Shiru Shir [Sing a Song]
By David Meghnagi
2006: Associazione Europa Ricerca. Audio CD. Available from email@example.com
Reviewed by Jacques Roumani
This unique collection of liturgical chants [hazanut] stands out in the repertory of vocal classical Sephardic music of the Mediterranean in Hebrew, evoking a cultural code that is both Andalusian and mizrahi of the Levant, as interpreted in the tradition of Tripoli (Libya), where Prof. Meghnagi was born. In addition to being an accomplished singer and hazan, he is Professor of Clinical Psychology, Roma Tre University, and Head of the Laboratory of clinical psychology and applied psychoanalysis.
His inspiring and subtle voice conveys a profound melodic cantillation of psalms of sorrowful reflection (including Mima'amakim or De Profundis), rendered with the simplicity and solemnity reminiscent of Gregorian chant. But woven throughout the ten selections of this CD (with 'ud accompaniment and drums), there emerges an underlying mystic yearning for inner joy, symbolized by beautiful Sabbath songs and prayers and an ode in Judeo-Arabic to Shim'on Bar Yochai (2nd century), a key figure in Jewish mystical tradition. Yodukha, a Sabbath song, is enhanced by the participation of Miriam Meghnagi, a concert singer and David's sister, both of whom continue a long family tradition of love for Sephardi sacred and secular songs from Jewish Libya.
More than a unique collection of chants, this CD transmits an enriching spiritual musical experience to be shared across Sephardi cultures.
Jacques Roumani is the Book Review Editor of Sephardic Horizons.