With the release of Galeet Dardashti’s album “The Naming,” we can officially say we are in the year of the female Jewish voice. Following the exhilarating Mycale project (who opened for Dardashti this week at the intimate Le Poisson Rouge in New York) and Charming Hostess’s new album, Dardashti contributes seven tracks of impressive vocal dexterity and only slightly less compelling lyrical material. The album also finds her working solo, instead of with her regular gig: the Middle East global-fusion band Divahn.
Like Mycale and Charming Hostess, Dardashti doesn’t hide the feminine in her work — the tracks on “The Naming” span a variety of historical (and biblical) feminine figures; Hagar and Sarah share the opening track, and Sheba, Dinah, Vashti, and Endora — a who’s who of feminine Jewish history — make appearances. At times, though, the familiarity of the figures makes the material feel tired. It is hard to excavate something new about Sarah. Though Dardashti parallels Sarah and Hagar’s rivalry to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, closing the song with newspaper headlines from the Middle East, the connection feels tacked on.