Voices from the Other Side
(This review is from the March 18, 2013 issue of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.)
Singer and songwriter Sandy Cash has an interesting back story. In the 1980s, the Detroit-born artist was a Jewish Studies major at Yale University who thought she might become a Conservative or Reform rabbi. However, she embraced Orthodoxy, gave up her rabbinical ambitions, and moved to Israel where she married, started a family, and pursued a career in musical theatre and, eventually, as a folksinger.
The 11 songs on Voices from the Other Side range from the poignant to the hilarious and include several commentaries on contemporary Israeli realities. “Song of Zion” is a response to those who would delegitimize the State of Israel while “Freeze Frame Truth” captures a moment at a West Bank checkpoint through the eyes of both a 19-year-old Israeli soldier who would much rather be travelling or starting university than searching a Palestinian woman’s car for explosives, and the Palestinian woman herself who is subjected to the search. Cash portrays both sympathetically while, at the same time, recalling the suicide terrorist attacks which led to the establishment of such checkpoints.
One of the more poignant songs is “Gilad’s Guitar,” an adaptation of a song called “Mom’s Guitar” by Stuart Kabak, which pays tribute to the power of song and of passing music on from one generation to the next. The guitar Cash plays was once owned by a cousin of her husband named Gilad who perished as a soldier in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Perhaps the album’s most affecting song on the CD is Cash’s version of Kabak’s “Numbers” which describes an emotional encounter with an elderly Holocaust survivor.
Among the more humorous songs are “Free Food Bar,” about a mother’s desire to fulfil the varied menu demands of her children – one’s a vegetarian, another can’t stand veggies, a third likes everything done fancy while a fourth just eats corn flakes – and Deirdre Flint’s witty “Bridesmaid’s Dress Song,” about the horrible, expensive, never-to-be-worn-again creations so many bridesmaids are forced to wear.
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