Bob Brookmeyer called my attention to this Israeli singer who has had success in Germany's avant circles. In Brookmeyer's words, "She is very gifted and very motivated--into electronics, arranging, always composing her own stuff. Been in Berlin for 15 years." He thinks she deserves wider exposure. After spending a couple of hours of a long motor trip with her CD, I agree.
Alony's voice, round and spacious, sounds classically trained. It is in the mezzo range, although she sometimes takes it higher, maintaining fullness and pitch unless she is purposely bending notes, which she occasionally does to great effect. The songs on Alony are not standards; she wrote most of the lyrics and music, with contributions from pianist Mark Reinke and one piece from the Israeli songwriter-singer Etti Ankri. In addition, Alony set to music William Butler Yeats' bittersweet poem, "To a Child Dancing in the Wind." Reinke and drummer Christian Thomé are the primary accompanists. They also provide electronic effects. A string quartet contributes backing and atmospherics. Alony now and then overdubs voices in unison or counterpoint. There's a lot going on, but it's all integrated, allowing concentration on the music as a whole. At their best, Alony's lyrics achieve a haiku-like sensibility that distinguishes superior art songs:
„Recollecting, fading shadows of joy , I slowly unlock the shackles of thought ,
my safeguard , freeing feelings I lost , bewitchment , delight , sweet longing“
I'm not sure that there is a category for what Alony does. I'm not sure that there should be. Call it music.
“Untamable. The Israeli singer Efrat Alony bewilders with her voice, beauty and intellect. (…) Her timbre seduces us - to unstintingly listen.”
…Efrat Alony really is at home in her music. She commands her extraordinarily cultured alto voice with confidence… she sends shivers down your spine. …Alony treads exciting new paths. Her daring experiments are both refreshing and intense. The compositions- at times peaceful, at times stormy --are even more vivacious in a live performance than on her wonderful debut album “merry-go-round“…
Singer Efrat Alony has created her own brand of Israeli jazz…There can´t be many more improbable jazz situations than an Israeli jazz vocalist singing Hebrew in Germany. It requires a lot of guts and self-confidence to base an incipient career on material that is far from instantly recognizable and sung in a language few speak- particularly in her country of residence. But Efrat Alony says that for her, playing safe simply was never an option.
... The lightness with wich her full and warm voice floats through the octaves, makes one forget how difficult some of the lines are ... the cello is her favorite instrument.Its sound is beautiful, round, dark massiv and full of depths" - discriptions that match Alony`s style as well.
... Efrat Alony is an extremely talented singer with rare qualities of expression.”
"Efrat Alony loves the freedom of jazz which allows her to pick and taste from virtually everything…”
….The music hits you with full force. Efrat Alony, with her dazzling versatile singing, enriches scat singing with sighs and lamentations and shows that Hebrew can both comfort and glow, like a candle…
CD Discoveries of the Week. - Alony-”Dismantling Dreams”
...Last week Bob Brookmeyer sent along a copy of Efrat Alony's Dismantling Dreams. Alony is an Israeli singer who resides in Germany. Her voice is a lusty cross between Joni Mitchell's folk wisdom and Amy Winehouse's rolling purr. Alony's voice is highly trained, but what's most fascinating is her original music and lyrics.
The style isn't quite jazz but something new and cutting edge, sort of an
atonal folk-electronica mash. While I confess you may need to recalibrate
your sensibility a bit to fully appreciate what Alony is doing, the journey is
well worth it. If you appreciate avant-garde music, her sound grows on you
...as sad as her eyes are her songs... Her disamingly clear sound is contrasted by refined arrangements. Mark Reinke´s delicate piano playing, full of surprises, is supported by the subtle bass and transparent drums.
A real 'earopener'.
...EfratAlony is an unusual singer... This unique mix of drawn out melody lines, hebrew text, classical voice technique and improvisational passion... Her music lives of contrasts. It seems light, almost inconspicuous, and is yet full of harmonic and compositional complexities.
…With her warm alto voice which reaches the highest spheres, Efrat Alony sings her compositions, which are complex and reminiscent of chamber music. With her fiery rhythm section the songs achieve an extraordinary dynamic and intensity. Modestly she presents her songs only to fill the room with versatile theme variations, scat singing, incredible expressiveness and remarkable volume...