Zohar's Nigun - The Four Questions
Released April 2012

‘Zohar’s Nigun is composed of four gents who not only ply their instruments in a rather unique exposition of traditional and modern modes but who also explore the ethnic and cultural wherewithal which, in this case, generated the Jewish /Yiddish tradition. The Four Questons is in fact the most progressive application of distinctly Yiddish style I’ve ever heard, yet, while spinning the ancient mode out to its farthest reaches, they also manage to preserve its essence and, in doing so, pay lavish tribute to the genius underlying.’

Mark S. Tucker – FAME review

Daniel Weltlinger – violin
Daniel Pliner – piano
Simon Milman – double bass
Alon Ilsar – drums

Recorded 2011 at 301 Studios, Sydney Australia
Recording Engineer Bob Scott
Produced by Daniel Weltlinger, Daniel Pliner and Bob Scott
Mixed by Bob Scott
Mastered by Don Bartley
Photos care of Alex Weltlinger and Gabor Balogh
Artwork care of Dean Burton
All arrangements copyright of Zohar’s Nigun 2011

1. Yerushalayim (Naomi Shemer/arrangement Zohar’s Nigun) – 6:11
2. Kohanim/Avinu Malkeinu (Traditional/arrrangement Zohar’s Nigun) – 5:59
3. Hallel (Traditional/arrangement Zohar’s Nigun) – 4:59
4. Ma Nishtana (Traditional/arrangement Zohar’s Nigun) – 4:21
5. Hinei Ma Tov U Ma Naim (Traditional/arrangement Zohar’s Nigun) – 4:23
6. Interlude (Zohar’s Nigun) – 0:21
7. Ahava Raba (Daniel Weltlinger) – 4:34
8. Galaktoboureko (Simon Milman) – 3:57
9. The Wanderer (Daniel Pliner) – 4:02
10. Enio’s Wedding Dance (Alon Ilsar) – 4:22
11. Shema (Traditional) – 0:29

Jazz is a music form that can blend in with just about any national, cultural or ancient traditional music – a truly democratic, multilingual, multifaceted art form. ‘Zohar’s Nigun’ – literally translated as a song from the depths of one’s soul – is about the reality that is one’s family origins no matter where in the world one happens to be based in the increasingly rapid paced globalised contemporary reality that is the 21st Century.

Using the analogy of four ethnically Jewish musicians from multicultural 21st Century Australia – a land populated for an estimated 40-80,000 years by Indigenous tribes – the conceptual point of the band is that every single human being has a family heritage that they belong to that is unique and virtually impossible to simply categorise or generalise about in a simple cliche. No one can simply ‘choose’ where their parents are from, where they happen to have been born or what their skin colour or ethnicity happens to be – this is logically impossible. It simply is, it is beautiful and it is meant to be.

Devoid of the usual cultural clichés these four guys with Jewish heritage from Australia present four very different understandings of an ancient yet ever metamorphosing cultural and ethnic heritage. Utilising a sharp sense of humour as well as a deep understanding of history and it’s endless repercussions, the music created by Zohar’s Nigun offers a potent antidote to the destructive nature of predjudice and stereotyping. Shalom!

John Shand – Sydney Morning Herald, July 7 2012:

‘Were Daniel Weltlinger’s violin any more fragile in Yerushalayim, it would break just from being listened to. This spell-binding performance opens an album from which Weltlinger has assembled other Australian musicians of Jewish heritage to investigate matters of identiy via a combination of original and traditional pieces.’

His violin is joined by Daniel Pliner’s piano, Simon Milman’s bass and Alon llsar’s drums. All four have a keen instinct for extracting essences, rather than dealing in the surfaces of bravura playing. This is in keeping with the album’s theme of sharing the music in a spirit of peace and goodwill rather than cultural parochialism. Minimal notes and beauty of sound are the credo when their work is at it’s very finest.

Often the violin weeps on the shoulder of the other instruments, conjuring that singular emotion for which our language has no word, where sadness and beauty merge.

But that mood is not relentless. Hallel is played with a swagger and a wink, and Ma Nishtana with a sense of manic fun. The other inflection in the music is the lingua franca of improvisation , jazz, with Hinei Ma Tov U Ma Naim having thrilling interplay between piano, bass and drums. The original compositions, meanwhile, stand up amid the traditional. Milman’s Galaktaboureko spawns strong solos, and Pliner’s The Wanderer enchants with its evocation of lonely, peaceful endeavour.’