IN THE DIRECTION
DEAN SHARP & ZOE B. ZAK
ZOE's soulful vocals sung in Hebrew, English & Arabic weave with her accordion lines, piano textures & the rhythms of DEAN SHARP's drum & percussion landscapes. Together with with the following amazing musicians, they create a unique musical environment.
Zoe's liner notes from IN THE DIRECTION:
I want to tell you something about these songs, specifically the ones that are in Hebrew or Arabic. I hope this will give you deeper insight into what motivates me to write...it's always love in one form or another.
You remember me telling you about young Hugo being diagnosed with leukemia this past year. I needed to do something that would let him know how much I care for him; this HEALING PRAYER is the result. It comes from Torah: "Ail na refa na la," the words Moses cried out to Hashem when his sister Miriam became sick, "Oh G-d, please heal her." For Hugo, and to make it a healing prayer for us all, I added the words, "please heal him, please heal us." I layered those same words in Arabic over the Hebrew text to create this Healing Prayer for him in both languages. You know me, I can't bring the Muslim and Jewish worlds close enough. Thankfully, Hugo is now in remission.
On my first trip to Israel so many things struck me in such a profound way. One of my strongest memories is walking through the Old City in Jerusalem, hearing the seamless and beautiful weaving of Hebrew and Arabic being spoken. I was fascinated that both Arabs and Jews greet one another with the identical greeting. The Arabs say "ASSALAAMU ALAYKUM" and the response is "Wa'alaykumu-ssalaam." The Jews say "Shalom Aleychem" and respond "Aleychem Shalom." This song is a recognition and celebration of things shared between these two ancient peoples and my fervent prayer for peace between them.
I know you know that a NIGUN is a song without words. My friends Lisa and Dan had a baby this past year and, late one night as I struggled to think what I could give them for a baby gift, this melody began flowing through me. I sang this at his bris and then at shul during his baby-naming.
Do you remember meeting my student Zoe? Well, her Torah portion was the Ten Commandments and her Haftorah was from the book of Ruth. "Do not urge me to desert you, to turn away from you," RUTH said to her mother-in-law Naomi. "For wherever you go, I shall go, where you lodge, I will lodge, your people are my people, and your G-d is my G-d." I was touched by Ruth's declaration of love and total devotion. This song is an expression of that love.
We say SHEHECHIYANU to acknowledge and praise Hashem, thanking G-d for giving us life, and keeping us alive until this moment in time. It is said at every significant occasion, and is my very favorite blessing. I can't think of a better way to say thank you than that.
My love to you and to dad whose memory is a great and wondrous blessing. I hope you hear some of both of you in me.