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 29, 2006

Interview with Elisete - Now on line

Interview with singer Elisete on her new album, her work with Ehud Manor, her immigration from Brazil and her thoughts on music in Israel.

  • To listen on streaming audio click here

  • To download as an mp3 click here

  • For RSS feed click here

  • For more info on Elisete click here
  • Friday, May 26, 2006

    Adi Ran article

    Popular Hassidic Singer Adi Ran Speaks
    May 24, 2006 / 26 Iyar 5766
    by Benyamin Bresky and Ezra HaLevi

    printed in Israel National News - click here for article with more photos.

    After a singing a couple of lines, Adi Ran steps back from the microphone and just lets the crowd continue the song for him.

    The crowd would have done so regardless. This particular occurrence at the Dead Sea Music Festival on Passover shows just how popular Adi Ran has become. Ran's charismatic stage performances and appearance on the Ushpizin soundtrack has made his songs some of the most well known in the post-Carlebach Jewish roots music scene.

    His newly released double-disc live album has been well received. Unlike his previous three albums, this is Ran alone with acoustic guitar.

    "When I play with other players, you must do something orderly," states Ran of his studio albums. "But when I am alone, the mind and the hand and the mouth together do something new every moment. When I do it unplugged, it all the time changes. It's not like in the studio."

    It was Ran's dream to recreate his solo gigs on disc. "I just played all the songs many times and just took the good. I didn't do it like other albums where you mix the guitar and bass and drums. I did it all in one take like back in the day. You play, you sing. That's all."

    One of the most memorable scenes in the 2004 movie Ushpizin was of the wife mouthing the words to Adi Ran's song Ata Kadosh [You are Holy] as the song plays on the radio in her kitchen. This scene, mixed with clips of Ran playing guitar, comprises the music video that was aired on mainstream Israeli TV, something rare for religious oriented music. Another one of Ran's songs plays during the ending credits of the movie. Although the songs were not made specifically for the movie, Ran feels the connection is good and is proud of the result.

    It's hard not to notice Adi Ran's guitar, featured prominently on the covers of his albums. It is plastered with bumper stickers, mostly from the Breslov Hasidic movement. But the 20-year-old guitar didn't always have the same look.

    "Before I was a religious man," he said, "I had a big sticker of an I-don't-want-to-say-what on the guitar. It was my symbol. I was the guy with the sticker of the [scantily-clad] girl on the guitar. Now I have done teshuvah [returned to observant Judaism]."

    Ran is now an adherent of the Breslov Hasidic movement, founded by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the late 1790's and early 1800's. He frequently sings about the group's beliefs.

    Most of his on-stage band mates do not wear kippot [skullcaps]. But none seem to mind his overtly religious message. "It's good rock and roll," he says. "The secular, when they hear it, they like it. In the beginning of my teshuvah, I played in secular clubs. They liked it. The fans and the players. They came many times without getting paid."

    One such song that exemplifies his shift from secular to religious is Peyot [sidelocks, a symbol of Hassidic religious Jews], whose lyrics roughly translated read, "I want big peyot, beautiful peyot... It's so fun to be Jewish, it's so fun to be religious." After the song was recorded, a friend pointed out to him how much it evoked a similar song from the early 1970s musical Hair. It's a reference Ran identifies with.

    "I take the rock and roll to Hashem [G-d], not to idol-worship. You have good in the bad, and you take the good from the bad. Rock and roll is good, but you have many dirty things inside because the big rockers think they are so good, they think only they are important."

    The Peyot song is one of his harder rock numbers which ends in an off-kilter, out-of-tune piano and guitar segment. This is not unusual, as many of Ran's tunes have a musical quirk, be it either his guitar playing, switching to scat singing or belting out a high note in the middle of a chorus.

    "The sense of humor is an inseparable part of my songs," he says. "I cannot write a serious song without a little laugh. When it's so serious, then it's not true. We must know that everything is a joke. The world is only visual reality. So with every idea, always, always, always bring in a sense of humor. That's what makes it a complete truth."

    That humor is sometimes a surprise for listeners who fall in love with his anthem-like, Beatles-esque ballads, only to later discover his hard rock numbers with his raspy vocals.

    Another aspect of Adi Ran's music is his frequent references to Breslov concepts.

    "Rabbi Nachman says, 'ain yeoosh baolam klal.' There is no such thing as hopelessness in the world. It's an illusion. The concept of hopelessness doesn't even exist. Everything that happens to a person in the world is for his eternal good. If you walk down the street and get hit in the head, it's the same as if you walk down the street and get a million dollars. It's the sense that G-d knows what He's doing and it's for your own good. You must realize you are nothing, nothing, nothing. Hashem wants you to sing, and He opens the mouth and He sings the song. You are just the pipe. When you know this point, it's not dangerous for you. You are not confused. You do not become crazy with drugs and Jimi Hendrix and blah. Because you know that you are nothing."

    But "being nothing" doesn't mean Ran isn't working hard. He is currently working on a new studio album entitled Nekudot Shel Kissufim, or Points of Desire. Its subject matter is, once again, the relationship between man and G-d and music.

    Ran: "Every man has a song that must be taken from him. Everyone's got a song that's theirs. Their souls are only able to approach G-d through their specific song. Only songs will give them the openness of the mind [through which] they can see the world. There's less opposition to a song than to a lecture. Music with good words, it can change the mind of the man. To write a song to Hashem, this is my job in the world. I feel it."

    To listen to the full interview, click on

    Benyamin Bresky is the host of The Beat on Israel National Radio and maintains a journal on music in Israel at

    (Photos: Ezra HaLevi)

    Published: 14:19 May 24, 2006

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Shuly Nathan interview

    Interview with Shuly Nathan
    by Benyamin Bresky

    Now a mother and housewife, I caught up with Mrs. Nathan by phone in between her picking up her children from summer camp. For more information visit her web site at Her name is alternatively spelled Shuli Natan or various other combinations. Also check out This interview originally aired August 1, 2004 on Israel National Radio.

    Israel National Radio: This is Shuly Nathan. Why don't you just tell us a little about who you are and what you do.

    Shuly Nathan: I am the singer who first sang the original version of Yerushalayim Shel Zahav on Independence Day, 1967 at a song festival. And the song has become like a prophesy and the hymn of the Six Day War and one of the most beloved songs in Israel until this day.

    Israel National Radio: Did you know that was going to happen that day?

    Shuly Nathan: No, no. I felt that I had a treasure in my hand, as a song, but I could never imagine that it could take such root. That it would become almost like a hymn.

    Israel National Radio: And they just found you and put you up on stage?

    Shuly Nathan: Well, Nomi [Naomi] Shemer chose me to sing this song. Teddy Kollek [the mayor of Jerusalem] asked for songs for Jerusalem for the festival. Outside of the contest, Nomi had been asked to write a song and she wrote Jersualem of Gold. And then when they asked who would like to perform this song, she said, "I heard a young girl singing not long ago in an amateur program and I would like her to sing the song." So first they objected and said this girl, her name is Shuly Nathan, she is a soldier and she is an amateur singer and they don't use amateur on that festival. And Nomi said, "If you don't let her sing that song, I am not going to submit the song." That is how my fate went.

    Israel National Radio: So you've worked with her this entire time?

    Shuly Nathan: Yes. I worked with her in the winter that was before January and February, before the festival. The festival was in April. And I got to know her. We worked plenty on the song. Although she gave me quite a lot of freedom, she insisted on the harmonies and the general frame of the song but she gave me quite a lot of freedom to make my own interpretation.

    Israel National Radio: So that performance was actually before the war?

    Shuly Nathan: It was before the war. It was two and a half weeks before the war. The next day they started to call the Miluim [reserve duty soldiers]. Two and a half weeks later, the city was free. General Motta Gur said "Har Habayit is in our hands", and all the paratroopers that were there were yelling and shouting "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav!" It became like a hymn.

    Israel National Radio: What are you doing now? You're now releasing new albums, right?

    Shuly Nathan: I made about six albums in the first part of my career, long-plays, between '67 and '75. Then I got married and had five children and I stopped for ten years. My second career started when my youngest son was two, and it lasts 'til now. I released four CDs. Amongst them, one of Shlomo Carlebach which I released about two years ago. And I'm going on and I'm very, very busy. Singing in Israel and around the world as well.

    Israel National Radio: Do people recognize your name? Do they know you?

    Shuly Nathan: Most people do. They young people, they know, if you tell them, I'm the original singer of Jerusalem of Gold. So everybody knows Jerusalem of Gold.

    Israel National Radio: Did you work with Naomi Shemer this entire time?

    Shuly Nathan: I worked with her later. We released another LP. Shuly Nathan Sings Naomi Shemer Songs. That was in 1974. We were always in touch with her and with her family -- her husband and her children. We were very found of each other.

    Israel National Radio: Have you been all over the world touring?

    Shuly Nathan: I've been, yes. All through the years, yes.

    Israel National Radio: What have the reactions been?

    Shuly Nathan: It's always very exciting. When they hear Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, people cry. They get very excited.

    Israel National Radio: How did you learn how to sing?

    Shuly Nathan: I started to play the guitar and that made me start singing when I was sixteen.

    Israel National Radio: Do you have any CDs coming out now?

    Shuly Nathan: I am working. I am starting one now that will be more ethnic music. Ladino songs, Italian, Moroccan, Jewish. Maybe some songs from around the world.

    Israel National Radio: Are there any Jerusalem of Gold type songs now?

    Shuly Nathan: Not that I know. There isn't anything like it. Because it's not a normal song. So it's really something once in a decade.

    Israel National Radio: Do you have any advice for people for people who want to write a great song such as that?

    Shuly Nathan: It's not something that you can do with intention. I don't think she did it with intention in her mind. She just went to Jerusalem, walked in the streets of Jerusalem, wrote about the sadness of us not being able to reach The Wall and the holy places and she was inspired. She certainly was inspired.


    by Naomi Shemer
    Translated by Yael Levine

    The mountain air is clear as wine
    And the scent of pines
    Is carried on the breeze of twilight
    With the sound of bells.

    And in the slumber of tree and stone
    Captured in her dream
    The city that sits solitary
    And in its midst is a wall.

    Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
    Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

    How the cisterns have dried
    The market-place is empty
    And no one frequents the Temple Mount
    In the Old City.

    And in the caves in the mountain
    Winds are howling
    And no one descends to the Dead Sea
    By way of Jericho.

    Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
    Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

    But as I come to sing to you today,
    And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
    I am the smallest of the youngest of your children (i.e. the least worthy of doing so)
    And of the last poet (i.e. of all the poets born).

    For your name scorches the lips
    Like the kiss of a seraph
    If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
    Which is all gold...

    Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
    Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

    We have returned to the cisterns
    To the market and to the market-place
    A ram's horn (shofar) calls out (i.e. is being heard) on the Temple Mount
    In the Old City.

    And in the caves in the mountain
    Thousands of suns shine -
    We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
    By way of Jericho!

    Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze and of light
    Behold I am a violin for all your songs.


    Monday, May 22, 2006

    New Show for May 21, 2006

    Interview with Adi Ran
    May 21, 2006

    Ben Bresky and Ezra HaLevi interview Adi Ran at the Dead Sea Music Festival. The singer discusses his part in the movie Ushpizin, his new live acoustic album, his unique guitar and how his religious beliefs effect his music.

    Click here for streaming audio

    Click here for MP3 download

    New Adi Ran blog in English

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Interview with Adi Ran

    Sunday May 21, 2006
    Interview with Adi Ran
    6:00PM Israel time, 11:00AM Eastern Standard Time
    Archived all week

    The numerous requests will finally be fulfilled. This week on The Beat - an interview with Adi Ran (also spelled Adi Ron) whose music was used in the movie Ushpizin. Tune in this week as we discuss his new double live acoustic album, his religious beliefs and his unique guitar.

    For more info on Adi Ran visit

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Lag BaOmer Special Broadcast

    The holiday of Lag Ba'Omer begins this Monday night and Israel National Radio will be celebrating with a live 3-hour broadcast from Mount Meron. Tune in May 15, 2006 at 9:00PM Israel time, 2:00PM Eastern Standard Time time for one of the largest Jewish gatherings ever. Music, kabbalah, hair cuts and more.

    Check out Israel National Radio

    Click here for live streaming audio broadcasts

    Join us in the Virtual Studio Chat Room live during the show.

    New show for May 14, 2006

    Interview with Kobi Oz of Teapacks
    May 14, 2006

    Do rap and accordions go together? They do with Teapacks. Lead singer Kobi Oz discusses the band's brand new album Radio Music Hebrew which mixes Mizrachi, funk and more.

    Plus a music mix featuring brand new Simply Tsfat, Diana Marcovitz,

    Link for MP3 download:

    Israel Beat with Ben Bresky broadcatss live every Sunday from 6:00PM - 7:00PM Israel time on Israel National Radio.

    Web site review:

    "I don't know who sings it, but I know the dance." This is the response I recieved when asking about an obscure Yemenite-Jewish song from the 1970's.

    Where I came from, dancing consisted of jumping up and down while standing in place with one arm raised in the air, or of whipping your hair around in a circle while raising one arm with your index and pinky finger extended. Dancing in Israel, however is another story.

    Old movies depict kibbutzniks holding hands and dancing in circles. This culture is still alive and well. Dance classes for old and new styles of Israeli folk dancing can be found in cities throght the country. Even modern songs -- ballads, rap, anything -- have been remixed for Israeli style dance purposes. is the perfect web site for dance instructors, Israeli music fans, ethnomusicologists, or even for people like me. A detailed and ever growing database lists countless dances by song, singer, choreographer and more. There are even short sound clips and lyrics. The database is in English and in Hebrew.

    Check out and find a part of Israeli musical culture that will either bring back fond memories, or introduce you to a new way to appreciate Jewish music.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    This week's show

    IsraelBeat for May 7, 2006

    Interview with AMI - Artists and Musicians for Israel

    Yehudah Katz of Reva L'Sheva talks about his new project AMI - Artists and Musicians for Israel which tours other countries with hands-on activities to build Israel identity. Also a music mix featuring rare Shlomo Carlebach, Aviad Gil, Jermayah Daman of Belz, Daklon, Pulse, Dudu Tasa and more.

    Click here for streaming audio

    Click here to download as an mp3


    Note: These links will be updated every Sunday with the new show. If you want an old show, email me.

    Teapacks interview

    This Sunday I am planning to have an interview with Kobi Oz, the lead singer of the band Teapacks (also spelled Tipex) on their new album. Tune in this Sunday May 14, 2006 at 6:00PM Israel time, 11:00AM Eastern Standard Time on Israel National Radio.

    For more info check out

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    New discs

    Radio Music Hebrew
    2006 Anana LTD.

    A cool mix of Israeli sounding pop with some rap, rock and Mizrachi sounds. Features new pop stars such as Miri Masika, MC Shiri, and Pini Hadad. The cover is a cool cartoon of the group's home town of Sderot complete with falling Kassam rockets, Disengagments and every Israeli stereotype I can think of.

    Mordechai Ben-David
    Efshar LeTaken
    2006 MBD Music Inc.

    More great stuff from the classic singer who brought us Moshiach Moshiach Moshiach. Some songs sound like they could be from any year. Others sound very modern, such as the track with the klezmer clarinet, shofar and electronic dance beat. Focus falls on Ben-David's singing voice mixed with a men's chorus on some tracks. Many songs are based on religuous versus and Pslams. Other tracks are sung in Yiddish.

    demo disc

    My friends Mat and Julie are moving so they gave me a bunch of discs they didn't want. One of them was Pulse, a hard rock group with Hebrew lyrics. Some songs boarder on progressive metal but the vocals are not screamed that loud. Other tracks are a haunting female singer mixed with downbeat piano.