Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast

The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviews the latest Israeli and Jewish artists and covers a wide range of styles from Carlebach, cantorial, klezmer, Israeli trance, Mizrachi, rock, Sephardic, hasidic and everything in between. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. IsraelBeat broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on

Monday, May 31, 2004

Moshav Band interview

Interview with The Moshav Band
by Benyamin Bresky
As broadcast on The Beat
May 27, 2004

Meir Solomon: Hello, hello. This is Yehuda and Meir from the Moshav Band broadcasting live from Moshav Mevo Modi'in.

The Beat: Why don't you just tell us a little about what the Moshav Band is and what you're doing here in Israel.

Yehuda Solomon: The Moshav Band is a band of three brothers and one neighbor that grew up together on a little Israeli moshav with American parents. We've been playing together since a very young age and decided to form a band and eventually ended up out there in the States traveling around playing our music together. Just recently we put out an album that's got mostly Hebrew songs. Meaning Hebrew and somewhat religious and we've been doing well in Israel so we've been coming back every now and then to play and we're back now for a couple of shows.

The Beat: Now your new album is mostly in Hebrew and your other albums had a lot of English songs on them. Why?

Yehuda Solomon: Why? I guess growing up on the moshav we were speaking English at home and a lot and Hebrew when we left the moshav. So we had a lot of influences from differently American and international artists so naturally we started writing a lot of songs in English and then we had the others idea of us who our roots are in Israel, growing up as orthodox Jews on a religious hippy moshav so we have that others idea of us and so we sort of blend the two and sometimes we do more of one or more of the other. That's how we've been who we've been.

The Beat: And the new album you're going to come out with is a livealbum?

Yehuda Solomon: Oh yeah. The last trip that we did to Israel was over Pesach and we recorded a live show at the Yellow Submarine in Jerusalem. It's mostly Hebrew but there's definitely a bunch of new tracks that we've written recently in English too. So it's a nice blend and gives you a good feel of who we are.

The Beat: Now some of your tracks in English like the song Stop, talks about terrorism and social issue. You feel that's important? Do you have more of that kind of stuff?

Yehuda Solomon: Yeah. At the time when we wrote it we felt that it was an important thing to voice yourself. You know, you have to make your stand. At a time when the Jews are dealing with a lot of terrorism
and in general there's terrorism in the world. One of our best friends was murdered around that time too. We wanted to voice it and pray for it all to stop and take a stand.

The Beat: How do Israeli audiences react to songs like that? Do they know what the lyrics mean in English?

Meir Solomon: Israelis? It's quietly put I feel. It's a hope that all violence of all sorts and of all types should stop. Kind of lighter then what it can be, I guess.

The Beat: Now how about the Return Again album. Is there a concept there? What are you returning to?

Yehuda Solomon: Obviously you can deep with it and you can get simple. On a simple level it's just that everybody should try to tap in to roots and try to learn a little bit more about what our background is
what it means to us. There's sort of a misconception that everything is moving on into the future and everything is becoming digital and everybody's doing all these new things and everybody's forgetting that the truth is that wisdom lies in people that were before us. People now are becoming more and more lazy and everybody wants things easier but sometimes, the real, you know, the wisdom of the world are what's in the past. It's important to return to those wisdoms and dig those up.

The Beat: How would you describe your music? What instruments do you all play?

Meir Solomon: We have a nice blend. You we said, we grew up in a very musical home. Our father was a part of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band. We had a lot of music playing in the home. A lot of Celtic music, a lot of folk music from the 60's, 70's, and a lot of good Jewish music, so its sort of like world music at times and then its
rock and roll at other times. We have a mandolin in the band and we have some middle-eastern percussion, a violin every now and then.

The Beat: Do you have any good stories from your shows around Israel and America?

Yehuda Solomon: (laughing) Yeah, there's all kinds of funny stories, yeah. You know as a band you get to see a lot. I guess the funniest thing was that we showed up at Stanford University for Yom Ha'aztmaut, Israel Independence Day, a few weeks ago. It was done through Hillel House. We were very excited to come and celebrate Israel independence with Jews. And they happened to set it up at a frat house.

Meir Solomon: It was a very, very liberal, a very liberal environment.

Yehuda Solomon: It was a very liberal environment. The first thing we see when we pull up and start unloading out equipment and we see this guy comes walking out buck naked. I mean, completely naked out of the frat house. He was very excited, you know, to have some middle- eastern Jewish music. The show ended up being great and everyone was dancing, a lot of people without shirts on. It was pretty funny for us to be celebrating Israel Independence Day with a bunch of wild, crazy hippies up near San Francisco. But I think that it was a very positive evening. They ended up staying after the show and interviewing us and asking us a lot of questions about Israel and it was very positive. But it was just hilarious.

The Beat: That's Jewish students?

Yehuda Solomon: Some were.

Meir Solomon: I don't know if the naked guy was.

Yehuda Solomon: The thing with liberalism is that its open to a lot of things, not that that's bad, but sometimes borders are good for certain things. You gotta have some kind of border.

Meir Solomon: I mean the guy was definitely circumcised, but I don't know if he was Jewish.!

The Beat: So what about this moshav? It was founded by Shlomo Carlebach? You kind of grew up with Shlomo Carlebach then?

Yehuda Solomon: Yep. It all comes down to that. He was like the founder and spiritual leader. He had a lot to do with our parents ending up in Israel and on the moshav. He was just an incredible human being, you now? His music, his teachings, he was really one of the most real human beings we've ever met in our life and we had the privilege of performing with him and being his next door neighbor most of our childhood. That defiantly had a big effect and influence on our music too.

The Beat: What do you think of all the musicians now that are coming out, Carlebach inspired? I mean their everywhere now.

Yehuda Solomon: I know! It's become like a phenomenon. It's become huge. Which is great but...

Meir Solomon: As long as it's done with taste and goodness. There's a lot of phony stuff going on also where people are trying to imitate something or trying to be something that their not. The truth is the best music is music that comes from the heart and is for real. So if people are doing it for that, if people are influenced by him, it's all good, as long as their keeping it real.

Yehuda Solomon: Hopefully they're playing good music. And there's lots of minyanim that like to daven in his music and songs and dance all over the world, which is great. You're hearing of new minyans that are doing his style of davening which is very lively and brings life into the shul. So that's a positive thing.

The Beat: Any final words.?

Yehuda Solomon: Final words. I hope that through our music, you know, G- d gave us a gift of being able to play music and, thank G-d, people are listening. We should always stay true to who we are, to our roots. We're Jews. And that we should inspire people and make people want to connect to their roots. And hopefully we'll put out real good music.

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