Beyond the Sea of Reeds
As a child, as I heard the songs and stories of the ancient days of Israel and the journey of the Israelites. They were always a part of me. Through my journey to adulthood, as the stories of my ancestors weaved in and out of my being, they finally opened their secret door and whispered to me, as I first touched Jerusalem’s walls in the city of old.
With tears in my eyes, beholding the wonder of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I could almost imagine my ancient ancestor writing with his pen, reaching out his hand. At the edge of the Negev Desert, my heart pounding with images of the vast wanderings of tribes searching for home, I hold the harp to my ears and listen.
Backroads Music, June/August 2000
We were suitably impressed with the debut from Oregon’s David Helfand, called “Callings From the Quiet Grove.” With his inspired “Beyond the Sea of Reeds,” he takes a major leap of inspiration, not to mention faith, to secure a spot on our most featured list. It’s a fascinating acoustically heightened world music journey with harps, violin, dumbek, percussion and select vocals conceived on a pilgrimage to Israel. Traditional songs from Israel and the Middle East are reworked through the blending of many instruments, some born of that region and others from continents far and distant. Two vocal pieces balance the moods and extend the reach of David’s listenings, musings and discoveries of ancient ancestry and modern callings. Highly recommended.
Tree of Life Judaica and Books, The Leaflet News Letter,
A beautifully, deeply spiritual offering from Oregon musician/composer David Helfand. Features the composer on Celtic harp, mandocello, and percussion with guest string players, vocalists, performing original songs (mostly instrumentals) inspired by Israel, the siddur and the story of the Exodus.
Vol. 4, No. 1, September/October 2000
The Jewish Transcript: Arts & Entertainment CD Reviews,
The title track is a haunting march, all dumbek and keyboard reeds. Tucked in around this are mostly instrumentals featuring Helfand’s delicate Celtic harp. This Eugene, Oregon, artist also plays guitar, mandocello, keyboards and bass. Suffused with mystery, brightened by subtle percussion, this music suggests rather than reflects, the composers journey to Israel. Helfand credits that journey with inspiring this album. A Shlomo Carlebach tune is included (originally a Hashivenu, here used for “Mi Chamocha”), with energetic vocals by two capable singers. Helfand treats the beautiful “Ma Navu” to an adventurous journey on his harp, with violin and a tiny tambourine for the sweet ride. A thoughtful album, the second from this neighbor to the south.
Vol. 76, No. 17, September 2000