Various Artists

Jerusalem: 3000 Years Celebration

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The city of Jerusalem celebrated its 3000th birthday a while back and a group of musicians recorded this album to celebrate. The effort is obviously well-meant and fun, but it's for the listener (probably someone born around the time Israel was founded) who wants the extravagant observance - not for the world music listener. The problem (from the point of view of the latter) is twofold: first, Israeli music is the most Westernized of the region and second, this collection is packaged to have to broadest possible appeal. So get ready for stuff that sounds a bit like Henry Mancini or disco or Al Jolson (each of which has its place of course, but are not "world music").

If this is not a problem for you, however, then get ready for some nicely sentimental performances sung by distinguished voices like Josef Malovany and Moshe Koussevitzky (from vintage recordings). These men would be judged to have world-class voices by any unbiased listener. The longest song of the album is an eleven-minute medley by the Duo Olami. The instrumental accompaniment is all synthesized, right down to the high-hats - but it's tasteful, and the singing is warm and dignified.

The emotional tone ranges from the bubbly to the grand. Just what such a celebration merits. Mazel tov!

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