I’m going to start off this review with a bit of a confession. That confession is that I am not familiar with the majority of the V’havienu material released before this album. I guess the first 3 albums (other than a few songs) slipped under my radar and unfortunately I was not privileged to be able to listen to them when they were first released. That being said, I’m extremely excited that I finally decided to see what the fuss was about! This album is awesome! I can keep going on and on about how much I enjoyed this album but I’ll have some mercy and start the review already.
- Tzomah – If this is your first time listening to a full V’havienu album then you’re probably as blown away as I was by the intro on this song. They definitely know the right way to start an album! Composed by Shloime Buksbaum this song takes you from kumzits to the dance floor faster than you can say “V’havienu”! Incorporating the string section from the intro into the verses the 2nd time around in the song was a great idea!
- Min Hashamayim – If you think that this song is the typical “slow song”, think again! This song composed by Dani Kunstler is sung exceptionally well. Featuring additional vocals by Baruch Kunstler.
- Hashem – This song gives you the emotional feeling of a slower song while still keeping it’s a nice rhythm. Thats a win-win in my book. Now that we’re 3 songs into the review I think it’s about time to discuss who V’havienu is, don’t you? The group consists of brothers Dani and Aryeh Kunstler along with Yitzchok Yenowitz. These 3 seem to be extremely in sync vocally and the compositions are really works of art. As for the arrangements, I’ll get into that when I go off on a tangent in one of the other song reviews.
- Zeh Hashem – Although I really enjoyed this entire album (have I said that already?) there are a couple of compositions that stand out to me. This is definitely one of those. I can’t necessarily pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me like this so much but suffice it to say its a great song with great vocals and a great arrangement.
- Yerushalayim – Some songs may sound nice, and other may sound nice and have really amazing singing, but there’s something about a song whose melody properly conveys its message that tops everything. However, if you have a song that has a great arrangement, great singers, great backing vocals, AND properly conveys its message you really have something special. This is definitely one of those.
- Sois – Time to get dancing! Listen for the saxaphone solo at 2:50 – Its awesome!
- Al Naharos Bavel – Similar to Yerushalayim this is one of those songs that will not affect you musically, but emotionally as well. The Kunstlers seem to have a talent for composing melodies that fit the words they are being composed for perfectly. I especially enjoy the prolonged instrumental section within this track. It helps to calm things down before the guitar solo comes in and blows everything away.
- Sameach – While you may be more familiar with the words of Sameach Tisamach being used in faster, more upbeat songs, this composition is very special. This track was composed in memory of Reb Izzy Taubenfeld, one of the founders of Sameach Music who was a good friend of the Kunstlers. I would have to say in my humble opinion that this is a beautiful tribute song to someone who always encouraged the growth of positive Jewish Music and did his best to expand the Jewish Music industry significantly while he was with us.
- Rachel – I don’t know if there’s anything I can say about this specific song that hasn’t already been said about many of the songs on this album. Great vocals, great composition, and a great arrangement. That seems to be pretty standard on this album
- Kamu – This album ends with another powerful track. Composed by Dani Kunstler (like the majority of songs on this album) this track also features a gorgeous violin solo by Daniel Ahaviel
All in all, if the previous V’havienu slipped under your radar (like it did mine) you may have bought this one already just because of the cool looking cover design (Designed by Daniel Goldstein of Solid Gold Studios) or because you spotted the name “Kunstler” on the front. If you hadn’t gotten it yet ,rest assured you will be extremely satisfied quality of the compositions, the vocals, arrangements, and the rest of the production involved in the making of this album.