KlezMer jaM in tzfat
Arabic rap group G Town, headed by the son of one of the band members of Sabreen. We explored the studio and even though we’d just had dinner, our hosts wouldn’t take no for an answer, serving us kebabs and hummus. One of the members of G Town started playing drums, Jacob joined in on the dumbek and a friend from a reggae band Toot Ard from the Golan Heights started playing the melodica as the Sabreen keyboard player chimed in. It was a magical moment to see this unlikely musical connection across generations, countries, religions, and styles. Day 3: Jerusalem and Tzfat I met up with some friends for breakfast at a funky cafe called Tmol Shilshom. It’s a legendary spot frequented by Jerusalem scholars with poems inscribed on every plate and killer eggplant and goat cheese shakshuka (tomato based egg and vegetable dish). After picking up some spices at the Old City market we hit the road, heading north up the mountains of the Upper Galilee to Tzfat, our next destination. Tzfat is the birthplace of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), famous for its thriving artists’ colony, the annual Klezmer festival, and historic synagogues. We met our host, Bar-Sela Chanan, director of the annual Tzfat Klezmer Festival held in August, attracting the best Klezmer players from Korea to Argentina. We walked through the stone tunnels of the old city to see the beautiful artisan crafts on display in the artists’ colony and stopped at an old synagogue painted in a gorgeous cerulean blue. The crew wasn’t allowed to film in the synagogue and decided to try to catch the mountain view. The sky had been covered in fog all day but just as the cameras started rolling on Chanan playing his clarinet, the fog mystically lifted to reveal a beautiful mountain sunset.
Day 4: haifa, akko and Caesarea The Dan Panorama Haifa sits twenty-one stories high on Mount Carmel with panoramic views of the city and the bay below leading out into the Mediterranean. If that wasn’t spectacular enough, we were greeted with a lavish Israeli breakfast: an endless buffet with spreads of smoked fishes, cheeses, fresh carrot juice, dates, halvah, salads and my favorite, labane, a creamy yogurt cheese wrapped in grape leaves. I could get used to this. After getting some footage of Haifa’s historic Baha’i Temple, we journeyed north to the ancient city of Akko. Akko is packed with tourists in the summer, but in winter was very quiet except for its bustling old city marketplace. We walked through the historic stone tunnels, had fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, peeped in and out of traditional barbershops, leather stores, spice and pickle shops. Next stop, the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea to meet Mosh Ben Ari. Now performing as a soloist, Mosh got his start as the lead singer of the Israeli super-group Sheva, famous for its mix
hadag nachash in Machne yehuda MarKet
of Muslim and Jewish band members and songs promoting peace. Over 2,000 years old, the historic amphitheater overlooks the ocean and is fully intact, and an active venue to this day. While the crew strategized how to balance the soundboard on 2,000-yearold rocks, Mosh reflected, “Here you can feel the power of history. It reminds you that you are just here for a second.” Mid-interview, a large group of Chinese tourists entered the amphitheater. One of the tourists from the group came to the center of the amphitheater and began to sing a Chinese opera. Needless to say, this interrupted Mosh’s interview and the cameras had to cut. We all sat silently watching this man sing in Chinese in the middle of the Roman ruins on the Israeli seaside. Then, the Chinese tourists on the steps joined in with him and started swaying with their hands in the air. That was certainly not on the Music Voyager schedule, but hey, why not! If you thought it had been too long since we were last invited to try “the best hummus in Israel,” not to worry. Mosh took us to his personal favorite place, called Blue Bus. After trying at least ten different “best hummus restaurants in Israel,” in my opinion, Blue Bus definitely won the blue ribbon. First of all, the restaurant is literally an old blue hippie busturned-restaurant. Blue Bus’s amazing hummus
Published on Jul 24, 2012
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