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Nada Records: New Releases by Tizmoret and Nagwa

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Nada Records is one of the more established Israeli labels documenting the fertile local world music scene, including prominent Israeli outfits as the already disbanded Bustan Abraham (including collaborations with Indian masters Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain and the Irish nomad master Ross Daly), Eyal Sela and his Dharma Ensemble, Isfahan Ensemble, the Black Velvet and many more.

In its thirteen years of existence, the label has released over thirty discs that encompass myriad Middle Eastern traditions as well as Persian, Indian and even Irish music—and many fusions of these genres. These new releases by Tizmoret and Nagwa are welcome additions to Nada's boundary-dissolving message.

Tizmoret
Tizmoret
Nada Records
2005

Quite surprisingly, there are no remarkable klezmer bands in Israel, as if the renaissance of this Jewish musical tradition during the last decade has passed over the Jewish state. Tizmoret—popular orchestra in Hebrew—may mend this situation. This outfit is led by double bassist and bowed Turkish tanbur player Naor Carmi, a veteran of the last incarnation of Bustan Abraham. It presents Carmi's musical vision, which borrows from the Eastern European klezmer tradition but transforms elements into a Middle Eastern context. In such a spirit, Tizmoret has played a klezmerized version of one of Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem's compositions in recent live shows.

This debut disc was recorded in 2003 with a lineup featuring soloists such as Daniel Zamir, formerly of Satlah, who has released his versions of alt-klezmer on Tzadik, the ever resourceful Gershon Waiserfirer on the baritone horn and oud, Jonathan Dror on saxophones and the Armenian duduk, and Avishai Fisz on accordion.

The music draws inspiration from devotional Chassidic dances and the Lubavitsher Rebbe (who is quoted on the liner notes saying "be it through the keys of music, that man is being elevated and pulled spheres upwards"), Kabalistic theories (on "Back," "And Forth"), Jewish prayers, Iraqi and Turkish music, and of course, alt-klezmer groups like the Klezmatics.

Carmi managed to knit tight and economic arrangements that demonstrate the power of this octet and still leave plenty of room for each member of Tizmoret to express himself. Carmi's bass playing has the same melodic fluidity that you can find in great bassists like Norway's Arild Andersen, while his bowing of the tanbur is imaginative and contemplative. Waiserfirer is the second backbone of this outfit; his playing of the custom-made electric oud spices the music with funky overtones, while his soulful oud playing clearly reference American-Armenian oud player Ara Dinkijian and his now defunct band, Night Ark, mainly on such tracks as "Palmtree Talk" and "On the Way." Waiserfirer's humorous use of the baritone horn always pushes the music forward.

Since this disc was recorded, the lineup of Tizmoret has changed, and the outfit has enriched its experience as a wedding orchestra, still delivering the same passionate and soulful music with the same curious and open attitude. Warmly recommended.

Nagwa
Nagwa
Nada Records
2005

Nagwa—a small neighborhood on the banks of the Ganges river, "a secret" in Arabic and "in the water" in Spanish and Portuguese—is led by master guitarist and sitar player Shlomo Oz, who has collaborated recently with Indian sitar master Shujaat Khan. His well-crafted compositions on Nagwa's debut were recorded after a journey he made—together with flautist Amit Gershi and cellist Shai Maivar, the core players of Nagwa—to the holy city of Varanassi, the cradle of Indian music and arts, where the three studied Indian classical music for several months.

The music on this release evokes the precision of the players' classical background, combined with their experience in Indian music studies. They add guest musicians on each track, most noteworthy Yankele Segal on the oud and buzuki. The lyrical compositions are gifted with tenderness, lucidity and a soothing quality—maybe a weakness of this effort. The music sounds too clean, restrained and even one-dimensional, as if it lacks some necessary edge that may arise from a more improvisatory attitude, an important element of any worthy Indian musical tradition. As such, Nagwa's music approaches the bland territories of New Age too closely. Hopefully these talented players will try more daring music on their next release.

Visit Nagwa on the web.

This and other Nada Records releases are available from CD Baby on the web.


Tracks and Personnel

Tizmoret

Tracks: Rikudi; Back; and Forth; Palmtree Talk; Intense Love; Oud Taqsim; The Joy of Redemption's Headquarters; Nagila Halleluya; On the Way; Tizmoret Makes You Happy; The Babangal song; Mayn Shtetl Yas; Contemplation

Personnel: Naor Carmi: bass, yayli tanbour, keyboards; Gershon Waiserfirer: bariton, oud, electric oud; Daniel Zamir: saxophones; Noam Chen: drums, percussion, piano; Avishai Fisz: accordion; Ami Balilty: percussion; Jonathan Dror: saxophones, duduk; Itay Dekel Chen: trumpet; Guest Players: Nizan-Khen-Razel: violin (1,5,10); Nisim Simchoni: vocals (7,8).

Nagwa

Tracks: Kites; La Cariocala (Opening); La Cariocola; Cellove Song; Malkauns; Pierro; Sitara; Ancha; Nava.

Personnel: Shlomo Oz: classical guitar, 10-string classical guitar, sitar, vocal; Amit Gershi: silver flute, bansuri, vocal; Shai Maivar: cello; Yankele Segal: buzuki, oud, tar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar; Erez Monk: tabla, percussion; Tomer Yariv: percussion; Sasha Shlein: keyboard; Sheer Sofer: ersaj; Din Din Aviv: vocal.


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