The Israeli Rhymnocerous

This Friday, Quami is set to perform and host a special show at Tel Aviv's Barzilay Club with some impressive musical guests.

quami disk 88 224 (photo credit: )
quami disk 88 224
(photo credit: )
On their 1995 EP Root Down the Beastie Boys hid a special bonus track - Quami's Galatz promo for their then-upcoming show in Israel. This story, repeated in every article about Quami ever since, at least demonstrates the baddest of the 'Brews' importance in the Israeli hip-hop scene. A former host of Galgalatz's popular hip-hop program Esek Shachor (Black Business), Quami got his start in the same forum that launched the careers of numerous up-and-coming Israeli hip-hop artists. This Friday, following the release of his second critically acclaimed album, Pop Wars, Quami, along with his band The Halvot, perform and host a special show at Tel Aviv's Barzilay Club with some impressive musical guests: Noam Rotem, Monkey Son of a Donkey and Mizrahi music phenomenon Avi Bitter. "I am very excited about this show," Quami admits. "As an artist I have to keep myself interested constantly. Working with Noam and Avi opened new boundaries for us and the results are very unique and energetic." Quami does not like to label himself as a hip-hop artist. "Those names, hip-hop and rap, lost their meanings," he explains. "Rap artists used to create music that made a difference, music that stirred emotions in the listener. Today, American hip-hop mainly focuses on the gimmick instead of the lyrics. I much prefer British hip-hop or French hip-hop, despite needing someone to translate the lyrics for me. But, I can still feel their anger in the songs." Indeed, his own album is filled with emotion. Written after the second Lebanon war, his songs deal with personal as well as national wars, both satirically and as a form of protest. Unlike his first album, which had a strong, hip-hop focus, this album combines elements of rock, punk, jazz and even cabaret. "In the upcoming show, guitars play a lead role," he reveals. "And, with Avi, Noam and Monkey Son of a Donkey adding their own singular sounds, I promise you it's going to be a damn good show." Barzilay Club, 13 Ha'rechev St., Tel Aviv. (03) 687-8090. Friday, 20 June 10 p.m. NIS 50/60