Sade in the sun

Seventh edition of Jerusalem indie music festival to feature four stages and 15 bands.

 (photo credit: HILA MAGIC)
(photo credit: HILA MAGIC)
Over the past six years, Indie City has become a fixture on the national cultural calendar.
The seventh edition of the music festival will take place in Jerusalem on October 26 at four spots with, all told, 15 bands performing.
The act spread takes in pop, rock, psychedelia, folk, Arabic music and hip-hop, to mention only some of the featured genres, with the likes of Buttering Trio, ADI, Deaf Chonky, Liron Amram and the Panthers, Hynom, Firkat Alnoor and Kim in the Sun all in the festival mix. As usual, the shows will be hosted at downtown venues, including Hahavatzelet, Heleni Hamalka and Hyrcanus streets and Elyashar Square, with the whole shebang running under the patronage of the Jerusalem Municipality.
Mika Sade (pronounced Saddeh), who brings her Kim in the Sun group to the capital, is a curious musical presence. Over the years, the 32-year-old singer songwriter, who also lends her nimble fingers to instrumental work – these days primarily on ukulele – has put out a pretty wide-ranging swathe of sounds and rhythms.
“It’s part of my ongoing search,” she declares. “I am an artist who is looking for her path,” she adds self-explanatorily.
A glance at her discography and other professional activity since she first hit the scene in 2004, indeed, conveys the sense that she has been pursuing numerous lines of expression in an attempt to find “her thing.” She first came to notice in 2004 when she competed in the Kochav Nolad (A Star Is Born) TV reality show, delivering a creditable rendition of Aviv Geffen’s Ahavnu. She didn’t get too far in the contest, but she consequently made incremental strides in the local music industry, putting out three albums and gigging at a steady rate.
She was introduced to the world of hands-on music at an early age, often accompanying her opera-singer dad Gabi on his working trips around the globe. Sade’s studio and live repertoire has incorporated material in both Hebrew and English, ranging from the grungy Uf Li Miha’einayim (Get Lost) to a charming ditty called “Little Things,” which was accompanied by a tasty video clip shot against unparalleled verdant backdrops in Ireland.
Sade says she is maintaining her learning curve, in her quest for ever-higher artistic horizons.
“‘Little Things’ [which came out last year, on the Birds & Guitars album] was a little foray that just came about. I always dreamt of doing a bit of folk music. I actually very much like to walk along the edge. I think the next album I am making, with the band Kim in the Sun – there are more sophisticated things happening there, in terms of the production, and I go further with my own self-exploration.”
Sade is not alone in her pursuit for new creative ground.
“What enriches the experience with Kim in the Sun is my collaboration with my life partner [guitarist] Orel Tamuz. Our worlds meet and that generates innovative colors and lots of adventure,” she notes happily.
After more than a decade in the business, and with the concomitant accrued street-level savvy, Sade says she takes a wiser and more focused approach to her craft today.
“You look at life and things from a much broader perspective. That allows my creative work to be more mature, and somehow you know what you want and what you are aiming for. You don’t fire off in all directions, hoping something will bear fruit. You know what you want and you march toward it, step by step, together with the flow and your intuition.You want to convey some sort of message, and that is where we are marching to – but you can’t be too calculated in this business.”
Having a wiser head on your shoulders means you tend to adopt a more measured view of your life and work, but it can also give you the confidence to take even more leaps into the unknown, as any self-respecting artist should.
“The core of the thing is that we need to challenge ourselves, as creators and producers, and not to compromise and make do with the things we find easy to do.”
While Sade is well thought of these days and lands prestigious gigs on a regular basis, she has done her fair share of grafting to get where she is. The less desirable phases of her professional learning curve take in that early TV appearance.
“I think that anything in life, whether you view it as something good or bad, can help you grow and progress. It can toughen you up and make you more resilient. Being on Kochav Nolad was tough but also positive. It is very far off from me now.”
Growing up with an opera-singing father naturally exposed the young Sade to a specific area of music, but she says there were plenty of other sounds and vibes to feed off in her youth.
“I mostly remember seeing my father reading opera scores,” she recalls. “But I was always singing, and I listened a lot to the Beatles, and music from the 1960s and 1970s. And there was Bjork and, of course, Joni Mitchell.”
All the above, plus Israeli artists such as Matti Caspi, Yehudit Ravitz and Arik Einstein, left their imprint on Sade’s young mind and soul, and her own later evolving writing.
“You discover new music every step of the way,” she observes. “You connect with something and then try to find your own place within it. It can be the melodies or the lyrics, or maybe a groove. Over the years I was exposed to all kinds of music.”
Sade now has a different take on the stuff she hears.
“Today I realize that what really moves me about music is the sense of some sort of truth, some sort of sincerity in there. I look to see if what lies behind the creative process is an open heart. That’s why I get into lots of different types of music.”
Sade has also been blessed with natural gifts that enable her to follow her muses along all kinds of sonic avenues.
“As a singer and a creator over the years, that confused me a little, because I realized I have a very flexible voice.”
She could say that again. It is hard to equate the “let-it-allhang- out vocals” on some of Sade’s earlier rock efforts with the spirit and sound of the mellifluously delightful beatifically delivered “Little Things.”
“I found myself liking soul music, folk music and psychedelic rock. I didn’t know how to define myself as a vocalist between all those things.”
Fast forward a few years and Sade now reaps the benefit of that eclecticism.
“Back then I didn’t know how to define myself as a vocalist, but today I know I don’t even have to think about that. I just have to create my inner feelings and to try to give them musical life. Mainly I need to trust my intuition as a vocalist, that I’ll know what the right thing to do is, within the creative process. That is a bountiful thing, and when you have such an abundance of riches you have to learn how to make the most of them. That is something I address constantly. I am also discovering some new color to explore as a singer.”
The Kim in the Sun turn at Indie City will feature an expansive performance of a number called “Light of God,” together with the Gitit Choir of the Jerusalem Music Academy. As is her wont, Sade will break new ground.
“I have never sung with a choir before,” she notes. “I am really looking forward to it.”
In addition to the onstage musical entertainment, the Indie City program includes all-nighter after-parties, a music fair, clothing stall, records, accessories, art works and fashion ware.
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