For the latest Israeli buzz-band, Jane Bordeaux, there’s nothing like a bit of one-upmanship to spice up the proceedings and raise the performance ante.
“It all started from a competition of original songs at Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music [in Ramat Hasharon] a few years ago,” explains vocalist-percussionist Doron Talmon, who founded the acclaimed country folk group in 2012. “The idea was to perform some of my songs, and get some practical experience of a band format – you know, finding musicians, getting a name for the band and that sort of thing.”
Four years on, and you could unreservedly say that Talmon has achieved the point of the school exercise, and then some.
After appearing this weekend as one of the headline acts at the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival, where they brought the house down last year, Talmon and the other two members of the trio – guitarist, ukulele player and vocalist Amir Zeevi and double bass player-vocalist Mati Gilad, as well as drummer Daniel Bloch – will appear at this year’s Spring Festival, which kicks off in Rishon Lezion Friday and will run through until Tuesday.
A wide range of music and dance productions have been lined up for the six-dayer, with Jane Bordeaux due to play at the Hechal Hatarbut venue on Sunday (9 p.m.).
Talmon says the Rimon assignment helped point her in the right direction, even though success back then was not instantly achieved.
“I had never even dreamed of getting band together before that. We dropped out of the competition in the second round but one of the musicians suggested we keep going, and try to become a real working band.”
It was an inspired notion.
“I hadn’t thought of that at all, and I just said: ‘yeah, let’s keep on playing together.’” Thus began to the meandering path of Jane Bordeaux, which, it must be said, has proven to be a happy experience for Talmon.
“The band has gone in all sorts of directions over the past four years, and there have been all sorts of people playing in the group,” she notes. “The basis has always been country folk, but we had an electric guitarist at one point, so that impacted on what we played.”
Logistics also came into the lineup picture, although ultimately practicality pointed the way to what Talmon had always wanted.
“We thought that, if we had a more compact band, we could go to gigs in one car, and perform more intimate acoustic sets,” she recalls. “Then, suddenly, I realized that was the right sound for us, and the sound I’d been after all the time, for my songs, and which allowed the story to come out.”
Talmon is Israeli, but explains that her “mother lived for a few years in the United States and she came back to Israel with lots of music, but mainly country music records.
That’s the music we heard, in addition the Beatles and other bands.”
Although Jane Bordeaux sings mostly in Hebrew, Talmon feels it is a seamless rhythmic and textural fit, despite the definitively American source of the style.
“It is about storytelling, and I think you can do that in any language,” she posits.
“Anyway, Hebrew is the language I talk and think in, and it is the most natural for me.”
The band, in a previous guise, finally released its first single, “Einav” (Grape), in August 2014, with the eponymous debut album following a couple of months later.
The second single, “Eich Efshar Sheloh” (How Could It Not Be), hit the airwaves in November of that year. It provided the sought-for breakthrough and became a hit.
By the end of 2015 Galgalatz data indicated that Jane Bordeaux was the radio station’s most played band of the year.
The long awaited sophomore album is currently in the works, and Talmon says it will be a different affair, at least in terms of logistics and hands-on production.
“We are producing the CD ourselves,” she notes happily. “We decided we wanted to have total control over the end product, and to play around with it as we see fit. We are more experienced now and we are more confident.”
The band’s musical line of thought remains very much unchanged, although Talmon says she and the other band members are going with the creative flow.
“I don’t really know how it will ultimately turn out, and that’s what is exciting about the whole thing. We are taking our time, and we are working on one song at a time and just seeing how each one pans out. The general orientation is American-Hebrew country folk music.”
Talmon says she and her colleagues are aware of the “second album syndrome,” but feel up to the task.
“We are older and wiser, and more experienced now. But, you know, when you put out your first record you have no expectations, you don’t really think anyone is going to want to listen to it.”
Thankfully, that categorically proved not to be the case, but success comes at a price.
“Now we feel the pressure of having to show we were not just a flash in the pan, and that we have something to offer with this album too.”
Judging by the wildly enthusiastic response to the debut offering, and the band’s sustained ability to pack ‘em in at gigs up and down the country, the follow-up release should be worth the wait.For tickets and more information about the Spring Festival: (03) 948-8666 and http:// www.springfestival.co.il.