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Safed-raised Itay Pearl, whose Girls album is often cited as one of the best independent Israeli releases of 2005, is ready to launch a new show with a premiere performance in Tel Aviv tonight.
Distributed under the Hatav Hashmini label, Girls is an elegant and mostly acoustic collection of original songs that are pleasant, light and organic.
"It was very important to me that the project have a clear concept," he recently told Yediot Aharonot of the disc, which was painstakingly recorded over 15 months. "The album has a lot of innocence and good intentions. The opposite would be to become cynical, and I'm afraid of becoming cynical."
Pearl wanted to be involved in rock and roll ever since seeing a TV show about Elvis Presley as a young boy. Upon finishing his army service, his peers went traveling while Pearl developed his musical career, soon playing his first concert in Rosh Pina and enrolling in the renowned Rimon music school in Tel Aviv, where he formed his first band as a third-year student.
Today, the band is made up of childhood friends and Tel Aviv jazzmen for the most part, with Pearl's own guitar and vocals accompanied by Amit Friedman on saxophone, Yair Slotsky on trombone, Guy Toval on upright bass, Ran Levanon on drums and Itzik Mezrohin on keyboards. Kobi Parhi, who recorded the album in his home studio, joins the band on tour as a sound engineer.
The new show will feature songs from Girls, from Pearl's upcoming sophomore album, and plenty of surprises in the intimate singer/songwriter category. A set list from one Jerusalem gig last summer, for example, included a Mashina song, Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" and Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner."
Itay Pearl appears tonight at 10:30 at the Heineken Stage club in Tel Aviv. For more information, call (03) 620-7777.