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download Song of the Grasses Onesheet
Promotional video for “Through Fire and Water”
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Reviews / Critiques :
Siach HaSadeh are among the elite vanguard of jazz-inclined improvisers breathing new life into otherworldly old Hasidic melodies from centuries past. The Quebec-based band further distinguish themselves with their many haunting diversions into moody, mystical Middle Eastern sounds. Their latest album Song of the Grasses, a collection of exquisitely sad songs, exquisitely played… Slow tempos and subdued, highly nuanced playing with minute dynamic shifts are the constants throughout the album’s seventeen tracks. Several of the instrumentals feature elegant handoffs from one instrument to the other; others employ a lot of intricate, sometimes awestruck harmony between Yoni Kaston’s clarinet, Joel Kerr’s bass, and Gael Huard’s cello…
…Is this the best album of the past several months? It’s certainly one of them, as darkly unforgettable as anything you’ll hear this year.
“This is rich, introspective music, beautifully arranged and performed… Kaston’s sensitive clarinet playing is soulful and tasteful, and the musicianship on the album is excellent. The musicians all communicate nicely throughout, maintaining the spiritual focus of the melodies while at the same time adding their own personal expression.
“Kerr joue alors à l’archet, ailleurs, il se fera vaguement jazz ou très dense. Kaston joue avec le souffle et le rythme, devient atmosphérique, allège parfois les brisures sonores et le caractère tragique. Il s’en dégage une belle atmosphère de quiétude, même quand la pulsion devient plus rapide.” – Yves Bernard, Le Devoir (voir l’intégrale)
“…What makes the album so vastly different from similar projects is how this band extends the niggun-space, improvising within each niggun’s vocabulary in a way that continues the meditative, mystical space released by the music. Although classical, folk, jazz, and klezmer elements all briefly enter the works at some point, the overall sound is quite incomparable to anything else. The niggunim are not translated into any one of these styles’ paradigms — instead, the music’s centrality remains with the nigunnim themselves, as the collective moves through soul-tugging renditions…”
“The quiet flowing clarinet over the subtle supportive bass lines is a constant delight throughout the 15 tracks, but for my ears it is the percussive melodies plucked on the oud and the extremely lyrical harmonica playing (it’s hard to imagine this as the same instrument known as the “blues harp” in Rosenblatt’s hands – the iconic Toots Thielemans comes to mind) that really makes this music special… The spirituality is achieved without any New Age trappings and the resulting contemplative journey is one well worth undertaking. It has given me a much appreciated sense of calm and some quiet stimulation over that past few weeks.”
“Although the music is sweet, the duo explores the rougher sides of harmony as well. There is a delightful tone poem/art song/modern classical dissonance that weaves in and out of these tunes, from the opening “R’ Levi Yitzchak Berditchever’s Niggun” to “Niggun firn di tsaddikim in gan eyden” or “Rabbeinu’s Niggun” featuring Shtreiml masters Jason Rosenblatt on harmonica and Ismail Fencioğlu on oud. For those who enjoy digging deeper and letter ways of niggun wash over them, this is a rich recording.” – Ari Davidow, Klezmershack
I received my signed copy of the new Siach HaSadeh CD this week, and now I’m getting a chance to listen to it. As I anticipated, it’s one of the most moving and beautiful recordings I’ve ever heard, hands down. Congrats Yoni, Joel, Jason, Daniel, Gaël, and Ismail. Tremendous stuff.
It just finished playing, so I’m going to go listen to it again right away.