Udi Glaser (30/09/2011)
Shalom Hanoch needs no introduction. For decades, he has been at the forefront of Israeli popular music, covering everything from mournful ballads, such as Maya to timeless rock anthems (“Waiting for the Messiah”). But Hanoch has not rested on his laurels. Now, in his sixties his work continues to be hugely influential as he travels the length and breadth of Israel. "When I was younger,” he tells Alondon, “I appeared less, not as much as now.” His voice is hoarse, that’s his trademark.
For his forthcoming concert in London, Hanoch will appear with producer and keyboard player Moshe Levy. They’ve been together for most of Hanoch’s performances. “This show is very intimate, very close, with a very wide range of songs, different material from different periods. We’ve run it successfully for 10 years,” he says. ”In these kind of small settings, I can feel the crowd and know exactly how we're doing.” An example is the famous “How Good it is that You are Home”, which he doesn’t play much in Israel, but “when I’m out of Israel, I feel what it does to the audience”. The song, incidentally, was composed when he was in London in the early 70s.
What do you remember from your days in London?
“I found it difficult in English. Very. I found it difficult to write and communicate with people and therefore this was a difficult time, but I worked, I knew myself and I went through all sorts of interesting things. I got a record out of it, too (“Peace”, 1971). But eventually I returned to Israel thinking I'll go to the US and then started the Yom Kippur War, and somehow I went on reserve duty.”
What do you think of Israeli musicians who succeed outside Israel?
"I'm very happy. When I was young and in London it was so far away and it was so hard to make the connection. Today there are so many things that make it easier. And I am very happy about anyone who can... It's nice to me that distance is not that great.”
Would you like to try again?
“No, no. No need. Once I returned to Israel, that was it for me. Most of all because of the language. I thought I could write in English like I write in Hebrew, but I can’t. It's really essential. I grew up with Hebrew.
“This is my language and it’s part of me, so I do not believe that I have the ability to express myself in English as in Hebrew. “
Do you prefer the acoustic performances to one with an electric band?
"The truth is that I have two loves: rock concerts and quiet songs, and expressing them is by appealling to an audience that sits close and listens and hears the words. I always looked for some way to do both. The show, “Exit”, show a more personal side.
And your last album (“Shalom Hanoch”, 2009) is very energetic...
“Yes, I continue to do that, and certainly the most intimate songs are coming through it. Even when I work and write they are side-by-side. That's how I get energy.”
How do you manage to keep your connection to the songs and to express them all over again?
“In my youth I studied theatre. Three years at Bet Tzvi in Ramat Gan. When, you studied theatre, you learn to perform and one of the principles of performance is of course how you start over again without repeating yourself. I do not want to repeat myself, I love the songs and also change the way I appear and perform a song. Every time I do something differently. That's what I know - I know, I do not have to think about it. Then sometimes even I am surprised how the song develops.Otherwise, I could not appear. I'd really feel like I'm lying. So that's been part of me from an early age... I always start from empty and get filled as I go along.”
Will you perform your famous songs?
"Most of the songs are, of course, known and loved. Since there are many songs like that, we change occasionally. I'm also open to changes on the spot. I ask the audience what they want and sometimes I sing a song I hadn’t planned to. Moshe and I can do an unlimited amount of songs.“
Is there a new album on the horizon?
“Yes, of course. But if you ask me where the horizon is I don’t know.”
Will you perform new songs from it?
“Possibly. But if I sing one particular song, it will come at the expense of another. Many times people ask: 'Why didn’t you sing this or that song?’ Actually, it breaks my heart after a performance to hear from someone – ‘Why do you not sing Laylah or The Known Roads’ Then I say: 'If I'd known you wanted it, I would sing it.”
So you will leave time to requests from the audience?
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1. Lizabeth Author in 07/12/2011:
Please teach the rest of these itnernet hooligans how to write and research!
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