Review: Lenka Lichtenberg - Songs For The Breathing Walls
Songs For The Breathing Walls
|Album:||Songs For The Breathing Walls|
|Date of Release:||2012/11|
|Country of Release:||CAN|
|Genre/s:||World | Jewish|
|Sub-Genre/s:||Yiddish, Ashkenazi Liturgy, Yiddish Song, Hebrew|
|Date of Review:||2013/07/22|
Songs For The Breathing Walls
Released in November 2012, Lenka Lichtenberg's Songs For The Breathing Walls is a very different affair to her just reviewed Embrace. I cannot emphasise this highly enough I feel, for Songs For The Breathing Walls is a deeply spiritual work and has to be approached as such, with all the respect it is due.
Songs For The Breathing Walls is essentially a collection of Jewish Hebrew prayers, with the exception of Dremlen Feygl, a Yiddish song composed in the ghetto if memory serves, or possibly in Terezin, and the bonus track, Birds in Turnov. Many of the prayers here are drawn from the psalms. Three compositions are originals by Ms. Lichtenberg, others by various composers including some from Canada.
But that is far from all that there is to Songs For The Breathing Walls. The album was recorded in almost as many synagogues all over the Czech Republic as there are prayers and songs. Lichtenberg discovered on a visit there that they all had different acoustics and different atmospheres, and thus the project was born. One can clearly hear and feel these differences, they are inescapable. The walls do indeed breathe, and even seem to speak over the prayers.
Lichtenberg's vocals here are as sublime as this album is, sheer perfection. The accompaniment includes many of the musicians from Embrace but is always intimate, a quartet at most. The musicians include, among others, the revered Israeli world music luminary Yair Dalal, on oud and also the restored violin of an artist who perished in Auschwitz (Project Hope).
Songs For The Breathing Walls is touching, deeply moving, and always intimate. It is sublime and exquisite. A holy work even, you might say. If Lichtenberg never recorded another album, of any kind, this surely must be a supreme achievement.
Of necessity, this review has to be relatively brief. This album is too deeply moving for too many words. Let the music speak for itself, it is expressive and eloquent enough to speak for itself. It is also very, very beautiful.
Do buy the CD, it comes in an excellent digipak with a booklet with extensive notes about the album as well as each of the prayers. So much better than digital download, surely.
Lenka Lichtenberg's Songs For The Breathing Walls is more than a must have for anyone with an interest in Jewish music, Jewish and general liturgical/spiritual music, and even the general world and classical music aficionado.
1. El Mi Migoalei Dam Etzak - 5:49
Credits:Lenka Lichtenberg - vocals, guitar
Yair Dalal - oud (6, 15), violin (7, 16)
Christian Dawid - clarinet (8,12), bass clarinet (12), Baroque recorder (4)
David Dornuzka - acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Peter Gyori - guitar
Alan Hetherington - drums, pandeiro, percussion
Anwar Khurshid - sitar
Ravi Naimpalli - tabla, dholak
Zita Petrák - piano
Tomás Reindl - tabla, didjeridu
Alexander Shonert - violin
Rast'o Uhrík - double bass
Songs For The Breathing Walls can be purchased from:
Amazon UK (MP3)
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