Larry Bach | Kivvunim

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Official Website Larry's Blog Stream the Whole Album Here

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Spiritual: Jewish Folk Spiritual: Hebrew Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Larry Bach

Contemporary Jewish music for prayer, meditation, and study
Genre: Spiritual: Jewish Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ki Eshm'ra Shabbat
2:53 $0.99
2. Lamdeini, Elohai
2:45 $0.99
3. Three Things
1:40 $0.99
4. Revolution
4:01 $0.99
5. T'filah
3:10 $0.99
6. Everpresent One
2:55 $0.99
7. Dreams of Peace
3:37 $0.99
8. B'tzelem Elohim
4:12 $0.99
9. Ashrei
4:38 $0.99
10. Lullaby
3:43 $0.99
11. The Night Bob Dylan Came to Town
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Larry Bach's first album, Kivvunim, is an eleven-song collection of prayers and meditations on Jewish texts, all of which are described below. Larry is a rabbi, serving Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, NC.

Ki Eshm’ra Shabbat. Three texts animate this song: the fourth commandment, in its two iterations (Exod 20; Deut 4), and Abraham ibn Ezra’s poem, Ki Eshm’ra Shabbat. My version marries ibn Ezra’s insight on the mutuality of the b’rit (“When I guard the Sabbath, God guards me”) with the two rationales for Shabbat as described in Torah. Shabbat is both a reminder of Creation (“for in six days…but on the seventh….”) and Redemption (“for you were slaves in Egypt….and God brought you forth….”). The Hebrew setting was composed when I was in high school, for the 1985 NFTY song competition; the English verses came much later, during the recording sessions.

Lamdeini Elohai. Leah Goldberg’s poem, in the Hebrew original and in Pnina Peli’s artful translation, stand opposite the Chatsi Kaddish in Mishkan Tefillah. “Lamdeini” is a caution against the rote repetition of traditional prayer language, and a reminder that the Divine Presence can be found in unlikely places, when we take the time to look.

Three Things. In Mishkan T’filah, Ray Scheindlin’s translation of Solomon ibn Gabirol’s poem, Sh’loshah nosdu yachad, serves as a meditation on the Bar’chu. As we are called to communal prayer, we look up, out, and in to find God. This melody was built to pair with Ben Siegel’s Bar’chu, which has become part of the Reform musical canon.

Revolution. Michael Walzer’s Exodus and Revolution ends with an eminently quotable summary of the relation between our Redemption story and politics (in the good sense of that word). A version of his words sets up Mi Chamocha in Mishkan T’filah, which I find to be a particularly inspired choice by the editors. My rhymed take on the same sentiment, set in a round opposite the words emet ve’emunah kol zot (“all this is true and certain”), pairs with Sol Zim’s powerful setting of our Exodus Song.

Tefilah. A simple, singable melody for the prelude to the Amidah is reprised as Yehudah Halevi’s Yah ana Emtza’acha. Where is God? Where isn’t God! The translation of Halevi is by Drs. Lawrence A. Hoffman and Joel M. Hoffman.

Everpresent One. This is a setting of the Avodah prayer, as presented in Mishkan Tefilah. The stance of yirah, “reverence” toward God and toward life is so central to my understanding of Judaism. The English text is adapted by Harvey Fields and Chaim Stern.

Dreams of Peace. In a section of the Talmud describing dreams and their interpretations (Bavli B’rachot 56b), we find: “Three things in a dream mean peace: a river, a kettle, and a bird.” What does that mean? Like dreams themselves, it is open to interpretation. This song is mine. I first offered a teaching along these lines at a YWCA interfaith prayer for peace. At the conclusion of the ceremony, homing pigeons were released from our prayer site — the Keystone Heritage Park — and went home to the Mission Valley, full kettles to their left, poverty to their right, and a river beneath them.

B’tzelem Elohim. A beloved quotation from Abraham Joshua Heschel inspired this song. Heschel, like Akiva, taught that our being made in the divine image was a gift, an expression of God’s love. And Heschel, like Moses, not only talked about redemption, but he saw his fellow suffering and went to work. Along with the Heschel text (that’s him speaking at the beginning of the song, in an interview he gave to Carl Stern just days before his death), this song is built on Pirkei Avot 3:14 and Exodus Rabbah 1:29.

Ashrei. Psalm 145 was the textual focus of my 2005 sabbatical summer, and this song is one of its fruits.The Psalm — “David’s Alphabet of Praise” — is a call to awareness. The Rabbis teach that one who recites Ashrei three times a day can be assured of a place in the world to come. On this, Rabbi David Kimchi taught: “they didn’t mean a mere ‘saying’ of the Psalm, but a deep meditation on its meaning (hitbonenut).

Lullaby. This beautiful lullaby appears in the Hebrew original on Chava Alberstein’s 2007 album, Milky Way. The words are by Adulah (Sabina Messeg). The translation and the arrangement are my own. It was fun trying to capture her delightful wordplay and bring it into English, and my daughters love singing this song at bedtime.

The Night Bob Dylan Came to Town. What do you do when Bob Dylan is playing a concert a couple of hundred yards from your house, you’re a huge Dylan fan, but the concert’s Erev Pesach, and you’re a rabbi? Sublimate! Work out your frustration in song! Based on a true story from April 2006. Music, Bobby Braddock and Charlie Williams (“The Night Hank Williams Came to Town”). Parody lyrics by me, with apologies to Bob Dylan and the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.



to write a review

D. Fine

Transcends Gnere
The music lures you in, and then the spiritual message reaches you. Just as popular music now draws on influences from all over the world, so Bach makes spiritual music as enjoyable to listen to as anything in your collection.

Dr. Larry Lesser

dignified, soothing, varied, and provocative!
This CD, like Rabbi Larry himself, is dignified, soothing, varied, and provocative! The songs are immediately accessible and also have multiple musical and textual layers that yield fresh connections upon repeated listenings. Very few recordings pull off this balance of intellectual grounding and musical/emotional accessibility. I have the utmost respect for Bach as a fellow songwriter, guitarist, teacher, Jew, and lifelong learner.

Scott Leader

Gorgeous CD
I may be biased, but, this CD awesome! Larry Bach finally has given us some original music and it was worth the wait. The songs are so easy to listen to and to sing along with. The harmonies are beautiful and there are some great guitar moments as well! Enjoy...

Cantor Robbi Sherwin

Bach rocks!
Larry Bach joins the ranks of such notable Jewish musicians like Rabbi Joe Black and Sam Glaser, who know how to take Judaism "off the bimah" and into the kishkes (guts). Making liturgy accessible and finding new ways to interpret old words keeps the faith fresh. Kol Hakavod (all strength to you!) for the gift of your music! This is a beautiful album - and Larry's voice is gorgeous (and I don't say that about many rabbis! =^)

Ellen M. Wilson

Super-Catchy Songs
These are songs that will stay with you. The melodies are catchy, the texts and thought-provoking. What a great combination. Okay, I admit, I'm biased; I have had the fortune of performing with this particularly musical rabbi. But if you take a listen for yourself, you will want to own this CD so you can listen again and again. Family-friendly, too!