May 22, 2008

Oud, Nay, Gilad and Tiran, A Desert Dream Comes True

One of our earliest dreams was to produce the chant, “Arbaim Shana,” with an accompaniment of a nay and an oud. Long before we found Zachariah, we started rehearsing for an independent disc production. For several weeks we soaked in Arabim Shana, wandering in the desert, experiencing the loneliness and despair of this chant. In the desert wind, we heard the sound of a nay. Yoel even sang those sounds out loud. The nay appears at the distance with the oud, the Israelites tired and covered with dust appear right after in a sand cloud. Oy, "they did not know my ways . . ."

Today, the dream came true!

When Tiran plays the nay, the soul pours out with longing. They nay strikes the tired soul, yearning . . .

In this clip, the nay answers Yoel in “Ki Ata YHVH Elyon.

Tiran Bublil, just like like Kobby Hagoel, grew up in a synagogue – this time Tunisian. His father, who is turning eighty these days, is a chazzan and performer of sacred Jewish music. As a child, Tiran was surrounded with Arabic music and Jewish - Tunisian sacred music. In this clip, he tells us about growing up in the synagogue choir, and of his father who worked as a leather cutter in a shoe factory to support his family. Tiran’s father is surprised that his son can make a living from music. He wished for that himself but could never afford it.

Gilad Hazzan, our oud player, is a Breslav chassid. As you can see he wears a typical big yarlmaka and tzitzit with techelet. In his tiny car, you can find side-by-side two children’s safety chairs, an oud, a kannun and Likutei Moharan, a book of teachings from Reb Nachman of Breslav. Check out the sticker on his oud case!

Gilad plays the oud with great devotion and sweetness as if he is playing a lullaby to his own baby. Gilad and Yoel both study in the Center for Oriental Music in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem.

In this clip, Gilad offers improvisations for “Arbayim Shana”.

During the break in the studio, Gilad drew us into a conversation about the fiery lion that emerged from the Holy of Holies after the destruction of the Temple. We moved to talking about the nature of passion, creativity, good, evil and overcoming our inclination to do G-d’s work.

Following Kobby’s advice, we invited Tiran and Gilad to play together. It was the first time we used two separate recording rooms at the same time. In this way the musicians could maintain eye contact through the glass and ear contact through the headsets while every instrument was recorded on a separate track that can be edited separately.

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