Shlomo Bar 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Van Straten)
Even at the age of 67 it would be hard to say that Shlomo Bar is showing too
many signs of slowing down, although, it must be stated, the old firebrand has
begun to show some softer edges.
Bar and his long-running, seminal
crossover band, Habreira Hativit, are releasing their eleventh album, In a
Secret of Solitary Prayer, the launch festivities and grand gig taking place at
the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater near Binyamina this
Percussionist-vocalist Bar has been a singular voice on the
local musical scene for over four decades. He came to prominence as the
and leader of Habreira Hativit in the late ’70s, offering a heady mix of
energized “world music” that culled a wide range of influences, from
Indian and Persian music to rock and pop and liturgical material. In a Secret of
has all that and then some.
One surprising element of the
new album is the number of covers. “Yes, that is sort of new departure
Bar admits in an interview with The
during a brief break in
rehearsals for Thursday’s show, “I normally have one, maybe two, in each
So what prompted him to offer his own version of some tried and
tested favorites? Track 4 on the CD, for example, is “Ima Adama” (Mother
– written by Yankeleh Rotblitt and most readily associated with the 1972
rendition of iconic songster Arik Einstein – and there are lyrics by
Goldberg elsewhere on the disc.
Bar doesn’t appear to have a problem with
the seeming shift towards the mainstream. “I am at one with everything,”
declares. “As long as you are true to yourself and genuine, both as a
an artist, it doesn’t matter what material you perform. For me, it is
important to safeguard the Hebrew language, and that I think that comes
in all the songs on the CD.”
What also comes through loud and clear in
all of Bar’s work over the last 40-plus years is powerful emotion. “All
matter what field you create in, is not about fun or entertainment,” he
“it is about sadness and joy. I don’t follow fashions or trends – that’s
been my way and I’m not about to change now.”
STILL, BAR has come a long
way in his close to seven decades on this planet, including becoming a
again after a 26-year gap. Today he is married to fellow band-member,
percussionist-vocalist Yael Offenbach, and the couple have three
6-11. Tellingly, one of the numbers on the album written by Offenbach
“Geveret Rita” (Ms.
Rita) addresses the contentious issue of
administering ritalin to children with attention disorders.
“I am sure
that if I’d been given ritalin as a kid I wouldn’t be doing what I do
says Bar, getting back onto his soapbox. “The scriptures say we should
children in their own way. The education system can’t come to terms with
fact that every child is different. This is a gross intervention in the
life and development. We almost experienced that ourselves, with one of
But does he think that “Geveret Rita” will do the trick? “I really
hope the song sparks public debate. It’s all spelled out in simple terms
Elsewhere on the album there are plenty of trademark Bar vocals
and pounding percussion work, with Menasheh Sasson spinning out his
musical webs on santour and Ilan Ben-Ami putting out a range of vibes on
and oud, from Arabic to rock- and pop-inflected sounds to captivating
Vocalist Leora Yitzhak, who hails from an Indian family, keeps flying
flag that was unfurled and displayed with great tenacity and skill for
years by late Habreira Hativit foundingmember and violinist Samson
Thursday’s show will be beefed up by rock-ethnic
guitarist-vocalist Berry Sakharof and pop singer Kobi Aflalo.
music troupe Hatapuchim, with whom Bar recorded several numbers last
be waiting in the wings for future gigs.