All together now at the Yellow Submarine

The second season of the successful Channel 1 series is expanding beyond Jerusalem musicians to showcase young talent from around the country.

Yellow Submarine 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yellow Submarine 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Watching live musical performances within the limited confines of a television isn’t always a satisfying experience. But the Channel 1 series Live From the Yellow Submarine was able to transcend the sonic restrictions and offer something special to viewers.
While Tel Aviv is known as the contemporary music capitol of the country, the series focused on 10 Jerusalem-based young, contemporary artists performing live at the cozy club in the city’s south industrial area.
The live shows were interspersed with taped segments of host Shaanan Street of Hadag Nahash, (another Jerusalem institution), informally chatting with the musicians in a relaxed atmosphere and appropriate Jerusalem setting about their lives and the influence of the holy city on their music.
The format proved so successful that Channel 1 and the Yellow Submarine are currently filming season two of the series which will be screened later this year.
According to the club’s general manager Atcha Bar, this year’s lineup isn’t restricting itself to Jerusalem-based artists, but encompassing a group of musicians from other parts of the country who are attempting to forge their own musical paths.
“Even last year, we featured musicians, who while they may have come from Jerusalem, are now based in Tel Aviv – like Tamar Eisenman and Coolooloosh,” said Bar last week. “The first year we focused on whether there was something called “Jerusalem music,” but in reality the idea of the show is to support and promote new, young artists. So this year, we decided to expand the boundaries and also look at the periphery – there are great artists in Beersheba, Haifa and all around.”
This season will feature two performers each week, and segments already recorded include Uzi "Ramirez" Feinerman and Cenzura as well as Marsh Dondurma and Uzi Navon with The Macherim. The next taping takes place on January 19 with The Collective and Nadav Azoulai and again on January 26 with Los Capros and System Aeli. There’s no admission to the shows, making them the best deal in town.
According to Bar, the idea behind the show was hatched when he was approached by Channel 1’s producer Mickey Herz.
“We often host the final recitals for music schools and Mickey’s daughter who finished a program in voice at a local music academy was part of one of those shows. He was impressed with our facilities and gave me a call later and suggested doing something together,” said Bar.
THE PROJECT, supported by The Jerusalem Foundation and the Culture branch of the Jerusalem Municipality, went through various formats including one similar to The Actors Studio before settling on the presentation which viewers saw last year.
Beersheba indie rocker Nadav Azoulay is grateful at being given the opportunity for nationwide exposure. His 2009 debut album On The Bad Side was a well-received potent slice of edgy guitar pop, and he’s hoping that his followup effort will receive a wider audience. But he’s not convinced that long established means like television actually play an important role any more in promoting artists.
“I don’t think appearing on the show will be a game changer for me,” he said last week.
“I’m sure it will be fun and a help, but today there’s so many other ways to promote yourself by yourself. A month ago, we filmed a video of a new song – “Poison” - and posted it on YouTube ourselves. We got lots of reactions. I think the reliance on conventional media is shrinking.”
Azoulay hadn’t seen any of the show’s first season episodes and was only vaguely aware of the series at all. But despite some trepidation, he’s not looking a gift horse in the mouth.
“I don’t know what I think about it, but I hope it will be fun,” he said.
“In the end for the band, it’s a performance.
Sometimes you do things that are supposed to promote you, but when you’re not in charged of the finished product, it can be altered and not portrayed accurately. Sometimes the media is not so interested in the art.”
But Bar is adamant that it’s the artists who are the first priority for the show, and everything is built around keeping the performances pure and uncluttered by the presence of cameras and crews.
“There’s some great music out there that isn’t heard by the ordinary person,” he said.
“Our function as the Yellow Submarine as a public center for music together with Channel 1 which is a public station is to give a platform to these artists. Someone established like Sarit Hadad doesn’t need us, but these artists do.”