Yair Yona – World Behind Curtains
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
He’s a traveler, and with his guitar tells the tale of a journey, notes and chords swelling into a river of sound. You flow with it, go where it takes you, then he takes you to the source, the chords that permeate the spirit, reverberate in your mind. Yair Yona launched his new album “World Behind Curtains” (Anova Label) at the Ozen Bar last Thursday, April 22, 2012, sharing his stories with the audience, and sharing the stage with friends – musicians Idit Mintzer, Albert Beger, and his Farthest South band mates Yair Etziony and Barry Berko.
What would a world without curtains, without barriers, feel like? Open, contemplative, intense, funny, surprising, rhythmic, melodic, intimate and political – Yona’s music takes us there, with references to musical and cultural influences, and a sense of adventure and experimentation that is open to experiencing and discovering that which is unknown and far from understood.
Listening to “It’s Not the Heat (It’s the Humidity)” – the music expresses something that is quintessentially Tel Aviv. The air simmering shimmering on people, buildings, sidewalks and sea, the heat and everything that lays heavy in this light.
The songs on the album reflect Yona’s diverse interests and influences – from Leo Kottke and Glenn Jones, to a song inspired by the word “Valhalla” he heard for the first time when he was 16 at a Led Zeppelin concert, to Texan Westerns, Balkan and gypsy music, Tom Waits, and Channel 8 documentary films. Eclectic, indeed. How do you explain an acoustic instrumental guitarist who forms an “all-improvised kraut/noise/psych band” like Farthest South? You don’t analyze, you just sit back and enjoy.
Idit Mintzer joined Yair with a soulful trumpet on “This One’s for You, Glenn Jones,” a tribute to one of Yona’s influences and later in the set another musician friend – Albert Beger, joined Idit and Yair onstage for “Mad About You.” Yair introduced Albert, saying that six years ago he encountered the “Israeli musician who has been a mentor to me and a source of inspiration, in his freedom to create, imagination, and daring.”
Farthest South reflects Yair’s ongoing engagement with the social-political aspects of life in Israel. The ensemble was formed in August, during the social protests, with Yair Etziony and Barry Berko, as the three musicians sought to express their critique through music. The two joined Yair onstage for “Expatriates,” which conveys the sense of searching and struggle – and, as Yair said at the Ozen Bar, “We are all actually exiles, and there is no one place that is home.”
This lo-fi video was played and recorded live, with Or Bahir on electric guitar who also mixed the track – Enjoy!
Saturday, April 28th at the Uganda Bar, 4 Aristobulos Street, Jerusalem, 02-6236087
Thursday, May 3rd at Ashan Hazman, Beer Sheva, 0777644218
“World Behind Curtains” can be purchased through Yair Yona’s website, listen to his radio program Sonar, read his blog Small Town Romance, listen to Farthest South and check out his new free jazz & improv label OutNow Recordings with Ido Bukelman and Yoni Kretzmer, and follow, follow, follow this troubadour of our time and place.