Sounds tasty

A sizzling performance of music and cooking.

Roi Avraham 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Roi Avraham 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It may not seem entirely appropriate to ask a 28-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up, but in Ro’i Avraham’s case one cannot help but wonder. Jerusalemite Avraham is about to perform a show called Variation 7 at this year’s annual Clipa Aduma Festival at Clipa Theater in Yaffo (July 15-31).
Elsewhere on the Red Clipa agenda is a surrealist video art-theater show by the La Tempest troupe from Chile, South Korea and Germany, based on the writings of French twentiethcentury philosopher Albert Camus, Norwegian choreographer and former soccer player Jo Strømgren’s fusion of dance and soccer and an intriguing musical-culinary production by the Schindelkilliusdutschke from Germany.
All of that is in addition to some quality productions from some of our own artists, the likes of Michal Herman with her Glory Monster dance show.
Avraham has a highly eclectic range of interests and occupations, two of which form the backbone of Variation 7. One look at the show’s full title –Variation 7 for Kitchen Utensils, Musical Instruments and Computer – gives you an inkling or two about what to expect when Avraham takes the stage on July 15 and 16, together with Tomer Amadi and Nadav Rogel.
The Variation series involves Avraham and various colleagues playing music while they cook. They – pardon the pun – feed off the sounds of the dishes as they cook and play different instruments, and use computergenerated sound effects to complement the bubbling, sizzling and other sonorous byproducts of the cooking process.
“I’ve, obviously, done previous versions of this but this time it’s going to be completely different,” says Avraham. “In fact, I’m not entirely sure yet what we’ll be doing. It will be a balagan, but with charm.”
During the course of our chat at the not-yet-fashionable Beit HaKahweh eatery on Jerusalem’s shabbily urban Yanai Street, it becomes abundantly clear that Avraham follows a go-withthe- flow ethos which, of course, pulls him in. That, he says, will come across in Variation 7, however it pans out.
“I love music and I love cooking, so it’s natural for me to blend the two.”
The gastronomic-musical fusion started for Avraham about five years ago, when he was a student at the Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music in Musrara, Jerusalem. “The first time I did it, it was really bad,” he admits. “The music was crap and the food didn’t come out too well either. So I realized I had to focus more and make sure there are some positive vibes in there.
There’s no point in making all these sounds, which may not be easy on the ear, and coming up with a dish that nobody wants to eat.”
The ensuing Variations have, according to Avraham, produced better music and better food, and he has let the food generate the music.
“Once I decided to make a risotto. So I started with the rice, and then I started adding things, like mushrooms and peas. The dish sort of evolved in layers, and then I realized that was the way to develop the music too. I starting laying different musical strata on top of each other and it all came out really well.”
Avraham is no journeyman cook or musician. The young man is very serious about both fields, as well his other many interests – photography, art, design and documentary making, to mention but a few. In fact he has just received a small grant to make a documentary.
He was born in Haifa, began painting at the tender age of 3 and developed an interest in drumming just a few years later. As a teenager he was a member of the Shimon and the Raisins rock group, and later got into more cutting edge musical endeavor in a group called The Maccabiah Bridge Trio – a play on the name of the iconic sixties band The Yarkon Bridge Trio, and referencing the disaster at the 1997 Maccabiah Games when a bridge collapsed and several participants were killed.
“We wanted to make real statements about the reality of life with that band,” states Avraham.
In the interim he has studied art and music, become a chef and now runs a fledgling catering business. “I got into the history of music, everything from classical music to avant garde. But, after a while I realized that wasn’t me.
Now I’m into rock, punk rock and pop, and also Israeli Songbook stuff.
That’s really me.” By the way, in case you’re wondering what Avraham wants to do when he’s big, the response was an unequivocal and suitably vicarious: “Fashion designer, mayor of Jerusalem and Minister of Culture.” Figures.
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