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Ezuz

by Ezuz

Roof-raising, rhythm-infused Jewish World Music fusing Middle Eastern, Klezmer, Latin, Spanish, and North American styles.
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Halleli
4:44 $0.99
2. Imahot
4:01 $0.99
3. Seij Años
4:36 $0.99
4. Shemesh V'yareach
3:28 $0.99
5. Psalm 101
6:24 $0.99
6. Or
5:40 $0.99
7. Hineni
4:08 $0.99
8. Ahavat Olam
2:39 $0.99
9. Eliyahu
3:39 $0.99
10. Kadosh
4:08 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
EZUZ is a Philly ensemble playing Jewish world music with a beat. Rooted in ancient Jewish text, the rhythmic music of EZUZ traverses Middle Eastern, North American, Klezmer, Spanish, and South American styles -- with lyrics in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, and Ladino.

"EZUZ" means "POWER" -- The Hebrew word is comprised of two words meaning "strength" and "move!". EZUZ moves audiences to sing, dance, clap, and participate in the joy of music and universal spirit!

EZUZ ALBUM TRACKS

1. HALLELI
Lyrics (Hebrew) Psalm 146. Music and lyric adaptation: Jessi Roemer.
Halleli nafshi et El Ro'i
Ahalelah Adoshem b'chayai
Azamerah l'Elokai b'odi

My soul praises The God Who Sees Me
I will praise God with my life, all my life
I will sing to my God with all of my being,
as long as I exist

In this adapted version of this psalm, the name for God, YHVH, is replaced by the name given to God by Hagar, Abraham's second wife and the mother of his eldest son. When Hagar and her son are cast out of their home by Sarah (Abraham's first wife), God saves them from dying of thirst in the desert. Hagar names God "El Ro'i," "The God Who Sees Me" (Genesis 16:13). This psalm, written centuries later by Israelites in Babylonian exile, is re-imagined in this piece as being sung centuries earlier by Hagar as she wanders the desert, in exile from Abraham's house.


2. IMAHOT
Lyrics (Hebrew, Yiddish) : Jessi Roemer and Psalms. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Aman, aman, Sarah bat Sarai
malchina et shirei chalomotai
Ba'emtza ha laila, imenu Sarah
mitganevet el michutz la'ohel
lehitpalel la'levanah:
Esa einai el he-harim
Meyayin yavo ezri?

Aman aman, Shoshana bas Raizl
Zing zhe mir fun glikt und mazl
Ba'or haboker, imi Shoshana
panta el hashemesh
v'lahesha bracha:
Ma tovim, tovim u'yafim
Ma tovim hachayim!

Sarah, born of Sarai,
composes the songs
of my dreams

In the middle of the night
our mother Sarah
slips from her tent
to pray to the Moon:

I lift my eyes
unto the mountains
From where
will my help come?

Shoshana, born of Raizl,
sing to me
of joy and good fortune!

In the light of the morning
my mother Shoshana
turned toward the sun
and whispered a blessing:

How good
and how beautiful
is life!

Imahot (Mothers), conjures two mothers: The first is the biblical Sarah, who left her Moon-worshipping family to follow Abraham on his Divinely-inspired quest for a new land. Originally named Sarai, Sarah is re-named Sarah ("Princess") in a moment of spiritual re-birth; this piece describes Sarah as having been born of Sarai. Written in Hebrew, the language of the Torah, the first verse imagines Sarah in the desert, stealing out at night to pray to the God of her ancestors, the Moon. In this piece, Sarah says the first lines of Psalm 121 (I lift up my eyes ... from where will my help come?) in her own private moment of prayer. The second verse is about my mother, Susan Rhea Kalb Roemer z"l, whose Hebrew name, Shoshana, had the same meaning as her mother's name, Raizl (Rose). In this verse, Shoshana turns her face toward the sun that she loved, and exclaims, as she often did, that life is good and beautiful! The first half of this verse is written in Yiddish, which my mother grew up hearing in her Russian and the Polish family. The second half, containing the blessing, is written in Hebrew, the language of Jewish blessings.

3. SEIJ ANOS
Lyrics (Ladino) : Leviticus 25:3. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Seij anos sembraras
sembraras la tierra
Seij anos podaras
podaras tu vinya
Pero el septimo
anyo la tierra
tendra completo
descanso para El Dio

For six years, till the land
For six years, prune your vineyards
But the seventh year
is for the land
a complete rest
for God

Using the ancient language of the Psalms, this piece was composed just before the beginning of a year of shmita (Sabbath year for the land). It is a potent reminder in our time to use our resources with care, and to allow everything on Earth a regular opportunity to rest and regenerate.

4. SHEMESH V'YAREACH
Lyrics (Hebrew) : Psalm 148. Music: Jessi Roemer
Halleluyah! (8x)
Min hashamayim: Halleluyah
Bamromim: Halleluyah
Kol malachav: Halleluyah
V'kol tzva'av: Halleluyah

Halleluyah! (8x)
Shemesh v'yareach halleluhu
Shemesh v'yareach, kol kochavei or!

Halleluyah (praise Yah)!
From the heavens: Halleluyah
On the heights: Halleluyah
All Yah's angels: Halleluyah
And all Yah's minions: Halleluyah

Halleluyah!
Sun and moon praise Yah
Sun and moon, and all the stars of light!

The basic rhythm in this piece - called Ayoub (Job) in Arabic - is an ancient rhythm that is common to many cultures throughout the world, from the Middle East to Africa to the Caribbean. The instrumentation celebrates this commonality of cultures by combining musical styles from these different countries and continents to express this psalm's universal theme of praise.

5. PSALM 101
Lyrics (Hebrew) : Psalm 101. Music: Jessi Roemer
Hesed u'mishpat ashira
lecha, Adoshem azamera
Askila baderech tamim
matai tavo eilai
Ethalech b'tom levavi
b'kerev beiti (2x)
Ra' lo 'eda (8x)

Of lovingkindness and justice I will sing
to you, God, I will sing
I will try to walk the simple path
when it comes to me
in the domain of my house
I will not know evil

This emotional Middle Eastern setting of the psalm expresses the work involved in walking a path of integrity; sometimes the biggest challenge can be to act with justice and kindness within one's own home. The last four lines of the text could also suggest that we extend the notion of our own house beyond the physical walls, and behave with kindness toward everyone. The clarinet solo references the Jewish folk tune "Et Dodim," whose sensual words of love are taken from the Song of Songs.

6. OR (LIGHT)
Lyrics (Hebrew & English): Jessi Roemer, Genesis 1:3-4. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Or, vahehi or
vayara she ha'or hu tov v'
hevdeil bein or u'vein chosech
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or

Or, vayehi or,
And You saw the light was good, and
divided light away from darkness
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or

Or zoreach
ad she ein al ma l'hitpalel
Or aleinu
v'al kol yoshvei, yoshvei teivel
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or

Or, t'ni lanu or
Please see the light is good, and
shine some light into the darkness
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or

Light that shines on us till there is
nothing left to pray for
Light that shines on all the creatures
that this world was made for
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or

In our cities
and in our forests
and on our streets
and in our gardens
and in our lifetimes
and in our coal mines
and in our prisons
and on our children

Light that shines on us till there is
nothing left to pray for
Light that shines on all the creatures
that this world was made for
Or, she yihiyeh or
she yihiyeh or,
she yihiyeh or ...

The song is an extended prayer that begins with the biblical creation of light and telescopes out over several places in our modern world, returning repeatedly to the plea - made in modern Hebrew to a female God - "She yihiyeh or," "Let there be light." The prayer is also a call to action: If we want to make the world safer for our children, we need to bring light everywhere, including to the darkest places. Ancient Middle Eastern text and modern commentary find expression here in a North American folk/pop musical setting.

7. HINENI
Lyrics (Hebrew & English) : Torah and Jessi Roemer. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Hineni, yom va'laila (Here I am, day and night)
Hineni (Here I am)
Ooo
Hineni, here I am
Hineni every day
Hineni here I, -neni here I,
-neni here I am!

A celebration of the act of showing up! The biblical term Hineni means, "Here I am, fully: Mind, body, and spirit!"

8. AHAVAT OLAM
Lyrics (Hebrew) : Liturgy. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Ahavat olam
Ahavat olam beit Yisrael
amcha ahavta
Torah u'mitzvot, chukim u'mishpatim
otanu limadeta
Al ken Adoshem Elokeinu b'shochveinu uv'kumeinu
Nasiach b'chukecha venismach
b'divrei Toratecha umitzvotecha
l'olam va'ed, l'olam va'ed
Ahavat Olam
Ki hem chayeinu v'orech yameinu
U'v'hem nehegeh yomam valaila
yomam valaila
V'ahavatch lo tasur mimenu l'olamim
Baruch ata, Adoshem,
ohev amo Yisrael
v'kol yoshvei teivel (2x)
Ahavat olam (2x)

Eternal love for the House of Israel
You have loved your people
Torah and righteous deeds,
rules and laws you have taught us.
You are our YHVH, our God,
as we lie down and as we rise.
We'll speak of your laws and be happy
in the words of your Torah and righteous deeds
Forever.

Because these (laws) are our life
and the length of our days
And we will inhabit them day and night
Don't ever take your love from us
Blessed are you, Yah, who loves Yah's people.

9. ELIYAHU
Lyrics: Liturgy & Jessi Roemer. Music: Jessi Roemer
Eliyahu hanavi, Eliyahu ha Tishbi
Eliyahu hagiladi, aifo Eliyahu?
Eliyahu hanavi, Eliyahu ha Tishbi
Eliyahu hagiladi, aifo Eliyahu?
Ay yay ...

Eliyahu hanavi, Eliyahu ha Tishbi
Eliyahu hagiladi, aifo Eliyahu?
Eliyahu balibi, Eliyahu barashi,
Eliyahu banishmati -- hiney Eliyahu!
Ay yay ...

Eliyahu the prophet, Eliyahu from Tishbeh
Eliyahu from Gilad, where is Eliyahu?
Eliyahu is in my heart, Eliyahu is in my head,
Eliyahu is in my soul -- Eliyahu is here!

In Jewish tradition, the appearance of the prophet Eliyahu is the harbinger of the coming of the Messiah. Traditional epithetical descriptions of him emphasize his humble origins, implying that he was a man of the people. This piece posits the possibility that each of us has Eliyahu within, and thus has the potential to bring about a Messianic age in which everyone is safe, fed, and at peace. The musical patterns here span continents - from the Middle East through Eastern Europe to South America - as the Jews have spanned these places throughout history.

10. KADOSH (HOLY)
Lyrics: Liturgy & Jessi Roemer. Music: Jessi Roemer.
Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh (2x)
This whole world holy, Kadosh Kadosh (2x)
Kulam k'echad
call out together as one
Kulam k'echad
answer together as one

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh (2x)
This whole world holy, Kadosh Kadosh (2x)
Kulam k'echad
breathe together as one
Kulam k'echad
can live together as one

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh (2x)
This whole world holy, Kadosh Kadosh (2x)
This sunlight holy, Kadosh Kadosh
This water holy, Kadosh Kadosh
This earth is holy, Kadosh Kadosh
Make my hands holy, Kadosh Kadosh

This piece elaborates on a central repetition (Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh) from the central prayer of Jewish liturgy (the Amidah), which emphasizes God's holiness. The original lyrics ask us to stop for a moment and try to envision the whole world and everything in it as holy. How would that affect how each of us walks through the world?

The EZUZ ensemble is a multi-talented group of musicians from North American, Eastern and Western European, Lebanese, Armenian, South American, and African-American lineages. EZUZ members have played with such esteemed musicians as Zakir Hussein, Simon Shaheen, Yair Dalal, and Ohad "Udi" Bar David, George Clinton, Robert Walters 20th Congress, MOFRO, Martin and Wood, The Delaware Symphony, Vile Tyrant and the Middle Men, African dance troupes in Sweden, Jazz quartets in France, Tango quintets at Lincoln Center in NYC, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, and a hard rock rap group at in Austin, TX, to name a few.

EZUZ has played in concert venues, art spaces, synagogues, churches, cultural centers, and at festivals including Limmud Philly, The POWER Music Festival, Yardley Interfaith Music Concert Series, The Cannery, L'Etage, Crossroads World Music Series, Rittenhouse Soundworks Arts Space, and the Jewish Folk Arts Festival of Washington, D.C. For information and bookings, contact jessiroemer@gmail.com.

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Reviews


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Bobbi

I love Ezuz!
This album is soulful and inspirational. It has become my go-to music when a need a lift or to calm down. Congrats to Jessi and group for such a wonderful effort!
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Miriam

Beautiful and Refreshing
The music on this album is absolutely beautiful - the style has a distinct Middle Eastern touch while still sounding familiar to a Western ear. Each piece makes me want to dance, sway or tap my toes. What a lovely addition to the world music scene!
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