Yamma Ensemble creates the most authentic early Jewish music available.
Yamma Ensemble, a music group specializing in original and traditional Hebrew music, has done a masterful job setting Psalm 104 to a traditional Jewish Babylonian-style melody and utilized the original ancient Hebrew lyrics, just as King David wrote it.
The band plays traditional Hebrew instruments — duduk, ney, kopuz, oud, shofar — and sings in ancient Hebrew in order to bring their audience the most authentic early Jewish music available. On their website, they talk about their style:
“It creates the feeling of ancient times, strong sense of spiritual heritage & tradition although the materials are sometimes original and contemporary.”
The public seems to agree with them, as they have performed their unique brand of ancient music with a modern taste all over the world. Funny enough, they never expected the band to succeed in such a way. The band began as just a group of friends who enjoyed the sounds of their ancestors.
One of the things that identifies Middle Eastern music and separates it from Western music is that it follows a system of quarter-tones. Imagine if each fret of a guitar, or key on a piano, were separated from the next by another fret or key with a tone halfway between the two. These new notes would be quarter tones. What sounds like melisma to us is actually a carefully constructed melodic line.
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