Israeli, Canada-based vocalist Ayelet Rose Gottlieb attempts in her fourth solo album to portray a possible peaceful vision of the Middle-East through a wise arrangement of Israeli and Palestinian poetry. These poems, all sung in Hebrew (and all translated to English) suggest that behind the conflict, contrasting historical, political and even cultural narratives live people who share like-minded passions, dreams and loves, often in relation to the same shared natural scenery. Gottlieb composed these poems over a long time, few were work-in-progress in her repertoire for 15 years, and her profound insights into the distinct poetic rhythm of every poet and poetess is impressive throughout this musical journey.
Gottlieb musical vision is realized with close friends who support beautifully her sensual deliverypianist Anat Fort, known from her work with the late drummer Paul Motian and her releases for the ECM label; guitarist Udi Horev and double bassist Ora Boazson-Horev; oud and violin player Ihab Nimer and drummer Dani Benedikt. All, with guest vocalistsincluding veteran Israeli singer- songwriter Alon Oleartchick in few fantastic duets with Gottlieb and musicians, intensify the open musical setting that welcome elements of jazz, Middle-Eastern scales and rhythms and rock-solid pulse.
Gottlieb interpretations of the poems charge the poetic texts with new, surprising overtones and meanings. She arranges brilliantly Ronny Someck's "A Love Song With A Ceiling-Fan" in a manner that strips the Israeli militarized expressions from its common meanings, spinning these expressions into ones that glimpse into an intimate, passionate moment of love making. Natan Yonatan painful love poem "Slowly, Distance" is arranged as a dramatic plea to experience again the local sounds, scents and landscapes. Gottlieb continues with this vein, though in a more optimistic perspective, with her playful arrangement of Agi Mishol's ironic "At the supermarket," where a watermelon symbolizes an option to love making. Mishol's yearning poem to a loved one ,"Letter," may represent Gottlieb manner of composing, an act of pure love. Esther Raab's "A Woman's Song" sensual feminine images enable Gottlieb to suggest a compassionate, forgiving perspective on her world.
The gentle arrangement poem of American poetess of Palestinian descent Naomi Shihab Nye, "The World in Translation" tells how the continuous, daily connection to the natural Middle- Eastern natural scenery may comfort even over long times of distress. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish's "From One Sky to Another, Dreams Pass" is a song that is arranged magnificently, it celebrates life-long dreams for an innocent feeling of safe, embracing home. This poems political overtones clearly suggests exiled Darwish desire to return to his home in current borders of Israel. Gottlieb's core band is backed on this song by the Fathers and Daughters Choir, comprised of family relatives of all the musicians, all recite Darwish emotional plea: "Let it be, let our tomorrows be present with us, let our past be present / let today be present in the feast, set / in celebration of the butterfly, so that we can pass safely... / From one sky to another, dreamers pass..." In nowadays political atmosphere of Israel such humane, poetic words are nothing short of a subversive statement.
Roadsides is the most accomplished work by Gottlieb so far, a rare and inspiring work of beauty.
Bridge; A Love Song with a Ceiling-Fan; Slowly, Distance; Clarity; The
world in Translation; At the Supermarket; A Woman’s Song; A Second
Letter; An hour of Grace; (Am Old Shed of Tools); From Sky to another,