Micha’el & Ashley BenDavid debut their new Messianic music album,
Kol Yonah / Voice of a Dove
Summary: A beautiful new album from Israeli psalmist Micha’el Ben David and his wife Ashley. Samples from the new album with review of each song, plus a free song download for you, fine Kineti reader.
I’m a big fan of music for Messiah. I grow closer to God chiefly through music; it’s the lubricant that lets the heart to speak freely to my God. I haven’t found its match in any other medium. Prayer comes close, study can be enlightening, but singing from the heart praises due to God is unmatched in my life.
Music enables intimacy with God, unlocks my joy, gets my feet tapping, it even inspires divine service. The longest and perhaps greatest book of the Bible – and even the Bible’s longest chapter – was inspired by and set to music by the righteous.
Music for the Lord has blessed me, encouraged me, caused me to grow closer to God. It continues to do so to this day.
I’ve used my talents for the Lord in this regard as well: I lead music at my local Messianic congregation, I created Chavah Messianic Radio to amplify Messiah’s music, and I built MessianicChords to empower musicians to learn and play music from our great Jewish and Christian heritage of music for the King of the Universe.
All that said, I’m stoked to announce a new album for the Lord by Micha’el BenDavid and his wife Ashley. It’s entitled Kol Yonah, Voice of a Dove.
You’ll find below a review of each song with sample audio, and, if you’re so kind to read this review, enjoy a free download from the new album at the end of this post.
1. The Seventh Day
The album has several songs for shabbat, and the album itself is Micha’el’s 7th album. I think it’s quite fitting, then, to open the album with a beautiful, strings-filled Scripture reading of the first Shabbat, Hebrew and English.
2. Lecha Dodi
The erev shabbat liturgy with a new musical take.
“Let’s go, my beloved, to meet the bride
And let us welcome the presence of Shabbat”
A female eastern-sounding vocal accompanied by harp opens. Then Micha’el enters with soft singing and saxophone for the intro.
This gives way to the driving sound of a modern, hip sound with soft drums and saxophone singing through several stanzas of the shabbat-welcoming, Messianic redemptive verses, all in Hebrew.
3. Adon Olam
A beautiful, somber take on the traditional prayer Adon Olam, which extols God’s preexistence and His eternal kingship.
Adon Olam has been wildly popular in the Jewish and Messianic worlds. Its storied history produced hundreds of melodies and covers. Perhaps the most well-known melody of Adon Olam is a version created by the 1960s band The Village Stompers. (Amusing side bar: Did the Village Stompers really write the tune for Adon Olam?)
For example, several Messianic artists have covered the traditional tune of Adon Olam:
- Barry & Batya Segal – Adon Olam
- Kol Simcha – Adon Olam
- The Lumbrosos – Adon Olam
- New Wine – Adon Olam
- Mijael Hayom – Adon Olam
Moreover, several artists have done original takes on Adon Olam:
- Philip Stanley Klein – Adon Olam, Lord of the World
- Troy Mitchell – Adon Olam
- Star of David Singers – Adon Olam
(Sidebar: Philip Stanley Klein’s version of Adon Olam is in the top 5 ranked songs of all time on Chavah – clearly a favorite among Messianic music lovers. And perhaps more so after his death this summer.)
Now, Micha’el and Ashley add their original take on Adon Olam. It’s masterfully done, rivalling if not surpassing the others.
Soft, piano, violin set a mood that, in my opinion, mirrors the somber yet majestic tone of the ancient prayer. Micha’el drives the singing until the end when Ashley’s soft voice joins in. Beautifully done. One of the best songs on the album.
Intro in English with the full song in Hebrew.
4. Osseh Shalom
I had the pleasure of singing and playing this one with Micha’el & Ashley when they visited my congregation a few months ago.
An original, soft jazz take on the old prayer for God to make peace on us and all Israel. Soft sax and drums flow through an easy-to-sing, memorable chorus. I’ve found myself humming this one at work and whistling it at home; it’s catchy, memorable, soft and beautiful.
Mostly Hebrew, with Ashley singing one section in English.
5. Pote’ach et Yadecha (Open Up Your Gracious Hand)
This song has impacted my prayers and given me a new appreciation for God’s provision.
Taken from the psalms, it highlights an aspect of God’s power and provision, a depth which I had somehow never really absorbed into my understanding: God opens His hand, feeding and sustaining all living things. That inspires awe in me.
This statement sums up God’s grace: out of His goodness, he feeds and sustains life. It sums up God’s knowledge and power – he set the planets in motion, placed the earth at just the right distance from the sun to give us warmth, enabling the seasons to come and go, bringing rain to feed the plants, the plants in turn feeding the animals, and in this way God sustains all living things.
From microscopic life to the complexity of human life, God sustains.
Doesn’t that make you want to give thanks, folks? When I think on this, reflecting how good God is, I start giving thanks and praising God! He is good, my friends!
You open Your hand
And with Your favor You satisfy every living thing.
This simple song alternates the English and Hebrew of this psalm, with interspersed lai lai lais. Intro by Micha’el and outro by Ashley. Truly a beautiful, heartfelt song that has changed even the way I pray. One of the best songs on the album.
6. Adonai Uri (The Lord is My Light)
Out of Psalm 27, one of my favorites psalms. Why? It reminds me that I belong to the Lord, and I’m safe and secure under Him.
“The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strong tower of my life; whom shall I fear?”
Put it in perspective. If the King of All is the savior of *my* life, what do I have to worry about? I’m secure: God will care for me, God will preserve my soul. Sin, suffering, death is all temporary and will disappear. Money, possessions, material things will all turn to dust. But the God who made everything will see to it that I’m preserved with Him.
That’s a relief, fine friends, isn’t it? That’s a joyful thing to look ahead to! Hallelu!
Micha’el and Ashley put this old trust-inspiring psalm to a beautiful new tune and once again, the tune strikes a tone and mood that fits the original psalm so well.
Heavy strings, violin and flute pull at the heart. A soft and smooth melody build the trusting and confidence in the Lord that the psalmist put into words. Micha’el begins softly in Hebrew, with Ashley coming in tenderly in English.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of this song is when Ashley sings
“The one thing I’ve desired of the Lord
That will I seek
That I may dwell in the house of Adonai
All the days of my life”
..and Micha’el echoes back, amplifying the divine Messiah:
To behold the beauty of Yeshua
All the days of my life
And to inquire in His Temple
Where He will set me on a rock
Flowing from this, they sing beautiful worship together, with Micha’el in a low tone and Ashley high. The repeat the above verses corporately: “The one thing we’ve desired of the Lord, that we will seek: that we may dwell in the House of Adonai all the days of our lives…”
Adonai Uri contributes to the staggering worshipful beauty characterizing Kol Yonah. This Hebrew and English song is in my top 3 on the album.
7. When Israel Was a Child
Prophecy song from Hosea 11,
When Israel was a child I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called My son.
With gentle cords and bonds of love I drew them
I became to Israel as One lifting a yoke
I bent down to them and fed them
These words of the prophet are of particular significance to Yeshua’s disciples. The gospels writers midrash on Hosea – whose name means salvation – to point to God calling Messiah out from Egypt.
This song will resonate with many folks in the Messianic and Hebrew Roots movement who have left the mainstream church and abandoned dead religion for renewal in God’s Torah. Part ways through the song, Micha’el adds his own midrash on Hosea:
Out of Babylon I’m calling My Bride
Out of confusion I’m calling Zion
Out of religion I’m calling My Bride
All because I love her
This speaks to something God is tangibly doing in our day: causing many non-Jews to see the goodness of God’s Torah, abandon dead religion, abandon anti-Semitic Church doctrines, see the Jewish people in new light as God’s chosen, and gain a new identity as first-class citizens within the enlarged commonwealth of Israel.
These same words speak to Jewish believers, too. I don’t know whether this was Micha’el’s intent or not, but as I read into it, he call for Jews and Gentiles to avoid the trappings of ritual religion devoid of God’s spirit. This is needed. There is a pull in Messianic Judaism towards what is essentially Orthodox Judaism + Yeshua. Micha’el’s midrash on Hosea in this song calls both Jew and Gentile to something higher still: out of suffocating religion and into renewal through God’s Word and God’s Spirit.
Following after God need not devolve merely into ritualistic religion. While the various flavors of Orthodox Judaism are not all dead religion, for some it has become exactly that. Yeshua calls us to something higher than mere religion, higher than ritual, higher than tradition. Religion, ritual, and tradition may all be well and fine in their proper order, but they are a sideshow, not the main attraction, a shadow and not the essence.
Meaningful, prophetic song with practical application today. English.
8. Esther Song
Esther’s heroic act of self sacrifice for the sake of the Jews in Persia:
Go and gather all the Jews present in Shushan
And fast for me, neither eat nor drink for three days,
My servants and I will likewise fast
So I will go to the King, which is against the law
And if I perish, I perish
As you may recall the Purim story, Esther approaches the Persian King to appeal the ruling that would see all the Jews murdered by royal decree. (A precursor to the Holocaust, in some ways.)
Approaching the king without being summoned meant death, unless the king raised his scepter and permitted the approach.
Esther’s sacrifice was this: she put her life on the line in order to save the Jews of Persia.
I love that Micha’el and Ashley turned these powerful words of self-sacrifice for the sake of the Jewish people into song. Ashley sings it powerfully to a haunting piano background.
The message of interceding for Israel remains for the disciples of Yeshua. Paul writes in the New Testament, “If I could somehow be cut off from Messiah for the sake of my people Israel, I would do it!” It echoes Moses’ own pleading with God for rebellious Israel, and again told through Esther’s actions.
Micha’el and Ashley change up the words towards the end of the song, “Go and gather all the of the Jews who are present in the whole world.” I think this alludes to the end of the 2000 year old Jewish exile and moreover the spiritual blindness-in-part of Israel, a time the rabbis refer to as bat kol, the time of small voice [of God]. Our plea for Israel continues until the time of complete and total redemption, which comes only at Messiah’s appearance. These supplications and heart desires for Israel are summed up well in Esther’s Song.
9. Taste & See
Ah, an old favorite melody remade fresh with the beauty of Ashley's vocals set to violin and piano.
I first fell in love with this song years ago when Micha’el released it in his first album, named after this very song:
I’m not alone: that song is highly-ranked on Chavah Messianic Radio, and one of Micha’el’s top ranked songs.
This new version, however, surpasses it truly: heartfelt sincerity comes through Ashley’s soft singing. Micha’el joins in for the chorus as the piano and violin build up to its climax: “In Yeshua will our souls rejoice!”
10. Rejoice in Yah!
Rejoice in Yah, all you tzaddikim, all you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful!
Praise Adonai with the harp!
Make melody to Him with the stringed instrument!
Easily the most joyful song on the album. You can’t keep still; it may well be impossible to listen to the song and not get your feet tapping and head moving back and forth. Praise Yah, make melody to Him! Sing a new song! Yes!
Love this joyful song!
You can hear Micha’el really has fun with this one, shouts of joy and even laughter throughout this song. Each verse is interspersed with Micha’el reading from Psalm 33, followed by a loud chorus of voices singing, “Praise Yah! … Sing to Him a new song! Play skillfully with shouts of joy!”
Ashley’s flute works marvelously on this track. Upbeat, hip kind of flute playing adds pep to this joyful ensemble. Best song on the album.
11. Tuv Yerushalaim (The Good of Jerusalem)
Out of Psalm 128, The Lord will bless you from Zion. This psalm is special to me as I often pray this blessing over my family during erev shabbat dinner at my home:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, מִצִּיּוֹן: וּרְאֵה, בְּטוּב יְרוּשָׁלִָם--כֹּל, יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ
וּרְאֵה-בָנִים לְבָנֶיךָ: שָׁלוֹם, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל
The LORD bless you from Zion;
May you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of thy life
May you see your children’s children
Peace be upon Israel!
The blessing is part of a broader psalm in which the psalmist answers, “How will a man who fears God be blessed?”
Being blessed by God from Zion, living long enough to see your grandkids, seeing the good of Jerusalem, seeing peace upon Israel. That’s better than any Western prosperity gospel.
I had first heard this melody several years ago as part of a live performance by Micha’el. This new version is softer and Ashley lends her gentle voice. As with so many of the songs on this album, the combination of male and female vocal, husband and wife together praising God beautifies the whole thing. Hebrew.
12. Shalom Al Yisrael (Peace Upon Israel)
Flowing from the previous song, Tuv Yerushalaim, this song is the same melody as Tuv Yerushalaim, same psalm, but set to a reggae, upbeat sound. Gets you moving! The reggae guitar sound, drums, light piano and upbeat sax combine for a fun rendition.
The song concludes with a repeated, echoed “Shalom al Yisrael.”
13. One Thing or Another
Playful, rolling, up-tempo reggae riff on Qohelet / Ecclesiastes melded with Psalm 121.
Micha’el spits a great reggae intro:
Ha! Yah man! What does the watchman say?
Am Yisrael chai!
No matter how many enemies surround us
Hashem is with us!
Lift up your heads to the hills
From where comes our help?
Our help comes from our Creator
Maker of heaven and earth!
Its verses extol how God, our help, lights up the world, overcoming the darkness of the world.
“There’s nothing new under the sun…
It seems the whole world has gone mad
There’s lawlessness all around”
The pre-chorus continues “If it’s not one thing, it’s another”, referring to the continue sins and darkness of humanity.
But, like Ecclesiastes, the song doesn’t end in despair. Instead, the chorus turns to God,
“I life my eyes to the hills,
From where then comes my help?
My help comes from Hashem
Maker of heaven and earth”
The second verse speaks of the hope of Israel: Messiah, the forgiveness found in him, His glory filling the earth. These glories and this light wins out over humanity’s sin and darkness.
The final verses end just as Ecclesiastes does. Micha’el clearly is having a blast singing this reggae tune as he belts out the final verses of Qohelet in reggae fashion:
So what is the conclusion of the matter, my friends?
Fear Yah and keep all His commandments!
For His commandments are pure
To be desired more than gold
And in keeping them there is great reward!
Then he applies these same words for today in a kind of Qohelet midrash and Messianic prophecy:
Yes, this is the conclusion of matter:
The Kingdom of Yah endures forever
Little flock don’t be afraid
The Good Shepherd’s on His way
He will trample down all evil in our day!
Lot of fun in this song, but the message is right on! God wins in the end, hallelu! And I think this is ultimately the message of Ecclesiastes: despite humans doing the same thing over and over through the ages, rehashing the same sins again and again, the conclusion is God’s glorious light blots it all out. Our responsibility as humans, then, is to follow this victorious God and keep all His commandments.
Love the message, love this fun song.
Kol Yonah / Voice of a Dove is a beautiful new work for the Lord. While Micha’el has experimented with different sounds over the years, this new album is uniquely characterized by the beauty of husband and wife worshiping together, the soft strings and piano setting the stage for heartfelt prayers, praises, and thanksgiving. It makes Kol Yonah the best album Micha’el has produced to date.
Folks, this album lifts me up, encourages me, gives me a little joy, you know? I think it’ll do the same for you, fine Kineti reader.
As a thank you for reading, here’s a free download from the new album, it’s my favorite from Kol Yonah:
Hope you enjoyed the review, and more importantly, the new music for Messiah! You can support Micha’el & Ashley by purchasing Kol Yonah / Voice of a Dove for an easy $15.