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Lyre of the Levites: Jewish Music for Biblical Kinnor

Michael Levy

Jewish music performed on an evocation of the 10-string Biblical 'Kinnor' - the lyre of my very own, very ancient Levite ancestors...

"Lyre of the Levites – Jewish Music for Biblical Kinnor" is the sequel to my 2008 album, "King David's Lyre; Echoes of Ancient Israel". Both of these albums are dedicated to recreating again, for the first time in almost 2000 years, the mystical, ancient sounds of the "kinnor"; the ancient Jewish Temple lyre, once played by my very own, very ancient Levite ancestors in the Courtyard of the Temple of Jerusalem, to accompany the singing of the Levitical Choir (II Chronicles 5:12). For myself then, putting together these fascinating musical projects have been quite literally, the ultimate experiment in recreating my own extreme “roots music”!


"Lyre of the Levites" uniquely features arrangements of primarily traditional melodies from the Jewish Klezmer repertoire arranged for solo Levitical Lyre - the concept of the musical performances on this album, are meant to be evocations, not reconstructions, of the sounds & playing techniques that were possible on the ten-stringed Kinnor of the Bible; there are sadly too few unambiguously notated melodies from antiquity to make an album of "note for note" reconstructions of ancient instrumental solo lyre music a feasible reality.

However, the traditional Jewish scales/modes in which these pieces are actually written may well have roots which stretch deeply back to these distant, mystically remote Biblical times, according to the fascinating research of the late Suzanne Haik Vantoura, in attempting to reconstruct the original 3000 year old music of the Hebrew Bible.

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Duelling African Lyres: The Ancient Egyptian Lyre and the Kenyan Obokano

Michael Levy & Nick Vest

The ancient Egyptian lyre and the Kenyan Obokano - two magnificent African lyres, separated in time by 3,500 years, are finally brought together!

Two magnificent African lyres, separated in time by 3,500 years, are finally brought together for the first time! My replica ancient Egyptian lyre meets an authentic Kenyan Obokano:

In March 2019, I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow lyre plucking friend, Nick Vest - who somehow managed to lug this enormous Kenyan bass lyre all the way from LA to the UK - just to jam with me!!!

The other African lyre I am playing, separated in time from the contemporary Kenyan Obokano by about 3,500 years, is a replica of an actual, surviving ancient Egyptian lyre; miraculously preserved in Leiden:

My replica Egyptian lyre, was custom made by Luthieros:

The resulting totally spontaneous improvisation was quite literally, the most exotic, ethnic lyre duet to have emanated from my front room - a magical musical moment now forever preserved in this unique recording!

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Ancient Egyptian Magic

Michael Levy & Remon Sakr

An evocation of the practice of magic of ancient Egypt - through nothing more than the spells of music!

An evocation of the practice of magic of ancient Egypt - through nothing more than the timeless spells of music!

In the creation of this other worldly sounding, ancient Egyptian-themed EP, I am delighted to announce an ongoing international collaboration between myself, the Egyptian film score composer & ethnic Egyptian wind instrumentalist, Remon Sakr.

Also featuring in the first two tracks of this album, is the haunting sounds of the Cairo cellist, Jan Abadier, whose intense cello playing weaves dark threads of sound across the timbre of my lyres and exotic Egyptian rhythms...

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