Review: A Kumzitz in the Rain

A Cappela, CDs, General, Music, Reviews — By on May 5, 2011 8:30 am

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. I too was a little bit apprehensive when I heard about this album, as the title gave me the impression that it would have the steady sound of trickling water in the background (kind of like my basement after all that rain last month). But have no fear, A Kumzitz in the Rain is completely water free. (Exceptions: the cover art and the last track.)

This a capella album is not like many Sefirah albums that have come out in the past few years. There is no fake music or computerized voices. (Yes, those do sound more like ‘music’, and are therefore more enjoyable to most. However…well, that’s another story.) This album is more like the Lev Tahor a capella albums. (See: MusicBochur’s Guide to Jewish A Capella. I hope to have it up sometime soon.) Each song has its own original intro, sung in beautiful harmony by the choir. Additionally, each song features a different ‘celebrity’ soloist. I particularly enjoyed how they fit each soloists unique style of ‘shtick’, or trills, into their respective songs. As a whole, this album is a very pleasant listen, with nice harmonies and a very good song selection. A Kumzitz in the Rain was arranged and produced by Doni Gross of DEG Studios.

Disclaimer: The names of the soloists may be incorrect. I have not actually seen the booklet from this album, so it’s purely semi-educated guesswork. (For example, I accredit two different solos to Avrumi Schwebel, even though I’m not sure if it’s even the same kid singing.)

Track #1- Shalom Aleichem (?): The album starts off nicely with a Shalom Aleichem. Although it does sound somewhat familiar, I still have yet to identify the origin of this song (meaning the tune, not the words). I’m pretty sure the soloist in this song is (Elie?) Scharf, from Schwebel, Scharf & Levine, but I’m not sure. Regardless, he does a very nice job on this song and it was a pleasure to listen to.

Track #2- Hinei Ma Tov (Shalsheles): Hinei was the first song on the fourth Shalsheles album. Originally featuring Shalsheles Jr., this song caught on pretty well a few years ago. This version features Rivie Schwebel, whose unique voice adds quite a bit. Kudos to the arranger who very nicely fused the intro within the song (similar to how Lev Tahor fused their intro to the D’veykus Lakol Z’man into their rendition of that song).

Track #3- Acheinu (Lev Tahor): You may have heard this song before. But that’s probably only if you listened to the entire Lev Tahor album on which it was first sung. For some reason, this song never quite got its ’15 minutes’. Featuring Shloime Dachs, as well as a child soloist who I have yet to identify, (it may be his son, Dovid, but I think it sounds more like Avrumi Schwebel,) this song may finally catch on. Nice ‘shtick’ by Shloime on the last high part, and great harmony by the ending.

Track #4- K’ayol (Dedi on JEP): Fair warning- I’m biased. I already REALLY liked this song before this album. Most people have heard this song, as almost every camp has used this tune as an alma mater at some point over the years. Featuring Ari Goldwag, who added his own filler before the transpose (I’m assuming that was of his own creation), this song is rapidly shooting its way up my Most Played list. (It does help that there’s not much else to listen to these days.) Great song.

Track #5- Ahavas Yisroel (Marvelous Middos Machine, Yeedle, Every Tisha B’av Cantata For the Past 20 Years): I’m not a huge fan of boys choirs singing English songs; there are few I’ve enjoyed since the old Miami classics. However, the kids do do a nice job with this song. The voice(s) I’ve recognized belong(s) to Dovid Dachs and/ or a different kid from the new Shalsheles Jr. It feels a little shleppy to me, but that’s probably because there’s no music. Nice harmony on the high part, at the end.

Track #6- Ani Ma’amin (She’arim): Ani Ma’amin originally was sung on the little known album, She’arim. It’s a nice song, although it too sounds a bit shleppy without the musical flow that I’m used to. I haven’t been able to put a name to the voice of the child soloist, even though I’m sure I’ve heard him before. Perhaps Avrumi Schwebel? There is also an adult soloist, who I think is one of the original soloists from She’arim. Unfortunately, I do not know his name either.

Track #7- Min Hameitzar (D’veykus): This song originally was on the sixth D’veykus album. It’s a slow but nice song. I’m pretty sure that the soloist is Yitzchak Yenowitz, who also sings on the first two V’havienu albums. Very nice voice, and this song works well for him; I’ve heard he used to sing this song quite nicely in Camp Rayim years ago.

Track #8- Pia Pascha (Mendy Wald): Of all the songs on this album, Pia Pascha is the only one that comes close to K’ayol in terms of ‘classic’. Originally on Mendy Wald’s Sameach album, this song has been famous for as long as I can remember. This edition features Dovid Stein, and is a pleasure to listen to.

Track #9- Kah Ribon (Ari Goldwag): Another well-known song, Ari Goldwag’s Kah Ribon is a very popular tune for both the zemer, and L’cha Dodi in Shul. I’m pretty sure that this is the first Goldwag song I ever heard; ‘coincidentally’, I’m a pretty big fan of his Lishuascha Kivisi and Simcha B’libi albums. The choir does a very good job with this song, as does the soloist (whose name I don’t know). Enjoy.

Track #10- Kumzitz in the Rain: The final track is the only one that has rain in the background (as well as thunder). Beginning with the She’arim Ani Ma’amin, and flowing through the high part of both the classic Ani Ma’amin and the JEP one, this track features all of the guest soloists as they each sing another line of the song. The transitions as they slide from song to song are smooth, and this track is a nice finish to the album.

All-in-all, I found this to be an enjoyable album. It’s not too rocked up or ‘pumping’; those who feel that Jewish a capella should be somber or ‘toned down’ have nothing to worry about. This album is particularly good for listening to while relaxing at the end of a long day. I would assume that if one is allowed to listen to this during sefirah and the Three Weeks, it is also permitted to go to sleep while listening to this. (I advise consulting with your Rav or Posek before doing so.) I also like the fact that, while all of the songs are nice, the producer did not take only classics; rather he chose songs that are not well known by all (nor do they already have 12 different versions). The choir was arranged very well, and the harmonies are superb. Enjoy!!

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13 Comments

  1. "Z" Man says:

    1# Shalom Aleichem is from the Waterbury album. The soloist is Yitzi Gross.
    3# Child soloist is Akiva Elbogen
    5# soloists Dovid Dachs & Yehuda Gross
    6# Soloist NOT from She’arim. Akiva Elbogen & Yitzi Gross
    7# Soloist Shmuel Aryeh Zelmanovitz
    9# Soloist Yitzi Gross & Yitzy Halon

  2. Just a fan says:

    Great review! I love this album! I have the booklet as of today, so just a few things…

    -Shalom Aleichem is from The Waterbury Album (I don’t know what that is though…) and the soloist is Yitzi Gross.
    -The child soloist on Acheinu is Akiva Elbogen.
    -The soloists on Ahavas Yisroel are Dovid Dachs and Yehuda Gross.
    -Soloists on Ani Maamin are Akiva Elbogen and Yitzi Gross.
    -Soloist on Min Hameitzar is Shmuel Aryeh Zelmanovitz.
    -Kah Ribon’s soloists are Yitzy Halon and Yitzi Gross.

    I’m super impressed that you got so many of them without the book! I think I only would have gotten Dovid Dachs and Ari Goldwag.

    I love Acheinu and Min Hameitzar, but the whole album is really good.

  3. rayim boy says:

    doni gross’s older brother yitzy is the adult soloist on tracks 1,6
    he is also one of the soloists on kah ribon- the other is yitzy halon
    on ahavas yisroel the two soloists are dovid dachs and yehuda gross (doni’s younger brother)
    btw beside for the guest stars all of the voices are talmidim or former talmidim of toras emes kaminetz in brooklyn
    funny way to write a review:dont read the notes and guess who the people are, what are you illegaly copying music or some thing??

  4. Kol Isha says:

    Chill Rayim boy. Whatever happened to being dan l’chaf zechus?

  5. MusicBochur says:

    Thank you ‘Z’ man and just a fan!! It was driving me crazy :)

  6. MusicBochur says:

    Rayim Boy, I commend you on your Arvus! Such concern for Acheinu Bais Yisroel, that chas v’shalom someone may be stealing music b’shogeg! I appreciate your bringing the issue to attention so that if it actually were an issue, I would now realize that it’s wrong. However, I assure you that I did not obtain this album illegally, rather the booklet was just not available to me when I wrote this review. I apologize for the maras ayin, and, again, thank you for your concern.
    Hatzlacha Rabah!

  7. splashwen says:

    after listening to the album something i noticed was the amazing bass track! worth a listen just for that! anyone who did the bass?

  8. kumzitzinrainfan says:

    i heard the bass track was done by shmuel aryeh zelmanowitz otherwise known as zelly. this cd is one of the nicest and inspirational cds ive ever heard

  9. musiciluy says:

    Is that the famous akiva elbogen from YBC?! His voice seems to be getting better and better!! This really is a gr8 cd!!

  10. baltimore guy says:

    This album is like a glass of lemonade on a cool day.
    It’s like a chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven.
    It strongly resembles that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you do something that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    ITS INSPIRING!
    ITS UPLIFTING!
    ITS CAPTIVATING!
    ITS GROUNDBREAKING!
    ITS THE BEST THING SINCE THEY OPENED A TARGET IN FLATBUSH!(we waited a long time for that….2.00 for a three pack of arrid dry)
    ITS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO JEWISH MUSIC SINCE MBD SANG DA’AGA MINAYIN!(if only he would have known!)
    All in all we owe a kumzits in the rain a big thank you for the major revolutionizing work they have done for all of klal yisroel.
    May all those who were involved in this kiddush hashem be zocheh to much bracha hatzlocho and continued nachas from the fruits of their musical labor…
    “MI SHEGMOLCHO KOL TOV HU YIGMULCHO KOL TOV SELAH” -DOVID GABAY
    SIGNING OFF,
    BALTIMORE GUY

  11. WOW! says:

    I love this!

  12. Chay says:

    Yeah I just saw this and if anyone knows Is Akiva Elbogen the same person as the ex ybc boy Akiva Elbogen thanx a trill’

  13. flatbush2 says:

    Seeing this now I might as well respond to ‘chay’
    This is the same akiva from ybc and I dont think there is another ‘akiva elbogen’ anyhow.

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