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Ovadia Hamama: When the Spirit Shines, Israel Music CD 2009
Ovadia Hamama features top singers like Ehud Banai, Shuli Rand, Erez Lev Ari and many others on his new Israel music CD album called When the Spirit Shines. The collection of music are jewish songs with traditional and original melodies, many based on the Jewish prayer texts, though it is still enjoyed by secular, religious and interfaith people too.
Visualize a minyan (a group of ten men), well-known singers like Ehud Banai, Shuli Rand, Gad Elbaz, Itzik Eshel, Erez Lev Ari in addition to many others, have Ovadia Hamama harmonize with them in a spiritual chant of jewish music and the result is the new CD, When the Spirit Shines by Ovadia Hamama. All the featured musicians and Ovadia Hamama are Israeli male singers, though they all come from diverse backgrounds, yet as religious and secular artists they are unified in the power of faith through styles of music that border on World and New Age genres.
There is an additional light musical sprinkling of Mizrahi spices and rock condiments. The concept of the album is to collect Chasidic songs that are based on stories of miracles which will awaken listeners to the power of prayer and/or to a heightened sense of reality
Lord Please Heal Her Please is an example of the power of life over death through a strong belief in God and a repeated recitation of prayer. Based on a true story, Shoshana Batzri is a girl who was seriously injured in a car accident which left her unconscious for months. Her grandfather, Rabbi David Batzri, a religious leader, repeadtedly recited the prayer for healing while holding her hand and his granddaughter fully recovered. Ovadia Hamama was so profoundly moved by this story that he based this song on the prayer. Lord Please Help Her Please, Blessed is the Name of His Glorious kingdom and My Prayer are all chanted in the communal minyan of ten men with a slow rhythm of World or New Age music. Ovadia Hamama believes that there is a rhythm between a fast beat and a very slow one which allows the music to gain entrance into the spiritual world. In other words, music has the power to heal with God's help. Thus, Chasidism pays a lot of attention to the joy to life like music and dancing even when tragedies may strike at any moment.
Other songs on the CD present the Neo-Chasidic movements message to spread love, hope, higher spirituality, sensitivity to others and encouragement to everyone. Neo-Chasidism is a renewal of interest in Chasidism by the secular and non-orthodox jewish movements. Ovadia Hamama, perhaps an example of a Neo-Chasid, does not claim to be religious because he believes that the good intentions of his music, his soul and his character are religious enough to spread the power of faith through contemporary jewish music. Is this the reason a Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach tune called Because of My Brothers and Friends is included on the CD? Many believe that the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach is the founder of contemporary Jewish music. He brought many secular jews and secular musicians back to their jewish heritage which opened the movement of Neo-Chasidism.
In any case, the unity of the jewish people from all kinds of backgrounds seems to be the most important message of the album. The title song, When the Spirit Shines, Look at the Heavens and See, Poetry to the Groom and the Bride, If I Forget Thee Jerusalem, Europe and The Torn World are all reminders of the important connections the secular, the religious, the Sephardic, the ashkenazic and the interfaith all have with each other and the land of Israel.
List of Songs:
- Blessed is the Name of His Glorious Kingdom – A (5:18)
- My Prayer (6:48)
- Lord Please Heal Her Please (4:00)
- Poetry to the Groom and the Bride (6:03)
- If I Forget Thee Jerusalem (3:20)
- Because of My Brothers and Friends (3:49)
- Look at the Heavens and See (3:51)
- The Torch (3:28)
- From the Fire (2:08)
- Rock of Israel (5:23)
- The Righteous (3:28)
- Europe (4:35)
- The Torn World (5:10)
- My Ship (4:35)
- When the Spirit Shines (4:48)
- Illuminate the Whole World (3:35)
- Blessed is the Name of His Kingdom - B (1:38)
- Number of songs: 17
- Number of CDs: 1