Last year was my first foray into the world of Simchas Hachaim and let me tell you that I am never leaving! Simchas Hachaim 4 was a smashing success and on the heels of that, Avrumi Berko and the boys came out with Simchas Hachaim 5.
This year’s cast has expanded and Simchas Hachaim this year features the amazing Avrumi Berko on keyboard with Mendy & Yisroel Werdyger, Benny Friedman, Shea Berko, the Freund Brothers , Menachem Moskowitz and Shaya Illowitz. They are joined by the Yedidim Choir, both senior and junior divisions.
There are no names to this year’s sets but they still divided them up, so I’ll give them my own clever names.
SET 1: 2ND DANCE OF THE LAST WEDDING YOU WERE AT
EKOID- The hit song from Yisroel Werdyger’s latest album Avorcho (read my review on it here http://jewishmusicreport.com/
KOL DODI- We move right into Levy Falkowitz’s hit song composed by Yoeli Klein and Shaya Gross (of V’afilu B’hastarah fame- remember that?) off his debut album Achake Lo. Sung by Menachem Moskowitz, a newcomer to Simchas Hachaim who is gaining a name as a wedding singer.
DA LECHO BENI- Oddly enough another Yoeli Klein and Shaya Gross song that took off huge in Israel and was put out as a single by Shloime Cohen (whose new album we are still waiting for). This one is sung by the awesome Yisroel Werdyger.
HATOIV- Moving on, we get to Hatoiv from Reb Benzion Shenker sung by the Freund brothers. They happen to complement and harmonize very nicely with each other. There’s a nice horn solo from Dani Flam, the pro himself.
ANI MAAMIN- So from what I’ve been told, this is an old hakofos nigun that recently had lyrics put to it. It was released as a single and was sung by Avraham Fried, the nephew of the one who sings it on this album, Benny Friedman. I happen to like this version better than the Avremel one, but you can argue with me on that one. This ends the first set.
SET 2: THE (SKULEN/ BELEDer/ MODZITZ) REBBE APPROVES
NIGGUN MODZITZ- First we start with a Modzitzer niggun, that I hold sounds like a Purim niggun. That could be why they put it in. It was sung by Menachem Moskowitz.
NISHMAS- Next we get our second taste of Yisroel Werdyger’s latest album with Nishmas, which I’m hearing will be THE Purim song in multiple yeshivos. Sung by Benny Friedman, it sounds great and is one of the longer songs on the album, rightfully so.
HOIDI- From Reb Shloime Taussig (the Beleder Rav)’s new album Mikan V’Ailech, sung by the Freunds. It’s a nice song, and one of a few of Reb Taussig’s songs on this album.
NIGUN SKULEN X2- The next two songs are gorgeous Skulener niggunim. They are both sung by Mendy Werdyger and also sound perfect for Purim.
SET 3: BRAND NEW SONGS THAT YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HEARD BEFORE
A TATTE- The newest craze, a song composed and performed originally by Chaim Meir Erps or CME, this song has mamash taken over the Chasidishe and Litvishe wedding world. You may have heard it before at a wedding and marveled at how catchy and awesome it is and how everyone seems to be dancing while it’s playing. So Mendy Werdyger gives us a top notch version of the song with the help of child soloist Pinchas Rottenberg. You can listen to original single here https://www.youtube.com/watch?
OID AVICHEM CHAI- Originally put out as a single by Shaya Illowitz recently, this song is gorgeous and Shea Berko does a great job filling in for Shaya. A very nice song done well.
NIGUN CHABAD- From Reb Shloime Taussing’s latest album also, I’m pretty sure this song has been out there for some time, but it’s very apropo that Benny Friedman does the singing on this one.
TOMID- Another Yisroel Werdyger hit from the new album, that’s 3 from his new album and that puts him in the lead right now. Achim Freund do an excellent job on this song, and there’s a gorgeous sax solo from Dor Assaf.
SET 4: I CAN’T FIND A CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE RANDOM FUN SONGS
ROENU- From Yisroel Adler’s debut album Oiros (that song was on last year’s Simchas Hachaim), this is a nice song that was overlooked in my initial listening to the album, but I’ve recently uncovered it and enjoy it immensely. This one is sung by Shaya Illowitz.
KADSHENU- Another one from Reb Shloime Taussig, which puts him in a tie with Yisroel Werdyger for most songs originally sung by them. MEnachem Moskowitz sings this song and I’ve never heard it before and it’s pretty good, but I would’ve put Motty Illowitz’s Kadshiene here.
SHABBOS- The only song to be sung by the original performer of it is this one. Mendy Werdyger sings his song Shabbos. I never heard it but it’s not bad.
BESIMCHU RABBAH- A new song from the new Miami Boys Choir cd entitled Ut Ut, this is a pretty far reaching song for Simchas Hachaim but it works…..excellently. It seems to be better in a Chassidishe taam than sung by MBC in my opinion. Yisroel Werdyger is the lead on this song. And we end the set with this song.
SET 5: THE END
VLEYIRUSHALAYIM- The Shlomo Carlebach classic sung by Menachem Moskowitz. Enough said.
UVNEY- From Lev V’Nefesh 1 by Abie Rottenberg, and sung here by Benny Friedman, an excellent job all around.
HINEI ANOICHI- By R’ Chaim Banet, a real oldie, this song works great here. Sung by Yisroel Werdyger with a lot of heart.
YERUSHALAYIM- The famous one from Yossi Green and Avremel, sung by Achim Freund. It’s very quickly thrown in there, like 30 seconds, followed immediately by…
V’AF AL PI- From Pirchei, also really quickly done, sung by Shea Berko, followed by…..
REBBE REBBE- This one gets a bit more time, sung by Achim Freund. Originally Yehuda Green’s song from his latest album Barcheini.
KESHEM SHEANI- Composed by Moshe Laufer, originally sung by Avremel, this time sung by Shaya Illowitz.
L’SHANA HABA- And we end on the words L’shana Haba to the tune of MBD’s Someday, sung by the Werdygers. Afterwards, Avrumi does a little outro action along with a bit trumpet action from Danny Flam and with this the album ends.
If you like all the latest songs and want to hear a different take on them, what are you waiting for? Buy this album NOW! If you’re looking for something to play for an hour on Purim, play THIS album. If you’re looking for good Jewid=sh music, get this album. You’ll enjoy it, I sure did.
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