Saturday, October 26, 2013

Itzik Yona-Mountain Song

I came across this magical gem while browsing through local gig listings and I'm so happy to have discovered it. It goes perfectly with the wonderful weather we've been having lately, reminding us to fully appreciate the present moment. It's so calming and peaceful and captures the spiritual journey so many Israelis embark on in India and the far East. With so many Israelis travelling there it's a bit of a surprise that there isn't more influence in local music, but then again so many travel to clean their heads and come back ready to face the next part of their lives leaving the adopted Indian (or Eastern) influence behind. I've found that with spiritual music you have to be in the right mindset to really enjoy it but when you are it's so rewarding. Here's a beautiful clip of Yona on the sitar playing Indian music with other Israeli musicians.

Gazing around the hills
Deciding to stay a little longer
But the fire already wants to go to sleep
If we won't freeze to death we'll live and continue from there

Impressions from yesterday
Like a cloud now we're going down
And the tear is a tear of laughter
The same principle argument you were arguing

People say hello
A shining street and the traffic flows around
Everything passes by nothing stops
And Anata explains to me that the trip is over

Till then the sun will come back again
Till then the sun will come back again
Till then the sun will come back again

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Back Yard-Voicemail

Yesterday marked 18 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, by the hebrew date. To say the truth it's a bit weird marking the hebrew day-the date that will forever be remembered is November 4th. It's also weird to realize that the students commemorating him in school ceremonies were all born after his death and some of them are children to parents who were "Noar HaNerot", the youth who mourned not just the death of their leader but also a certain death of their innocence. It's amazing how they're just about a decade older than me, and at my age it's not supposed to be such a big difference, but I feel so distant from them and I think it has a lot to do with the assassination and the rift it created in the already fragile society. I don't have any significant memory from that day (I was very young and living abroad) but I do remember how in high school my teacher showed us a very difficult video clip showing the right wing extremist incitement before the murder as a result of the Oslo accords and the bombings it brought with it. We were all shocked by the verbal violence, including those of us who disagreed with Rabin's views. The clip wasn't a constructed part of the lesson plan and I wonder how many teenagers are exposed to those images today, how many are encouraged to have a thought provoking discussion and learn about the context of the event, not just memorize Rabin's famous quote "violence erodes the basis of democracy".

The Back Yard or in hebrew HaChatzer HaAchorit, is an intriguing project formed by Tomer Yosef and Itamar Zieigler from Balkan Beat Box together with Gedi Ronen from Devek and 1:1 and the legendary lyricist Yankale Rotblit. Rotblit has a reptuar of albums which feature his candid and poetic lyrics: 1978's  "How I Released Jerusalem", wriiten 11 years after he fought in the six day war in which he lost a leg, 1989's "Letters from the Fourth House" (Side A and B here), 2004's "The Country of the Jews" and 2011's "Alol Junction". The truth is I hadn't heard of these controversial albums before reading about them on Kutner's post about this group (though now I'm very curious) and Rotblit is best known for writing some of Israel's most loved songs. Among them are, "It's So Good That You Came Home", "I See Her On the Way to the Gimnasia", "Saturdays and Holidays", "Wooden Horse", "Seeing far seeing clear", "Let Us Grow Up in Peace" and "Our Way" (Darkenu). He also wrote "A Song for peace", first performed by the Nachal Army Group in 1969 and later on November 4th 1995, in the peace rally right before Rabin's assassination. I don't think anyone will ever forget the image of the blood stained lyric sheet.

I first heard this song sometime last month and though I really liked the melody I (ignorantly) dismissed it as a mainstream radio song made for the holidays. But then I heard it again yesterday when I saw that it had entered Galgaltz's day playlist. Probably because of the day's circumstances I suddenly realized what the song was about, or at least what I think it could be about, making it so much more more complex, relevant and also heartbreaking.

It hasn't arrived by now
It won't arrive now
Without "do us a favor"
Understand the situation
It's a matter of air time
A matter of price tag
Now it's on sale

Again you came out as an idiot
You bought an illusion
It can't be
Yet it was
You felt upgraded
You dressed in holiday night
So what's the problem?
Suddenly the magic expired
And the rod to the fish
Said you're mine

What was yours
And won't be any more
What goes with you
And doesn't always come back
An unborn star
You had in your hand
I'm here for you
And if you'll feel lonely
You're welcome to sing
A few notes with me-

Oh my far one
Will you hear my voice

Maybe on another day
Maybe on an occasion
And whoever is in a hurry
Shouldn't open a shop
The sages' words
Are heard in comfort
It was a great pleasure
It was very pleasant
As if you came without
But left with

Oh my far one
Will you hear my voice
It hasn't arrived by now
It won't arrive now
Understand the situation
The turtle is again on its back

*this just in:,7340,L-4442312,00.html

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Flying Baby-I Want You to Love Me

Maybe it's because I spent the day in Jerusalem but yesterday was such a perfect Autumn day-cool and bright. It was so fun to enjoy a few rays of sunshine while wearing a cardigan(!). But today, well it feels like Summer isn't ready to say goodbye just yet and it was one of those days when you faced the heat outside only if you really had to. At least I can enjoy some light summer tunes like this one. When I hear this song and close my eyes I feel as if I'm at a summer concert at the Barby, which is always accompanied by a sense of freedom and sweet escapism. I'm still a bit bummed out that I missed The Flying Baby's reunion concerts this past July (but I had a good excuse as I was abroad) and that I'm going to miss their concert at this year's inDnegev (and I have a good, though not as a fun excuse for that too). The truth is I'm surprisingly okay with not going to inDnegev this year-maybe because I won't be coming from Be'er Sheva but I think it has more to do with the fact that I just feel like I need a break from the festival so that I'll be able to enjoy it again. Two years ago it was amazing experiencing it for the first time and last year it was...okay. The performances were great and I enjoyed spending time with festival friends I don't see very often but something was a bit off and I can't really explain what. Maybe the feeling that in its sixth year it was becoming a much bigger event than it had planned to be-which is great, I'm all for success, especially among independent artists who really deserve it. But still, the atmosphere wasn't the same and I regret not going to the first inDnegev festivals which my friends came back from wide-eyed and with the feeling that they were part of something truly special. Now that I think about it, it's a bit how I feel about Geva Alon. I wrote here about the delight of discovering Alon just before his big break and I can't help but wonder how amazing it would have been to experience in real time the early years of his career with The Flying Baby instead of a reunion show. I've heard people say similar things about bands from before their time but this is much more dissapointing because being a teenager I was at the perfect age to experience them live-I just wasn't aware of their existence. I just realized how 'oy oy oy' this sounds given the fact that their reunion show in July was amazing (here's proof) and the band members may not be in the same place they were when they first started out but they have really matured as musicians. Geva's latest EP is flawless and it sounds like he really found himself as an artist and I guess also in general as a person. This song was recorded as part of material for their third album after Inner World, which had a very limited release, and Pain to Give,which in my opinion perfectly captures the chaotic period of the Second Intifada. The album never happened and Geva went on to a solo career but luckily the band released in June a remastered album of Inner World along with unreleased material. It's one of the best rock albums I've heard in a long time and I almost felt as if I was back in middle school, when I first dived into grunge and classic rock. Almost.