EB=MC² - A New Album!
YORKSHIRE – ROSH PINA JUNCTION
It started as a dream. A dream came true. Michal Chapman performing live in a small Jerusalem club on a cold, rainy winter evening. Ehud Banai is in the audience. It’s winter 2013, his dream of 25 years, to bring his guitar idol Michael Chapman for an Israeli tour, is finally realized. Two years later Chapman will return for a second tour. On both tours, Banai plays the opening act and participates as guest performer. The close relationship that develops between the two musicians mutually influences both: Banai says that his instrumental album “Low Fire” (2015) was “inspired by and made thanks to…” years of love for Chapman’s music and their new personal acquaintance. It includes a song titled “Michael Chapman Was Here”. Overseas, during the same year, Chapman produces his album “FISH” which includes a song titled “Ehud”.
Their joint concerts and friendship naturally paved the way for Chapman and Banai into the recording studio. The new album is the fruit of the love they share for the guitar and the magic it evokes. Their personal encounter and warm relationship created a natural sound that captures the fleeting moment, presenting us with a genuine piece of life captured by the flexibility of words and melody. Chapman’s uniquely spiraling guitar joyfully mixes with Banai’s Middle-Eastern chords on guitar and tar; a seamless convergence of the green fields of Northern England with the olive groves of the Galilee, a living testimony to music as a borderless, international language that opens new horizons.
In the new album, they perform Chapman’s songs jointly; Banai and Chapman play their new arrangement to Banai's “Birdman” which they sing in both Hebrew and in English as well as other songs especially written for the album.
“Kodak Ghosts” from Chapman’s 1970 cult album “Fully Qualified Survivor” is one of Banai’s favorites. The album was playing in an endless loop on a small portable tape the inconsolable Banai carried with him in the 70’s during his retreat to Rosh Pina Wadi, shattered by a lost love. He felt as if this song about one’s solitude and reclusion in nature was written by him and about himself. Years later, Banai found himself in a recording studio with Chapman playing the chords of the song with the words he had written creating “Angel”, a new song which summons an angel to pull him out of misery and guide him “up the road”. Thus, lyrics and melodies of two heartbroken artists from different ends of the world are interwoven into a delicate and exciting tapestry of sounds and words merging East and West, inspiring each other to love and create.
An additional gem in the album is “Rosh Pina”, a song based on one of Chapman’s instrumental pieces with new lyrics written and sung by Banai, becomes a beautiful hymn to music’s enchanting power to be “like a cure for the broken heart”.
The song resonates Banai’s experience in the wadi, when the Yorkshire green sent to him by Chapman’s musical “Postcards of Scarborough” blended with the crimson of the Galilee sunset and heat of the soil, the soothing and quenching sounds of the acoustic guitar like the clear waters of the nearby spring.
Ehud Banai was born in Jerusalem (1953), to a family of actors and musicians. One of Israel’s most successful singer songwriters. He is also considered a rare rock troubadour, a storyteller. Banai’s allure comes from the wealth of influences and hues that can be discovered in his music: sixties rock, eighties New Wave, folk music from around the world, Israeli-Arab music, British blues and Jewish psalms to name but a few. The result is a unique melting pot which gave birth to a new and distinct musical language. To date, Banai has released 12 albums. He has given hundreds of performances in Israel, written two books, hosts a radio show, composes music for the theatre, cinema and dance (twice he has won an Israeli Oscar for film scores) and, like the title of one of his songs, he always keeps moving.
Michael Chapman is a British folk legend. Since the beginning of his career in the sixties, he has released more than 40 albums in his distinctive melancholic-folk laced with gentle psychedelics, rooted in breathtaking mastery of his guitar strings. A fusion of moving melodies, simple texts about life with virtuosic playing distinguishes him as an artist, performer and outstanding guitarists. Chapman modestly defined himself as “a good guitarist who writes decent songs”, an understatement from a unique and one of the best guitarist in the world, whose music inspired musicians such as David Bowie, Sonic Youth, Joana Newsom, Supergrass, and our own Ehud Banai.