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First Impressions of Ohad III

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Whose name comes to mind when you think of the highest vocal range in the Jewish Music world?

Hint: he’s the same singer who brought us hits such as V’eirastich Li, Ma Shehaya (still brings ‘nostalgic’ smiles when you blare it in a Yeshiva dorm), and of course the well-known English hit Stop!

That’s right, Ohad! He’s released two albums of new songs, as well as a wedding album, and now he’s done it again., Ohad has released his third album, titled Echad Yachid Umeyuchad, just two weeks ago and straight from the get-go this looks like it’ll be another hit. Presented by David Fadida, and containing songs composed by Eli Cohen, Yitzy Waldner, Rabbi Baruch Levine, Yossi Green of course, Ohad himself and others (even an Eli Gerstner composition in the mix), this album hits you with twelve brand new songs, containing an amazing range of genres, from fast-paced tap-your-feet-to-the-beat songs, to gorgeous slow ballads. Rather than give a song-by-song breakdown of how I viewed this album, I feel it may be more beneficial if I just highlight some of the standouts (in the order that they appear on the album), and leave the rest for you to decide on your own. (If you find this to be LESS helpful, please let me know in the comments. Thanks.)

Alright, here we go!

Opening up strong, the first song, Anu Banecha, grabs you right away by beginning right in the middle, starting with the chorus. This pumping composition from Eli Cohen is solid beginning to end, with a strong drum line, and harmonies by the Yedidim Choir. If one were to make a playlist of songs with the same ‘feel’, this would fall in right next to Kol Z’man, the opening track of Ohad’s previous album, and just like Kol Z’man, Anu Banecha makes a great start to an album.

The second song, Birchat Habanim, is also composed by Eli Cohen, and features guest star Eyal Moskowitz. The words are from a Tefilah that fathers say on Erev Yom Kippur, in which they request from Hakadosh Baruch Hu  children who will be Tzadikim (or Tzadikos) who will be engaged in Torah and Mitzvos. The musical arrangements in this song are beautiful, including the piano playing of Yaron Gershovsky. It reminds me of Ohad’s Y’tzav Hashem, from his first album, and is very possibly the best slow song on the album.

Without missing a beat (no pun intended), the album keeps on cranking out great songs, the next one likely to be loved by all. Composed by Eli Gerstner, Malchuscha is, well, an Eli Gerstner song! Sounding a bit like the Diaspora Malchutcha (although that may just be because of the words), and containing harmonies from Eli Gerstner himself, this song is extremely catchy and is the most likely to be echoing around your head when you’re in a good mood. If you like The Chevra or Yeshiva Boys Choir, you’re bound to like this song.

The title track, Echad Yachid, is another catchy fast-paced song, which is very likely to be played at the next Chasunah you attend. Composed by Eli Cohen and Elie Schwab, and containing harmonies by the Yedidim Choir as well as a solid job on guitar by Avi Singolda, this song is very possibly a soon-to-be hit. Good song and easy to ‘get into’, it’s definitely one of my favorites.

If there is any slow song on this album nicer than Birchat Habanim, it would have to be Shir Haparnoso, by Rabbi Baruch Levine. Very possibly the song on the album which best displays Ohad’s fabulous vocal range, this song is likely to ‘wow’ you. From the amazing vocals, to the wonderful cello playing of Lihi Kaspi, it’s only a matter of time until this song is on my ‘Most Played’ playlist on iTunes! (The only ‘objection’ I had (yes, had) with this song is that one part of the song seems to remind me of Shlomie Dachs’ Torah, but that’s a really good song so who cares ?) After all is said and done, Shir Haparnoso is simply a great song, and hey, what else would you expect from one of the best composers of this era??

All in all, Echad Yachid Umeyuchad has been a very enjoyable album to listen to, and I have a feeling I’ll only come to like it even better with more listening. I don’t want to tell people how to spend their money, nor have I gone through all of the albums that came out recently, but from what I’ve heard so far, if someone were to call me from the store today and ask me which new album to buy, I would definitely advise Ohad’s Echad Yachid Umeyuchad.

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