The Baal Shem Tones | Untold Stories

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Untold Stories

by The Baal Shem Tones

American Jewish music like you've never heard before. A bold collection of new songs featuring the sweet, vibrant voice of Helene Kates with top Nashville session players. Mixes by Ben Wisch ("Walking in Memphis") give the album a rich cinematic quality.
Genre: Spiritual: Judaica
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hineini (Here I Am)
4:00 album only
2. Al Shlosha D'varim
2:41 album only
3. Into the Light
3:43 album only
4. Esther's Nigun
2:55 album only
5. Hal'li
2:15 album only
6. Devorah's Nigun
2:14 album only
7. My Heaven
3:35 album only
8. Shamil
2:53 album only
9. Oh Shabbos Come In
1:46 album only
10. Shalom Rav
2:51 album only
11. Whispers of Shema
4:26 album only
12. Hashkiveinu
2:06 album only


Album Notes
Untold Stories is the second album from husband and wife songwriting team Michael and Helene Kates, a.k.a. The Baal Shem Tones. Released on independent label Peradam Productions, this CD is a must-have for any music connoisseur.

The CD opens with "Hineini (Here I Am)," a powerful statement of personal connection to G-d. "It's about my own journey," says Helene. "Sometimes my path seems clear, other times I feel totally lost. But there's always a road back home, a connection waiting to be made. When I'm ready to hear, I hear."

"Into the Light," written by Michael, is rooted in Chassidic teaching. "When I heard the song, I fell in love with it," says Helene, and indeed she delivers one of the most heartfelt vocals on the CD. Stellar mixes from Grammy winner Ben Wisch make this tiny dynamo sound bigger than life on every track.

Helene is the only vocalist on most tracks, layering lush harmonies over powerful melodic delivery. The exception is "Oh Shabbos Come In," an a cappella street corner quartet in which Michael sings all four parts. This simple yet multi-faceted song is an utterly infectious sing-along before candle lighting.

"Whispers of Shema" is an ambient blend of melody and meaning that truly lends itself to the spirit of the listener. "It was an improvisation following a meditation," says Helene. "As Michael played, I heard slow strings of words that floated together and became the song. To me it represents the deepest level of hearing, an organic understanding and oneness."

With Untold Stories, Michael has become a personal favorite songwriter and producer. Combined with the talents of some of Nashville's finest session players, he and Wisch made this album of 12 songs a sheer pleasure to hear all the way through, again and again. Kickin', up-tempo rockers, sweet and simple folk melodies interwoven with Hebrew and English lyrics, and wordless nigunim that speak straight to the soul are held together by a common thread of wonderful sound, creating a whole from different chapters.

Marcy Levinson-Brooks
Atlanta Jewish News
September 2010
Quoted with permission



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