Album: Change of Light
Street Date: April 2, 2019
Release Show: Nublu, April 3, 2019

After just one listen through Change of Light, it quickly becomes clear that Sivan is not your typical jazz vocalist. Her emotive vocal performance paired with rich harmonic and melodic invention sets her apart in today’s crowded musical landscape. On Change of Light Sivan’s musical explorations are brought to life by her long-standing septet: Shai Portugaly on piano, Pera Krstajic on bass, Ron Warburg on trumpet, Jack Sheehan on alto saxophone, Ori Jacobson on tenor saxophone, and Shai Wetzer on percussion (on tracks 4, 5 and 7). The poignant second single about an unrequited love, “He Sees Her”, features a string quartet made up of violinists Meitar Forkosh and Audrey Hayes, Yumi Oshima on viola and Terrence Thornhill on cello.

Change of Light is made up of seven stories. With the exception of the classic Israeli folk song “Water Song”, the music and lyrics on Change of Light were written by Sivan and based on her personal experiences. “My first album was raw as it revealed emotions and thoughts that lingered on the surface of my soul,” says Sivan, “but this project exposes what is lurking in my heart.” To help tell her stories, Sivan draws upon a global sonic palette; she finds inspiration in Moroccan grooves, Brazilian sounds, classical Indian music and her Israeli Middle Eastern roots. The resulting sound falls somewhere between jazz and world music and is uniquely her own.

The first story, “Change,” begins with a passionate vocal refrain accompanied by gentle piano and percussion, punctuated by the stellar horn section.  Sivan notes: “This song speaks to the feeling people often experience when facing significant life changes. The anticipation of change often brings a shaky kind of feeling, as if the earth is bubbling beneath your feet.”  Her cries “fear in the unreal, the unreal is real” progress from an understated self-affirmation to a declaration about embracing the uncertain. Her emotional range aligns with the dynamic range of the ensemble and sets the tone for what’s to come.

Standout moments include the third track “Solitude”, which highlights the horn section with a sound that echoes a “jazz-like Bach Chorale”, in Sivan’s own words. With third stream leanings, the song plays with classical counterpoint in a modern jazz context. Four track “Water Song” is Sivan’s take on a traditional Israeli folk song. This arrangement, much like Sivan as an artist, takes elements of tradition and breathes new life into them. The moody “Omri”, sung in Hebrew, tells the tragic story of a dear friend who passed away to soon. Sivan’s voice radiates with emotion as she cries out for her lost loved one.

“I hope my composed stories will make the listeners feel more introspective and inspire them to look deeper into their own souls,” says Sivan, “..the more we open up, the closer we become, and this nurtures a healthier and more compassionate community.”



Sivan Arbel is ​an Israeli vocalist, bandleader and composer based in New York City. Since moving to the United States in 2014, she has established herself as one of the city’s most versatile and exciting underground vocalists. She has performed internationally at festivals and venues in Japan, Belarus, Slovakia, South Africa, Canada and Venezuela, among others.

Sivan ​has ​collaborated with an array of international musicians, including Brazilian pandeiro player Tulio Araújo, award-winning pianist Guy Mintus, virtuoso band Ichimujin, award-winning Trumpet player Rachel Therrien, and was a featured vocalist with the acclaimed supergroup, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber at NYC’s National Sawdust Theater.

Before coming to New York, Sivan ​established herself as a rising talent in Israel and Dublin, where she graduated from the Newpark Music Centre with High Honors. She is also a graduate of the acclaimed Rimon School of Music in Israel.

For Broken Lines

Broken Lines” is a wonder. Sivan Arbel has captured love and longing, respect and reflection, and then set loose an emotional and lyrical watercolor that remains fresh and lively long after the album has ended. To transmit such joy—and for it to remain so long after—must be the greatest gift one can give. So it is with Sivan, she imparts joy and it remains. Full review here. 

"...but when the ad hoc group finally launched into There Will Never Be Another You, the singer was all in, singing and scatting, showing off admirable power, poise, creativity and interaction." Read the full interview here. 

What I found most impressive is the arrangements. Arbel is clearly a very adept composer and arrangers. She writes consistently interesting and engaging songs that never do what you would expect them to but always take you along! Listen to the audio review, starting about 00:25 in here

"A non-traditional jazz vocalist, Arbel is neither thrush nor art chick and is trying mightily to blaze her own trail. A creative set aimed at creative seeking ears, this pushes the boundaries nicely." Full review here. 

"The debut album of a young Israeli woman Sivan Arbel I was pleasantly surprised." Full review here. 

An outstanding review in Italian. Read it here. 

It’s rare these days that you find a vocalist who’s both original and enjoyable. Sivan Arbel will warm your heart on this album, as her flexible yet swinging voice takes you where you want to go and even deper. Full review here. 

"Arbel seamlessly weaves lyrics, chants, scats and instrumental breaks into a colorful tapestry of sound... Her scatting ability could easily have been borrowed from the textbook of Ella Fitzgerald." Read more. 

"Sivan Arbel is negotiating the veritable minefield of music in New York with brazen confidence and appears likely to make more interesting and ever wonderful music as a result." Read full review here.