Sandy takes Israel by storm

On releasing 4th album, folk singer Sandy Cash speaks to the ‘Post’ about life, love, children and carpools.

Sandy Cash 370 (photo credit:
Sandy Cash 370
(photo credit:
“My dream was to be an actress on the Hebrew stage,” says Sandy Cash, reminiscing about her past.
Over 25 years later, Cash still thinks of the stage as her second home, but rather than make-up, sets and choreography, now all she needs is her guitar. Releasing her fourth album, the folk-singer says that she is doing exactly what she was meant to.
The album, Voices on the Other Side, is full of narrative, clever lyrics, and insight into the life of an American-born Israeli. She has come a long way since her first CD, Exact Change, was released in 2000. Now a seasoned folk artist, Cash sings from the heart and encapsulates her life-experiences in her refreshingly raw tunes. She says that her new album is mostly her own writing, whereas her first two were a mixture of her own writing and others’.
The quirky, US-born mother of three says her latest album is an initiative to connect the US and Israeli folk communities. After growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Cash’s time studying at Tel Aviv University confirmed she was born to be on stage. She remembers spending her free time controlling follow spotlights for actors on the university stage, wishing it was her up there instead.
She first broke into the musical theater scene when she was cast as a chorus member in Les Misérables at the age of 23 in Tel Aviv. By age 27, Cash had played ensemble roles in several musicals, including Evita with popular Israeli musician Dudu Fisher. She fondly refers to this time of her life as her “chorus-girl years.”
She loved being on stage, but soon realized drama was not for her. She took her love for theater, combined it with her comedic talents, and began to write music.
She is a true storyteller, and every song on her new album, Voices from the Other Side, is about making the audience feel, she tells The Jerusalem Post. She likes to think of each song as a three-minute monologue, or standup comedy with a guitar.
Cash says each of her four previous albums has taught her a valuable lesson about the world of professional music. She considers her latest album as somewhat of a milestone because it is comprised of her own writing and deals with more serious themes. “I have decided I don’t have to try so hard to be funny anymore,” Cash says.
She is inspired by storytelling, and her music has become about bringing obscure stories to larger audiences. Her song “Gilad’s Guitar” is the true story of a soldier who was killed on the first day of the Yom Kippur War. The guitar she plays when she performs once belonged to him. In fact, much of her music focuses on stories based in Israel, and she has taken on the responsibility of becoming somewhat of a representation of Israel in the US folk community. This album is Cash’s own personal observation of what it means to be a transplanted Midwesterner in the Middle East.
“Americans have either idealized or demonized ideas of Israel. The media tells a story everyone expects to hear and that does a disservice to us,” Cash explains, and that is why she wants to get the facts straight. Even with the daily difficulties of Israeli life, she says there is no place she would rather live.
The eighth song on her album is a musical interpretation of her feelings toward the country she lives in. The appropriately titled “Song of Zion” explains her pride to be an Israeli. She says that music is a universal language, and this song conveys her pride on a personal level, not a political one: “And if I said I love her Would you glance around in fear Would you guide me toward a corner To make sure your friends don’t hear And if I said I love her Would you shake your head and stare Would you search my eyes until you find The hate that you’re sure is there” “Folk music has a lot to do with civil rights. It breaks down walls and barriers, opens people’s hearts, and that makes their minds available,” says Cash.
With conflict and politics aside, Cash says living in Israel is predominantly about being a wife, mother and human being, and that is exactly the message she conveys through her music. As she puts it, her life can be defined in a few simple words: “Life, love, children and carpool.”
The title of her album, Voices from the Other Side, is a line taken from the second song on her album Banks of Freedom. She says that this represents her intentions for the album. Being able to play her music in Israel, and then to go back to the US and share it with her fans and folk-singing heroes has been a life-changing experience for Cash.
“This genre of music is about the story, not about being a cover-girl with pipes like Mariah Carey,” says the mother of three. “The greatest thing about being a folk singer is that it’s not about polishing or over-accessorizing. It’s completely about documenting what you were thinking at the time. My songs are all based in happiness because I am a happy person. Happiness is a great place to tell stories from.”