Truly (Emet)

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While Ishtar's album is classified as world music, and she's billed as "the Voice of Alabina," you'd be hard-pressed to pick out much in the way of roots from the album. Judging from the CD booklet, the emphasis is as much on her blonde mane, looks, and shape as on her voice -- never a hopeful sign. And, unfortunately, it's borne out in the music. While she has a decent-enough voice, the bland material never puts her to too much of a test, and in a duet with the deceased Israeli diva Ofra Haza on "Ls'orech Ha Yam," the living Ishtar actually comes off worse, which is quite a feat. It's fine to try making an album commercial, but the producers appear to have gone for the lowest common denominator, blanching any edge out of existence and leaving a bunch of distinctly unmemorable songs. However good the intention was, the result makes you wonder exactly what happened.

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