After a number of years we once again are fortunate to hear new music from the one and only Shlomo Simcha. Shlomo is popular by his pairing of traditional chazanus with contemporary styles, and “Ani Kan” one-ups that combination by bringing his energy and talents to the newer musical styles of 2016. I can let you in on a secret. I heard him daven for the amud in Toronto a few weeks ago, and left feeling very inspired. You see I grew up in Toronto and as a child used to daven in that shul – Toras Emes Viewmount . In those days the Chazzan sang only chazzanus and I didn’t go for that style. Shlomo is the main Baal Tefilla there today, and although he does do some chazzanashe shtikelach, it’s mostly a Haimishe davening with geshmake haimishe nigunim. And by the way, his chazzanus is very easy on your ears!
The producer is Doni Gross – Jewish music’s up and rising producer of DEG Productions. It includes songs composed by the above-mentioned Doni Gross,Yitzy Waldner, Yossi Green, Yitzy Bald, Yossi Muller,Tzvi Silberstein and by Shlomo himself. The music is also arranged by Doni Gross. It also features the famous guitar players Arie Volnitz and Avi Singolda.
1) The album starts off with a bang with Im Ani kan composed by Doni Gross . Its a leibedike song demonstrating Shlomo’s high-energy. The song talks about the Simchas Bais Hasheiva but diehard Shlomo Simcha fans will breath a deep sigh of relief as they can interpret it as “Don’t worry that I didn’t have a new album for a while – because now I am here.
2) Modeh Ani – a slow song composed by Yitzy Waldner with Simcha starting off very soft. The words are from the tefilla people say Friday night before Kiddush. They reflect the gratitude a Yid has to Hashem for all the Chesed does for him and his family. Then it describes the Malochim. In middle of the song Shlomo goes very high “Modeh Ani” in his patented voice.
3) Ani Maamin – a leibedige song composed by Yitzy Waldner with English added “Yes I believe” to translate Ani Maamin, and when the choir sings it, they say “Yes WE believe”. That was cute. It’s a three-parter. The first 2 stanzas are low and the climax “bechol yoim sheyovoi” goes very high.
4) Ashira Lashem – Also composed by Yitzy Waldner. This is sung in Ivrit and it describes one’s immense gratitude to Hashem overflowing from within. It’s climax is a very hartzig “Ashira Lashem ki gomal alai”
5) B’nei Aliyah – Composed by Yitzy Bald. Tzvi Silberstein repays the favor for Shlomo singing on his all star album. The words are from Rosh Choidesh bentching. It gives us a good feeling that we value our special zchus to be Hashem’s children with a lofty neshama and being a chelek eloikai mimaal.
6) Piha Pascha – Composed by Yitzy Waldner. This a ballad style song similar to his Hashamayim from Shloimie Gertner or Mimkoimcha sung by Yaakov Schwekey with a little faster pace.
7) Ner Dolek – Composed by Yossi Muller. It’s a powerful and inspiring song and assuring us that we can always do tshuva as long as our flame is burning – meaning we are still alive. It’s also a tefilla to Hashem to help us do Tshuva.
8) Al Hatorah – Composed and featuring the one and only Yossi Green! It’s as low song with words from the Brochois of the Haftoira we say on Shabbos. The high part has the words Al hakoil Hashem etc. that sounds like a person overflowing with thanks to Hashem with this tune. When we hear it live in shul, many times the tune does not reflect the meaning of the words, but in this song it is expressed very clearly and potently. I’ve never heard Yossi Green go this high. A pleasure to listen to!
9) Uviney – Composed by Yitzy Waldner A warm geshmake leibedike song that starts with the words uvnei yerushalayim from bentching and has another stanza with Yiddish words stating that Yerushalayim shel maalo and Yerushalayim shel mato will dance together with us all.
10) Sunny Day – Composed by Tzvi Silberstein. It’s a short sweet slow English song about looking at things positive like a “sunny day”.
11) A Gut Voch – Composed by Shlomo Simcha. No Shlomo Simcha would be complete without geshmake chazzanishe shtickel. The first part of the song is chazzanus with words from Ato Choinantonu which we say Motzei Shabbos. The next part is a leibedike song with the same words with Yiddish words added to give it more flavour. A zaftige touch to a moiredige album!