I’m not a fan of Game of Thrones. That doesn’t mean I have anything against the popular TV show based on the book series of the same name; I just haven’t found time to fit it into my already too busy TV watching schedule. But Jerusalem virtuoso rock violinist Michael Greilsammer’s new mashup of the Game of Thrones theme song with HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem, has got me toe tapping like a long time listener.
Watch the video by clicking here.
Greilsammer, 33, was already one of my favorite local musicians. Along with his wife Shimrit who plays guitar and sings with him on his own albums (and shares equal billing on their album "B’Paris"), Greilsammer is a formidable stage presence who creates magic on the violin that even performers from the Israel Philharmonic would appreciate. His mostly original compositions range between rock, reggae and rap with an underlying Francophone sensibility. Greilsmammer was born in Jerusalem to French and Dutch parents, lived in Canada for a while, and regularly sells out shows in Paris; his first album Mitorer (Wake Up) was released by the French label, Naïve, in 2009.
My favorite song of his is actually not an original but a cover – of my favorite Barry Sacharov song, "Spaceships." Greilsammer reimagines it with a more plucky feel than Sacharov’s straight ahead 70s jangly pop sound. The result is just lovely. I was so impressed, I even led with it on an episode of my weekly Internet radio show. (Catch Brainwaves four times a week for 2 hours of what I call “eclectic alternative radio” – details here.)
The first time I saw Greilsammer live was at a standing room only free concert on a street corner stage at a summer festival in Baka, the Jerusalem neighborhood we both live in. We later met in person while both catching lunch at our favorite falafel joint (Falafel Oved, which I''ve written about before here). The Greilsammers are committed to building up the Jerusalem music scene, Michael told The Jerusalem Post in 2011. “We are here also to change the city, and not only to absorb.” The Game of Thrones/HaTikvah video, which is in black and white, was filmed by another Baka resident, 20-year-old photographer Noam Revkin-Fenton.
The video might also mend a few musical fences between political adversaries, as it balances the quintessentially Jewish HaTikvah with the Game of Thrones theme, which was written by Iranian composer Ramin Djawadi.
Greilsammer’s new video was meant to be a promo for an upcoming series of concerts he’s giving in France for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. He was already a fan of Game of Thrones. The band, which also includes percussionist Uriel Sverdin, threw together the cover, posted it to YouTube last week, and it’s gone viral, with nearly 60,000 views as of this writing. While I suspect that has more to do with Game of Thrones lovers than Zionist fans of violin guitar rock, the result is bang up publicity for Greilsammer and a nice way to ring in Israel''s 66th birthday.
Greilsammer’s upcoming tour schedule is here.