The arrangements for “Anavim,” however, presented a challenge — so far, nothing had worked — but Tyberg had his own idea for someone who could rise to it
The Story Behind the Song
Who Could Make It Work?
The beloved slow song “Anavim,” the words taken from the medrash Yalkut Shimoni on Yeshayahu Chapter 60 [“Besha’ah shemelech hamashiach bah… anavim anavim, higia zeman geulaschem…”], was composed by Yossi Green with Mordechai Ben David sitting at his side, and originally designated to appear on an MBD album. Sung for the first time by Mordechai Ben David together with Avraham Fried at a Priority-1 concert in Madison Square Garden, it was an instant hit. But its release was delayed because, despite attempts by several top arrangers, the style and music just didn’t feel “right.”
When Yossi Green decided to release his own album, The 8th Note, in 2008, MBD told him to keep “Anavim” for his own project, and even offered to sing it on Green’s album. “In the industry, that album was known as ‘the anti-wedding album,’” recalls producer YOSSI TYBERG. “Not a single song on it is wedding material — it’s a diverse album but none of it can be called dance music.”
The arrangements for “Anavim,” however, presented a challenge — so far, nothing had worked — but Tyberg had his own idea for someone who could rise to it.
“I listened only to Yossi playing the song, not to the previous arrangers’ scores, because I wanted to feel the pure elements of the niggun,” Tyberg remembers. “I felt the song needed an expert touch — it needed something contemporary but true to Yiddishkeit. Yossi and I contacted Daniel Friberg and drove out to Westchester to meet with him about this song. Daniel, a legendary arranger who wrote the music scores for MBD’s Let my People Go album, is not used much in the world of frum music today, but as a Grammy-nominated arranger, he works on huge projects. Working with him was like a fantasy —Yossi played him the song, and I gave him a verbal map for our ideas. It was an incredible meeting, but then I went home and said Tehillim. I couldn’t be sure he would get it right.”
A few days later, he was in shock to find that Friberg had nailed everything they wanted to express with the song.
“Musically, ‘Anavim’ is a ballad, but it’s so much more than that. He viewed it from his own perspective and built a shell with gorgeous elements.” Friberg also indicated on the score that some instruments should be recorded live, and some electronically, which was ground-breaking at that time.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 837)
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