Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Aviv Noiman-Jerusalem

I've been waiting for this song to go on youtube ever since I first heard it a few weeks ago when I listened to Aviv Noiman's debut album "David" but a part of me also wanted it to stay a secret, a hidden gem for whoever listens to the full album and not just the singles. I love this version and you can really feel the intimacy of the performance but it's not the same as hearing the original recording, especially as part of the album and not just standing on its own. I've made a habit of listening to albums from start to finish on the bus from Tel Aviv to Be'er Sheva and lately I've been finding it a bit difficult to hold my attention and really listen to a whole album by one singer/band-the songs seem to be repeating themselves, the sound stays exactly the same and there are too many fillers. Overall it's pretty frustrating because there's a sense that the album is made just to hold the singles and just doesn't work that great as a unit. But that is not the case here. I didn't even need the bus ride-I had planned to hear one song in the background at home while surfing the web but I ended up just listening to this album straight from the first song till the last while reading the lyrics and ignoring all other distractions (not an easy feat!). It's been a long time since I've really been moved by an album and really felt like a journey was made-and there was even some change in the air. I found this song to be especially emotional maybe because it came after a beautiful song sung entirely by Shani Velman and I was starting to miss Aviv's voice (she also shines here, complementing with her wonderful voice), maybe it's the strong and clear lyrics, I don't know but this song really stands out when listening to the album. There's something very special and spiritual about Jerusalem, it's so different from the rest of Israel, almost like another world. Last Passover I went up to Jerusalem with my mother to see an exhibition and we spontaneously decided to go to the Western Wall in the evening. The place was packed because it is after all a mitzvah (commandment?) to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Passover but it only made the experience more special. I'm far from being religious but there was an amazing feeling in the air and I had forgotten how beautiful the walls of the Old City look in the night. I hope I'll get the chance to hear Aviv perform live, until then here's another clip from his performance in Tel Aviv. Oh, and here's an excellent interview in English:

I was the king of Jerusalem
When the city was still inside me
I gave my heart to explore everything under the skies
Nothing excites me anymore
You chose to spend another night with me
Yes you were in my bed also last night
There's a hint of tomorrow in yesterday's memories
There's nothing new under the sun

And from your Tower of David you can see far
You write me letters
Saying it's a shame I'm not with you that beyond the walls
There is also a hint of God
I also got lost there in the sand when I thought
That I had found someone to light some emotion in me
I also made a mistake but honey I've already seen everything
There's nothing new under the sun

I was the king of Jerusalem
When I was still inside you
I placed my fingers to wipe the tears under the eyes
I opened a window for you
Just as you blink into the light
The soul closes and opens
But something inside me remembers
That in the end it opens forever
There's nothing new under the sun

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Maya Avraham-Morning Arrives

This is the first song from Ahuva Ozeri's latest album "Silence Above Me" which you can listen and buy here: and it's a perfect choice for a first song. It really sets the tone of the album and makes you just want to play it straight and enjoy the ride. At first I thought this was an album of covers to Ozeri's songs because of the different artists singing here but in fact it's an original-sadly Ahuva can't sing the vocals anymore due to illness and although the wide range of artists do an excellent job her voice is really missed. Here's one of her classics: "Ringing Bells". Maya Avraham's voice might be familiar to you because she's part of the breakthrough Idan Raichel Project and here's one of their classics. I was just browsing through her facebook page ( when I saw a post by her announcing that she'll be singing for Obama during his visit! It's a huge honour and she completely deserves the respect. I saw an interview with her not too long ago and she seems like such a modest and caring person-a true soul singer, just like Ahuva. Maybe I've been reading too much news but when I went over the lyrics for this song it did remind me just a bit of Obama's highly anticipated visit (full coverage here or you can follow the satiric twitter account FakeObamaIsrael). Everybody's talking about the visit and even the weather began with "Barack Obama will arrive on a pleasant day". There is a sense of excitement in the air but it could also do with the beginning of Passover vacation. The Israeli Left especially seems to have risen from its grave and endorsed a popular facebook campaign to bring Obama to Rabin Square to give an emotional speech that might make a change in the frozen peace process. Of course it won't happen and they even had to cancel the screening of the speech from Jerusalem (for logistic reasons because the hour of the speech was changed) but the 23K likes does show Israel's support for Obama and even the possibility of peace.

Your footsteps I heard in the night
Morning arrives you came back
Maybe you forgot to kiss my lips

I didn't know a stranger in my house
I didn't want another in your place in my heart
My body and soul are pure

Night arrives you leave
Again leaving me in a cold world
Night arrives where are you
Maybe your body is snug with love and passion

I didn't know...

And don't forget I am still here
The heart asks if it's over

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Taani Ester-Monday

It's been a crazy week with the semester beginning again while finishing term papers at the last minute (I've become a shameful expert on requesting extensions) and this song was just what I needed to give me an energy boost and a good laugh. With all my problems at least I don't have a baby to take care of but this power couple makes it look really fun. I've heard the name Taani Ester (Answer me Ester) quite a lot but have never really gotten around to seeing them live or hearing their material. I caught up on their debut album today and loved the pop (real pop!) sounds and quirky lyrics. Here's a clip (part of the excellent Indie City videos) of them strolling and performing on Rothschild Boulevard. I also love the direction they're taking with their new single. Probably the coolest song about Monday that I know. *Cultural note: In Israel the week starts on Sunday (blah), though I can't really explain why Tuesday is like Thursday :)

Friday is uncomfortable, Saturday is for resting
Tuesday feels like Thursday
And on Wednesday feeling sad, Sunday.

Friday is uncomfortable, Saturday is for resting
Tuesday feels like Thursday
And on Wednesday feeling sad, Sunday is getting close.

And on Monday you and I are in a bubble
And enjoy thinking of next Monday
And on Monday you and I are in a bubble
When asleep dreaming of next Monday
When you abandon you make me a fool I start seeing more sounds

Emotions are getting empty, logic is slipping away
On Monday you and I are in bubble
And enjoy thinking of next Monday
On Monday you and I are in a bubble
When asleep dreaming of next Monday

As long as there is flame, no one will destroy Monday for us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eli Magen-This is a Wonderful Hour

This is one of the best songs I've heard recently. It's so tender and emotional and the melody goes along perfectly with the sensitive lyrics. The song is part of a recent album (which you can buy and listen here) of new versions to songs by Hanoch Levin. I was first introduced to Levin in high school when we had to read his play Heffetz (Thing). Either you hated it or loved it, there was no in-between. It took me a while to get used to the language and to enter Levin's absurd mind but eventually I came to love the play and it's one of the texts I most vividly remember from that time. I'm used to knowing Hanoch Levin as a bold political satirist with no boundaries (Wiki info here). It's such a pleasant surprise to discover that he was also a very talented poet, it makes me want to read more of his work. I'm also very happy that I discovered Eli Magen. He's been around  as a guitarist for many top artists and here is another wonderful song of his. I don't know him but he seems like such a kind and modest person and a true artist who takes his work seriously. It's the beginning of Spring and I was just thinking today how these days, and nights, are the best of the year-when it's getting warmer and there's the promise of Summer, but just a whiff of it making you still appreciate the fact that you can wear long sleeves. Just a thought that came to my head when I heard this song.

This is a wonderful hour
Of a trembling heart,
And I would tremble if I could,
And I would sing and whisper in your ears
If I could sing and whisper,
This is a wonderful hour,
There was not, there won't be another one like it,
You lean over me, and I under you
Attentive without movement,
As if there will be in a moment something,
That I did not know before,
And you will get to know,
And I won't know.