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The Cleveland Jewish News
September 05, 2002

New albums based on well-loved songs

By BINYAMIN BRESKY Freelance Writer

Debbie Friedman
The Water in the Well
2001 Sounds Write Productions, Inc.

Debbie Friedman
The Alef Bet
2001 Sounds Write Productions, Inc.
www.debbiefriedman.com

It's hard to believe that the kiddie songs they taught us in Sunday school and summer camp were actually written by someone, let alone released on a CD.

Yet, American-born Debbie Friedman has been doing it for years, with songs like "Not By Might - Not By Power" and "Miriam's Song."

This year Friedman has two new releases, "The Alef Bet," and "The Water in the Well." All are original Friedman creations.

"The Alef Bet" is geared towards children and comes with a workbook so students can practice their Hebrew lessons while following along with the music.

"The Water in the Well" is suited for the whole family. Unlike her other albums, this is not a solo acoustic guitar album; there are plenty of saxophones and pianos adding harmonies.

Friedman has a strong voice and sings in both English and Hebrew. In the liner notes of "The Water in the Well," she discusses her experiences in New York on Sept. 11, but her overall themes, as usual, are timeless.

Included on the album are several traditional liturgical songs with new melodies. My favorite tracks are the fast paced, upbeat "The Water in the Well," and the slow and smooth "Bishiva Shel Mala" and "G-d My Shield."

"The Alef Bet" album is reminiscent of music from the popular children's television show, "Sesame Street." Each song is sung in both English and Hebrew, and designed so children can sing along and learn the Hebrew alphabet, vocabulary or Shabbat themes. The music is simple and catchy.

Although this album is new, the songs themselves are old. The responsive aleph bet song is the same one I sang in Mrs. Korenstein's Sunday School class in first grade.

Debbie Friedman and other Jewish music can be heard weekly on Jewish Community Radio, Friday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on 88.7 FM WJCU.



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