Oudside the box

Tzavta's festival will combine ethnic music strains from hard-core traditionalists to rappers, rockers, pop artists and belly dancers.

August 20, 2009 10:30
3 minute read.
Oudside the box

Ahuva Ozeri 88 248. (photo credit: Doron Gilad)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Ethnic music is not just about flowing clothes and unfamiliar instruments. The seventh annual Oud Festival will kick off at Tzavta in Tel Aviv on Sunday with a program that reflects many facets of the ethnic music world. The five-day event encompasses a range of musical strains and artistic styles, from hard-core traditionalists to rappers, rockers and pop artists, with some belly dancing thrown in for good visual measure. As this festival and its older sibling that takes place at the Confederation House in Jerusalem have shown over the years, there is more to eastern music than initially meets the eye and ear. There are, for example, marked differences between material that originates from, say, Yemen when compared with Iraq. Then there's Andalusian music that fuses Jewish, Arabic and Christian elements from Spain and North Africa, heavily spiced with localized seasoning. Plus, there's Ladino music, which culled its sound from local motifs and colors as it snaked its way through the Mediterranean cultures. Next week's Tzavta bash reflects some of that variety, opening on Sunday (at 9 p.m.) with a dance extravaganza, courtesy of five members of the Sahara City belly dancing school, and an instrumental ensemble which, as the festival blurb puts it, showcases "the cream of the classical works of the Arabic culture." The cultural spread expands appreciably during Monday's "I'll Await You at the Night Watch" slot, spearheaded by kamanche (Azerbaijani spike violin) and baglama (Turkish stringed instrument) player Mark Eliyahu and Persian-style vocalists Maureen Nehedar and Janet Yehudian. The instrumental support for the show takes in a multicultural range of eastern-style players, including Peretz Eliyahu on tar (Persian lute), Amos Hoffman on oud and Alon Campino on guitar. The joyous side of the East will, no doubt, come through loud and strong on Tuesday at the Mumtaz ("wonderful" in Arabic) Egyptian Hafla with a program of works written, performed and recorded by some of the icons of the Arabic musical world - the likes of Farid al-Atrash and Oum Kalthoum. The cross-cultural ethos is most evident in the performance by the Mabrouk Band scheduled for Wednesday: the Mediterranean Israeli Hafla - aka Local Chill Out. A seven-piece ensemble - including Charlie Sabach on oud and guitar, Ran Bagno on keyboards and accordion and Yaakov Lev Sameach and Noa Vax on percussion instruments of varying hues - will mix ethnic folk music with more electronic endeavor. Add to that guest appearances by crooner Arkadi Duchin and rapper Saz and you get a highly eclectic program. The festival will close on Thursday with a bang, with Shlomo Bar, Habreira Hativit and an impressive vocalist guest list with the likes of Tea Packs frontman Kobi Oz, Galit Giat, Yemenite songstress Ahuva Ozeri and Morrocan-born paytan Rabbi Haim Louk. Bar has, for the last three-plus decades, been at the forefront of east-west musical synthesis, as well as championing the cause of Moroccan music in a country that wasn't always open to non-western artistic endeavors. So it is entirely fitting that much of Thursday's show will be devoted to works made famous by Moroccan-Andalusian song pioneer Joe Amar, who passed away in June at the age of 79. "Joe was a wonderful singer and he helped to show people in Israel that eastern music is not inferior to western music," says Bar. "Joe came from a glorious Andalusian musical culture that, when he moved here [in the Fifties], few people in Israel knew about." Thursday's itinerary will include staples from Amar's repertoire, such as "Shir Hashikor" (The Drunkard's Song), "Barcelona" and "Perah Halimon" (The Lemon Flower). "Joe sang protest songs about, for example, the way people were treated at the Labor Exchange, but his protest was always artistic only, and never violent," Bar continues. "He came to Israel with mixed, westernized education and he inspired many musicians here from right across the board. I think he would have liked the tribute we're going to do for him." The Oud Festival will run August 23-27 at Tzavta in Tel Aviv. For ticket reservations: (03) 695-0156/7.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys