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 email@example.com.
And now to fulfill the request for Jewish classical music. I originally wanted to write about Ernest Bloch. But in looking him up I re-discovered Arnold Schoenberg. I used to have an old record album with his 1947 work A Survivor from Warsaw, but I never actually listened to the whole thing. That is to say, I could never bear listening to the whole thing.
It is a stark, dark and powerful piece, and one of the few classical compositions I’ve heard with a narrator reading in English. I did not realize this when I first put the record on the turntable and when the man's voice began it was quite shocking. He had an accent that made him sound very much like he personally had gone through the horrors that he describes, as the instruments in the background seem to musically echo his emotions. It ends with a choir singing Shema Yisrael.
Schoenberg was also very interested in the Zionist movement and was fond of Zev Jabotinsky. He wrote an essay called The Four-Front Program. I have been unable to find it, but I did find several articles about Schoenberg and his Zionist connections which are linked here. Other Jewish themed compositions he wrote include Moses und Aron. Here is a perfomance of A Survivor from Warsaw for Narrator, Men’s Chorus and Orchestra opus 46.
So once I was hanging out at the Irish pub near Ben Yehuda street with my friend David. Not the new big Irish pub that plays American music, but the small one that plays Israeli music and lets you throw the sunflower seed shells on the floor. David asked me how come I never play Daklon on my show. And I told him I had never heard of Daklon before.
Well David couldn’t believe it. He started asking random strangers if they had ever heard of Daklon. This went on both in the bar and after we got out on the street. We stopped about three different people and they all paused and said they didn’t think they knew him until David prodded them a little bit, and then they replied, "oh, oh yeah, I think I remember him."
So it appears Daklon isn’t exactly the latest hit, but he he does have an impressive career with Mizrachi style hits like the Yemenite classic Ayelet Chen, and Hana'le Hitbalelah. If you're into Mediterranean Israeli music from the 1970s like Zion Golan and Zohar Argov, then Daklon is perfect for you.
I later saw that Daklon was playing at one of the Hebron music festival indicating that he's still performing. I was able to contact his manager, but was informed that Daklon doesn’t speak any English and the interview would probably not work out.
I forgot all about it until last week when David called me up. He was at a wedding and guess who the wedding singer was... So one day soon, I’m going to interview Daklon, with David as my translator. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a great video I found of the one and only Daklon. Enjoy.
Yesterday I interviewed Heedoosh live in the studio. We talked about their music including the Purim Song, their Japanese fan base, making aliyah, Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav and more. Find out the answer to the trivia question: What is the best selling Jewish orthodox musician of all time? Plus an argument over Jimi Hendrix versus Django Reinhardt. They'll be performing Monday June 23rd at Canaan on Shamai Street in downtown Jerusalem.
Meir Banai's latest album is a collection of classic songs done in an acoustic guitar singer/songwriter format. Religious standards like Lecha Dodi are almost unrecognizable with Banai's newly composed smooth groovy melodies. Sephardic and Yemenite classics like Ayelet Chen are given guitar-based, love-ballad like treatment. Banai is a veteran Israeli singer from a family of famous musicians. This is a video with him and Israeli saxophonist Daniel Zamir.
I was in the car with Ari & Jeremy coming home from Arutz Sheva and I asked them to dropped me off by Ben Yehuda Street. I thought that would be convenient for me, but it turned out I had to walk further then usual. But I had my camera with me so I took the opportunity to get video of some of the many street musicians. Here it is: