Monday, August 29, 2005

The Winner

Yehuda Sa'ado has won it all!

Kochav Nolad - The Finale

Listening live to the finale of Kochav Nolad on Radios 100 FM. The judges are in LOVE with Yehuda Sa'ado! Why? What makes him better than the rest?

Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Kochav Nolad - The Finale

They're down to 3 finalists on "Kochav Nolad", the Israeli version of "American Idol": Michael Kirkilon, Shir Biton, and of course, Yehuda Sa'ado.

If you ask me, these were among the worst contestants of the season.

True, I'm behind a few weeks, so I haven't yet seen the performances that shot them to the top. But I've never been thrilled with any of them.

Shir Biton sings very nicely, but there's nothing that sets her apart from all of the other females we've seen this year. Still, see easily won every contest she's been in. Why? Kasanya Zamskov, Ariella Edvi, and especially Merior Shachar are much better, in my opinion. I was very sad to see Merior go. Her smile alone could make you melt.

Michael is a recent immigrant to Israel from the Ukraine, and I wonder if he won some sympathy points for that. They even flew his little old grandmother to Israel so she could be with him during this exciting time. Yes, he can sing, but I don't think he's on par with people like Harel Moyal, who won last year.

Finally, Yehuda Sa'ado. I've never understood Israel's fascination with him. True, I'm not the world's biggest Mizrachi fan, and he sings in that style. He CLEARLY does not have the best voice, but he's definitely the favorite here. Are they voting for him because they're Mizrachi fans? Are they voting for him because he's "dati" (an observant Jew)? Or are they voting for him because he's NOT your typical "star"?

The Israeli public has spoken, but I really have to question their choices.

Anyway, the finale is on August 29th. Sa'ado has smashed the competition every time he's been involved in a vote, so I fully expect him to win it all. In any event, it should be interesting to see a Shomer Shabbat music star in Israel. It's not the kind of thing you see every day...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Um...hi again...

Okay, so it's been a while.

Since my last entry, I've been to Israel and back. You'd think that would give me one or 2 things to write about, no?

I'll try to get to the details of my trip ASAP. But I've been working on a few things which might interest you.

1. We've started an RSS feed of our radio show archives. It's not an official "podcast" yet (although we hope to start podcasting very soon), but at least you can subscribe to the feed to find out when a new radio show (in Real Audio format) is posted to the site. Just point your RSS reader to and you'll be on your way!

2. I'm working on a brand new version of - and for once, this time it's actually taking shape! After 8 years, it's about time. I'm really excited about it, and hope to have it complete at the latest by the end of the summer.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Israel's 57th

As we celebrate Israel's 57th birthday today, I'd like to wish everyone a Chag Sameach - a very Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut!

Anyone who's reading this certainly already recognizes the significance of the day. We, who are all so connected to the world of Israeli culture, should be so proud of Israel and its accomplishments in 57 short years. If this day never occurred, there would be no Israeli music, no Israel Hour, no Kochav Nolad, Reshet Gimmel, Kdam Eurovision...all that we love about Israeli music can be tied into the events that took place 57 years ago.

Growing up in New Jersey, I never felt a "real" connection. Sure, Israel was "there," and a nice place to visit. Good falafel, too. But when I became interested in Israeli music, a bond began to form. All of a sudden, Israel was a part of me like never before. Even though I still don't always understand all of the lyrics, every word of every song tells a story about Israel, its people, its fears and dreams, its history and its culture. And the nicest thing about it is that the majority of Israeli singers seem to feel it too. How many American singers spend their careers singing patriotic songs about the USA?

Please - in some small way, celebrate Israel today...because now, more than ever, Am Yisrael Chai!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Chag Kasher V'sameach!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

OK, not really...I'm actually dreading the next week or so. I just hate disrupting my regular routine.

I used to go to a hotel in the Catskills every year for Pesach. You didn't even know it was Pesach! You were sheltered, ate incredible foods and enjoyed non-stop activities. Didn't even have to clean the house!

Now, I'm at home all week, trying to explain to co-workers why my every meal consists of tasteless crackers.

But then again, it's never as bad as I think. The holiday comes and goes, and everyone ends up having a great time. Not as good a time as the folks in Israel, though. Israeli music will be EVERYWHERE this week! Rita, Ivri Lider, Idan Raichel, Achinoam Nini, Ehud Banai, David D'or and so many more Israeli singers will be performing all over the country. The Jerusalem Post summarized it all in this article.

Since the next 2 Sundays fall out on Yom Tov, The Israel Hour will be off the air until Sunday, May 8th. Best wishes for a Chag Kasher V'sameach - a happy and kosher Passover!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Rita in Concert - 4/14/05

I had a great time last night. Although her dancing didn't seem as elaborate as I remember in the past, I thought Rita sounded great for the most part - although the music tended to drown her out from time to time (as did the 3 Israeli girls sitting behind me). She sang all of her hits, and really had great control of the audience by the end of the show.

I feel that she connects with her audience better than almost anyone. As always, she went out into the audience to shake hands and hug anyone who is interested. Not only that - she even left the auditorium and went upstairs to the BALCONY to make the folks in the nosebleed seats feel included. It really helped endear her to the audience in a BIG way.

Let's are the songs I remember (in no particular order):
Bo, Atuf B'rachamim, Shir Ahuvat Hasapan, Eved Shel Hazman, Tiftach Chalon, Yeladim Ze Simcha, Erev Kachol Amok, Shara Barechovot, Ani Chaya Miyom L'yom, Yemai Hatom - plus Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, a Persian song and a song from "Carmen". I'm sure I'm missing a few.

Surprising that Town Hall was far from sold out last night. You would think that Rita, who doesn't come to the USA all too often, would draw more people in a city like New York. But those who were there seemed to have a wonderful time. And BTW, we sat three rows behind Dudu Fisher, who collaborated with Rita on "Tonight, A Musical."

Having always been a big Rita fan, I enjoyed the concert very much. Anyone in Montreal - go see her on April 17th!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ehud Manor: 1941-2005

As has been the case way to often lately, I've received quite an education on one of the pioneers of Israeli music...only after they've passed away.

I cannot believe the amount of material created by Ehud Manor in his short life. And we're not talking about obscure songs. This is the guy who wrote "A ba ni bi," "Bashana Haba'a," "Ein Li Eretz Acheret," "Chai" and so many of my favorite songs that I've always taken for granted.

Be sure to tune in this Sunday, as we present a tribute to his music. Although an hour is not nearly enough time to do justice to his pretigious career in Israeli music, you'll be impressed.


VERY excited to go see Rita tonight at Town Hall in NYC. I've seen her twice before: at a concert in Israel in 1997 and then again in her joint concert with Rami when they came to New York in 2003. She was INCREDIBLE both times. She truly knows how to perform - communicating and telling stories to the audience, dancing (very seductively, I might add) throughout the stage, and singing all of the hits we could ever hope for.

Rita has a real love affair with her audience...she even walks through the auditorium, hugging and shaking hands with anyone who is interested. You don't see that very often, especially in a performer as popular as Rita.

I'll report back on the concert tomorrow.


Ok, so everyone's doing it, and everyone who's not doing it is talking about it. And if everyone else can achieve fame and fortune just by typing a few words on the 'net every so often, why not me? So here I go.

Welcome to my BLOG.

Wow. Pretty cool. Now what?

For those of you who have just stumbled on by, I'll tell you about myself. I host an Israeli music radio show, broadcasting out of Rutgers University in New Jersey. The show is called The Israel Hour, and we're on every Sunday at 1:00 on 88.7 WRSU-FM and live on the Internet at

You can also listen to our archives (about THREE years worth of shows!) on our web site.

In real life, I also work as Internet Marketing Manager for K. Hovnanian Homes in Edison, NJ.

Here in the USA, it's not easy to find much info on Israeli music on the Internet, especially if you don't read Hebrew. I don't claim to be an expert, but I try my best to keep on top of the music scene in Israel - and, for those of you who care, I'll use this forum to post my thoughts on Israeli music, Israeli singers and anything else that comes to mind.

So thanks for stopping by - and please help me make this a success by adding your comments at any time.

And be sure to tune into The Israel Hour. We're always hungry for listeners...