Still singing it like it is

Corinne Alal brings her rich repertoire to the stage at the Holon Women’s Festival.

Corinne Alal (photo credit: .)
Corinne Alal
(photo credit: .)
A quarter of a century is a huge chunk of time, although for Corinne Alal it has just whizzed by. The singer-songwriter, who turns 55 next month, will mark the 25th anniversary of the release of her Motek album with a gala concert at the Women’s Festival in Holon on March 4 (9 p.m.).
“It doesn’t make sense that so many years have gone by since I made that record,” she reflects. “But it’s great to be able to mark it at the festival, especially as I will be with Eli Greenfeld, who produced the album back then.”
In the intervening 25 years, Alal has established herself as one of the leading voices on the pop-rock scene here and has survived leaner times for female artists. Alal partly attributes her staying power to the wisdom she has picked up along the way. “It’s obvious that I am a feminist, but I make less of a noise about it now,” she declares.
Overall, the passage of time seems to have done Alal more favors than damage. Many of the songs she has put in her 10 albums to date deal with tough issues, and there seems to have been a lot of anger in between the softer, more lyrical material.
“When I started out, I was very different,” she says. “I always searched for the truth, all of it. Now I have learned to tell my own truth, but in a more gentle way.”
Part of that has come with age and part with parental responsibilities. “I am the mother of two children [with her partner Rutti], and I am more accepting of myself. I am more in control these days.”
During her military service, Alal was in an army band in which she sang alongside fellow future star Yehudit Ravitz. As soon as she got back into civvies, Alal quickly set about developing her musical career and, within a year, had provided vocal backing for numerous front grid artists such as Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Tzvika Pik and Mickey Gabrielov.
Alal was obviously in a hurry to put herself out there, and she recorded a number of rough-edged singles in between some more melodic and jazz efforts and provided the music for a growing roster of other artists, such as crooners Arik Sinai and Oshik Levy.
“I was anti everything I heard on Israeli radio back then,” she says. “I was looking for something else. I wanted to play electric guitar on my songs, not keyboards and flute. I had this raw energy pent up inside me.”
Motek was an integral part of that outpouring of angst, with the odd political statement slotted in. “All my records have some political content,” notes Alal. “There’s always one song that touches on a political theme. I live here, and I think I need to express what I feel about the situation – as an artist and as an Israeli.”
Surprisingly, despite spending her formative years in this country – she made aliya from Tunis at the age of eight – Alal still hasn’t written any lyrics for her own albums in Hebrew. “I want to write songs in Hebrew, but it’s still hard for me. I hope to write my own Hebrew lyrics for my next CD,” she says.
Parental duties mean that Alal’s work time is more limited, but shesays that has its advantages. “I have to be more focused on my work nowthat I have two kids. I also need to communicate my thoughts andfeelings. I think my music has become more communicative over theyears.”
Twenty-five years, 10 albums and two children on, it should be intriguing to see how Motek comes out in Holon.
For more information about the Corinne Alal show on March 4 at 9 p.m. and the Women’s Festival in Holon, visit