Shbahoth is the Iraqi for songs of praise.
This anthology presents for the first time on CD the greatest of the Iraqi Jewish singers in historical
recordings from the1920's. This reissue, the first in a series of historic Jewish recordings by Renair
records, makes available, in carefully remastered sound by Duncan Cowell (well known for his work for
the Ace label), echoes of two milennia of tradition.
The Jewish tradition in Iraq goes back to the time of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem by
Nebuchanezzer and the subsequent exile to Babylon some 2,500 years ago. This unbroken tradition
finally ended in 1950-51 when virtually the whole Jewish community left Iraq for Israel. Although some
recordings were made in Israel by Iraqi singers this anthology allows us to hear the authentic sounds of
Iraq without later influences.
Following a chance discovery by Julian Futter of the original 78's (which included unissued test
pressings), Julian and Sara Manasseh, the distinguished music scholar, whose family came from Iraq,
decided to make these records available again.
Her illuminating sleeve notes places the music in its religious perspective and makes it accessible to
the non-specialist listener.
At a time when, sadly, the attention of the world is directed to Iraq it is good to be reminded that there
was once a happier time when harmony and cultural diversity was possible.
CD Available from Honest Jons