Ora Ve Simcha - Debut album ‘Assay Lemaan’
It all began on a kiruv program in Yerushalayim eleven years ago.
It was a trip that saw the beginnings of a religious journey and musical partnership between Shalom Greenfield and Meyer Greenberg which eventually led to the birth of Ora Ve Simcha. Their recently launched groundbreaking debut album, ‘Assay Lemaan’ is a reflection of this journey; it’s universal appeal, unparalleled amongst Jewish records, has led to it being tipped as a receiver of worldwide acclaim for its original innovative, professional design.
From listening to the musical content and arrangement, it is clear that the album’s creative team are experts in writing and producing music. Composed and written by musical director Shalom Greenfield, tracks on the album feature a unique and imaginative approach, rare amongst contemporary musical arrangements and artists.
This pioneering album’s appeal is formed by the eclectic mix of big cymbal splashes, heavy guitar riffs, moving piano chords and soulful vocal melodies which permeate each track. Greenberg’s kvetchy vocals and Greenfields technical chord combinations together with Lichtigers traditional Jewish vocal style is groundbreaking and touching and previously unheard of in the context of a Jewish album. These powerful and sometimes diverse ingredients have been combined to create an authentic and charismatic debut album, which offers the listener an original and emotional musical experience.
Ora Ve Simcha’s debut album offers it’s listeners a variety of top songs and performances throughout. Although generically classified as ballads, ‘Achas Shoalti’, ‘Meheira’, ‘Assay’ and the kumzitz style theme song ‘Ora Ve Simcha are all unique in style. Passionately written, they are thought provoking as well as emotionally moving.
The album also launches into a lively and up-tempo style with ‘Uvnay’ and ‘Bo-ee V-Sholom’. Incorporating a similar approach to a number of Jewish artists, these songs have that little bit extra with some kvetchy vocals in ‘Uvnay’ and a drum solo in ‘Bo-ee V-Sholom’.
‘Yiboneh', an original style of song not yet heard on a Jewish pop album is not quite a ballad, though not quite fast enough to be defined as Horra. Lichtiger, though previously unaccustomed to singing such a style of song, recorded the track as if he had been performing it for years!
‘Asher Bara’ begins with strong beat that continues over the verse. The song then races into a heavy chorus swathed in walls of synthesized sounds. Together this directly compliments the melodic vocal melody.
‘Hashem Hoshia’ is an adventurous song. The rhythm wonderfully compliments the great musicianship on the track, and is perhaps the most ambitious song on the debut album.
As for ‘Shoma Hashem’, this song is driven by thumping bass-lines, upbeat drums, driving-guitar riffs, button-pushing vocal theatrics and a clever space-age guitar solo. So prepare to be swept away!
'Oydechoh’ is the only song containing English lyrics. The groaning vocals on the verse relate to a pre Torah perception of life. The ‘Oydechoh’ section on the chorus represents thanks to the Almighty for showing the path of Torah. The song features irresistible brass lines. All in all, an easy song to listen to and enjoy.
The first journey over the famous Dartford Tunnel in the UK was exciting. By the 50th, the 84 meter high steel pylons 137 meters above the sea became routine! The recording in the studio of the famous saxophonist Derek Nash was the final destination and recording place of the majority of the album. A quaint and homely studio, the fresh air and conservatory table often inspired a number of changes to the album.
The Musicians and Singers
Meyer (Paul) Greenberg - multi-talented vocalist, born and raised in London, his influences range from Stevie wonder to Yaakov Shwekey.
Shalom (Dean) Greenfield - Classically trained pianist and composer who has more recently become influenced by top jazz keyboard players including Herbie Hancock and George Duke.
Terry Downs - Bass Guitar, long-standing friend and colleague. Terry’s influences can be felt throughout the album. They include top Bass players Larry Graham, Jaco Pastorius and Alexis Sklarevski.
Yechiel Lichtiger - Has a traditional voice with unaccustomed power. He has performed at many concerts around the world and is currently one of the most sought after singers for simchas in Israel.
Jonathan Turgel - Powerhouse of a voice. A Chazan in North London, his vocals appear in harmony on the first song on the album ‘Assay’.
Derek Nash - Saxophone and engineer. Band leader of the Jazz ensemble ‘Sax Appeal’ and the Jazz project ‘Protect the Beat’. He is a full member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Darby Todd - Drum. Previously described as ‘nothing less than a series of controlled explosions’. Past ‘young drummer of the year’. Drummer of the rock band ‘The Darkness’.
Arden Hart - Trumpet. Arden has worked on production, programming, guitar, organ, bass, piano keyboard, trumpet and vocal accompaniment with the likes of ‘Massive Attack’ and 'Take That’.
Dave Boa - Multi talented trumpet player influenced by Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. Performed on Yiboneh and Oydecha.
Benjamin Packer - Guitar, full time member of the jazz band ‘The Root Source’.
Andy Marshall - Guitar and engineer on ‘Shoma Hashem’.
Jonathan Pierce - Guitar on ‘Bo-ee’ and ‘Asher Bara’. Just 17 years old.