Zohar’s Nigun is an album created by violinist Daniel Wiltlinger, who dedicated The Four Questions (Rectify) in honor of his father, listed in the album credits as “a man committed to the notion of peace and goodwill between peoples of all backgrounds and cultures.” That might be the perfect way to describe the music on this, as Weltlinger’s group, Zohan’s Nigun (Alan Ilsar on drums, Simon Milmen on bass, and Daniel Pliner on piano) take it on with the beautiful “Yerushalayim”, before the album goes into a nice mix of original compositions and traditional Hebrew songs, including “Hinei Ma Tov U Ma Naim” and “Ma Nishtana”, which is the source of the album’s title. In many ways, the songs link the traditions of not only the past and present, but also the culture links between generations, and maybe goes out of its way to show the link between different styles of music and cultures, to show that while there is a mythical world of difference, we’re all on the same planet, so why not enjoy each other for the differences instead of hating.
It’s part celebration, partly words/music of passion, a bit of sorrow, and proper acknowledgement, perhaps a younger generation being thankful for the elders for keeping old traditions alive and finding value in those traditions (spiritual, ethnic, musical, or otherwise). Zohar’s Nigun doesn’t answer The Four Questions but merely brings them up for sound discussion, and that in itself may lead to the answers sought after. Away from its assumed definitions, it’s simply music without barriers, and that’s always a good thing.