CD review: Fran Avni’s Kulanu – All of Us in Harmony

Fran Avni (Independent)
Kulanu – All of Us in Harmony

This up-lifting recording of mainly new versions and re-arrangements of traditional synagogue prayer-songs will strike a positive chord with Jewish listeners familiar with their content and meaning.

Montrealer Fran Avni, who we first got to know in the 1960s when she sang folksongs with Erica Pomerance, is the composer/arranger of the new music in this 14-cut CD, and initiator of the project. Avni, who was among the best known Israeli recording artists when she lived in Israel, has put her heart and talent into this CD, and called on friends, who happen to be fellow musical talents, for the harmonies and choruses and instrumental accompaniment that fill this session with melodious and refreshing sounds, replete with deep soulfulness.

They are, as Avni says, songs of peace, love, and hope, in Hebrew and English. Kol Yisrael Arevim, for example, which Avni adapted from the Talmud, means we’re responsible for each other, and it features delightful soprano of Cantor Heather Batchelor. The Colours of Peace is a wonderful tone poem, reflecting hope.

The Lion and the Lamb is another Avni original, and its call to “study war no more” is a spiritual that has universal appeal, beautifully rendered by the ensemble, including a gorgeous solo by Kate Bevan Baker.

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