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22 October 2007

Review: Voyage- Trio Helene Engel

Review: Voyage
Trio Helene Engel

Voyage is the aptly titled album from Montreal-based Trio Helen Engel. Voyage takes the listener on a journey through the Jewish musical world. The versatile Engel sings in Yiddish, Hebrew, French, Ladino, and English. With the help of Henri Oppenheim, the arrangements have an authentic sound unique to each region visited by these songs. The album touches on the music of Poland, Ukraine, Morocco, Spain, France, Russia, Israel, and North America.

Voyage is the fifth album by Engel, though her first with the current Trio, which was formed in 2005.

The first track, Introduction, starts with the sounds of a noisy club audience, who gradually gets quiet as the band begins to play and Engel appears and begins to sing wordlessly. From there we are along for the ride as Voyage goes on its globetrotting adventure.

The musical styles vary, but the high level of musicianship is steady throughout. The backing by Oppenheim, violinist Marie-Niege Lavigne, and guest guitarist Jean Desrochers, is a perfect match for the voice of Engel. The instrumental solo breaks are well done, and I especially enjoyed the jazz violin work by Lavigne on Bai Mir Bistu Sheyn.

The CD insert is a four-page booklet with French and English bios of the band members and a brief description of the album. The lyrics, translations, and information about each song are available on Engel’s website. They are quite extensive, with the lyrics being translated into French and English. If you like a variety of Jewish song styles, and a classically-trained voice backed by a great ensemble, then have a listen to Trio Helene Engel. Bon Voyage!

Trio Helene Engel

Helene Engel
Voyage Lyrics and Notes

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