Gal Giberstein, musician, composer and teacher, has been working with students in Ma’ale Habsor for a number of years. He’s an inspiration to kids to express themselves through music.
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?
G: I started working with kids in Mevoot ha-Negev www.mevoot.co.il in the year ’95 when I was in second year at Rimon. I was asked to form a group that would perform for the school.
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.
BeDo Project in Performance