For the music ain’t a changin’

Local singer-songwriter Natan Galili will be channeling his love of Bob Dylan on Thursday night at the fifth annual Woodstock Revival in Jerusalem.

Natan Galili 370 (photo credit: court)
Natan Galili 370
(photo credit: court)
Natan Galili is, happily, in something of a time warp, as will become apparent at this Thursday’s Woodstock Revival gathering at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem.
28-year-old Galili was born long after the heyday of the folk-rock icon whose works he will perform at the festival, but he is eminently able and willing to offer his singular tribute to Bob Dylan.
“I started playing guitar when I was 14, and I started getting into rock music of the Sixties and Seventies,” Galili recalls, adding that he received an avuncular push in the desired direction. “My uncle made me watch a rock and roll documentary. It was a series of around 10 episodes, and he said: ‘this is real music.’” The youngster also got into some contemporary sounds, too. “I grew up in the Nineties and I really liked Guns and Roses, and my uncle sort of guided me toward the good stuff.”
Galili’s Dylan epiphany took a few more years to emerge, and has been gradually evolving ever since. “I got into Bob Dylan round about the time I finished the army, when I bought my acoustic guitar. I think, with Bob Dylan, it’s a thing of stages.
Every year that passes you’re in a different phase and then you see him and his work from a different perspective. So you just kind of grow into it.”
Dylan fans often divide into two camps – those who are attracted by the meandering musical mindset, and the others who dig the lyrical content.
Galili feeds primarily off the former. “I like both but, for me, it’s first about the music,” he states. “But Dylan has such great lyrics.”
It was when he began to strike out on his own that Galili paid more attention to the words behind the sounds.
“I think I started focusing more on Dylan’s words when I started writing my own music. Even today, I write something and then I think: ‘how would Bob Dylan see this? Would it sound cool if Bob Dylan sang it?’ That helps.”
Galili adds that he also shares some of the megastar’s sonic textures. “Some people have told me I sound a bit like [American folk singer] Arlo Guthrie,” he says, while not exactly basking in self-aggrandizement. “My voice sounds kind of terrible, a bit like Bob Dylan’s. So I do have that folkie, high-pitched, annoying voice. That was definitely a connection [to Dylan].”
In fact, Galili has another quasi-real life bond with the famous Hibbing, Minnesotaraised troubadour. “My mom is from Minnesota and I think my grandma actually knew Dylan’s mother – not really well but, you know, it was a small Jewish community. I think I discovered that after I started getting into Dylan’s music but, maybe, in some way that also helped to push me in the direction of his songs.”
Galili also fronts his own band, and is putting out an EP with original material in the near future. “Yeah, I do my own thing, but I am sure that Dylan, and other great rock music of the Sixties and Seventies, find their way into what I do.” Galili will play solo at Woodstock, on acoustic guitar, with Tamar Freedman guesting on vocals.
“Tamar has a great, deeper voice,” says Galili. “I think the audience will enjoy it.”
Cat Stevens fans are also in for a treat at Kraft Stadium when 49-year-old Long Island-born Jerusalemite Eliyahu Sidikman and his Lijah and the Firecats band take the stage. “I cut my musical teeth on Cat Stevens,” says Sidikman, who performed at the inaugural Woodstock Revival bash, in 2009, with his Long Time Gone, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tribute band, as well as with Crystal Ship, which performed material by The Doors.
While the band name alludes to Steven’s 1971 LP, Teaser and the Firecat, which features such perennial favorites as “Morning Has Broken,” “Moonshadow” and “Peace Train,” Sidikman says the show will incorporate a wide range of British singersongwriter’s oeuvre. “Yeah, we’ll also do things from [other Stevens’ albums] Tea for the Tillerman and probably from Catch Bull at Four too,” noting that the four band members’ efforts will be augmented by some quality vocals, courtesy of his daughter Miryam. “She has a great voice,” says the proud dad.
“When she sings people’s jaws drop – literally.”
Sidikman says there will be plenty to feed off at his Woodstock slot. “The thing about Cat Stevens’ music is that it is so varied. Every song is unique and compelling in its own way. Everyone has his own favorite song, and when we’re playing the music, it’s great to see the look of recognition of people’s faces and the look they have when we play something they haven’t heard for maybe 20 years.”
Elsewhere in the Woodstock Revival Festival lineup Jerusalemite violinist Michael Greilsammer returns with his Led Zeppelin-based show, Ummagumma will do its Beatles salute, veteran Chicagoborn bluesman Mark Rashkow and his band will perform and blues-rock set, while irrepressible grandma Libi will rock Kraft Stadium with numbers performed at the original Woodstock event 44 years ago.
For tickets and more information: (02) 623-6443, *6226 and Doors open at 4:30 p.m.