Being in His Presence: A Review of the Album “Ana Elech”

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If one word could describe Birgitta Veksler’s new album, “Ana Elech”, it would be, “diverse”. Such diversity, though, does not distract from the heartfelt worship on the disc! With a blend of upbeat Middle Eastern sounds to deep personal reflections, “Ana Elech (Where Shall I Go)” provides a creative landscape in Israeli Messianic music, with a unique emphasis almost exclusively from the Psalms.

Veksler, born in Sweden, moved to Israel at age twelve. She then participated in the popular Kochav Nolad (the Israeli version of “Idol”) and placed eighth in the national singing competition. At the same time, she recognized the beauty and richness of the Word of God. “I used to go to my workplace in the mornings and I had a habit of opening my day with reading the Psalms” says Veksler, “and as a part of my daily reading, the Lord started giving me melodies and showing me lyrics of songs. It really felt like someone took me to a tour and showed me how He wanted things to sound like.”

Regarding the music on the album, she says, “I wrote the songs down and when the time was right and the right people surrounded me, they took shape and turned real!” Two of these right people were producers and musicians Jamie Hilsden and Pawel Zarecki. They both are no strangers to the Messianic music world. Birgitta continues, “They really captured the sounds God put on my heart and made melodies in my head become real.”

The songs, all originals, express a deep longing to be in the Presence of the Lord and the desire to exalt His Name. The first track, “Esa Nafshi (I lift up my Soul)” is an a cappella piece that ushers the listener into the Secret Place, while “Ana Elech (Where Shall I Go)” elevates the soul, using beautiful harmonies within voices and instruments.

The next tracks, “Chaneni (Be Merciful unto me)” and “Nodeh L’cha (We give thanks)” provide the listener with an authentic Jerusalem sound and feel, featuring the Persian tar and much percussion. Afterwards, “Bitchu (Trust)”, “Chai Adonai (The Lord lives)”, and “Yidaber Shalom” (He shall speak peace)”, comprise a slower suite that bring the listener into a time of deep worship, with a build of the instrumentation and orchestration. This reaches a peak with the sound of cymbal rolls and hand drums over the soothing guitar rhythms and piano lines in “Yidaber Shalom”.

The next tracks conclude the album with a sense of joy. “Tam Libi (Honest Heart)” picks the tempo up and call us to sing praises to God’s Great Name, with a nice indie feel to it, while “Hariu (Sing praise)” switches to a Mizrahi flavor, yet gives the same message. The final piece is “Rachum V’Chanun (Merciful and Gracious)”, a short afterthought of how good the Lord is, bringing the listener full circle.

The goal of the album is to draw people closer to the rich meaning of the Psalms. Birgitta says, “I really hope that the listener would experience what God took me through as He showed me these songs. I still am amazed by how He appears in these songs and how you can discover Him again and again through the living words of David.” May all be inspired by the beauty of the Word of God and continue to seek Him through these beautiful sounds.

Click here to purchase the album on Birgitta’s website.

Click on the video below to watch a music video of the one the songs on this album: Chaneni.