Sunday, May 24, 2020

My Jewish Blues

During a radio interview held last summer, following the release of  "BlueSoul", the interviewer asked me a question that I was unprepared for: "what is Israeli about your music?" . I tried to think of a suitable answer, hemmed and hawed a bit about how my home is in Israel and music is universal etc. etc....only later (of course) did I come up with a better answer (now I am prepared next  time I am asked :) ).
I was reminded of it this week due to the date of Bob Dylan's birthday. While the music I play is absolutely American, there is a distinct Jewish quality about it: the lyrics. While musically my influences are African-American (Muddy Waters, BB King, Little Walter, James Cotton etc), lyrically my songwriting is not typical "Blues". Since the first commandment of the Blues is absolute honesty, it would be wrong  - and disrespectful - for me to try to write lyrics based on the African-American experience. I needed to find my own voice and write from my own experience and influences. These include being part of "The people of the book", growing up in a culture where the written word is dominant and important. I also grew up listening to '60s and '70s folk and rock , which featured many great Jewish songwriters - Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Robbie Robertson, and first and foremost - Bob Dylan. In Israeli popular music too,  the lyrics have always been considered of supreme importance ,to the point where many of Israel's top rock and pop artists often recorded songs written by poets.  So the "Israeli/ Jewish " influence on my music is my attempt to meld Blues feeling with lyrics that are  meaningful and related to my personal experience , thus following in the huge  footsteps of Bob Dylan - and Meir Ariel , too... 
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