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Game Boys, Abie Rotenberg and my ride home

By Ben Bresky
7/11/2008, 12:00 AM

I was working at the radio station minding my own business when suddenly I was called to the on-air studio. The Aliyah Revolution with Go'el and Dovid was in the middle of its live broadcast. I thought maybe there was some kind of technical emergency. I rushed in the studio, only to have Dovid ask me if I ever heard of the group Game Boys. Yes, I replied, I had seen the cover of their 2006 disc Game Boys: The Album, but that was as far as I got. I didn't actually listen to it. Well Dovid had in fact listened to it and excitedly wanted to know my opinion and if I could run to the disc library and grab it for him.

At the risk of being a music snob, I was, shall we say, just a little bit turned off by the name of the band and their photo on the cover. It just seems so easy to make fun of their name and look. I can't actually think of any funny insults right now, but I'm sure some more creative people could. But I shouldn't judge. I have never released a disc. I have never performed on stage. I am here to celebrate Israeli musicians, no mater what they look like, or how much they remind me of music that was popular in America 5 years ago. But that's my problem. No mater how talented or original Israeli musicians are, its hard to like music that sounds too American to me. I started The Beat because I was looking for something that sounded more Israeli, whatever "sounding Israeli" means.
 
But Dovid decided to replace the usual Aliyah Revolution theme music with Game Boys, the regular theme music being Kumah, a jam-band style rock song by Aspaklaria. As Dovid explained on the show, if you're going to enjoy boy band style music, they might as well be Jewish boy bands from Israel singing in Hebrew. You can listen to sound clips of the Game Boys here on Israel-Music.com and let me know what you think in the comments section. I believe they have some videos on YouTube as well.

As far as musical quality, Game Boys is actually quite good. They sing well, the music is catchy and upbeat. The last song on the album is a nice acoustic ballad about falling in love.

Dovid ended up giving me a ride home and I find it interesting to note what kind of music he has in his car (which is a mini van, which will be relevant later in the story). In the car he had a copy of Journeys, a popular series by Jewish- Canadian composer Abie Rotenberg.

Most of the songs on the Journeys series are in English in a light, easy listening style; some guitar, some piano based ballads. Popular songs include The Place Where I Belong and The Man From Vilna. Song clips can be found here on MostlyMusic.com.

On the way home Dovid picked up every hitchhiker we saw. We had 9 people in the car. Some of them were from Migron, and Dovid excitedly called them true heroes. But my adventure didn't end there. After I got dropped of at the bus stop, a couple of young guys walked by with a guitar and darbuka and sat right down on the side of the road on the curb and started playing and singing.

It was a busy intersection with a lot of cars. These guys didn't even have a guitar case, just the guitar and drum slug across their backs and t-shirts that said "Hashem Hu Ha Melech". I've actually seen this before. It's fairly common to see guys walking around with guitars. I snapped a photo of them.