Allan Soberman - Searching for my Voice
Allan Soberman's Searching for my Voice was released in 2002 and is a collection of prayers/religious songs in a modern setting. Soberman is a singer-songwriter and musician based in Toronto, Canada, with an admirable track record.
The son of a chazan, or cantor, Allan Soberman in Searching for my Voice is seeking to reconcile two musical lives. On the one hand, that of his Jewish upbringing and the prayers and religious songs that have always been with him, and on the other, that of the pop/rock and folk music of the 1950s and 60s that also form a large part of his musical "baggage". A difficult and ambitious quest, without doubt.
To retain complete control over all aspects of this project, Allan Soberman not only arranged all the traditional melodies himself, adding also one original composition, Nigunisht, but also played all the instruments and sang all the vocals on Searching for my Voice himself.
The result? Well, I have to confess when it comes to Jewish religious music, my tastes generally tend to be rather conservative. But Allan Soberman's Searching for my Voice somehow grabbed me from the first bar or two and soon completely won me over!
The predominant influences from the "modern" world of the popular music of the 1950s and 60s is clearly that of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, as well as electro-folk, but mostly, Beach Boys. There's almost a feeling of deja-vu, especially in the often Beach Boys-like vocal harmonies, to Allan Soberman's Searching for my Voice. It's kind of The Beach Boys updated to the 21st century. Quite amazing and wonderful. And all this blends somehow perfectly naturally with the traditional Jewish elements. Indeed, the mix is an addictive one and a very powerful one too.
Never have you heard the Sabbath prayer, Shalom Aleichem, quite like this! Far from seeing the power of this prayer and the others too, diminished, it seems enhanced and given a completely new life.
Allan Soberman's quest certainly has been a successful one. Whether the search for his voice has been a successful one though, only he can answer and time will tell.
Even if "modern" religious music is not really for you, I would still suggest you keep an open mind and give this album a listen. It is deeply touching, spiritually moving and inspiring.
Allan Soberman's Searching for my Voice is inspired, a powerful fusion of the ancient and the modern. It is an essential addition to any collection of contemporary Jewish music, religious or otherwise. Not out of place in any general world music collection, either, to be sure. More please, Mr. Soberman!
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