Yankl Falk on a good Israeli record store
Thanks to Eva Broman for introducing us to www.israel-music.com—and also for your comments about traditional vs popular music in Israel. Reva and I just got back from two weeks in Israel, where we bought buckets of CDs at HaTav HaShmini (a great shop in Jerusalem near Nahalat Shiva) and at Renanot (in the Heichal Shlomo synagogue - mostly liturgical). We were fortunate enough to pick up a hitchhiker with good taste, who gave us great recommendations. Plus, we found some knowledgeable and helpful folks at the record shop. HaTav HaShmini has a really diverse selection of traditional and contemporary Israeli music of all flavors, with much of their stock selling for only 29 or 39 shekels - less than $10 - so we didn't mind taking some chances: new music in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdi, Russian, and more. We also wound up with some Palestinian and Lebanese pop music that we found at a tiny Druze village in the Galilee. (Debka meets drums 'n' bass.) Should keep us busy l! istening for a while....
As Eva writes, Itzik Kala is marvelous—as are many other musicians whose CDs came home with us: Bustan Abraham (they've been around a while, but their music is new to us), Ehud Banai, Shlomi Shabat, Ronen Amram (Kurdish music - in Kurdi), Gavriel Khosen (Gabriel), Arkadi Duchin (both Hebrew and Russian), Alayev Family (Bukharan music, mostly in Bokhari/Uzbeki/Farsi), Moshe Chabusha (trad. Iraqi liturgical, available at the Meron kiosks for less than $5), Sfatayim (Moroccan party music, sung in Arabic), HaDag Nachash (hiphop/acid jazz), and a traditional Meron-style clarinetist in Tsfat named Dov Silberman.
I'm currently reading "Popular Music and National Culture in Israel" (Motti Regev and Edwin Seroussi, University of California Press). It's a good overview of Israeli popular music over the past 50+ years and its role in shaping Israeli national culture. For someone like me - who, after a few very unpleasant listening experiences in the 1970s, spent decades avoiding Israeli popular music - it's wonderful to discover so much good music and to see how it all fits together. It was amazing to listen to the radio there for two weeks - a richness that I haven't heard on American radio in a long, long time.
To hear some of what we brought back, join us at www.kboo.fm (Portland) on Sunday mornings 10-11 am (Pacific).