Boom Pam, the home-grown, genre-bending rock group, celebrates the release of its second album with special guests and possibly even you.

boom pam 248.88 (photo credit: Oded Aligun)
boom pam 248.88
(photo credit: Oded Aligun)
Cool is one of the most elusive words in the English language. When Homer and Marge in that fabled episode Homerpalooza, attempt to figure out the word's meaning, they continue to be baffled and unresolved. Eventually Marge pretends that she doesn't care if she's cool, mistakenly thinking that this makes her cool. "Well, how the heck do you become cool? I feel like we've tried everything here," Marge asks in frustration. Homer tries to find another solution, "Wait Marge," he says, "Maybe if you're truly cool, you don't need to be told you're cool." The kids are quick to refute Homer's preposterous pondering, "Sure you do," quips Bart. "How else would you know?" Lisa chimes in. The New Yorker defines cool as something that, "can only be observed by those who are themselves cool." With that rationale, some flamboyant people would define Tsvika Pik as cool. I would disagree, on the basis that none of those folk are cool - in my opinion, anyway. While on the subject of my take on things - I am cool. And I declare Boom Pam to be one of the coolest bands in Israel. The group plays whatever comes to mind, which seems to always be very happy music - and yet is still able to reach a large audience in the Israeli music world. Usually the sound itself is smooth, relaxed and of course, cool. "There are enough doleful songs in Israel. We just want to bring about a good atmosphere and good vibes," says Uri Brauner Kinrot, the band's guitar player. Besides Kinrot, Boom Pam is Uzi Feinerman, also on guitar, Dudu Kohav on drums and Yuval "Tuby" Zolotov on, well, tuba. It is because of that tuba, Kinrot says, that the band's sound is considered Balkan. "I don't like that moniker," he says. "Although our music has an asymmetric sound, which resonates Balkan music, we also play rock, oriental, Jewish and surf music. But people hear the tuba and think Balkan." The band had its big break in 2004 with the recording of a new version of Aris San's song, "Boom Pam." During that year the group met with German DJ Shantal, considered the harbinger of gypsy music. He invited them to a tour in Germany and later worked with them on their first album. "It was a very polished album. Shantal did not like ruggedness and wanted the more oriental sound, which in his view, is the real Israeli sound. I agree with him. But, we were raised on rock n' roll. So we wanted to play rock n' roll, as well," Kinrot says. "Now the sound and production is much more ours - more kicking and rough. The album also features more folk sounds too," he adds. The new album, Puerto Rican Nights, is comprised entirely of covers of songs that the band has been playing for some time at live shows. With the help of many special guests, the album moves from, and mixes in, a variety of styles and influences. Maor Cohen joins in on an incredible surf/country version of HaDudaim's "Riders Convoy." Dror Ahava Romen, from the ubergroovy ensemble Groovatron, contributes to a cabaret/klezmer style cover of "Marilyn Jones," from the classic Israeli movie Kuni Lemel. And, surf music legend Dick Dale's "The Wedge" gets a nice tempo boost. Of course, there are many more wonderful tracks, all of which Kinrot collectively calls, "a statement of happiness." I saw Boom Pam for the first time at a show celebrating the release of their first, self-titled album released back in 2006. Then, as he will again, Tomer Yosef joined them on stage adding that Balkan flavor to, amongst others, his song "I Want to Move," a version of which appears on Puerto Rican Nights. And in line with Boom Pam's coolness, it should be noted that Tomer Yosef is one of the coolest people in Israel. For their upcoming show, celebrating the release of Nights, the one thing we can all be assured of is: coolness galore. Boom Pam goes off the hook, tonight, Jan. 9 at Comfort 13, the name is the address in Tel Aviv's Florentine neighborhood at 11 p.m. Tickets cost NIS 60/80. Opening acts are Radiotrip and the most incredible Balkan Beat Box.