Kol Rina

Jewish A Cappella Group

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Ashira is our first CD album, which was launched in June 2003.

About the album

Ashira brought together the best songs from our repertoire at that time. The result is a CD of 14 tracks which are completely diverse in style, ranging from the funky to the contemplative and beautiful. What they all have in common is the lack of any musical instruments - this is a truly "unplugged" album!

Review by Gaby Wine

From the Jewish Chronicle, 13 June 2003:

OK choral

MUSIC: Gaby Wine on the vocal heroes of the Kol Rina choir.

Kol Rina - Ashira * * * *

It's been a long wait for this CD by Kol Rina, the only (to my knowledge) mixed a cappella Jewish choir. But well worth it though.

The group, whose name aptly means "Voice of Joy," has taken prayers and traditional songs and put many of them to original scores. The result is impressive.

It is hard to single out the best, since all are very listenable. Among my favourites are the uplifting "Av Harachamim," and "Shuva," both composed by group director and singer, Miki Grahame.

Alicia Ambrose has arranged a particularly funky version of "Ma Nishtana," and given the Purim verse, "Shoshanat Yaakov" a modern, minimalist score.

There are some commendable solo performances, but ultimately the strength of this group lies in its united approach. Like the tapestry pictured on the CD cover, the individual voices weave together to create a beautiful, colourful piece of art.

The CD is available from www.kolrina.org, and you can see the group perform on Sunday, in Highgate (details in 7 Days on page 50)

Album images

front cover:

inside of booklet:

back of booklet:


Most of the songs are original compositions by two members of the group: Alicia Ambrose and Miki Grahame.


1. Kah Echsof
Hear an excerpt (750k)
Read the lyrics
Words: Shabbat Song by R. Aharon of Karlin
Music: Miki Grahame
"God, I yearn for the pleasantness of Shabbat, which is twinned and unified with your treasured people"
2. Av Harachamim
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Words: Torah service
Music: Miki Grahame
A new setting of the words traditionally sung in the synagogue before bringing out the Torah
3. Ma Nishtana
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Words: Passover Haggadah
Music: Alicia Ambrose

The youngest child at the Passover seder asks "Ma Nishtana" - "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

Why is this "Ma Nishtana" different from all others? As the music unfolds we hear themes representing different aspects of the Passover story: the working chant of slavery and the joyful melody of freedom

4. Ashira
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Read the lyrics
Words: Psalm 104
Music: Miki Grahame

An exuberant song about singing: "I will sing to God while I live..."

Ashira lashem b'chayai, azamra leilokai b'odi
Ye'erav alav sichi, anochi esmach bashem
Yitamu chata'im min ha'aretz, ur'sha'im od einam
Barchi nafshi et hashem, halelukah

5. Mochel Avonot
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Words: Selichot and Yom Kippur services
Music: Joshua Abrass
A much-loved traditional song describing God's compassion
6. Haneyrot Hallalu
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Words: Chanukah candle lighting
Music: Alicia Ambrose
The candles of Chanukah celebrate the miracles which brought the Jewish people out of darkness to light
7. Ashrei
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Words: Psalm 84
Music: Miki Grahame
A funky setting for this well-known verse
8. Eli Eli
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Words: Hannah Senesh
Music: David Zahavi
Arrangement: Alicia Ambrose
Hannah Senesh's famous poem: "May these things never end: the sand and the sea, the rushing waters, the thunder of the heavens - and the prayer of man"
9. Shomer Yisrael
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Words: Weekday Tachanun prayer
Music: Miki Grahame
In this lively song, we ask God to protect the unique people of Israel
10. Shoshanat Yaakov
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Words: Purim service
Music: Alicia Ambrose
A minimalist rendering of this cheerful Purim verse
11. Ozi
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Words: Hallel, Psalm 118
Music: Miki Grahame
An all-female arrangement of the verses from which we take our name Kol Rina - Voice of Joy
12. Shuva
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Words: Isaiah 44
Music: Miki Grahame
A song about the transforming power of forgiveness. As God wipes away our mistakes "like a mist", the sky, hills and trees "burst into song"
13. Uv'nei
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Words: Grace after meals
Music: Mozart
A classical tribute to that admirable Ashkenazi - Mozart. We have set the Hebrew phase "Uv'nei yerushalayim ir hakodesh bimheyra b'yameynu" to the music of this 3-part puzzle canon
14. Ilu Finu
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Words: Nishmat prayer, Shabbat morning service
Music: Miriam Margles
Arrangement: Kol Rina
Ilu finu malei shira kayam "If only our mouths were as full of song as the sea"


All tracks performed by Kol Rina:



Top row: Alicia Ambrose, Andrew Levy, Emma Sevitt
Second row: Karin Shmueli, Julian Gilbey
Third row: Dan Myers, Daniel Eilon
Bottom row: Miki Grahame, Natalie Grazin

Photograph by Ben Bird

The development of Ashira was made possible by a grant from the European Association for Jewish Culture

We are grateful to West London Synagogue for letting us use the beautiful Sanctuary as our recording venue,
and to Yakar for generously providing rehearsal space and much support over the years.

The album was recorded and mixed by Andy Shaw and Jon Fiber of Shock Productions

Cover design by Miki Grahame

Produced by Miki Grahame and Alicia Ambrose

Buy the CD

If you would like to purchase a CD, please email info@kolrina.org.