Pillars of Israeli music Matti Caspi and Shalom Hanoch take the stage

The impressive repertoire was familiar to the 20 year-olds and 80 year-olds, as well as everyone in between. This is no surprise, as Hanoch and Caspi's songs are still regularly played on radio.

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September 23, 2018 03:18
3 minute read.
Matti Caspi and Shalom Hanoch, each a superstar in the music industry (September 23, 2018).

Matti Caspi and Shalom Hanoch, each a superstar in the music industry (September 23, 2018).. (photo credit: ORIT PNINI)

 
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Bring together two Israeli musical legends, and you get a performance hall full of fans spanning across three generations.

Matti Caspi and Shalom Hanoch, each a superstar in the music industry and both beloved household names, performed on Saturday night in the Mishkan Leomanoyot Habama in Tel Aviv, in a unique partnership they called, “The Songs are the Main Thing”.

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Both Caspi (68) and Hanoch (72) are composers, songwriters and performers active on Israeli stages since the late sixties. They are both originally from kibbutzim, began their artistic career in their teens and performed in music troupes during their army service.

Caspi is a multi-talented musician whose songs are influenced by many genres, from classical music, to rock, reggae, Latin and Far East music. He is most known for his astounding compositions. Over the years he collaborated with many prominent musical figures including Ehud Manor, Yankele Rotblit, Yehudit Ravitz and Shalom Hanoch, as well as many others.

Hanoch is considered the king of rock in Israel along with fellow legend and collaborator Arik Einstein (1939-2013). The two are the fathers of Israeli rock and classic Israeli music. Hanoch is still a favorite with youngsters and a pillar in radio channels like the Army channel.

The auditorium was filled to the brim with an eager audience and the excitement was palpable when the two appeared on stage. Without a word, the duo began singing their first song with only Caspi’s guitar in an acoustic rendition of Caspi’s, Ech ze she kochav (How does a star). The awed audience was struck dumb and for several moments there was silence in the hall.

Then Hanoch took to the guitar and the two sang his famous, Shir lelo shem, (Song with no name) and the spell broke – as the audience began to sing along, and barely stopped throughout the entire show.

Hanoch and Caspi sang alone, as a duet, and each sang one of the other’s songs in mesmerizing solos.


The performance was filled with classics, going back though the years in a true testimony to the history of Israeli music. The two were accompanied by five talented musicians on guitar, keyboard and percussion. Other instruments came in as the show progressed, including an accordion, wind chimes and Caspi himself on harmonica, xylophone, and at his element at the grand piano.

The ever serious Caspi maintained his famous austere, almost aloof expression, while Hanoch gesticulated and enthused the crowd like a true rock star.

“We have a problem,” said Caspi. “We each of us have a very large list of songs. We had to decide what songs [to play] in order to have this show, because it’s hundreds of songs.”

“In order to have the show?” laughed Hanoch. “Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a show?”

“Otherwise it would be a several-months-long festival,” replied Caspi, to laughter and applause.

The master performers created a magical, harmonious atmosphere, and the audience joined in. The impressive repertoire was familiar to the 20 year-olds and 80 year-olds, as well as everyone in between. This is no surprise, as Hanoch and Caspi's songs are still regularly played on radio and their concerts are consistently sold out – the definition of true classics.

The show was originally planned to be performed three times, on Thursday, Saturday and Monday between Yom Kippur and Sukkot (September 20, 22 and 24). Due to popular demand and sold-out halls, the master artists decided to perform twice more in Amphitheater Shuni on October 2 and October 3. Tickets are available at the Zappa club website.

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