday and Yom Tov albums. Menashe Lustig, DJ Reuven Masri, and the rest of the MRM crew released Purim’ish in 2011, and it’s pretty much what you would expect out this bunch: Extremely solid instrumentals, great choir, and (mostly) rearrangements of songs we all know and love.
Track 1, “Achashveirosh”: The only totally original song on this album, “Achashveirosh” is a trance-techno dance track. It’s pretty standard fare for electronica—heavy synthetic drum programming, cyclic chord progressions, long instrumental riffs on the analog synthesizer, and a rather abrupt ending.
Tracks 2-12, Freilach Purim Medley: These 11 tracks take us on a journey through some old-to-medium school niggunim. Some are Purim songs (“Shoshanas Yaakov”, “Teshuasam”, “V’nahapoch”), some are plain old mainstream or chassidishe niggunim (Chabad’s “Didon Notzach”, Avraham Fried’s “Hevel Havolim”, Pirchei’s “Sheb’shifleinu” and “Ashreinu”), and some are repurposed songs from other yomim tovim (Chabad’s “V’somachta” becomes “Layehudim” without much effort). Bonus points go to the choir for skillfully (and on purpose) butchering the opening lines to “Shoshanas Yaakov” (Birtzoinam fachad? Tshitiusum?) just enough that I had to go back and listen a few times to make sure I wasn’t hearing things. The sax player on this album really shows his skill in this medley, with some incredible runs which utilize the entire range of the saxophone. The arrangers even sneak in the intro to Miami Boys’ Choir’s “V’haya Machanecha Kadosh” into “Hevel Havolim”.
Tracks 13-21, Hora/Disco Medley: Because there are very few (if any) Purim songs which are meant to be played as a hora or a disco, the Purim’ish gang decided to manufacture some. The first track in the medley is entitled “Yakiru”, but I recognize the arrangement from Yehudah Glantz’s song “Baruch Hu” (and the song itself is much older than even that recording). Other songs in this medley include Dedi’s “Od Yishoma” from his album Veohavto (disguised as another version of “V’nahapoch Hu”), MBD’s “Lefonov” (from Ma’aminim), Yeedle’s “Emor Me’at” (from Yeedle IV) and “Elah” (from Shiru Lamelech), the classic Belzer niggun also known as “There’s a Shark in the Mikveh”, and Dedi’s “Rotzoh” (from Rotzoh).
Track 22, “Purim Shpiel”: I’m going to assume that this track was put on the album as a form of artistic expression…how else to explain a track—entirely in Yiddish—which starts out with the famous riff from Usher’s “Yeah”, but launches into a barely comprehensible three-minute-rap with the chorus “Urir Humun/Burich Mordche”? They obviously haven’t had enough to drink yet if they were still getting that straight. Let’s keep in mind that these are the same people who have an entire album in their repertoire entitled Rap in Yiddish, so maybe it’s a form of self-promotion….
Overall, Purim’ish is a solid, well-done compilation album which can be used to get yourself into the Purim spirit, or to use as dancing or background music during your Purim seudah.