Tag Archives: Lenka Lichtenberg

Timelessly Crafted Songs of Resilience

Various Artists – A Woman’s World – Songs of Resilience & Hope (ARC Music, 2018)

Songs of Resilience & Hope highlights songs from triumphant female singer-songwriters, composers and instrumentalists. These flourishing artists celebrate the hardiness of women throughout the world who have demonstrated the ability to recover rapidly from hardships.

The enduring concept world music album, rooted in traditional music crosses geographical and language boundaries, incorporating singers from India, Spain, Ethiopia, Colombia, Russia, Portugal, Serbia, Madagascar, the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa.

The artists include Marta Gómez, Minyeshu, Hanitra, Lenka Lichtenberg, Khiyo, Ana Alcaide, Maria Ana Bobone, Bilja Krstić, Folk Group Arinushka, Ceumar, Kiran Ahluwalia and Afrika Mamas.

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Most Beautiful Songs of the World

Various Artists - The Most Beautiful Songs of the World
Various Artists – The Most Beautiful Songs of the World

Various Artists – The Most Beautiful Songs of the World (ARC Music EUCD2648, 2016)

The Most Beautiful Songs of the World is a selection of beautiful world music songs from various parts of the globe. “There’s more to a blue-jay than any other creature. He has got more moods, and more different kinds of feelings than other creature; and mind you, whatever a blue-jay feels, he can put into language. And no mere commonplace language, either, but rattling, out-and-out book-talk – and bristling with metaphor, too – just bristling! And as for command of language – why you never see a blue-jay get stuck for a word. No man ever did. They just boil out of him! And another thing: I’ve noticed a good deal, and there’s no bird, or cow, or anything that uses as good grammar as a blue-jay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does – but you let a cat get excited, once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you’ll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw.

Ignorant people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use. Now I’ve never heard a jay use bad grammar but very seldom; and when they do, they are as ashamed as a human; they shut right down and leave.” – Mark Twain, from “Jim Baker’s Blue Jay Yarn”

Twain had a sense that understanding and appreciation of song predates speech. World music listeners, enjoying songs with lyrics in languages they do not speak, are much like Twain listening to a blue jay, having to dig deep into their own sensitivities to find the rewards they know are there. Because it predates human speech, a portion of song appreciation resides beyond the human part of Mind, in the mammalian part. How, for example, does the song relate to the listener’s primal mating call? Concepts of Beauty are, after all, woven inextricably into our urge to propagate. A jazz performer might call this the “Go to the fourth and multiply” theory.

This introduces world music. An effective mating call from the dry Sahara would not be the same as one from less open, more humid environs, as different pitches travel better through different climes. The part of song that relates to ancient food gathering varies with the crops, as well, so a rhythm that implies an ability to stalk and call wild birds down to nets would not augur well for the singer’s ability to move down rice paddy rows in tandem with others to harvest that grain crop. These and similar cultural memories reside in each listener and form the foundation for his or her judgment of the beauty of every song heard.

No one will find all 28 songs on “The Most Beautiful Songs of World Music” double-disc to be beautiful. People are too individualistic for that. Most will, however, be wooed by most of them, and that is an impressive accomplishment for ARC’s artists and catalog. Perhaps intended as part as an anthology introduction to a number of artists from all over the globe, this release is also a two-hour philosophical debate between representatives of various cultures as to what comprises Beauty.

The artists featured include Clannad, Seckou Keita, Kate Rusby, Brian Kennedy, Capercailie, Ana Alcaide, The Red Army Choir, Marta Gómez, Arinushka and Linas Rimsa, Hanitra, Petru Guelfucci, Lenka Lichtenberg, Vusa Mkhaya, Ceumar, Lidojosoais & Ieva Akuratere, Khiyo, Gong Linna, Maria Ana Bobone, Klapa Cambi, The Kambarkan Folk ensemble, Tango Orkesteri Unto, Joji Hirota, Perunika Trio, Nataliya Romanskaya & Kirmash, Techung, Russian Folk ensemble “Balalaika”, Bomas of Kenya, and Divanhana.

The Most Beautiful Songs of the World is well worth owning.

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Yiddish Musical Journey

Lenka Lichtenberg - Yiddish Journey: The Music of Lenka Lichtenberg (ARC Music EUCD2625, 2016)
Lenka Lichtenberg – Yiddish Journey: The Music of Lenka Lichtenberg (ARC Music EUCD2625, 2016)

The influence of Yiddish and klezmer on modern, Western popular music is tremendous. Listeners have osmosed it for many decades, in music halls, theaters, the pop and classical works of George Gershwin, the pervasive radio presence of Simon & Garfunkel throughout the 1960s and 1970s, film scores and advertising. It is one of the elements of our days that is most familiar, but that most of us have never sought to trace or isolate.

ARC Music has done much to make the broad range of Jewish music available to us. “Yiddish Journey” may be the easiest first step down this path of musical exploration the label has released to date.

Ms. Lichtenberg spotlights every part of the “journey” from the Middle East to Poland to Spain. Born in Czechoslovakia to a child survivor of the Holocaust, she was raised Catholic and left unaware of her Jewish roots until age 10.

Like most converts, she became intensely enthusiastic about proselytizing others, and that is fortunate for her listeners. This is a collection of 18 beautiful, thoughtful, artistic songs.

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