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“Chayei Sarah” or literally, “The Lives of Sarah” is a melody inspired by story of Sarah’s passing. It was composed at the Shabbat table after my wife asked me to come up with a nigun – a spiritual melody – to enhance the atmosphere at home on Friday night.

Here is a little background of the recording happened:
When we got together in the studio earlier this summer, we had prepared to record an entirely different piece of music that Gilad and I had spent a not-insignificant amount of time arranging and orchestrating. We we spent the good part of the day on this piece of music… and in hindsight… it just wasn’t flowing.

As the afternoon hastened towards evening, one of the key performers from the session needed to leave for his show later that evening. For a moment or two this seemed like it was a showstopper. There were still a couple of hours left with the other performers but we still hand not gotten the material we needed. I looked over at Gilad and asked… “so what now? Should we try play something else?” We had less than two hours left of performer-time but what did I have to lose? Gilad was supportive of doing something unplanned and he suggested taking a stab at a melody I had composed a few months ago, that we’d roughly arranged but never done anything with.

Having the creative input from Idan and Niv along with Gilad and Yitzhak, after about an hour or so Chayei Sarah (The Lives of Sarah) came to life and we were fortunate enough to have Yuval Ginszburg right there to capture it on camera, live.

During the original session we left space for a bass guitar solo that I would play as an overdub as well as adding some additional elements – strings – to complete the instrumentation. You can see the solo and the strings that Yuval returned to film a week or two after the recording.

It was a thrill – real magic – to play with these deep players. I hope you end up listening to this over and over again like my mom did!

Thank you to my friends Yitzhak Attias (percussion), Gilad Ronen (flute), Niv Clil-Horesh (flute) & Idan Armoni (classical guitar).

Thank you also to Ariel Shuldman for helping with the tracking and mic’ing – and to Bo Savik in Sweden for the beautiful mix and to Doron Tveister (cello) and Eckart Lorenzen (violin) for the string performance.

Lastly to Yuval Ginzburg for the videography and direction.

Recorded in Jerusalem
Produced by Yosef Gutman and Gilad Ronen.