How Shlomit and RebbeSoul broke the seal
JazzPort - Czech Republic
March 3, 2015
Do you remember the Israeli singer named Ofra Haza? Well know that this world famous diva popular in 80-90 who died early in 2000 has a successor, even described as the new wave of Jewish world music. Her name is Shlomit Levi. Together with instrumentalist RebbeSoul as a duo she self-released the album with all saying title "The seal of Solomon" (although the album was self-released it came out in international distribution in USA during February)
Shlomit Levi was born in small Israeli town Keryat Ekron to a Yemeni family. She has grown to her fame as a singer of Oriental metal band Orphaned Land and she also is a member of the best vocal and dance group of Yemenite folklore in Israel-Uri Teman. But the last couple of years she's been living in US where she is finishing her studies. RebbeSoul (own name Bruce Burger) is American with Jewish ancestors who first moved from Los Angeles to Brighton UK(where he soon after 2000 started an electro-world-pop band “Common Tongues”) but he soon left for Israel. This skilled guitar player and songwriter is also known as a respected producer.
A collection of nine songs, taking the inspiration from Yemenite ancestry, mixed with electronic and rock music influences. the duo recorded with the appearance of few Israeli musicians in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv studios. The songs are sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic or even Aramaic and the instrument arsenal used is enriched with balalaika (the typical Russian stringed instrument is played by RebbeSoul himself) also traditional flutes and percussions typical for Middle East and Yemenite music.
Shlomit is doing well not only with rock songs but also with more traditional pieces or even original Yemeni folk and spiritual songs.
She reminds Ofra Haza in the opening track "Galbi" while in the following typical love song "Two suns" she is probably closer to Dead can dance's Lisa Gerrard..."rejoice together/and let the joy fill our hearts" And that is what we will do gladly because the oriental melodies on this album are so catchy("Ya achdar chudari") sometimes balladic ("Spirit-ruchi") sometimes closer to folk/rock ("Asalk") or folk interpretation("Avinu").
Tzur menati and Havdalah comes from the works of legendary Yemeni poet Shalom Shabazi who is cherished by both Jewish and Arabic people which is especially symbolic these days. Especially Havdalah, a nine minute long beautiful balladic song with Uri Teman ensemble (Havdalah is a religious rite that symbolically marks the end of Shabbat.
The album is closed then with "Abdah bil’agual" a traditional Yemenite song which is sung only with the acoustic guitar comp (but the solo is electric). This is the song that women sing in the wait of the wedding at the Henna rite which is done one week prior to the wedding. It is symbolizing the bitterness and sadness when the bride is leaving her family.
Shlomit interpretation of this song has all the emotions needed; it is maidenly, sensible and passionate all at the same time. And that is very much what the whole "The seal of Solomon" album feels like.
Thank you Helel Ben Shahar for the translation.