Thursday, November 24, 2011

The amazing Tal Kravitz

Tal on bagpipes, complete with Scottish accent

Tonight I just returned from the most wonderful concert organized by the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Menash Bar-On, featuring one of Israel's most prominent artists. I thoroughly enjoyed an evening of music with the charismatic, super-friendly and super positive multi-faceted musician Tal Kravitz in an intimate soiree.

What an amazing musician and a thoroughly excellent evening. He played and sang a combination of English, Jewish and Tagalog songs -- and in particular he sang the Filipino songs in absolutely flawless Tagalog and with perfect diction.


Tal regaled us with an entire variety of instruments from different countries. He played a very ordinary looking Chinese-made saw like a violin, shaking his leg to give the music depth. And guess what he played with this contraption most people use to cut wood with? The Ave Maria.

Tal about to play a Chinese saw like a violin

Then he donned a kilt and performed with a set of Scottish bagpipes; and then did a yodels from Austria and Switzerland, before going on to Tagalog and Jewish songs. He even played on a kalalenga, which is an ancient flute from Northern Philippines.

Tal on the kalalenga

Tal doing a yodel


But perhaps the most jaw-dropping part of the evening was a strange wooden and metal instrument that looked like a cross between a ham radio and a child's piano. It was invented in 1920 by a Russian professor of Jewish origin. Tal said: "It's the only musical instrument in the world that doesn't require human contact to create music. It's got six octaves, which is really vast, and so this instrument can play everything."

That's Tal on the whatchamacallit.

So he never touched the contraption physically, but play, he most certainly did. He actually performed a favorite composition of mine, French composer Camille Saint-Saens's "The Carnival of the Animals" simply by moving his hands over this very intriguing instrument and letting the electromagnetic waves sing. What an amazing sight that was. I watched open-mouthed the entire time.


I was so happy to be included in tonight's intimate soiree; and in a fit of inspiration, the Ambassador and I had the idea to invite this talented musician to perform at a big party Travelife Magazine is co-organizing on Sunday night for about 200 to 300 persons. "It will be a great venue to showcase Israeli talent and culture," I said.

Tal very kindly agreed. So on Sunday he's joining our very big celebration -- I've just seen the food rundown and we're literally feeding an army, with the help of the Peninsula Manila, Color Me Christmas, and a couple of fantastic restaurants. And a couple of ambassadors and their ladies are very graciously helping out as well. Among many others, the Sri Lankan Ambassador is preparing several big vats of dal curry, the Indonesian Ambassador is bringing satay and nasi goreng, and the wife of the Swiss Ambassador is bringing cheese quiche.

What a fun party it's going to be. But I suspect that Tal and his truly incredible, indescribable musical instrument will be the stars of the show.

Travelife Magazine's
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue


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