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Heike Zehe Waltraud Rennebaum

25 years

Ensemble SHOSHAN

Waltraud Rennebaum
lead vocals, hand drums, presentation

Raimund Rennebaum
piano, keyboards, backing vocals

Heike Zehe
flute, alto flute
Waltraud & Raimund Rennebaum
Ensemble Shoshan
concert reviews

CD reviews


audio samples



The Ensemble Shoshan was founded 25 years ago by Waltraud and Raimund Rennebaum. "Shoshan" comes from the Hebrew language and means "lily". By a large number of concerts, radio broadcasts and by several CD records, the group became quite popular in Germany and Switzerland. In live performances, the artists play as trio or duo. The Jewish-oriental colouring of style, language and rhythm has been a characteristic feature of the Shoshan sound from the very beginning.
For 25 years now, the three professional musicians have devoted themselves to revive the thousands of years old psalms of the Bible by musical means on a high artistic level. With devotion and imagination, Waltraud and Raimund Rennebaum created a song repertoire attracting an audience of lovers of sophisticated sacred music. Shoshan's special feature is the interpretation of the psalms in the original Hebrew by a music full of feeling and emotion. The artists have found an excellent way to vitalize the ancient world of the biblical inspired song lyrics. They merge Orient and Occident in a great musical variety. Most of these songs were written by Waltraud Rennebaum and her husband, some others by Jewish composers from all over the world, all of them skilfully arranged by Raimund Rennebaum.
The musicians
Waltraud Rennebaum
–> in concert ...
Waltraud Rennebaum studied French horn at the music academies of Cologne, Detmold and Dusseldorf – her aim was to become an orchestra musician – before she dedicated herself to the career as vocalist. Her interpretation of biblical psalms is authentic and genuinely tender, deeply touching the listener. Her pleasant warm and versatile voice sounds a bit exotic especially in the Hebrew songs. Because of her spiritual sensibility, her charming charisma and most of all her beautiful singing, she is on stage the focus of attention in this ensemble. Through her lively moderation, the audience learns much about the background of Jewish tradition and the biblical feasts. She is able to lead the listeners into a foreign and partly oriental world of sounds. By using various handdrums she adds to many of the songs that typical Israeli touch.
Waltraud has written about 80 songs with Hebrew and German lyrics making up an important part of the Shoshan concert repertoire. Together with her husband Raimund she recorded and produced six CD albums, four of them for adults and two for children. By setting to music psalms 120 through 134, the cycle of the biblical ascension or pilgrimage songs, she created a completely new concert programme called "MA'ALOT". It was first performed in October 2006.
Raimund Rennebaum
–> in concert ...
Raimund Rennebaum studied piano and composition in Cologne and Dusseldorf. He loves classical music as much as jazz. His favourite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach. As pianist and composer, Raimund led a jazz-rock formation which attracted attention through their participation in international Jazz festivals and also by winning a musical award of the City of Dusseldorf. He wrote compositions and arrangements for Radio- and TV-Stations and was a very sought after pianist and keyboard-player in the German theatrical music scene.
Since 1994 he uses his great talent together with his wife Waltraud for working with the Ensemble Shoshan. When writing arrangements he manages to give any song an unmistakable and original character. His rich pool of ideas, his excellent taste and the amazing versatility in musical styles are the backbone of the typical Shoshan sound. Fascinating are the changes between the warm and mellow timbres on his keyboard and his brilliant pianoplaying which is of a high classical standard. Occasionally this will be broken up with jazzy improvisations. An established part in most concerts is a piece for piano solo.
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Heike Zehe
–> in concert ...
Heike Zehe concluded her studies of the flute at the music academies of Essen and Wuppertal with the highest musician’s degree in Germany, the so-called "concert examination". She leaves a deep impression because of her outstanding technique and her balanced and exceptionally beautiful tone. Heike's play of the flute and alto flute skilfully changes between classical and folkloristic elements of music. Her melodic lines quite often create a counterpoint to the singing of Waltraud, or they richly ornament or play round it. In the music of Shoshan the vocal parts alternate with instrumental passages, in which the flute is often leading the melodic part. One time Heike steps into the foreground with calm and lyric bows, next time her playing blends with the piano in swift unisono passages. Even in the deep pitches her rounded sonorous tone gives especially those Jewish songs that typical oriental charm.
Besides Shoshan, Heike concentrates on chamber music with various ensembles and orchestras.
Music style, repertoire and concert ideas
The musical means of the Ensemble Shoshan are as varied as the Jewish music itself. During 25 years the group developed its personal style, which can not be sorted into one of those stereotyped categories. Jewish melancholy, Classical and Oriental alternate with vivacious rhythms as you can find them in Klezmer and Israeli folk music. Unique settings of the psalms are created, which are reflecting the message and the mood of the selected Bible text. The audience experiences different musical cultures melting together. Occasionally it is incorporated into the performance by singing easy parts of the songs and by clapping simple rhythm patterns.

The extensive concert repertoire will be matched with the organiser's requirements. It correspondents with the music from the five CDs, e.g.
• Shabbat – the most beautiful songs for Shabbat and biblical feasts – or
• Ma'alot – the song cycle of the Psalms of Pilgrimage (ps. 120 through 134) in Hebrew – or
• Yerushalayim – Hebrew praise songs and popular traditionals from Israel – or
• Tehilim – The world of the Psalms, in Hebrew and German
Here you find audio samples of all available Shoshan CDs
If requested by the organizer, the recital can be varied by pieces of classical music for piano and flute, or a piano solo.
On request, concert organisers receive a demo CD.

Appropriate setting for a Shoshan concert
The Ensemble performs festive evening concerts in churches and synagogues as well as musical church services. Also commemorations, Bible exhibitions and conferences can get a special musical accent by a Shoshan concert. Because of the Hebrew colouring in style and language, the music is very suitable for literary recitals and exhibitions of Jewish and Christian artists. The duration and intention of the programme is usually arranged with the organizer.
The Ensemble Shoshan performs live as duo or as trio with flute or clarinet.

Festive or historical occasions for a Shoshan concert
INTERNATIONAL DAY of COMMEMORATION in Memory of the Victims of the HOLOCAUST (Jan. 27)
YOM HA SHOA (Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel)
ISRAEL SUNDAY of the Cristian Churches
ROSH HA SHANAH (Jewish New Year)
YOM KIPPUR (Day of Atonement)
SUKKOT (Feast of Tabernacles)
SIMCHAT TORAH (Joyful celebration of the Torah)
ADVENT at the 4 Weekends before Christmas
CHANUKAH (Feast of Dedication)

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All contents, images, texts, music, video and graphic files are protected by copyright. Without the author's prior written consent they may not – neither completely nor partly – be copied, modified, multiplied or published. You are explicitly permitted to download PDF files and CD cover pictures which are provided on this website.
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