Obscurity Points // Kaveret
When I go to new places I like to find out about local music that perhaps I haven’t heard about in Toronto (where I lived up until last week). Though I’ve been to Israel six times before this one and investigated the music scene and history, I haven’t been able to find much good stuff. It’s a small country with more important things on its mind, no doubt. But I have discovered some really good bands that I’ve also blogged about; most notably Rockfour, whose last album HaOlam HaMufla (The Wonderful World) I consider a masterpiece by all standards and regardless of language.
A couple days ago I saw Danny Sanderson play a sunrise set as part of Tel Aviv’s White Night, and found myself really digging some of the songs. In particular, there was one song that had a killer chorus with awesome harmonies, so I started looking into Sanderson’s back catalogue and biography in an attempt to figure out what song it was exactly. I found that Sanderson had actually first come to fame as part of the Israeli rock/pop band Kaveret, so I started listening to some of their songs on YouTube, and the more I listened the more I was blown away. Every song I listened to was great – great hooks, clever lyrics (from what I could understand, at least), sharp arrangements, interesting time signatures and tempos, humour, heartbreak, etc. Now I was really interested.
As it turned out, Kaveret was only around for three years – ’73-76 – and within that period of time they released as many albums. There’s no direct equivalent of them in anglophone rock, but the closest I can think of would be The Beatles, as Kaveret was hugely popular, featured numerous great singers and songwriters who almost all went on to have successful post-Kaveret careers in music, dabbled in numerous styles, and are loved by the older generation that grew up with them, as well as the younger ones that grew up with only their recorded legacy and sporadic reunion shows. On the other hand, they’re totally different because they don’t have nearly as extensive or consistent a discography as The Beatles do, and a huge part of their act and Israeli appeal was their humour, which they presented both in songs and skits. I can’t understand it well enough due to the language barrier, but I’m told it’s an essential aspect of the band.
The first two albums feature some phenomenal songs, like the classic night closer “Yo Ya” and the Eurovision entry “Natati La Chayim” (I Gave Her My Life), but aren’t that consistent quality-wise. The third album, 75′s “Stafuf BaOzen” (Crammed In The Ear), is the masterpiece, with fourteen incredible songs running the gamut from what sounds like children’s music to intimate organ-ic tracks to latin-fusion to joke-ey tracks and more, with none sacrificing compositional strength for novelty in the slightest.
Unfortunately, despite all my searching I didn’t find the song I was looking for – if any Israelis read this and think they know they song I’m talking about (it’s the one with the chorus that’s like “da da da da da da davar pashooooot, da da da da da da pachoooooooooooo, ooooooo, oooooot”) [update: it's this song] please let me know what it is! But even if I can’t find it, I found a ton of other great tracks along the way, and hopefully now you, reading this, will find them too