Gal Tamir: I love the way Portuguese, Ladino and Hebrew taste in my mouth

Gal Tamir: I love the way Portuguese, Ladino and Hebrew taste in my mouth

God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
William Cowper

Our meeting with Gal was a mysterious, in a new fashion way, and so is his sound. Listen to Gal and you will find out that a language can be music by itself.

anna: Hello from the independent Bulgarian media for music – I’m glad to have you for an interview! You said that your name “Gal” means wave. Who are you and what kind of wave brings you in Bulgaria for an acoustic concert – The Chant of the Frequent Traveler on the 26th of May at the Tea House in Sofia?

Gal Tamir: Hello lovely DJambore’s, glad to be taking part in your activity. My coming to Bulgaria is another part of my ongoing journey in the world, that has been occurring since January 2015, starting in Brazil through Portugal, Swiss, Scotland, Israel, Canada, USA and more. I generally spend a few months in every country and then move on. My solo concert has been played in most of the countries I have mentioned and it is following my travels around the world as a “Travel journal” through music and languages from different countries, cultures and styles. I generally tend towards the acoustic / unplugged sound these days and that goes to my new, Portugal based, Ladino & Fado project called “Al’Fado” as well.

Have you ever been to our country before? A lot of Jewish people are living in Bulgaria. How would you invite them to the concert?

This is my first time visiting and spending time in Sofia and Bulgaria. I am gradually building up connections with both the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy and community in Sofia and around it, hoping that with their help and interest I could reach relevant crowds. However, my concert is also appealing to other much greater crowds, including Portuguese and Spanish speaking communities, world music listeners and lovers, acoustic music fans and more. My musical / social webs are usually as elaborated as my concerts, and include people from diverse social circles, ages, nationalities, etc..

In the FB event details, it is said that we should expect surprises… What has surprised you lately?

Last week I had a free day and I went away from Sofia to Plovdiv. I know very little about Bulgaria and I was happily surprised by the beauty and charm of Plovdiv of which I have never heard before. I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised again and again – exploring and revealing such charming enchanting places during my stay here in Bulgaria, being exposed to the local culture, to new people, places, landscapes, cuisine and more.

Your songs incorporate a number of elements, musical culture from all over the world – Brazil, Portugal, Britain, Israel and more. What do these different cultures have in common? What is the connection between them?

I was told, often, that my music or my musical choices are always sad, painful, melancholic. It is no surprise to me that I naturally connect to the Portuguese Fado which is commonly known to deal with hardships, poor destiny and lamenting broken hearts, same as I was caught with the more introvert traditional “Choro” from Brazil, the “sad sister” of Samba. I think there is a deeper, more profound perspective on life when you approach them through the darker experiences and artistic expressions on our emotional palette. Another thing is my passion for the languages I explore. Sonorically I feel that Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Ladino (Judeo Sefaradi) and my native Hebrew all consist of a unique collection of sounds and consonants that are, alone, music to my ears. I love the way they taste in my mouth as I role them on my tongue and lips. A language can be music by itself.

2 years ago I’ve had the opportunity to listen live to Idan Raichel and in an interview for, he recommended some Israeli artists – David Grossman,  Naomi Shemer… Would you tell us about other new Israeli artists that you think are worth following?

Israel is a busy box of talents in music and, I believe, in almost any other field of creation and innovation. From the top of my sleeve I would recommend (only in music) to get to know some of the founding fathers and mothers of Israeli music like: Yoni Rechter, Danny Sanderson, Shlomo Gronich, Shalom Hanoch, Yehudit Ravitz; Great iconic composers such as: Imanuel Zamir, Sasha Argov, Moshe Vilenski, Mordechai Zeira. Writers and singers as Ahuva Ozeri, Moni Amarilio, Avihu Medina. Incredible current popular singers as Rita, Sarit Hadad, Beri Saharof.. and so many upcoming incredible talents as Mor Karbasi, Gulaza, Yishai Ribo, Mark Eliyahu, Shira Kerner, Nasrin Kadri… OMG I can’t stop, it’s endless really.

All Israeli artists are being asked about the ongoing Palestinian terror against Israel and the Jewish state’s reactions. I would avoid such a politic question, but let’s talk about personal freedom. Does your music tell stories about peace and love? For those who do not understand foreign languages, what do you sing about?

My music is about people and their stories, so, you might say, it is the most “political” you can get. But it is about people, between people. I aim to touch people. With words, with sounds. To move something in them. Political speaking is not one of my talents – I suck at it. My doing is through poetry, through music, through sound. I believe that if you truly care about something, you need to come closer to the source. To see it, hear it, feel it and sense it yourself. Only then, maybe, you are in any position of forming an opinion and not adopting one given to you by others led by their interests and agendas. When you come to my concert and take part in it, I am hoping, that even if you do not intellectually understand a word of any of the songs, your ears, eyes, nose, heart and being will immerse in the experience, understanding much more, in profound and more primal levels of comprehension, the ideas and messages the sounds and lyrics carry with them.

What animal would best describe your music?

I am struggling between a Dolphin that has that quiet wisdom to it, very elegant yet vigorous and passionate – or a nomadic bird – Free to move around passing from place to place, carrying memories from distant cultures and lands, making routes in different continents but leaves them behind every time it goes away.. Maybe, a nomadic Dolphin?

🙂 Thank you and see you at the Tea House!

credits for the pictures: Paulo Martinho and Karoline Kronsteiner 

Ó gente da minha terra (traditional Fado by Amalia Rodriguez), recorded at NONA studios, Jerusalem – Israel: