A decade of decibels, and more

Tuba in tow, Boom Pam trio marks its 10th anniversary in concert at the Barby club.

A decade of decibels, and more  (photo credit: Courtesy)
A decade of decibels, and more
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Boom Pam may not be quite in the longevity league of the likes of the Rolling Stones – half a century of strutting and rocking and still going strong – but 10 years in the music industry isn’t a bad track record for any band these days. The trio will mark its first decade at a concert at Tel Aviv’s Barby club next Friday at 10 p.m., in the company of a glittering roster of guest artists.
Over the last 10 years, Boom Pam has released three albums – the fourth is due out soon – that have encompassed a wide range of cultural domains and musical styles, from Balkan and Greek songs to Jewish and Arabic material, with added surf rock influences and a liberal sprinkling of original charts written by founder Uri Kanarot. The band’s website description of its intent as that of “a Mediterranean surf rock tubadriven power trio, seasoned with dueling guitars and alcohol-soaked wedding party ecstasy” gives a pretty accurate idea of the energy levels the group generates in its shows.
While mixing sounds and energies from numerous cultural sources is nothing new – world music has been a mainstay of the music industry for more than two decades – Boom Pam bring something singular to the fray. “We try to produce something special,” says vocalist-guitarist Kanarot, doing his best not to blow his own horn too loudly. “I think every musician tries to do something special with his art.”
Then again, the trio does have a rather outsized item in its instrumental arsenal that emits somewhat left-field textures. “Not every band has a tuba,” notes Kanarot, “and we don’t play music that is typical of the tuba sound, either.”
If the secret to surviving on the road over a protracted period is sharing common ground, then the Boom Pam guys had that in abundance to start with. The man behind the tuba is Yuval “Tubi” Zolotov, whom Kanarot has known since their teens when they attended the Thelma Yallin School of Arts in Givatayim. The third founder member of Boom Pam, Uzi Feinerman, who has since left to follow a solo career and is part of the Ramirez Brothers, was in the same class.
Besides the quality instruction they received at Thelma Yallin, the band members have paid their dues in other areas of musical endeavor.
“As a child, I mostly listened to classical music and Israeli music,” says Zolotov, “and I played tuba right from the start, although I played the smaller baritone version when I was little.”
Although he initially stuck to the classical straight and narrow, the 33- year-old tuba player began looking elsewhere for creative inspiration, and fun, while he was at high school. “I always thought it was not a good idea to limit yourself and the way you approach music,” he says. “You find that among classical musicians who stay within strict confines, but that wasn’t what I wanted. When Uri and Uzi started talking to me about doing something together and Boom Pam started to materialize, that’s when I really felt the freedom to do other things.”
Kanarot and Feinerman grew up with a predominantly rock-based avenue to music and shared the same musical road after leaving school. “We were in the army for a short while, and we went traveling,” Kanarot recalls. “Then we rented an apartment together in south Tel Aviv, and we had this duo we called Golden Guitars. We played sort of blues and country and [British pop group] The Shadows style stuff.”
The duo’s genre spread expanded appreciably when Feinerman brought some parental influence into the mix. “Uzi had some charts of Arabic music, which he got from his father who played oud,” says Kanarot. “At the time I also got into the music of [Greek-born singer] Aris San. It’s a bit like surf rock, but it’s got this Greek sound to it.”
By now the die was truly cast, and Zolotov soon came back to roost with his former classmates. “We decided we wanted to do something different, something less obvious, and it was natural for us to get Tubi involved because he has the same mindset, and the sound of tuba took us to all sorts of material.”
But it wasn’t a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. “We incorporated everything we grew up with – our pop and rock, and Tubi’s classical roots – and everything we heard around us in Israel. As a kid, you hear stuff that you don’t necessarily choose to listen to, but it stays with you and informs who you are and what you like in music – especially as a musician. That’s fine and only natural,” he says.
The band’s eponymous debut release came out in 2006, with veteran rocker Beri Sakharoff as one of the guest artists. The CD did well here and in Europe, and Boom Pam was invited to perform at the prestigious Womax world music festival in Spain. That was followed in 2008 by Puerto Rican Nights, after which drummer Dudu Kokhav, who played on the first two releases, was replaced by Itamar Levy. Alakazam, which came out in 2010, saw the band expand their sonic hinterland even further, incorporating disco and heavy metal alongside Balkan seasoning.
Part of decibel increase is due to Levy’s input. “I play rock and heavy metal when I’m not with Boom Pam,” he says. “They came to one of my gigs and asked me join the band. Being with Uri and Tubi has really opened up new worlds for me.”
Next week’s Barby club shebang will also offer Feinerman an opportunity to join his former brothers in musical arms, with the rest of the guest list including Carolina, Benny Bashan, Eyal Talmudi “and some surprises.”For tickets and more information: (03) 518-8123 and www.barby.co.il