Concert Review: Touching the non-existent

All star crew of musicians, vocalists, songwriters come together to put on a great show.

Touching the non existent 311 (photo credit: Yishay Cohen)
Touching the non existent 311
(photo credit: Yishay Cohen)
Tuesday’s Nogea Bemah She’enenu (Touching the non-Existent) concert at Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem was something of a magical mystery tour. The show was based on works by Jerusalemite poetess Rivka Miriam, chosen by cellistcomposer- arranger Rali Margalit and director-actor-rabbi-vocalist Baruch Brenner. The two were ably supported by flutist-clarinetist Yaakov Miron, bassist Ora Boasson- Horev and percussionist Yoni Sharon.
Brenner set the scene by explaining that the works would be performed in two parts – the first half comprising seven poems from Miriam’s book Baal Haness VeOd Ovrei Orach (Baal Haness and Other Passers By) and the second a selection of animalthemed poems, albeit with a striking alternative subtext, from the Ayalah (Doe) collection.
There was also a song written by Brenner and arranged by Margalit which opened and closed the show, an instrumental slot taken from Margalit’s Soosim album and a high-energy klezmer escapade.
The audience was asked not to applaud after each poem or narration but to wait until the end of the show before, as Brenner put it, considering whether or not to clap. Some did not manage to hold out until the close.
Brenner’s acting ability came to the fore throughout, as he narrated, sang and performed the poems to a primarily thematic musical tapestry. Margalit, playing her unique cellhu instrument, wove darkly intricate patterns interspersed with lighter more percussive ventures. She worked particularly well with Boasson-Horev, whose rich bass colors complemented the cell-hu’s somewhat more delicate tones to perfection. Miron’s sensitive wind instrument work neatly embellished the sonic front while Sharon offered some welcome pyrotechnic departures.
Although the tonal presentation kept to a defined niche, Brenner utilized his acting skills to help the instrumentalists convey Miriam’s strong imagery across a wide range of areas, through a captivating mix of erotic, mystical, mundane, childlike, dark and tongue-in-cheek subject matter.
This was the second of two scheduled performances, although there is talk of more shows in the pipeline.