Saturday, January 14, 2017

Meir Banai - A Journey to the World

Meir Banai's sudden death hit me with unexpected sadness which just grew and grew the more I delved into his music. This song opens Meir's fourth album "Changing Colors" which was released in 1990 after Meir's breakthrough album "Rain" and before the radio-friendly album "In Between". I don't think I had heard any of the songs off of "Changing Colors" before even though it's considered by his fans to be one of his best albums, so different from everything else at the time. It's impossible not to feel chills when listening to this haunting song but Meir's beautiful voice lends a gentle warmth during the dark night, a warmth that will always be remembered.

A journey to the world
Inside a little boat
A journey to the soul
Inside a tear
I want to feel now
Pain and also joy
I want to see everything
In the kingdom

Give me your hand
And I'll show you
All of the wonders
All of the miracles
That are here

Flickering trees
In all kinds of magical lights
The sea is now stormy
Hitting the rocks
Mermaids are singing
Deep in the abyss
No, don't listen to them
It's dangerous

Give me your hand...

You're diving now
Deep into the sea
Touching the sounds
Which are enchanted
The strong wind
Is hitting the waves
A journey to the soul
Inside a tear

Give me your hand...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Yakir Hillel - Kingdom of Judah

"Did you hear? They convicted him of manslaughter. Poor kid..." my boss told me in a shocked voice on the day of Elor Azaria's trial. I was surprised by her surprise and was glad that I felt secure enough to let her know. We talked a bit about the trial and went back to our work. I wasn't sure how the atmosphere would be at lunch. I'm used to loud political arguments but this time we were quiet, all of us busy with our thoughts. Some of us didn't think that there should have been a trial in the first place while others saw the shooting as a grave incident that was part of a much bigger problem in Israeli society so what was the point of arguing? Instead, we tried to guess how many years he would get and if there was a likelihood of reducing his jail sentence. The option of a pardon didn't come up, not even by those who were sympathetic towards Azaria. He made a crucial mistake and now he has to pay the price- that's that. But it turned out that we were in the minority as more and more politicians chose to stand against the army and said that they would support a pardon. Netanyahu's support for the pardon felt especially populistic as it was addressed quite a few hours after the trial (enough time for polling) and just a few minutes before prime time news. It was the last thing we needed after such an intense and chaotic day.
The feelings of despair and disappointment that echo through "Kingdom of Judah" were all too familiar to me these past days yet there is also something very uplifting and reassuring in Yakir Hillel's bonfire performance. We've been through tough times before and we'll get through this.

A gaping hole in the Dead Sea
Turns the world around
In a choked voice the land is collapsing
And there is no one who hears, no one who replies
My hands are too short to rescue
A lonely piece of land
I feel the ground is breaking
In the Kingdom of Judah

A whimper in the mountain and tears in the river...

A black river flows through the Negev
Staining my land
The water won't wash away
The face of my love
My hands are too short to rescue
You won't see you won't know
How they are uninterruptedly destroying
The Kingdom of Judah's land

A whimper in the mountain and tears in the river...

I'll take with me the sand of the Negev
The eternal sun
Eastern winds in the evening sky
And the chirp of a clever bird
And I'll let you know
Of the severed beauty
Of the forgotten land
Of the Kingdom of Judah

A whimper in the mountain and tears in the river...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Charlie Megira - Tomorrow's Gone

Goodbye 2016 and goodbye Charlie. Charlie Megira, also known as Gabi Abudraham, died in his Berlin apartment on November 9th at the age of 44. He wasn't very well-known before his death but many of those who knew him felt that the 50's style rocker from Beit Shaan was no less than a musical genius. A genius who insisted on staying true to himself throughout his career while working as a cook in Tel Aviv and later in Berlin. He left us beautiful music like this hazy lullaby, a fitting way to end a stormy year.

*And goodbye Carrie Fisher :(  As a young girl I was so inspired by Princess Leia's strength and independence and later grew to admire Carrie's own strength and grace while battling addiction and mental illness. What a devastating loss.

Don't say maybe
No, no, you shouldn't
Don't say maybe
Maybe today, maybe tomorrow
Tomorrow's gone

Tell me quickly
What do you love?
Tell me to the heart
But quickly
Tell me quickly
What do you love?
Tell me
Who is that?

What do you love?
What do you love?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Ahuva Ozeri - A Voice Calls to Me In the Desert

A voice calls to me in the desert and I am alone
My eyes I will turn to you in prayer
My tortured soul my tortured soul
I lift my voice to you in prayer
Go to Israel they are crying to you
And I am in the desert they want my soul
Merciful and compassionate maker of wonders
Please my God send me to my people

Ahuva Ozeri rose to fame thanks to her soulful voice but she will also be remembered as a talented composer, beloved vocal coach and captivating performer, who never ceased to smile and encourage young artists, even after she lost her vocal chords to cancer 16 years ago. Many considered her to be the mother of Mizrahi music and she is alreay greatly missed.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cafe Shahor Hazak - Another Day

Cafe Shahor Hazak have come a long way since they first started out (more info on them here) and have now become one of Israel's biggest hip-hop acts. It seems like they have a lot of weight on their shoulders as representatives of the Ethiopian community but they're also respected role models for kids and teens growing up here from all different backgrounds and they're doing an amazing job. Their sound just gets better and better and I love the use of Amharic in their music. Keep on smiling :)

Another day another day another day has begun
Nothing in this life is guaranteed
God gives and God takes
Between the victories and the defeats I'm looking for the gap

Nothing is free it's first you give and then you take
What's mine is mine and it stays that way
Everything is simple: it's art or we die, it's not that complicated
Every day I come home drained with my backpack I feel blessed

It's a privilege to make money from love and no
I don't feel that I'm going to work
It's a good time to emphasize and say thank you
To everyone who came to everyone who bought

And anyone who hated, keep hating
You're there I'm here
Fulfilling and creating dreams for me and for others
You'll slowly see my friend that everything works out

Today is a day to shine
To get outside of the box
To stretch the limits of imagination
To be conscious of the subconscious
When it feels like there's no more strength around the corner
I always find a place to bloom a light of comfort
This is another day that begins with hope
Give me good music to spread love

It's my life I want to win
From a young age I'm always running and making sure
To go head-on and enjoy the view
To take care of myself to be strong till the end

What was in difficult times I don't forget
Give me one chance and I'll take it
In front of small-minded people I don't open my heart
A square screen is mashing everyone's brain

To wake up to a good morning at my place
What I've lost will go to redemption
Dreams of an album without a penny
Music from the heart, black and pure

Everything with love slowly building the business
Conquering peaks not everything is a ceremony
Even If I'll have millions in my pocket
I promise that you'll find me in a t-shirt and jeans

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ella Shik Blum - I jumped head-first into the pool

While this video was shot on a warmer day (Yom Kippur, to be exact), its melancholic tones go perfectly with this weekend's rainy weather. Ella Shik Blum has been chosen as Tsuzamen's artist of the month, meaning you can catch her perform with her band and with other artists she admires every Wednesday night.

I jumped head-first into the pool
It takes a few seconds and it felt to me like a long minute
Without air

I jumped head-first
The heart is pounding and not exactly in the spot
It should

I sat down on the concrete
You were reading some trashy newspaper
A plastic girl is looking at me
With a smile she communicates

Nothing bad ever happens to her
A balanced character
The parents are still together
A gifted child

I jumped head-first into the pool
You shouted something at me but it was already too late
I jumped head-first into the pool
And I landed on my stomach

I sat down on the concrete
You were reading some trashy newspaper
A plastic girl is looking at me
With a smile she communicates

Nothing bad ever happens to her
A balanced character
The parents are still together
A gifted child