“Sephardic Shabbat Unplugged – A Journey Into the Music of the Sephardic Tradition”. This CD, the first in the Shabbat Olam – Shabbat Around the World series, reflects the distinctive musical traditions of the diverse Sephardic Jewish communities of Spain, Portugal, Africa and the Middle East. Featured is the “Ahavat Olam” (World Love) ensemble comprised of musicians from Jordan, Iran, Syria, Palestine, America, and Israel. Using the liturgy of the Friday night service, Rabbi/Cantor Irelander composed original arrangements for the familiar prayers and songs, among them Sh’ma, Shalom Aleichem, and L’cha Dodi using the ancient instruments upon which Sephardic music is based, such as oud, baglama saz, and qanun.
"Usually, when I receive a new synagogue music CD to review it is a mixed blessing. The song/compositions for the ubiquitous contemporary guitars and synthesizers are OK but often lack overall vitality. This is not the case with SEPHARDIC SHABBAT UNPLUGGED. Immediately the physical package attracts us by its beautifully wrought Hamsah by David Yohanan and overall graphic design by the talented Haggai Cohen-Milo.
Cantor Idan Irelander has performed and produced a program of unusually vibrant Sephardic Kabbalat Shabbat and liturgical settings that is a welcome relief from the contemporary hum drum offerings. This is due to a few factors:
First, not everything is fast and perky. Some meaningful meditative settings like the Sh'ma from Cairo and Beth Bahia Cohen's "Shabbat Olam" gives the excellent instrumentalists something of substance to perform.
Secondly, the music comes from an unexpected sephardic sources other than Spain, Italy, and France. The haunting Sh'ma is Egyptian, the L'cha Dodi is Yemenite, the Mizmor L'David is Turkish, and the Hashkiveinu is Algerian.
Thirdly, In all these works, Cantor Irelander sings with purity, regard for the style of each and an earnestness that is finely communicated through the music.
Lastly the accompanying instrumental support is superlative. Saalim Hakeem's percussive playing is first rate on Shalom Aleichem as is Mana Jan's Oud and Kamanche performance. Cellist Yacov Aviv, flutist Amir Milstein, violinist Beth Cohen, and Talia Kayyali's Qanun all add aunthenticity and sensitivity to the mix...This CD is a seriously thought out effort to provide an alternative Shabbat musical experience...and, on the whole it succeeds! Congratulations to Cantor Irelander, his ensemble, and all those music lovers in the New England community who supported this finely mixed and mastered production."
"SEPHARDIC SHABBAT UNPLUGGED is a worthy CD ...go on line and buy a copy you'll enjoy it." Michael Isaacson, synagogue composer
For those who need a little
"Idan Irelander, of Temple Emanuel in Andover, Mass., and the temple’s Youth Chorus have recently come together to record “Shacharit Inplugged.” The CD features morning prayers like Ashrei and the Shema recorded with a live and spirited sound." Keren Engelberg, Calendar Editor - Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
"Schizophrenic Bass" is a unique
instrumental groovy CD, featuring the
bass guitar in its best. Each track contains multiple bass guitars playing simultaneously. The album was composed, performed, arranged and produced by Idan Irelander.
Ran Klein - Drums
Joca Perpignan – Percussions
"Sonata for Bassoon & Piano" was composed December 1st 2000 and recorded at Berklee College of Music Boston, MA
The String Quartet composition, “Chaotic Moments,” was composed on August 5th, 2000 and was selected to be performed by the Esterhazy String Quartet in Boston, MA. Also performed by the Signon String Quartet in Tel-Aviv, Israel
Idan composed this piece for the 60th birthday of his mother Michal.