Lenka Lichtenberg - Deep Inside
Singer-songwriter Lenka Lichtenberg's debut album, Deep Inside, was released on Sunflower Records in 1999 and presents a mix of originals and traditional Yiddish as well as Ladino songs.
The most striking aspect of this album is the quality of the arrangements. A skilful blend of principally contemporary singer-songwriter and traditional Yiddish/klezmer styles, the arrangements are quite excellent and really shine combined with the imaginative instrumentations. Lenka Lichtenberg further possesses a pleasant and eminently listenable voice, and the songs are deeply and sincerely felt and presented with utter conviction, making for an overall very listenable and enjoyable album.
The traditional material is very good indeed and very hard to fault. Yiddish songs such as Ver Hot Aza Yingele? and Tum-Balalyke amply demonstrate the successful blending of traditional Yiddish and contemporary singer-songwriter idioms. Ms. Lichtenberg excels on the Ladino traditional Los Bilbilicos, far and away the strongest track on Deep Inside. Even the sometimes prominent "new string squeal" of the guitar cannot detract from the excellence of this track, with its suitably conservative arrangement, subtle instrumentation and delicate, expressive vocals. Du Meydele, Du Fayns, another traditional Yiddish song, is a lively duet with David Wall that also stands out. The rest of the traditional Yiddish material, Vu Is Dos Gesele? and the Bialostotzky/Gelbart A Nign Vi Du, is likewise excellent. The original songs by Lenka Lichtenberg generally feature solid enough, even good melodies, even if sometimes somewhat derivative or here and there slightly on the saccharine side perhaps. Sadly, what I feel really lets them down are the weak English lyrics. For the most part, these just don't hang together to a greater or lesser extent for me. Somehow, they come across as if they were poor translations from another language. Perhaps it should be noted here that Ms. Lichtenberg is Czech born and not a native English speaker; then again, this may well have no bearing at all. All that said, the songs are nonetheless full of conviction and clearly heart-felt, and in a way of course that is often much more important than mere excellence or elegance of lyrics. Generally, the fine spirit and sentiments of the lyrics are still discernible.
The liner of Lenka Lichtenberg's Deep Inside provides full lyrics for each song, in transliterated Yiddish/Ladino and English translation, or English original as applicable. Also annotated is the instrumentation for each song, an excellent idea.
Despite Lenka Lichtenberg's originals being somewhat let down by weak lyrics as noted, the traditional material alone is worth the price of admission and thoroughly enjoyable. Overall, I recommend you give Deep Inside a listen, weaknesses and all, it's still a delightful listen and it would be very hard indeed to not like this excellent singer and
these songs from the heart.
© 2004 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.
1. One Day A Conversation (Lichtenberg) - 3:29
2. Ver Hot Aza Yingele? (Trad.) - 4:58
3. Deep Inside (Lichtenberg) - 5:54
4. Tum-Balalyke (Trad.) - 2:40
5. Los Biblicos (Trad.) - 3:42
6. Du Meydele, Du Fayns (Trad.) - 3:47
7. Old Jewish Soul (Lichtenberg) - 4:35
8. Vu Is Dos Gesele? (Trad./Lichtenberg) - 4:07
9. Child Of Survivors (Lichtenberg) - 4:07
10. Welcome Back, Yiddish (Lichtenberg) - 4:13
11. A Nign Vi Du (Bialostotzky/Gelbart) - 6:31
12. Joy (Lichtenberg) - 4:02
Lenka Lichtenberg - vocals
Oliver Schroer - violin (tracks 3, 5, 12)
Rick "Shadrack" Lazar - percussion, dumbeq, req, triangle, congas, cajon, shakers
David Buchbinder - trumpet, flugelhorn
Ken Whiteley - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric organ
George Koller - string bass, electric bass, fretless bass
Erica Goodman - harp
Sasha Luminsky - accordion
Esther Gartner - cello
Ernie Tollar - clarinet (tracks 9, 12), saxophones
Martin Van De Ven - clarinet (tracks 6, 8, 10)
Marilyn Lerner - piano (tracks 2, 10, 11)
Bucky Berger - drums, timbales (tracks 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 12)
Andrew Downing - bass (tracks 2, 7)
Levon Ichkhanian - electric guitar (track 12), acoustic guitar (track 5), bouzouki
David Wall - duet vocals (track 6), harmony vocals (track 8)
Daniel Hoffman - violin (tracks 2, 7)
John Sheard - piano (tracks 3, 9)
Daniel Barnes - drums (tracks 6, 8, 10, 11)
Deep Inside can be purchased:
Direct from the artist
From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK
From Hatikvah Music International (US)
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