Where The Light Gets In - Jaffa Road


Where The Light Gets In can reflect so much more meaning than just a window. It can allude to a glimmer of hope, a ray of sunshine or exposing the truth; all of which may or may not be found at any given moment along Jaffa Road, one of the oldest and longest streets in Jerusalem. Cutting a swath through Christian, Jewish and Muslim quarters, it connects people who are profoundly and jointly affected by Middle East geo-political and religious tensions. Toronto global explorers Jaffa Road embrace all of these cultures through music, recently winning a John Lennon Songwriting award and following that achievement with a new studio recording called When The Light Gets In. The viscosity of their mix is as buoyant as the Dead Sea. As their press material itemizes, “Hebrew, Ladino, English, Arabic and French lyrics blend with genres of Sephardic, Arabic and Indian music, intertwined with jazz, blues, electronica, dub and rock.” It’s enough to make your head spin, but it’s also a bit of a reality check, because to best reflect the cultural tumult in the crucible of the Middle East in the 21st Century requires deep understanding and empathy. But, if it all sounds a little too heavy at the outset, just remember; it’s music and music always has a way to make beautiful sense if crafted carefully. Case in point is the opening composition ‘Ana El Na’ a gorgeous construct of oud, deep synth, eastern percussion and bansuri (an Indian flute). Vocalist Aviva Chernick chants a simple six word phrase that implores ‘please heal her’, referring to Mother Earth. Simplicity and complexity in balance and harmony, all making beautiful sense; Where The Light Gets In is even more fluid than its predecessor, Sun Place from 2009. There’s a lovely set of 3 songs in the middle of the disc beginning with yet another simple sentiment, a blessing for safe travels called ‘On Your Way’, ‘Boi Kalah’ featuring a broken drum rhythm and samples draws on the poetry of C.N. Bialik in a piece that welcomes the Sabbath Bride, and ‘Bring Love Home’, sung in Ladino (a Spanish offshoot of Hebrew) is a cry to bring comfort to suffering children. If music is indeed a window to a better world, you’ll find Jaffa Road one place where the light gets in.