“My dream was to be an actress on the Hebrew stage,” says Sandy Cash,
reminiscing about her past.
Over 25 years later, Cash still thinks of the
stage as her second home, but rather than make-up, sets and choreography, now
all she needs is her guitar. Releasing her fourth album, the folk-singer says
that she is doing exactly what she was meant to.
The album, Voices on the
Other Side, is full of narrative, clever lyrics, and insight into the life of an
American-born Israeli. She has come a long way since her first CD, Exact Change,
was released in 2000. Now a seasoned folk artist, Cash sings from the heart and
encapsulates her life-experiences in her refreshingly raw tunes. She says that
her new album is mostly her own writing, whereas her first two were a mixture of
her own writing and others’.
The quirky, US-born mother of three says her
latest album is an initiative to connect the US and Israeli folk communities.
After growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Cash’s time studying at Tel Aviv
University confirmed she was born to be on stage. She remembers spending her
free time controlling follow spotlights for actors on the university stage,
wishing it was her up there instead.
She first broke into the musical
theater scene when she was cast as a chorus member in Les Misérables at the age
of 23 in Tel Aviv. By age 27, Cash had played ensemble roles in several
musicals, including Evita with popular Israeli musician Dudu Fisher. She
fondly refers to this time of her life as her “chorus-girl years.”
loved being on stage, but soon realized drama was not for her. She took her love
for theater, combined it with her comedic talents, and began to write
She is a true storyteller, and every song on her new album, Voices
from the Other Side
, is about making the audience feel, she tells The Jerusalem
t. She likes to think of each song as a three-minute monologue, or standup
comedy with a guitar.
Cash says each of her four previous albums has
taught her a valuable lesson about the world of professional music. She
considers her latest album as somewhat of a milestone because it is comprised of
her own writing and deals with more serious themes. “I have decided I
don’t have to try so hard to be funny anymore,” Cash says.
inspired by storytelling, and her music has become about bringing obscure
stories to larger audiences. Her song “Gilad’s Guitar” is the true story
of a soldier who was killed on the first day of the Yom Kippur War. The
guitar she plays when she performs once belonged to him. In fact, much of
her music focuses on stories based in Israel, and she has taken on the
responsibility of becoming somewhat of a representation of Israel in the US folk
community. This album is Cash’s own personal observation of what it means to be
a transplanted Midwesterner in the Middle East.
“Americans have either
idealized or demonized ideas of Israel. The media tells a story everyone expects
to hear and that does a disservice to us,” Cash explains, and that is why she
wants to get the facts straight. Even with the daily difficulties of Israeli
life, she says there is no place she would rather live.
The eighth song
on her album is a musical interpretation of her feelings toward the country she
lives in. The appropriately titled “Song of Zion” explains her pride to be an
Israeli. She says that music is a universal language, and this song conveys her
pride on a personal level, not a political one: “And if I said I love her Would
you glance around in fear Would you guide me toward a corner To make sure your
friends don’t hear And if I said I love her Would you shake your head and stare
Would you search my eyes until you find The hate that you’re sure is there”
“Folk music has a lot to do with civil rights. It breaks down walls and
barriers, opens people’s hearts, and that makes their minds available,” says
With conflict and politics aside, Cash says living in Israel is
predominantly about being a wife, mother and human being, and that is exactly
the message she conveys through her music. As she puts it, her life can be
defined in a few simple words: “Life, love, children and carpool.”
title of her album, Voices from the Other Side
, is a line taken from the second
song on her album Banks of Freedom. She says that this represents her intentions
for the album. Being able to play her music in Israel, and then to go back to
the US and share it with her fans and folk-singing heroes has been a
life-changing experience for Cash.
“This genre of music is about the
story, not about being a cover-girl with pipes like Mariah Carey,” says the
mother of three. “The greatest thing about being a folk singer is that it’s not
about polishing or over-accessorizing. It’s completely about documenting what
you were thinking at the time. My songs are all based in happiness because I am
a happy person. Happiness is a great place to tell stories from.”