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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Israel’s Indie Music Scene Storms Tel Aviv for Wild Night

As a sideline to what has been over a month of festive international exposure events showcasing dance, music, theatre and arts to the eyes of presenters visiting Israel from all parts of the world, one exceptional musical evening, organized by the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, presented some of the best in Israel’s current ‘Indie’ music scene; – Yair Yona, Acollective, Uzi Ramirez and Yael Deckelbaum.

Carefully picked singer-songwriters and musicians teamed up to showcase  their material in South Tel Aviv’s exquisite new jam venue ‘The Zone.’ Hundreds of music industry professionals, musicians and fans as well as gathered to discover and be awed by Israel’s most vibrant active artists.

The music that pored out crisp and lucid from the venue’s generous PA system can best be described as mature, energetic yet cleverly combining foreign styles with a distinctive local interpretation. Extremely talented performers belted out English lyrics and boasted a potentially massive international appeal.

The audience was chock full of players in the local, bustling music scene – potentially new partners to help launch a platform to support these artists on upcoming overseas tours. International presenters and bookers were directly invited to this exclusive, high-profile night.

“This has long been an aspiration of mine” said Einat Shaul, director of cultural affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta and an avid music fan. “What we have launched here may ultimately be completed only by joining forces and working closely with available sources of support such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Musicians should be aware that Israel’s cultural attaches may serve as great connectors”.

The incredible lineup, combined with a one of a kind atmosphere, made energy bounce off the walls all night, making for a fantastic evening that offered surprising and memorable collaborations between the performers on the bill.

Mastering fingerstyle picking on an array of acoustic and slide guitars, Yair Yona tugs at the heartstrings with a rare interpretation of folk, rock, delta blues, country and jazz. He was later beautifully accompanied by Roy Rieck and his soulful harmonica for a first-ever public collaboration.

A band undoubtedly greater than the sum of all its parts, Acollective has long become a movement, stirring up stages around Israel and abroad. Seven young wonders crowded the floor led by Idan Rabinovici and Roy Rieck – bursting with energy and talent, forming a unique identity from the greatest sources of rock, blues, electro, jazz, new-folk, funk and Americana. Playing material off their recent release ‘Onwards’, they provided sheer bliss which has melancholy edges and is genuine the whole way through.

Brilliant guitarist Uzi ‘Bluesy’ Ramirez lit the room on fire with his folk/groove/funk/Americana & rockabilly that together create a first-rate new/old sound you can’t stay still too. Later on Uzi joined Yael Deckelbaum for a thrilling duet.

From the angelic voice through the fast guitar strumming, Yael Deckelbaum leads the audiences through pastures of folk & blues, using an immaculate operatic singing ability spiced with plenty of humor, emotion and audience engagement. With the support of Adam ben Ezra on the standup bass, Yael revealed material in English as well as new songs in Hebrew from her newly released album.