Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Year-End Roundup

Shana Tovah from Israeli Music Blogline!

After a prolonged absence, we're back to take a look at Israeli music in the past year 5756. There's been no shortage of retrospectives of the past year in Israeli music, and 2 names contine to dominate every discussion: Harel Ska'at and Keren Peles.

Ska'at, of course, has enjoyed success on one hit song after another on his new album, and Peles - after writing dozens of successful songs for other artists - has become a household name with the release of a hot new album of her own.

You'll hear a lot more about them - and many others - in these articles:

We'll look back at the top songs of the year on The Israel Hour within the next few weeks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Soldiers' Choice

I love reporting these kinds of things...

A survey was conducted among thousands of Israeli soldiers, asking "Who is your favorite Israeli singer or group?"

The winner? Ninette Tayeb (who hasn't even released her first album!).

Coming in second was the lovely and talented Shiri Maimon, and Beit Habubot came in a distant third. Last year's winner, Ivri Lider, came in fourth.

The winner will perform at a gathering of soldiers in Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv on June 27th. Ninette will be there, in addition to boy band The Gameboys.

Just further evidence of the impact "Kochav Nolad" has had on Israeli culture. Amazing.

(Source: Reshet Gimmel)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shlomo Artzi's New Album

Big news from Shlomo Artzi:

Reshet Gimmel , quoting Yediot Achronot, says that Shlomo Artzi's next album will be available in time for Passover 2007 - typically a popular time of the year for new releases.

Fans, stay tuned...

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Israel Hour: June 4, 2006

Rami Kleinstein chats with us about his latest album, his wife Rita, his collaboration with Shiri Maimon and his future plans!


The Israel Hour: May 28, 2006

It's the 39th Anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem, and we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim with a plethora of songs professing love for the eternal capital of the State of Israel! Also - enjoy brand new music by Miri Messika and Aviv Gefen.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rami Kleinstein / Shiri Maimon in NYC 6/6/06

(Note: As you read this, you may notice that I have a new-found crush on Shiri Maimon. Yes, I know I'm a married man, but let's ignore that for now...)

I've always been a big fan of Rami Kleinstein. I've seen Rami live in concert about five times now. He's always impressed me in a big way...from his intimate "Rami and the Piano" show to "Rami and Rita: The Joint Concert" - I've always thoroughly enjoyed watching him perform. He has a great stage presence, is an incredibly talented pianist, and TOTALLY warms up to the crowd by telling some great, humorous stories. And of course, he sings all of the hits. He's usually a bit hoarse when we see him, but it's easy to look past that because we're having so much fun.

With that said, his concert Tuesday night at Symphony Space in New York City has got to be the best I've seen. This time, Rami performed along with his new band, "The Council 2". Although he spent much of his time behind the keyboard, the band's presence allowed him to move all around the stage all night long.

And as we've seen Rami (and Rita) do in the past, he took some time to walk through the audience, with hugs, handshakes, even some photo opportunities for all who could reach him. How cool is that? How many other artists would do the same thing at their concerts?

He sang just about everything you could hope for: (In no particular order) Chutz Mimech Klum, Od Lo Tamu Kol Pla'ayich, Tapuchim U'tmarim, At Shara Baradio, Aish, Inyan Shel Z'man, Al Hagesher Hayashan, Tza'ir Lanetzach, and many others. He also sang three songs from his latest album: Ruchot Milchama, Mashehu Tov and Delet Ha'knisah.

About half way through, he began singing "Bayom Shel Haptzatza." After one verse, he introduced Shiri Maimon, and they finished the song as a duet.

Let's talk about Shiri. Ever since I heard the highlights album for Season One of "Kochav Nolad," I've been blown away by Shiri's voice. What an incredible talent! I still think she should've beat Ninette on Kochav Nolad. She has a phenomenal voice that's incredibly powerful. She sang three more songs on her own: Kama Pe'amim, Hasheket Shenishar and Le'an She'lo Telchi.

True, she didn't do much I hadn't heard before, but I was thrilled to see and hear her live. I could listen to her all day. The audience was genuinely impressed, and in speaking to her manager later, it looks like they're really grooming her to become the next big thing. She's already seen a ton of success in a very short time in Israel, and her manager tells me that they're looking to set up a larger-scale American tour, perhaps later this year. Mairov thinks that, with a few dance lessons, she's going to become Israel's next Rita. We'll see...

(BTW...Some famous people tend to look much better under the lights on TV or on stage, but when you see them close up in person they're not nearly as attractive. We had the chance to speak to Shiri up close and personal after the show, and she looks just as incredible. Hence, my crush...)

Shiri left, then Rami came back. Soon he got the audience up on their feet, cheering and dancing throughout the theater. For an encore, he called Shiri back and they did "Le'an Shelo Telchi" again together, since Rami wrote the song for her (why would they have her sing the same song twice?). Then Rami kicked her offstage to do a couple more songs on his own.

We had a great time. Rami never disappoints and it was a thrill to see Shiri in person. Don't miss either of 'em the next time they're in your town.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Israel Hour: May 21, 2006

The Israel Hour is back with another action-packed show! You'll hear the latest from Tipex and Kobi Peretz, learn more about the upcoming Rami Kleinstein/Shiri Maimon shows in the USA, and find out who won the recent Eurovision Song Contest (Hint: Israel didn't come close...)!


The Israel Hour: May 14, 2006

What's playing on Israeli radio these days? You'll hear Reshet Gimmel's top three songs this week on The Israel Hour! Plus - it's Mother's Day in the USA, and we pay tribute to "ima" with some great music!


The Israel Hour: May 7, 2006

Ready to party? Our annual Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration features your favorite Israeli party music, past and present! Our "chagiga" will get you singing and dancing - right from the start!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sad. Just Plain Sad.

The annual Eurovision took place tonight, with Eddie Butler's "Ze Haz'man" representing our country. He probably would have scored better if he had stayed home...

Ha'aretz: "Finns win Eurovision song contest, Israel finishes second to last"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

58 Reasons Why I Love Israel

From The Jerusalem Post a few days ago. Not music related, but what a great way to end Yom Ha'atzmaut! What are YOUR reasons?

The Human Spirit: 58 reasons why I love Israel
Apr. 27, 2006

1. Big news here was our success in getting a 2,000-year-old date seed to sprout on Kibbutz Ketura. The tree is now 92 cm. tall and 65 cm. wide. Myrrh and frankincense are next (really!).

2. At Kibbutz Revivim, water from fish tanks nourishes alfalfa for ostriches. Go figure.

3. Over the past 25 years agricultural output has increased sevenfold with hardly any increase in the amount of water used.

4. We have no natural ice but we compete in Olympic ice-dancing competitions.

5. You can pick up fresh rolls at the corner store before 6 a.m. (and pay for them later).

6. Before Purim, media report on costume choice as a parameter of cultural trends.

7. Prayers like Adon Olam and Shabehi Yerushalayim can become popular songs here.

8. Because we love kids, we provide free in-vitro (test-tube) fertilization for childless couples for up to two children.

9. The whole country is excited about the birth of a baby elephant by artificial insemination.

10. The doctor who briefed the world press about the prime minister's health report was really an obstetrician.

11. The most popular name given to both boys and girls is Noam, which means pleasantness.

12. Israeli delivery rooms prepare for more babies before Pessah because zealous cleaning induces labor.

13. Before Pessah, toy stores advertise afikoman gifts

14. Bread sales escalate in the week of Pessah cleaning because so many families are reduced to eating sandwiches.

15. We have problems of our own, but this year we undertook life-saving model projects to treat AIDS in Africa and help hurricane victims in the US.

16. No matter what's happening outside, inside our hospitals disease is the only enemy.

17. Its value may fluctuate, but we called our money "shekel" just as we did in biblical days.

18. We have 120 members of the Knesset because that's how many seats there were in the ancient Sanhedrin.

19. The site of the Sanhedrin is now being excavated in Tiberias, 17 centuries after it was built.

20. Soldiers ride free on buses.

21. The interim prime minister leaves his house early in the morning so security won't disturb the school traffic on his block.

22. We stick together. Israeli backpackers go halfway around the world to hang out with other Israelis.

23. Along with the inoculations backpackers get before going to exotic countries, the Health Ministry includes a parental lecture from a nurse about safe habits.

24. Jerusalem offers free wireless Internet in cafes to lure back wary diners.

25. Hospitals install extra antennas so we can use our cellphones and call our families and friends (84 percent of households in Israel have a cellphone, much of the software for which was developed here).

26. Israel boasts the first computerized hip replacement and the first Hebrew hip-hop music.

27. After experiencing the trauma of an incapacitated prime minister, we went in an orderly manner to the polls.

28. Our old-fashioned hand-counted voting system ain't broke, so we don't fix it.

29. Young adults care enough about old adults to vote for their political party.

30. Said the BBC: The Economist Intelligence Unit, a leading research and advisory firm, recently ranked Israel first among 20 Middle Eastern countries on 15 different indicators of democracy and political freedom.

31. Some may claim we're militaristic, but according to Dun and Bradstreet the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem (the Biblical Zoo) is our most popular site.

32. Finely chopped Israeli salad was the kibbutz pioneers' answer to scarce vegetables, but now they're growing candy-sweet Israeli-developed cherry tomatoes that you don't have to cut.

33. We're incessant travelers; no wonder the ultimately portable (USB drive) computer disk-on-key was invented here.

34. While the debate about the security barrier was going on, an Israeli company in Herzliya invented a radar system that sees through walls like Superman.

35. The Western Wall is reportedly more popular than ever with locals and tourists. A legendary lizard appears at midnight.

36. Parents can now watch their kids' nursery school through hi-tech Internet cameras but they still sing exactly the same Hanukka and birthday songs.

37. The most common margarine changed its wrapper design after 50 years and made the news.
38. We don't debate immigration. We're the world's largest per-capita immigrant absorbing country.

39. To sell apartments, real-estate ads tout "succa porches."

40. In Israel, an obscure holiday called Succot is high season; book a year in advance.

41. Popular jewelry artist Michal Negrin has a successful shop at Ben-Gurion Airport. No wonder. Ben-Gurion was her great-grandfather.

42. New history museums about the Palmah, Theodor Herzl and Menachem Begin continue to draw crowds. Who says we're post-Zionist?

43. On Hanukka, the light from hanukkiot with the correct number of candles shines from store windows and rooftops as well as private homes.

44. Cafes here offered "upside-down coffee" way before cappuccino was trendy.

45. Corner greengrocers have forever carried kohlrabi, quince, pomelo and fresh coriander.

46. In the Land of Milk and Honey, we have so many kinds of cheeses that we're advising New Zealanders on making sheep cheese.

47. You can buy Holy Cheese in Safed and Holy Bagels in Jerusalem.

48. You can buy kosher chicken schnitzel in the shape of dinosaurs in the supermarket and still believe in the story of Adam and Eve.

49. In the first year since Yad Vashem's Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names has been online more than eight million visitors from 215 countries and territories have accessed the site - 250,000 visitors a month.

50. In 2005, 563 persons were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, six decades after the Holocaust.

51. A hundred thousand Diaspora students have received free trips with birthright Israel and most of them have fallen in love with the country.

52. Senior citizens regularly enjoy the pubs and nightlife in Tel Aviv alongside young adults.

53. Even those bereaved who don't consider themselves religious take a week to sit shiva and men grow mourning beards.

54. We have the highest computer ownership per capita and can read the news on-line, but still keep 32 different newspapers in business.

55. In the early years, the State of Israel was so poor that it once had to borrow money from the women of Hadassah to finish the month. Today we have an annual GNP per capita of $17,400.

56 At Ben-Gurion Airport's new terminal, those arriving see those leaving because the architect knew that the drama of arrivals and departures in Israel was greater than in other lands.

57. Our word for "welcome" means "bless you in your arrival."

58. The term habayta, means "coming home," no matter where you are, no matter how old you are.

Happy Birthday Israel!


Today is what The Israel Hour is all about.

A major, worldwide celebration of Israel: its culture, its accomplishments, its "quirks". One day a year when Israeli politics takes a back seat, and Israeli pride shines through.

Welcome to Israel's 58th Birthday!

It is simply mind boggling that such a young country is so advanced. We should all be very proud of what Eretz Yisrael has accomplished in its short history.

Aside from a fortunate few of us who are in Israel on this special day, most of us need to work a little harder to get carried away by the spirit of the day. After all, life in America goes on as usual.

Therefore - as I do every year, I urge all of you to make an effort to celebrate Israel today. Attend a local celebration (and be sure to bring some Israel Hour flyers along!). Go online and purchase Israeli products. Dress the entire family in blue and white. Drive around with Israeli music blaring from your car. Wave Israeli flags everywhere you go. Tune into Israeli radio on the Internet, or just turn on The Israel Hour!

Then be sure to join in our celebration on the air this Sunday. We'll be playing songs appropriate for a large-scale "chagiga", and of course, your song suggestions are very welcome. If you were throwing a Yom Ha'atzmaut party, what songs would you play? Let me know!

Also, please make every effort to join us live. Although the show will be available as a podcast later in the week, no one wants to celebrate alone. There's something really nice about knowing that so many people are celebrating along with you at the same time!

With t'filot and b'rachot for peace and tranquility in Israel, I wish all of our readers and listeners a Chag Sameach!!

"Ein Makom K'mo Eretz Yisrael!"

Monday, May 01, 2006

Yom Hazikaron on Israeli Radio

Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Hazikaron, Israel's annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers. Obviously, the concept of "Memorial Day" hits home a whole lot more in Israel than it does here in the US.

Beginning in about an hour or two, the major Israeli radio stations will mark the day in very moving ways. Both Reshet Gimmel and Galei Tzahal will broadcast live commemorations featuring many of Israel's top musical artists.

Take some time this afternoon to commemorate this very important day by tuning in.

Reshet Gimmel:
Galei Tzahal:

The Israel Hour: April 23, 2006

Join Josh Shron for 60 minutes of exceptional Israeli entertainment! This week - new music from Maya Buskila and Nurit Galron, plus plenty of requests and dedications from around the world! Also, learn about the largest Yom Ha'atzmaut party in New York City, hosted by Dor Chadash on Tuesday, May 2nd!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Israel Hour: April 2, 2006

Looking for new Israeli music? You've come to the right place! Hear the latest from Beit Habubot, Shlomi Shabbat and Subliminal! Plus, we remember the music of Ehud Manor, one year after his death.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Reshet Gimmel's Top 5

The top 5 songs on Reshet Gimmel's countdown, released today:

5. V'at - Harel Ska'at
4. Sodotai - Din Din Aviv
3. Machar - Aviv Geffen
2. Shir B'iparon - Beit Habubot

And #1...

1. Bimkomi - Shai Gabso

In other news...
Eddie Butler's Eurovision-bound song "Zeh Haz'man" made its debut on the top 30 this week, coming in at #12.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shlomo WHO?

Everyone knows who Shlomo Artzi is, right?


Despite ever-present publicity and new songs, today's Israeli kids have never heard of some of the "older" Israeli music icons like Artzi, Shalom Hanoch, Arik Einstein and David Broza.

A survey on the Israeli Children's Channel web site asked kids aged 6-12 if they recognized some of the most honored singers in Israeli music. 67% had never heard of any of them!

At least some kids had a clue. Shlomo Artzi was the most well known of the "old timers," followed by Arik Einstein. But only 3% of respondants had ever heard of Shalom Hanoch, and only 2% recognized David Broza's name!

Editorial comment from Reshet Gimmel:

"But as for Ninette, the two "Harels" and Sa'ado, all of [the kids] certainly know them. Sad."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Israel Hour: March 19, 2006

Join us as we re-live some of the memories from last week's Pre-Eurovision Song Contest! You'll hear many of this year's competing songs as well as some of our favorite "Kdam" hits of all time. Who will represent Israel in Eurovision 2006? Find out!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Eddie Butler!

Eddie Butler will represent Israel at this year's Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Zeh Hazman."


Friday, March 10, 2006

Kdam '06 Songs Online!

The songs competing in the 2006 Kdam Eurovision contest are now available online!

Near the bottom of the page, click on Kdam 06, and then on each individual artist, then on the little "sound" icon to hear the song.

The contest will take place on March 15th.

Happy listening!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Israel Hour: March 5, 2006

Mairov and Josh present an "abbreviated" 45-minute show that's chock full of brand new music! Hear the latest from Maya Buskila and Shlomi Shabbat, plus a new single from Ivri Lider - live in concert!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Kdam 2006: The Songs

Reshet Gimmel reports that they will be playing ALL of the songs that will compete in the upcoming Kdam Erevision, scheduled for 3/15.

The broadcast begins this Sunday, March 5th at 10 am Israel time (3 am in New York).

If you're awake, tune in online at the link above!

Return of the Lamb

Rumor has it that Hakaeves Ha-16 is reuniting for some concerts in Israel. The makers of one of Israel's most successful children's albums - Gidi Gov, Yehudit Ravitz, David Broza, Yoni Richter, Yitzchak Klepter and Yehonatan Gefen - are planning to perform together this summer.

Probably only a metter of time before we see them in New York, Los Angeles and Miami...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

2005 Most-Played Songs

ACUM has released the songs played most often on Israeli radio in 2005:

#3..."L'sham" by Miri Messika

#2..."Mima'amakim" by Idan Raichel

And #1...

"Hasheket She'nishar" by Shiri Maimon

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

High-Profile Splits

Just in time for Valentine's Day...

Think Israeli celebrities are immune from the very public romantic break-ups that are all-too-common in the US? Think again. Maya Buskila and Ninette Tayeb are the latest casualties.

It's a wonder Rami and Rita have lasted so long... Celebrity Grapevine

The Lady in Green

You're a superstar Israeli singer with hundreds of thousands of fans...and then the government hands you a uniform. What happens next? Just ask Roni.

(Can she make it as a soldier? I dunno, but she'll certainly do a nice job distracting the enemy...) From superstar to soldier

Shoshana Damari

I was sad to learn of the passing of Israeli music pioneer Shoshana Damari. As you'll read in today's Jerusalem Post article (link below), Damari recently reached a whole new generation of fans by collaborating with Idan Raichel. She left an incredible mark on Israeli music and will be missed. Cultural icon Shoshana Damari dies

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ninette Tayeb...and Kelly Clarkson???

It had been previously reported that Kelly Clarkson would be coming to Israel this summer to perform. Now, Reshet Gimmel reports that there's talk of the winner of "American Idol's" first season to record a duet with the winner of "Kochav Nolad's" first season!

Cool concept...but I wonder - is Kelly running around the world to perform with the winners of all the "Idol" knockoffs out there?

Stay tuned for more details as they develop.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Ready For My Close-Up

Yeah, I know I've been talking about it for months, but I think I'm finally just about ready to release the brand-new For real this time.

The site links to this blog, so we may start to get a few eyeballs. Which, I guess, means I'll have to start posting here much more often.

And for those begging for podcasts of The Israel Hour...I think you'll be pleased...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Great Concerts Coming to NYC! tells us that there are some incredible concerts coming to New York and elsewhere over the next couple of months.

Ehud Banai is going to be in San Francisco, L.A., Miami, Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts.

Chava Alberstein will be in Toronto, L.A., Stanford and Chicago.

And this is cool...

Shlomo Artzi and Shalom Hanoch will be coming to New York, Miami and L.A. following their very successful series of shows this past summer in Cesaria.

Finally, New York will be hosting a "Super Show" featuring Margalit Tzanani, Kobi Peretz, Yair Amit, Yaron Ilan, the Prozak Trio - and Kochav Nolad stars Yehuda Sa'ado, Shir Biton and Hadar Ozeri.

Visit for full details.

Support Israeli music in the USA - and when you buy your tickets, make sure you tell 'em you heard about the concert on The Israel Hour!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

An Impressive Track Record

Just heard on Reshet Gimmel:

For the first time since it was released more than a year ago, the latest album from the Idan Raichel Project - "Mima'amakim" - has dropped out of the list of the top ten best-selling albums in Israel.

The album has gone double platinum, selling more than 80,000 copies in Israel.

This week's #1? "Miss Music" by Sarit Hadad.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Kdam 2006

After a successful event last year, the Israeli Pre-Eurovision Song Contest is coming back on March 15th!

In my opinion, that's great news for Israeli music and its fans.

Here's the line up of performers:

- Maya Buskila
- Rama Masinger
- Stalos & Oren Chen
- Shlomo Gronich
- Michael Kirkilan
- Aviva & Maya Avidan
- The "GameBoys"
- Guy Harari
- Gabi Shushan, Sherry & Uzi Fux
- The "Diamonds"
- Tzippi Mash'hid
- Eddie Butler

(Is it just me, or are many of these performers relatively unknown?)

The performers will also perform a special tribute to Ehud Manor, z"l, for whom the Eurovision was always a very big deal. He wrote hits like Yizhar Cohen's "A-ba-ni-bi" (which won the Eurovision for Israel in 1978), Ofra Haza's "Chai" (1982) and Dafna Dekel's "Ze Rak Sport" (1992). Manor also wrote "Z'man" for Mira Awad, which competed in last year's Kdam.

Save the date!

Gidi Gov - Back on TV

I never had the opportunity to see "Laila Gov," Gidi Gov's weekly TV show in the 90s - but jusging from the CD compilations that were released, I always wished I was able to watch.

After an absence of several years, Gidi is coming back to Channel 2, hosting the morning show when "Keshet" is on the air (for those who don't know, Channel 2's programming is handled by three companies: Keshet, Reshet and Telad. Each company handles designated days each week.).

His co-host? Shiri Artzi...Shlomo's daughter. Should be interesting.