Music and soup to warm the heart

Many music lovers like to combine their treks with other social and cultural activities.

Nature lovers are not necessarily concerned only with spending time outdoors. Many like to combine their treks with other social and cultural activities. That's why concerts held in rural villages and at kibbutzim and moshavim are so popular. The audience gets a feast of music and a feast of nature. Wind instrumentalist Cohava Taragan and her family, aware of the popularity of this mix, have added yet another element to the concerts and outdoor activities they offer - soup. The family has for twelve years used its home, the old Turkish Khan at Agur, as a concert hall, attracting people from many parts of the country. "We're really in the heartland," says Taragan. "We're an hour's drive or less from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheba and Ashkelon." Refreshments are liquid - soup, tea and coffee, freely available on a self service basis. Not everyone traveling to the country on a Saturday packs a picnic lunch, so the hot soup fills the stomach and warms the heart. It's included in the NIS 80 entry fee. The Khan has an auditorium with "wonderful accoustics," asserts Taragan, and the area is surrounded by natural beauty. Because the Taragans invite chamber groups to perform at their home on Saturdays, the venue is called Khan HaKameri. Concerts start at 12 noon, enabling patrons to get home before dark or explore the terrain before or after the performance. The first concert of the current season will not be held in the auditorium, but on a wide patio offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The musical quartet performing at the opening concert is made up of Russian immigrants, who will play traditional Russian folk instruments such as the balalaika. The program will include Russian and Bulgarian folk songs, gypsy music and classical chamber music. At the Concert and Soup series, the pot is always on the stove and there's always enough to go around. "The whole idea is to make people feel at home so that they can enjoy themselves in a pleasant atmosphere," says Taragan.