After participating in Ma’ale Habsor’s Rosh Hashana ceremony with his version of ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ (lyrics quoted here: https://talkingnow.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/ceremony-for-rosh-hashana-maale-habsor/) ,I asked him if he could say a few words to readers of Let My People Know.
Judih: Gal, could you please introduce yourself.
Gal: 36 years old, married plus 2. Been playing guitar since age 10. Went to music college (Rimon) for 3 years (Rimon: http://www.rimonschool.co.il/rimon/eng/). Playing rock and ethnic music
J:Do you think that Rimon is a good school?
G: It was good for me. I’m glad I decided to go there. I met good teachers and good musicians with whom I’ve worked all these years.
J: Where are you from?
G: I grew up in Kibbutz Lahav (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahav)
J: When did you start becoming interested in music?
G: At age 16, I started composing music and playing in a rock group. We played Vangelis, some original stuff of mine and rock interpretations of Hasidic music.
J: When did you start teaching?
J:How was it working at Mevoot?
G: I worked there for 8 years and I learned a lot. It was great! They gave a lot of opportunities to do things.
J: What kind of music do you love the most?
G: I like all kinds of music. Nowadays I’m listening to the new album of Avishai Cohen (link: http://www.avishaimusic.com/index.html) “Shaot Regishot” “Gently Disturbed“.
J: What inspires you?
G: I’m inspired by many things. First, Avishai’s new disc. Also, I saw a great show called “Debka Fantasy”, Israeli Ethnic music from the 1920’s onwards. Trips in nature – always good ideas come from my walks with my dog Nina in the forest near our house. Lastly, my family always contributes to my inspiration.
J: What are some of your other interests?
G: I play basketball every Sunday. I like to prepare food and I’m trying to grow organic food.
J: Tell me about the work you do with students in Otef Azza
G: The kids are very talented so it’s lots of fun, We work in a miklat (bomb shelter) so we are safe. I’ve heard only one “Tseva Adom” “Red Alert” and it was scary – though the kids were used to it and didn’t make a big deal of it.
J: How would you describe the music the kids like to play?
G: The kids like to play Rock, Progressive Rock, Reggae and some Trance. Some of them also like Jazz.
J: Do you think that the qassams in the area make a difference to the sort of jams you hear from the students?
G: One time a student did a free style Hip Hop and played with the words “Tseva Adom” like a scarcher (turntable) but usually there is no difference.
J: Do you see any difference since the ‘ceasefire’?
G: I’m more relaxed on the way back home…
J: Were you tense before? Can you elaborate on that?
G: I used to drive very fast when I passed Sederot. I used to think that I wouldn’t be able to hear the alarm from inside the car. Now I feel better, but maybe I just got used to it.
J: What about your work with Bedouin musicians? (note: Gal was a member of the BeDo project, an ensemble of Israeli and Bedouin musicians) Can you talk about that briefly?
G: We are no longer in touch, except for wishing each other “Chag sameach” “Have a happy holiday” from time to time.
It was a great time working with them and I learned a lot, but then each one of us went our own way. We recorded our stuff and you can hear it on our MySpace page: http://myspace.com/bedoproject.
Maybe someday we’ll do a gig together. Who knows…
J: What do you see as a possible future scenario in this area?
G: I’m optimistic-but it will take time…
J: You say you’re optimistic. Do you know of any ongoing projects right now that will promote a peaceful path?
G: I’m starting to do something in Ben Gurion Universty – a mixed group of students
playing together. I hope it will work out well so i can tell you more about it.
J: I’m looking forward to hearing about it. Thanks, Gal, for taking the time to talk to us.
G: Good luck and kol tuv (‘all the best’)
To all: Take the time to listen to some of the BeDo Project http://myspace.com/bedoproject on MySpace. Listen to the blend of Bedouin instruments and folk lyrics from Israeli as well as Bedouin sources. It will take you to a place of optimism. We can work together–judih.