EDITORS NOTE: JMR welcomes a brand new writer, Aryeh Berger with his “One Week Later” review series. We love the concept and we look forward to many great reviews of Jewish Music!
All new Jewish music is overhyped and promoted heavily when it is first released, and the first time it usually sounds nothing short of amazing, but then slowly after a few more listens, you end up putting it in the back end of your hits playlist. This is why I do my reviews one week later, we can tell if the album is nogeah after just a few more listens.
At the weddings I go to, usually sometime after the 1st dance, filled to the brim with different varieties of od yishoma, Siman tov, Mazel Tov, Asher Bara, and other classic jewish wedding songs, people start to feel bored. Sure there’s a nice piece of meat in front of you, but you’re not with your friends on the cool table. After the dinner, when you start to hear those familiar notes of the latest great jewish music hits, you start to get excited and pumped up again. It’s time for the best part of the night (in my opinion), otherwise known as the 2nd dance.
That’s essentially what this album is trying to recreate. Yitzy Schwartz presents to you that great feeling that you felt when you danced to the 2nd dance, with all the people who didn’t leave the wedding yet, in one cd of 23 songs. It’s a fantastic collection of great singers and greater songs, interspersed with the occasional English music intros. On to the songs themselves.
OID OID OID- Avraham Fried starts it all off with Oid Oid Oid, originally sung by Yisroel Williger. I had never heard this song before, but this version of it is really nice. Avremel does a great job on it, the trumpet solo is very good, and the choir is also really nice on this song. I especially like the high part of Oid Oid Oid, this is what a real 2nd dance is right here. The intro to the album is exactly how a 2nd dance should begin as well.
HOOLEH & CELEBRATION- 8th Day comes in to sing their hit song Hooleh off the album with the same name. This version of it is more concert/wedding like, you can feel the loose atmosphere in the song, what with the interesting intro and a “Everyone get up” from the lead singer, Shmuly. This version is also sped up a little, and I feel it’s better like this. Definitely a 2nd dance song. They then continue with a song called Celebration, but it was originally called Yom Huledet (Happy Birthday) by Eden and it was entered into the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel in 1999. It’s an interesting selection, but it’s a cute short song and 8th Day does a great job on it.
ET RIKOD & MI MI- Yumi Lowy enters and here is where the latest songs in jewish music really comes in. He starts off with a great version of Et Rikod, the hit originally from Yaakov Shwekey sung on the album Kolot. It’s a little more yeshivish/litvish than Shwekey’s original and it really makes the song into wedding music instead of Shwekey’s more rocked-up version. Yumi moves straight into his second song, Mi Mi, a great version of the hit from Simcha Leiner off the album Pischi Li. This version is wonderful and here is where I want to tip my hat to the wonderful music of the band on this album The A Team. They are fantastic on this album and i expect to see them at weddings to come.
YOM TOV in DE VUCHEN- Levy Falkowitz, an up and comer in the world of jewish music, sings this song, originally sung by Michoel Schnitzler on the album Yes You Can! Levy does a great job and even though I never heard the song before, I thought it was an excellent selection. It’s a fun, geshmake song.
LO NAFALTI- Lipa Schmeltzer- After a few english music intros, Lipa sings Lo Nafalti originally a song by Yishai Lapidot on the album Vaani Hamanginah. It’s a nice song, although it’s very short and most of it is taken up by the intros and a nigun taken from the song “Na Na Na Goodbye” sung by the choir.
MODEH ANI- A nice nigun by the choir starts things up. Then Beri Weber comes on and sings Modeh Ani. The original is from Oif Simchas off the album Aleichem Vealienu and it is perfect for this album. With this song, the first set ends.
MELECH MALCHEI HAMLACHIM- Benny Friedman sings this wonderful ballad, originally from Eyal Golan from the album Nagat Li Balev (the Mi Shemamin guy). It’s the only slow song on the album, and Benny does a great job on it, making sure very note is perfect, and it really is beautiful. It’s a classic dinner slow song and is played at many weddings.
SHKALIM & RAK ELOKIM & HAKOL SAGUR & ELOKIM SHELI- Avi Peretz- Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready for the sefardi part of this 2nd dance! All kidding aside, these are 4 solid sefardi sounding wedding songs.
Shkalim is from Eyal Golan (again) sang originally on th album Chayil Shel Ahava, and it might just be my favorite song of the Avi Peretz set.
Rak Elokim is by Chaim Yisrael from the album Milim Shel Tefillah and is a nice song.
Hakol Sagur is a song that I remember as Od Yishoma during the Avner’s Special song on Nafsheinu Orchestra’s album called Wedding Of The Century, but a little research shows the original is an Israeli dance song called Hakol Sagur sung by Sarit Hadad.
Elokim Sheli is another nice song from Chaim Yisrael originally sung on the album Sameach Sephardi Dance Mix, and it ends off this set with a great finish from The A Team.
BYACHAD NENATZEICH- Ilai Avidani, the next Israeli child prodigy, sings the song written for the 3 boys who were murdered in Israel this past summer. It’s a gorgeous song about how we need to stand up byachad. He has a beautiful voice, and the song written by Udi Damari has great lyrics. I advise you to go out and listen to the original as well (it was a single released earlier this year).
KEIL CHUS GOALI- Yoeli Greenfield- After a nice bass-filled intro, Yoeli sings this great song that after extensive research, I found is originally from Amit Listvand off his album Shehecheyanu (how Yitzy found these songs is beyond me). I love the Meshorim Choir behind Yoeli, it sounds really good. And it leads straight to….
MR. DJ- Lipa’s back and now he’s singing an Israeli song about DJs playing what simcha really is. It was really another Israeli Dance song called Mr. DJ Superman sang by Sarit Hadad on the CD called Child of Love.
HACHI TOV- Beri Weber sings the new hit song from Shimmy Engel off his debut album Klal. Shimmy has 2 versions on his album, one in English called Ability, and then this version called Hachi Tov. The Hachi Tov version is a little more disco, perfect for weddings.
YEHU HACHODESH- Levy Falkowitz comes back to sing the old Dedi classic. It comes from Dedi’s album, Omnom, and it’s one of Dedi’s best (in my opinion). Dedi is really a classic, I’m very excited that he’s gonna be performing at the Hasc concert next month.
AM YISROEL- After our “Let It Go” intro from the A Team, Meshoerim Choir sings this major hit from Yaakov Shwekey’s latest album Kolot. I’m not sure who the soloist from Meshoerim Choir is, but he’s very good.
IM EIN ANI LI- Yoni Z sings this song from Itzik Eshel off the album Rock Ata Vol. 1. It’s a fast-paced hebrew song that sort of slows down by the high part. Yoni has a great voice and is a very underrated singer.
MERAKDIM- Shragee Gestener sings the oldie from Mendy Jerufi off the album of the same name. This song has made it back into the wedding music circuit ever since it was featured on Beats and is a terrifically underrated song.
BEEZRAT HASHEM- Shragee goes straight into this speeded up version of the original from Efraim Mendelson off his album Hisragshus. The A Team finishes off the set with the hit Queen song “We Are the Champions” played instrumentally and it really closes out the 2nd dance well.
VAFILI BHASTORAH- We are beyond lucky to have this seemingly extra track from Yehuda Green. It’s the amazing hit single from Yoeli Klein translated and sung beautifully. I actually expected it to be on his new album, but it’s on this album instead. Yehuda really shows us the beautiful translation of the amazing words and it made me see the song in a whole new light.
And so ends an amazing wedding….. Oh wait, it was just a cd of a wedding! It really feels like a wedding is happening inside your house, car or headphones. I don’t know who came up with the song selection, as they really came from everywhere (and I had a really hard time tracking each one down), but it was a great cd from top to bottom. This album definitely deserves a spot on your wedding playlist alongside the likes of Beats, 2nd Dance 1, Wedding of the Century, The Wedding Album, etc. It is an amazing selection of songs and I personally thank Yitzy Schwartz for finding all the new and old songs and putting it all together in one place where we can all enjoy it tremendously.