From the CD cover:
The Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe by Modreck Maeresera (President of the Harere Lemba Synagogue, educator and shochet) Excerpts:
Our ancestors migrated from Judaea soon after the destruction of the Second Temple. Their first stop was Sena,Yemen (perhaps modern day Sana), then to Mozambique, and eventually to Zimbabwe, where they settled in the area of what is today Masvingo Province near the Great Zimbabwe, an historic archaeological site from which the country takes its name.
The Lemba believe in one G-d who we call Musiki (The Creator) and we pray directly to Him. Lemba cultural traditions like dietary laws, circumcision and the observance and celebration of holidays are strongly linked to the belief in one G-d. (and are the same as found in the Torah)
Over the years, many writers have recorded the claims of Jewish descent by Lemba leaders from Zimbabwe and South Africa; they have pointed to Lemba religious observances as proof of their Jewish origins. But without written documentation by the Lemba, or anyone else, much of this was discounted. In the last few years, advanced DNA research has found the same “Cohen modal haplotype" among the Lemba, as is found among Jews worldwide, both Ashkenasic and Separadic.
More than 52% of all males in the Buba clan, who in Lemba oral tradition, served as the Lemba priests and had a leadership role in bringing the Lemba out of Israel, have the Cohen modal haplotype. These results appear to validate our oral tradition.
The Nusach Project:
In the summer of 2017, Kulanu board member and activist Sandy Leeder and I were wading in Yam Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee. We talked about the Lemba and Kulanu “Nusach Project” created to compose melodies for the Lemba synagogues. He sent me some recording by composer Hamlet Zhou and I was deeply moved--by the emotion and the African sound. With the help of donations from Kulanu, myself and my dear friend, Sandy Perlo z’’l, I was able to coordinate the recording process in Zimbabwe and in Los Angeles. Hamlet and his choir recorded at Black Identity studios in Harare. His engineer, Kuda Maestro sent the files (songs 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7) to me and I worked with Palo Henderson (son of famed guitarist Marlo Henderson) to add tracks--my son Justin played bass and I played violin and mandolin. Palo masterfully recorded and mixed those tracks. The others were completely recorded and mixed at Black Identity in Harare--with Hamlet playing mbira and guitars with his choir. This project is a magical fusion of African Lemba music with a sweet taste of western funk. But the ingredient that ties it together is it’s magnificent Jewish character!!!! HMS
1. Oseh Shalom (May the Holy One create peace)
2. Ahava Rabba (We are loved with a great love)
3. Birchot HaShachar, (Morning Blessings)
4. Ein Kamochah (There is none like You)
5. Halleluyah Psalm 150
6. Dayenu (It would have been enough)
7. Sim Shalom (Make peace)
8. Amidah (The “standing prayer”)
9. Ein Keloheinu (There is none like our G-d)
10. Adon Olam (Master of the World)
All songs written by Hamlet Zhou based on siddur liturgy
Guitar: Hamlet Zhou
Rhythm Guitar (cut #1 only): Hazzan Mike Stein
Mbira: Hamlet Zhou
Keyboards: Palo Henderson
Bass: Justin Stein (except #9)
Percussion: Palo Henderson
Mandolin: Hazzan Mike Stein
Violin: Hazzan Mike Stein
Choir: Nomsa Hwingwiri; Brenda Maeresera; George Zvakavapano; Brighton Zhou; Hamlet Zhou; Sheron Zhou
Executive Producer: Hazzan Mike Stein
All songs recorded at Black Identity Studios in Harare.
1, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 10 Mixed, arranged and programmed in Los Angeles at PЯH Studios by Palo Henderson.
Violin, mandolin and guitar on song #1 recorded at Eilat Studios. Bass recorded at Justin Stein Music.
All songs mastered at SwanSound Studios, Brad Swanson engineer
For more information about the Lemba go to kulanu.org
Visit the Harere Lemba Syngagogue at facebook.com/hararelembasynagogue
For more information on Hazzan Mike Stein go to michaelsteinmusic.com