Joined at the hip

Singer Rami Fortis reunites with guitarist Barry Sakharov to open his Rami Hologrami tour.

May 30, 2013 11:48
2 minute read.
Rami Fortis

Rami Fortis. (photo credit: Courtesy)

They’ve enjoyed satisfying, successful careers as two of Israel’s most distinctive solo artists. But when Rami Fortis and Barry Sakharov get together, as they are wont to do, one plus one ends up equaling a lot more than two.

The latest round of their decades-long musical collaboration will take place on Saturday night at the Shoni Amphitheater in Binyamina as guitarist extraordinaire Sakharov joins singer Fortis for the opening night of his Rami Hologrami tour.

In addition to drawing from his vast catalogue of solo classics, including his latest album Hachaver Ani , the 59-year-old Fortis will bring in the 56-year-old Sakharov for material from their celebrated history together, such as their 1988 landmark Sippurim M’hakufsa (Tales from Inside the Box), still considered one of the best Israeli rock albums ever made.

“Israeli music was kind of stuck at that time, and that album was the first one to combine Western rock, Middle Eastern music and new electronic elements,” said Boaz Cohen, radio programmer at 88 FM. “Its importance to Israeli rock can’t be underestimated.”

The fluid on/off musical partnership between the two premier talents began in their teens, when they performed in garage rock bands together in seedy Tel Aviv clubs in the 1970s.

Fortis made local history in 1978, when at 24, he released what many call the first Israeli punk rock record, Plonter , which stunned an unsuspecting audience with its Clash-infused energy. Meanwhile, after completing his army service, Sakharov went to Belgium at the turn of the decade with other Israeli musicians to form the post- punk art rockers Minimal Compact. Over the course of eight years and six albums, the band also made its way into local music history annals for being the first band consisting of Israelis to achieve a modicum of success outside the country.

Sakharov asked his friend Fortis to join Minimal Compact in 1984, and with the two renewing their musical connections, the band recorded their two best-known albums, Deadly Weapons produced by Tuxedomoon’s Peter Principle and Raging Souls produced by Wire’s Colin Newman.

When Minimal Compact called it quits in 1988, Fortis and Sakharov returned to Israel and, working together alone for the first time, created the masterpiece Tales from Inside the Box , an album that has set the standard for rock in Israel.

Both artists focused on their own careers after that, with Sakharov especially blossoming into a world- class guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer. Two of his highlights were the 1998 album Negiot (Touches) and Simanim shel Hulsha (Sign of Weakness), a collaboration with Rea Mochiach.

However, Sakharov and Fortis continued to connect, performing and recording together, including a 2006 album and tour. Then in 2011, they spearheaded a Minimal Compact reunion with three well- received concerts.

This week’s appearance is another chapter in their fabled yin- yang relationship and provides final proof that national treasures Rami Fortis and Barry Sakharov are connected at the musical chord.

Rami Fortis’s show will be on the road throughout the summer, including shows on June 28 at Zappa Tel Aviv and July 7 at the Barby in Tel Aviv. He will also be one of the judges on the upcoming season of the Israeli version of The X Factor.

Rami Fortis and Barry Sakharov perform on Saturday night at the Shoni Amphitheater in Binyamina.

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