The minute the show started, you could feel the musical fusion right in front of you. As oriental music started to rise from the stage, Dudu Tassa's electric guitars could have seemed out of place, but that is exactly what created the magic. Around 22:30, as promised, Tassa came up on stage to the sound of the roaring crowd, accompanied by his wonderful band. Nir Maymon was playing bass, Barak Krem on the drums, and Ariel Kasis was in charge of the electronic keyboard, computer and Arabic Kanun. In addition, there was a string trio that included Nitzan Kanti on the violin, Maya Lee Roman on the viola, and Netta Cohen Shani on the cello.
The first song was an up-beat Arabic song from his album Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis, which is full of Iraqi songs his grandfather wrote. The songs in this album combine modern rock and Iraqi music, and feel very sentimental because of Dudu's family connection. The audience was jumping up and down and surprisingly, singing along, showing us that Dudu knows what the people want.
After the crowd was all warmed up, Dudu moved on to some of his love ballads, singing Yesh Beinenu Bait, Eize Yom and Shahahti Le'ehov. His songs feel like personal monologues that are bursting with pain, they are deep, and still so catchy.
When it was time to push up the energy, Dudu moved on to singing his known hits Bediuk Bazman and Lola, making the crowd shout at the top of their lungs. Next came the apocalyptic Basof Mitraglim Lehakol and Tzarich. Some of Tassa's greatest songs combine personal fear and a more general one, in an emotional storm that makes the listener feel and relate, while he is enjoying and celebrating. Tassa's texts can both hurt and make you want to dance at the same time.
When Tassa went back to singing more of his Iraqi songs, the audience just couldn't get enough. With recordings of his grandfather singing and his amazing Kanun player playing lovely oriental sounds in the background, Tassa's voice sounds as beautiful and touching in Arabic, as it does in Hebrew.
Suddenly, the audience started shouting song requests, mostly heard was the oldie but goodie, Marco. That certainly surprised Dudu, that asked, "Really? Marco?" before he went on to playing it.
When Tassa came back on stage for the anchor, he sang the romantic Maaliot, starting only with his guitar. After two verses the band joined him, and, appropriate for a much-loved song, he let the audience sing one of the verses themselves. He finished with the groove of Ani Ratz, which kept us all wanting more.
Tassa is full of contradictions. On one hand there are the wonders he does with his guitar and his tough rocker look. On the other hand there are his soft voice and the intense and sensitive lyrics he sings with all of his heart. That combination, just like the one connecting rock n' roll with oriental music, is what makes Dudu Tassa such a unique and beloved artist.
You don't want to miss his next concert, I know I want to see it again and again.