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June 10, 1988 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-06-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

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in s

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FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1988

W

Dl.t over

The Eclectic 'Natural Gathering'
Taps Israel's Bubbling Energy

MARLENE GOLDMAN

N

ew York — Shlomo
Bar still holds true
to his 11-year-old vi-
sion of bridging East and
West through a distinct
Israeli music, with his group
Habrera Hativit (The Natural
Gathering), a veritable
melting pot of
instrumentalists.
"Israel is only starting to
build a culture face," Bar ex-
plained while in New York.
He was about to embark on a
20-concert, 34-day stint
through North America to
celebrate the 40th anniver-
sary of Israel's Independence.
"We have the face, but no
eyes, no ears, and only half a
mouth," he continued, mim-
ing a blank head while clut-
ching a cigarette. But his
group, representing the rich
eclecticism of Israel's people
according to Bar, offers a few
details to the sketch.
Over the past decade, their
ethereal descant of the Orient
and traditional chant of
Hebrew poetry and biblical
text has defied an Israeli
trend toward Western pop.
Bar strongly emphasizes the
importance of retaining a
pure ethnicity, continuing a
5,000-year-old memory.
"For me it's not that just
another day goes by, it's the
continuity of thousands of
years," Bar said widening his
spirited coal eyes.
Hativit's program for the
festival, called "Independence
and Interdependence: Israel-
North America Cultural Ex-
change," a year long cultural
swap sponsored by the Na-
tional Foundation for Jewish
Culture and the Omanut
La'am Cultural Projects Pro-
motion, Ltd., includes lyrical
arrangements by national
poets like Natan Alterman
and Leah Goldberg, from the
Bible and other Jewish
sources like Hannah Senesh.
"Our music is simple,
although many say it's com-
plicated," Bar reasoned, as
each musician reflects a dif-
ferent national custom.
The current lineup, who all
reside in Israel, includes two
original members, Bar and
Samson Khamkar of Bombay,
who play violin and sitar;
Emmanuel Mann from Paris,
on bass guitar; Sami Peretz,
born in Israel, on acoustic and
electric guitar; Ya'akov
Peribar from Teheran, play-
ing zarev (Persian drum) and
a Persian stringed instru-
ment called a santor; and

Habreira Hativit: "Our duty is to make people communicate with their
neighbor."
Ellen Dan, an oboe and
there," Dan added, stretching

English horn player from
Michigan. They all combine
different cultural influences
for a unique sound, which is
popular in Israel, yet not Top
40 material.
"We don't fit into any type:'
explained Dan, who joined
the group five years ago when
she moved to Israel, after per-
forming with the Philhar-
monic Orchestra of Rhode
Island for 22 years.
"We're like a Chinese
restaurant, one from column
A and one from column B,"
Dan laughed while propped
up on her hotel room bed. "By
that very response, par-
ticularly in Israel, we're a col-
oration of a country where 10
different Israelis have 10 dif-
ferent backgrounds."
While Hativit rarely
receives airplay, according to
Dan, they do attract national
attention from a diversity of
fans. Recently their latest of
five albums, "Beyond the
Walls," was selected as record
of the week by the music
media. Dan noted that during
holiday times, radio and
television slot in Hativit for
national pride and nostalgia.
With Dan's Western train-
ing, she can distinguish Bar's
creative quirks. "I was train-
ed to read notes and follow a
conductor," Dan smiled. "But
here everyone is responsible
to make their own part. It's
somewhat improvisation, but
within a framework. It's not
always the same pick-up
notes though, and the
number of beats you get for a
solo is always a surprise with
each performance."
The notes also differ from
the Western standard. "I'm
doing slides I'd never do in
the West. You don't only drop
a note, you bend it way over

her finger toward the base of
the bed.
For Bar, "music is a kind of
trance," demonstrating how a
song will develop with a soft
hum drawn from memory.
"You don't just do music, you
are the music."
While Bar, 44, only began
his musical career as a com-
poser, vocalist and drummer
in his 20s, he recalls banging
on pots and pans, furniture
and himself since he was a
child.
"I think every human must
start with drums to unders-
tand his rhythm and com-
municate with the whole
body," Bar said, mocking a
drum set by banging his
palms on his knees. "You
learn to cry, love and fight
with rhythm."
This rhythm sprouts from
natural feelings, like those
reflected in children, accor-
ding to Bar. "I don't like
music that beats at me;' he
stressed. When his son, now
15, was a child, Bar sat him
within earshot of violent
music as an experiment, and
the boy ran away.
"This is natural," Bar
noted. "I believe the duty of
art is to bring people to be
children, to have their smile
and innocence."
Bar even took lessons from
his own son, who by age three
began drumming on
household items with his
hands. "He plays very open
with me and helps me open
up;' Bar said.
Bar hopes his music spurs
listeners to think and concen-
trate. "My songs are not 'I
love you, I need you, I want
you; " Bar explained with in-
tensity. "We want people to
come to the music."

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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