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      Israel Beat
      by Ben Bresky
      Poetry submissions, concert announcements, Israeli and Jewish music news, interviews and new CD reviews.
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      The Israel Beat blog is a place for poetry submission, concert announcemnets, upcoming shows and musings on Jewish music. The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast brings you live in-studio performances with up and coming Israeli musicians as well as interviews with the stars of the Jewish music world. Plus your music requests and the free CD give-away air live on the show. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. The Beat with Ben Bresky broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For more info email bbresky@israelnationalradio.com.

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      Sivan 30, 5768, 7/3/2008

      Poetry submissions wanted!

      I want you to email me your poems of Jewish and / or Israeli subject matter. I will read them on the air. Last year I did this and got some great submissions. The Three Weeks before Tisha B'Av is a good opportunity to take a break from music and focus on poetry, which often doesn't get much coverage. So all you amateur writers our there, here is your chance. If you're a famous, published author, feel free to send me material as well. You can also request famous Jewish poems. For example one year I read Uri Zvi Greenberg. But reading original material is more fun, I think. Email me at bbresky@israelnationalradio.com and put in the subject line: Poetry Submission (this way it won't get deleted as spam). Here is a video of a Jewish poet that I hope to interview soon.

      Sivan 24, 5768, 6/27/2008

      Is Jewish music too depressing?

      I recieved some interesting emails that I would like to share with you:

      Hi Ben,

      I thought your blog was very funny and apt. So tell me Ben, I'm an olah and I want to know why is a lot of Jewish music depressing and full of whining, melancholy etc. ? I know about our history but... we're here. We're here because we're here. So why are so many people crying? Maybe it's because I come from A HB but I was at the Knesset for the first time this week and participated in singing Hatikvah and although it brought tears to my eyes I'm not sure they were for the right reason. For a song titled Hope it was sort of a hopeless melody. I contrast it to The Star Spangled Banner which has a lot of punch and fireworks. Isn't there any good up Jewish music besides some of the religious stuff I have heard?

      Here's another email:

      I live in Beit Shemesh and am recording an album (rock/pop, Atchalta d'Geula-themed) -- the first two tracks are done and I'd like people to start hearing them. http://www.myspace.com/barcohnThanks so much and Shabbat Shalom! - David Bar-Cohn

      And finally, one about a concert:

      Neshama Carlebach with special guest Nomi Teplow perform in Israel celebrating the newly released CD "One on One". Shows scheduled for Binyamina, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Karnei Shomron
      Full tour details can be seen at

      Now to sort of answer the first question, I would like to list some very useful web sites that sell Jewish music CDs (or discs as we call them in Hebrew). They have samples for each song you can click on and taste the music. I could spend hours on these sites just browsing through all the music finding good stuff.

      http://www.israel-music.com - They sell mostly Israeli music like Sarit Hadad and Shlomo Artzi, but also have some religious music like Shlomo Carlebach and Dov Shurin.

      http://www.mostlymusic.com - They sell mostly religious Jewish music and hasidic pop like Mordechai Ben David and Avraham Fried but also have Jewish rock like Moshav Band and Soulfarm.

      http://www.galpaz.co.il - Israel's largest chain CD store with outlets in other countries has an all-Hebrew web site and sells mostly religious Jewish music, but covers all those hard to find Israeli releases. This was the only place I could find Shivi Keller's Ein Od Milvado.

      I know there are many, many more, but these are just three for the time being. Feel free to add more in the comments section if you know of any. There is also great stuff on MySpace and Facebook and YouTube. Try typing in Hebrew if you have Hebrew fonts or using keywords like 'Jewish music, Israeli music, Hebrew, Carlebach, klezmer' or different combinations.

      Sivan 23, 5768, 6/26/2008

      The Worst Jewish Song of All Time

      The best Jewish song of all time is "I'm Shomer Negiyah, because my body's exclusively mine." If anyone has a recording of this, or wants to record it for me, I will play it on the radio.

      But that's not what I came here to talk about. I came here to talk about my least favorite song of all time. Now you may think that it could be Arallu, a satanic death metal band from Jerusalem. If you are going to go out of your way to become a satanic death metal band, and you happen to live in Jerusalem, you mind as well be a Jewish satanic death metal band.

      I have met and interviewed Yoni Ramone, drummer for Arallu and sometimes Israeli touring drummer for Yidcore. He claims to be the reincarnation of Joey Ramone of The Ramones. Arallu sings in Hebrew and is known for their album Satanic War on Jerusalem. My favorite song is track 2 entitled Jewish Devil. Now, you may think that this ranks high in the list of worst Jewish songs of all time. But in fact I quite enjoy blazing distorted electric guitars and screaming vocals, especially if they are in Hebrew and talk about Satan.

      No, the worst Jewish song of all time, at least at the time of this blog entry is Kloom Lo Atzuv by Eviatar Banai. This is an incredibly popular song from one of the kings of slow, melancholy Hebrew music, and I have met more then one girl who has claimed love for him and his music. This particular song is atypically bouncy, upbeat and almost annoying catchy. If you don’t know Hebrew fluently, you might even enjoy it. But the melody belies the lyrics. This is a song of tragedy, heartbreak and death. The chorus of "na na na" combined with the ultra-depressing lyrics makes this the most annoying song I have ever heard in my entire life. But in fact I quite enjoy his other songs, especially track 2, Beresheet and hopefully one day will interview him.

      If you would like to add a song to the Worst Jewish Song of All Time list, please comment here. In the meantime please enjoy the cover of Arallu's The Demon from the Anicent World album which depicts a demon destroying the Dome of the Rock. I also present to you the cover of Eviatar Banai's poor-selling, low-fi, almost atonal album (except for the song Beresheet) which depicts Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook on the cover.

      Sivan 22, 5768, 6/25/2008

      David D'or, Yishai Lapidot, Yerachmiel Ziegler & more

      So what has been on my mp3 player lately (or as we call it in Israel, mpShalosh)? Well, you may laugh, but I listen to Israel National Radio podcasts on my way home from Israel National Radio. Why not? They're good. 

      But I know you want to hear about music. I have fallen in love with the song Like the Wind by David D'or. It's ethereal and haunting and I listened to it almost every day this week. You can listen to it at his web site here. David D'or has an powerful opera voice and has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He represented Israel in the Eurovision song contest in 2004. Here's a YouTube video of him singing a Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach song. Our own Walter Bingham interviewed David D'or a year or so ago and you can read it here.

      I used to have an old record album from the 1970s from another David D'or. He sang traditional Jewish-Yemenite songs like Im Nin Alu. But they are two separate people. The current David D'or is performing tonight at Bridge of Strings opening ceremony in Jerusalem along with Yishai Lapidot. For more on the excellent Yishai Lapidot of Oif Simchas, click here.

      I also just got the new Infected Mushroom disc and have been listening to that a lot. My favorite song is called Heavyweight, a 10 minute instrumental track that mixes trance with heavy metal guitars for a dreamy, psychedelic, grinding sound. Those crazy Israeli trance DJs... gotta love them. Actually, people around the world do. They have a track on the soundtrack to the new movie You Don't Mess with the Zohan. To read my old interview with them click here.

      I also got an email about a new concert series in the town of Tapuach, featuring some great musicians I have interviewed in the past.

      "Open invitation to join us for Shabbat in Tapuach or at least at our weekly Saturday night Live Melaveh Malka concerts featuring talentied perfomers and a wonderful experience - we are trying to keep our weekly Shabbatons and Melaveh Malka's going - Last week we had Dov Shurin and Ben Levine - This week we are scheduled to have Binyamin Nakonechny a young and talented artist.

      To join us or to help sponsor a Shabbat in Tapuach please email JewishLegion@aol.com. Here are the links from the last two Tapuach Concerts - Melaveh Malka.
      Dov Shurin and Ben Levine
      Yerachmiel "Rocky" Ziegler"

      Sivan 21, 5768, 6/24/2008

      Old Mizrachi music rocks. And so does Tzvika Pik

      I got several positive comments on the blog about Daklon. I guess people like Mizrachi music. And that brings me to a story about David. But first, an email I recieved:

      "Thanks for keeping up to date with the old-timers. When will you interview Daklon? Those were the days! I have been in Jerusalem since 1973, baruch Hash-m. I enjoy Daklon, Haim Moshe, Shimi Tavori, Ofra Haza, Yardena Arazi, & other musical Mizrachi."

      Now about David. Not the other David from my previous blog entry, but the one that does video production. He called me up the other day to ask if I knew any good Mizrachi music of a sentimental nature. He was making a memorial video for someone who passed away. This question almost stumped me. But after a couple minutes I came up with names like the ones mentioned above plus Zion Golan (his song Abba Shimon is covered by the Moshav Band) and Zohar Argov. I also recomended some David D'or and also the album Shaday by Ofra Haza which has an accapella track that is quite ethereal and haunting.

      But then I had a thought and called him back. You see, people relatively new to Israel may know certain songs, but they didn't grow up with them and don't know the social context. Perhaps that one Daklon song was played at a high school graduation. Or maybe it was played non-stop on the radio, or it was used in a commercial. You have no idea what memories that song may bring up. I have heard American pop songs played in Israel which make me think "why on earth would they play THAT?" But how should they know what song is cheesy or shmaltzy?

      Once I told a friend that I had just discovered Tzvika Pik and thought he was cool. They threatened never to talk to me again. What's wrong with Tzvika Pik? I may never know. But David reassured me that it would be ok and I shouldn't worry about it. He promised he wouldn't screw up the memorial video with the wrong song.

      I was looking up Tzvika Pik to post here. There's a great one where he's wearing all white. But then I found this one by Shimi Tavori which I think is even better. Enjoy!

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