‘There is no one secret of flamenco singing,” said Yael Horwitz, “rather a number of secrets that need to be discovered. Every type of music or art has its secrets. They are things you discover with time and with very specific intention. If you have a bit of luck and you connect with artists who are willing to open their heart to you, you can learn them.”
For Horwitz, 36, unraveling the mysteries of flamenco is a lifelong quest. In her eyes, the key to flamenco singing is not something that can be translated into words, but rather must be felt by the artist and his or her audience.
“Flamenco isn’t only music, it is culture and intuition. When you hear flamenco, before you understand it, you feel it. It’s very direct and emotional. Flamenco singers sometimes look like they are crying or screaming. I love that because I am a very introverted person in my daily life. When I sing I feel that I can express myself without filters.”
This week, Horwitz will star in two performances to celebrate the release of her second album, entitled Hasta El Final.
As a younger woman, Horwitz left her hometown of Jerusalem for the environs of southern Spain. An unknown singer, Horwitz spent years observing the great singers from the audience.
“To learn secrets you have to be in a place where you have technical and artistic abilities,” she explained. “The artists who I met didn’t teach me how to sing. I had to prove myself first and only after that did they open their souls to me.”
Collaborating with other artists has been a vital part of Horwitz’s development both abroad and since returning to Israel. Last year, she joined forces with local Andalusian composer and singer Nino Biton. She has performed with the New Andalusian Orchestra of Ashkelon. Each musician or singer that she performs with gives Horwitz a new burst of energy and creativity.
“I have had such wonderful collaborations in Israel,” she said.
Since returning to Israel, Horwitz has married, had two children and racked up a long list of performances. Armed with the confidence of experience, Horwitz returned to Spain.
“I was singing in Spain and these musicians, very reputable ones, yelled ‘ole.’ That’s the highest compliment you can get from these guys and if they don’t like you they won’t say it. When they yelled ‘ole’ I really felt that all those years on my own, struggling, were worth it.”
The new album, Hasta El Final, continues Horvitz’s artistic line, blending Andalusian sounds with Mediterranean rhythms and melodies. Her first album, Latido, brought together Spanish songs with local classics such as “At Li Laila” and “Sigaliot.” For the release of Hasta El Final, Horwitz will perform alongside Israeli singer Ilana Elia.
“From the rehearsals we’ve done together, I can tell that Ilana and I have a strong connection. There’s a lot of girl power going on for us,” she laughed. To bring an extra edge to the playlist, Horwitz called on her partner in life and music Eran Horwitz to arrange new versions of songs from her first album.
“We built a show that is comprised of new arrangements of old songs, new songs and Ilana’s songs, which will be accompanied by my musicians as well as hers. All of the musicians will play the entire show. The shows I’ve done until now have been based on flamenco. This show is very eclectic. There is a lot of emphasis on Mediterranean music,” she said.
The program will give time for each of the musicians on stage to shine, a must in Horwitz’s eyes.
“They are amazing musicians. If they were each playing a solo show, I would recommend to anyone and everyone to go see them. Having them together on one stage is going to be incredible.”
Yael Horwitz will perform tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Beit Hayotzer (www.bama.acum.org.il) and on February 27 at 9 p.m. at the Yellow Submarine (www.yellowsubmarine.org.il).
Tickets for both shows cost NIS 60.