Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shmulik Kraus and Ilan Wirtzberg-Seeing Far Seeing Clear

In many ways you can say that the late Shmulik Kraus was one of the ultimate bad boys of Israeli Culture-he was hard to work with, unpredictable and I don't even want to get into his personal life with Josie Katz. And yet he left such a strong mark in Israeli music that it would be a crime not to recognize and remember his important contribution. I was first introduced to him through "The High Windows", a collaboration with Arik Einstein and Josie Katz-they released one perfect and timeless album with beautiful songs like this one that appeal to all generations. Kraus was responsible for the guitar and melody-which really made the songs into gems. Another  classic is his very powerful duet with Josie "Again".
I chose this song because it really captures his strong personality and the fire within him, and how he quieted that fire with such lovely and gentle melodies.
Ben Shalev wrote a wonderful piece that gives more insight on Kraus' complexity and superb talent:

It was so narrow
I had to then
Spread my wings and fly
To a place where
Maybe like Nevo mountain
You see far you see clear.

A person like a tree planted on water
The root asks
A person like a bush in front of the skies
In him burns fire.

So my way was lost
My life was a mystery
Thirsty like a walker in the desert
For the word of truth
That has the power to give
To face tomorrow

A person...

Fire burned inside me
I went out to ask
For days I raged like a storm
I returned to my home
To find that you are with me
Until the way to the end arrives.

A person...

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