By Morgan Politzer
Mezumenet certainly isn’t “mezzin’ around” as the university’s all-female Jewish a cappella group prepares for the launch of its new album, Mezcellaneous.
Mezcellaneous is the group’s third studio album and will be released on Spotify on April 17. The album has a total of 11 songs and contains a combination of pop songs, Jewish parodies and Hebrew pop songs. Each song on the album is a cover, with the exception of the parodies, which have been created from existing pop English songs.
“All of the songs on this album have either been arranged by me or somebody else who has been in Mez,” said Mezumenet music director Jenna Marcus, a junior mechanical engineering major. “To me, this album really memorializes my time in Mez because all of the songs on it are from the last two years, which was a bulk of my time that I’ve spent in Mez.”
The group began the process of creating an album over the summer. After coordinating everyone’s schedules, the group met in August to work with a sound engineer and began the recording process at the Hillel center on campus.
Releasing an album also requires a significant amount of fundraising. The group created a page on Jewcer, an online fundraising corporation specifically for Jewish groups and organizations, and raised $9,000.
Before the music is made available to the public, it must first be digitally licensed for platforms like Spotify and iTunes and mechanically licensed for the sale and production of the CD itself. CDs will be able available for sale online and at Hillel events like the fall Opening Barbecue, Marcus said.
Alongside its album, the group also released a music video for their parody “Let Us Bench,” a satirical rendition of “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
“It was written a few years ago and we never really put it into use,” Mezumenet business director Miriam Marks said. “But ‘Beauty and the Beast’ just come came out and we decided it was the perfect time.”
The video takes place at the end of a long Shabbat dinner as the guests are ready to leave for the night. In Yiddish, “benching” is the word for saying the prayer after meals, said Marks, a sophomore elementary education major.
“The whole premise of the song is ‘you’re done a meal, let’s just say the end blessing so we can go home,’” Marks said.
Senior broadcast journalism major Ryan Sevel filmed and edited the music video.
“Last August, I was back in College Park early, and I wanted to go check on them because I knew they were recording the album,” he said. “They had a song that they were doing that was kind of top secret, and I accidentally heard what it was. I was talking to Jenna and I said ‘You have to do a music video. This parody is too well-suited for a music video.’”
After getting approval, Sevel sat down with the lyrics and planned each shot and scene based on what was happening in the song.
“They had all the lyrics written out so it was already done,” Sevel said. “I was pulling from a combination of the right amount of narrative story telling that I did for other music videos and just the right amount of visual cheese that I think the song deserved. It’s not normally a serious song but it’s well done enough that if you pair high quality production with really funny visuals, you get a wonderful marriage of parody.”
When the video was filmed, the final audio track of the song was not complete, so Sevel used the rough recording during the shoot to make sure the timing of the video was in line with the lyrics. During the editing process, Sevel took out the original audio and added the finished track back in. Once the video was complete, it was uploaded to YouTube and launched on social media.
“I love their stuff,” sophomore architecture major Jeremy Schachter said. “I’ve been listening to them and few other a cappella groups since high school, but for some reason Mezumenet just stood out to me as one of my favorites.”