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Sara Shiloh Rae and Bluebird Junction

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah arr.

Release Date: September 9, 2022

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HALLELUJAH (Leonard Cohen)
1 Hallelujah  

In the rarified world of artists who defy genre (Bobby McFerrin, Norah Jones, and Rhiannon Giddens come to mind) Sara Shiloh Rae has emerged as a singular voice in the americana/folk/classical world.

Covering Cohen’s Hallelujah in 2022 might seem at first glance to be a bold choice. Is there anything left to say with one of the most well-known songs in the history of popular music?

It turns out, the answer is a resounding yes.

Sara Shiloh Rae’s is a Hallelujah that defies odds. It is a Hallelujah that does the impossible: namely, it makes the song sound fresh. 

The stunning Yiddish translation, penned by klezmer-punk artist, Daniel Kahn, plays a large part in that. 

But it’s also the uncanny ease of the Yiddish language on Ms. Rae’s tongue, her innate musicality and uniquely powerful voice, which are so arresting here. It also helps that she has a world-class group of musicians in her band.

Bluebird Junction, founded in 2020 by Ms. Rae and her partner Max Hoetzel (banjo/guitar) is a rotating roster of all-star talent. With Mike Robinson on pedal steel and John Fatum on drums ( Sarah Jarosz Band) Myles Sloniker on bass ( Jacob Joliff Band) and Mr. Hoetzel on acoustic and electric guitar, there is an urgency and drive to the band, which never loses its exquisite sensitivity.

It is a musical conversation one hopes will continue for decades to come.

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