Friday, June 27, 2014

LUK - Fate Of The World

I'm not a huge fan of the compliment "It doesn't sound Israeli" when discussing Israeli music in English but wow, I would have never guessed this was from here-until I took a close look at the lyrics...Strong vocals and very tight production. More, please!

I've seen the fate of the world.
It's everywhere, and it's written in blood.
Come again to get you all
What is a river? And what is a Wall?

And you make the same mistakes,
Burning it all and crashing the planes
And you make the same mistakes-
Again and again and again and again.

Can't you see the world is turning upside-down?

Take a leap into the flood,
The papers said that the victor is God.
Come again to get you all
What is a river? And what is a Wall?

And you make the same mistakes,
Dropping the bombs and digging the graves
And you make the same mistakes-
Again and again and again and again.

Can't you see the world is turning upside-down?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Louis Marshall-The Tortoise and the Hare

After such a tense week Gogol Bordello's performance last night at the Barby couldn't have come at a better time. Captain Eugine Hutz and his international crew mates swept us all away with gypsy punk galore and we were captivated, not wanting the night to end. It felt that the feeling was mutual and they played song after song long after the encore, just after Eugine casually invited us all to an after-party at a tiny Tel Avivian bar. They even sang along to Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer's cover of Redemption Song, very fittingly chosen as the 'lights on' number to signal the end of the show. What I liked best was the rare feeling of community, and the fact that unlike at the Rolling Stones, there weren't too many smartphones in sight-everyone was too busy dancing and enjoying the moment. But luckily there is this footage which captures the wild atmosphere. "This is a therapy session but not a conventional kind" (or something like that) Eugine said at one point and it really did feel therapeutic. After an anxious week this is exactly what we needed before going back to endless news coverage, military analyses and political debates. And it feels like the worst is yet to come...
If Gogol Bordello are pirates of the night, the members of Louis Marshall are pirates of the day, perfect companions to sunny summer daydreams. Louis Marshall began with a collaboration between longtime friends Dan Toren and Yuval Mendelson which developed into a super group with Yuval Shefrir (HaZvuvim, the Portis brothers and more), Roi Hadas (Kerach Tesha, Yali Sobol and more) and Ofer Koren (Algiers, Yermi Kaplan and more). Yuval Arel wrote that their sound is a continuation of the legendary band Tamouz and I completely agree. So refreshing and at the same time very comforting.

The deal got complicated
She didn't bother to tell me how
When and why she decided to leave
The principle is just awful
You need to hit a bull's eye
Before you divide the spoils

What's mine is now hers
What's hers stays hers
I admit I didn't make any plans
In the matinee
The lights are on in the meantime
Remains sitting
When the credits appear

There are many fish in the sea
But it's enough for a drop of blood
To wake up all the sharks
Summer sun in the sky
We're both drying in the heat
And if there's nothing more to say we'll say goodbye

Headphones on the ears
No holes in the shoes
And walking down the street is free
The punks are still there
There's no longer fire in the water
In that fountain by Yaacov Agam

I continue from here to Chile
Only if I won't have hernia
This story is heavy on my back
It moves away when approaching
And then derails
The parable of the tortoise and the hare

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Korin Elal-Rare Breed

It's Gay Pride Week! Tomorrow's parade will be especially family oriented-ending at the Charles Clore park and nearby beach, as opposed to the more central Gordon beach. Not everyone is happy about it but it fits with the changing atmosphere of Gay life in Israel and specifically in Tel Aviv. Although the city is still a hot magnet for teens and young people, especially those discovering their sexual identity, it has steadily become more bourgeois in recent years and if in the past it was common to spend your 20s in Tel Aviv and your 30s with your family in a more breathable town, many parents are choosing today to raise their children in Tel Aviv and of course Gays are no exception. In fact, in the past most Gays didn't really have the freedom to even raise a family but today (much to the delight of Jewish mothers) it's not such a big deal to see a kid with two moms or dads-The Tower magazine depicts this social novelty in depth and also sheds light on how family oriented we are as a society. In fact now that I think about it, those who choose not to have children are a true 'rare breed' over here and very often aren't taken seriously. This song, which was embraced by the LGBT community, could easily apply to them, just as it could easily apply to anybody who feels marginal. Korin chose to sing it at Arik Einstein's ceremony not necessarily because they were both part of an exclusive group but because, as she said in an interview, she really saw him as a unique person. This song is also a very fitting choice because Korin just got married to Ruti, her partner of 15 years with whom she has two sons. I love how Korin is so chill about it, she doesn't hide who she is and she goes to pride events when invited but being lesbian is not her entire identity and she has other things on her mind, like her music and raising her kids.
Korin is truly a national treasure with classics like 'Antarctica' and 'Days of flowers and love' but my favorite has to be the timeless 'Maayan' (spring).
Mazal Tov!

We're afraid of our own shadow,
Clinging to the walls of the houses
And most of the time ashamed of our bodies,
Digging shelters.

We flee from a crazy party,
Pushed into rowboats.
All land is a sinking ship
When digging shelters.

We are a rare breed: a strange bird.
Dreams in the air, head in the ground.

We deceive mainly ourselves
Not blind, but not looking.
And it's not clear what we will leave behind,
Besides fears.

We are a rare breed...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Libi and the Flashback-Girl From The North Country

What a night! I was so lucky to be at the Rolling Sones concert last night in Tel Aviv-they really gave all they had and then some, and it really wasn't a given considering the heavy heatwave! Despite their royal status they gave an energetic performance from Start me up to Satisfaction and Mick, Keith, Johnny and Charlie worked the stage as if they were a young band just starting out. Notable highlights were their special performances of Israeli favorites Angie and Paint it Black, not to mention Mick's impressive Hebrew vocabulary from "Atem kahal metoraf" to "Eifo kanita et hanaalayim, be shuk?" which he remarked to Johnny Wood's bright yellow shoes. My original plan was to just hang out at the park with friends listening to the concert but a few weeks ago we came to our senses and realized that we couldn't miss out on actually seeing them and being part of the audience, even at the steep price of 700 shekels. To put things in perspective Neil Young & Crazy Horse at the same venue will be 400. And yet, it really was a historic night. Fortis gave an excellent opening show and you could tell how excited he was to be there-his song "No end to childhood", which he dedicated to a 100 year old fan in the audience was especially fitting. I was a bit concerned that the audience would be on the emm, mature side but there were many young people and the energy was great. The truth is, even though I didn't experience them in "real time" I do feel that they played a big part in the soundtrack of my teenage years. I had heard their songs all my life but hearing "Sympathy for the Devil" in this specific context when I was 16 sent me to iTunes to discover their songs record by record. I think the same goes for this Dylan track. I was very familiar with his music but after hearing this song as a teen I really got into his early material. Libi of Libi and the Flashback is such a phenomenon, it would have been so awesome if she could have been a part of the concert, but then again it feels that she's Israel's best kept secret. I saw her last year at the Jacob's Ladder Festival and she was so...electrifying. Most of the youtube videos don't really capture her amazing stage presence which is why I chose this beautiful acoustic track which shows a more sensitive side of her. But you can get a taste with this epic performance on London & Kirschenbaum who are at their most adorable here (performance starts at 2:25):

London & Kirshenbaum are one of the best things on Israeli TV and two other gems with them can be seen here and here.

It's only rock n' roll but I like it :)