Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tour Notes - Tel Aviv & East Jerusalem

Back from Middle East after two weeks of high voltage emotions and too much work.

I went to Tel Aviv with Eleonora to participate in the Broza Five: David Broza - guitar/voice; Jay Beckenstein - Saxofone (Spyro Gyro); Julio Hernandes - Guitar (Spyro Gyro); Francisco Centeno - Bass (Aretha Franklin); and myself.

There is not one single person in all Israel that doesn't know David. He is a consummated pop star over there. We played 8 concerts for a sold out crowd. They recorded us and made a high production video etc...

During all that was happening, I kept coming back every night after the concerts and watch CNN explode in my hotel TV showing the result of the elections in Palestine between Hamas and Fatah. People with the masks and machine guns jumping and shouting on the streets... just like carnaval in Rio de Janeiro without the biquinis, obviously.

Then, after the last show, David told us that we had been invited to go to East Jerusalem to play and record with Palestinian musicians in a Palestinian recording studio. To tell you the truth, me Eleonora and the other musicians got really scared, especially knowing that all the confusion and disillusion was happening just a few blocks from the studio. Well, the production assured us that it would be cool to go there and next morning we showed up there and to our surprise we were received so well by our host Said Murad and family, that immediately I felt like home, drinking a lot of arab coffe, barbecue, laughs and more important the most incredible music. Didn't take long for me Jay, Francisco and Julio find out that they were very accomplished musicians (see their web site: www.sabreen.org). All of them besides playing amazing percussion also play the Oud.

For me it was a very deep experience and renewed my belief that music is a very powerful tool for the process of peace in the world. At the same time that we were making music, knowing each other and exchanging our cultures, Israelis and Palestinians around us just get together to hate and kill witch other.

After that and visiting Masada the next day, me and Eleonora separated from group and kept traveling to the south to Eilat and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

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