Interview: Tamar Eisenman

Over the last ten years, Israeli singer-songwriter Tamar Eisenman has recorded three LPs, but her new album – due later this year – will be her debut in Hebrew. Tamar has already released the first single off the record, “Klum Lo” (כלום לא).

We loved it so much that we asked her to tell us about this track – one of her most optimistic, she says – but also about switching languages and the Israeli music scene.

On “Klum Lo” (“Nothing”):

“The song is an expression of a free falling feeling. A recognition that there are things we can and cannot change. Eventually the major and the minor experiences are tantamount. Everything matters, yet, nothing matters. One is simultaneously unstoppable and stoppable. The song is about this ambivalent measures”.

“Some of the enlightening moments in life occur when you hit rock bottom and decide to rise from there. Substance is the result of nothingness. Yes it is a decision, but you are not always ready to make that decision, so maybe marinating in that moment a little longer is what you need”.

“In a way this is one of the most optimistic songs I wrote, however it combines a lot of sad flavours or scratchy kind of sound. The fast tempo and the edgy curvey arrangements of the forum is all that runs through your mind the second you decide to jump off up a plane and skydive.. or something like following your own footsteps wherever they lead!”

On singing in Hebrew and English:

“When I was six years old my family moved to San Francisco. Spending time there had a great influence on my music, also today. I got my first guitar there and started playing. I was then exposed to country music, blues, american music and culture. I always felt my guitar speaks English so I went with that. I really do not believe in constructing any boundaries when writing songs. I guess I always felt the language is another instrument I can use.”

“I was also writing in Hebrew along the way. Like a long cooking stew I was preparing from winter to winter, examining the recipes, the emotions, the different mussels and attention needed to the ingredients till I finally felt that both myself and my guitar are ready to sing in Hebrew.”

On why music matters:

“Music for me is like Superwoman. It is ubiquitous. Creating that ability is a great thing. There are tons of obstacles and hurdles along the way that might pull you down sometimes. I try to take those challenges as opportunities. Although I know I won’t always succeed, I believe in the journey. The story of our life is told by means of the art we make, also the listener’s story finds its own expression within a song. I am sure you can hear the changes through the years in many notes and between the lines, being part of this journey is why I make music. I guess I always felt that need to reach out and reach in, to share, to be a part of, and to spread love. Now I understand why”.

“I would like to think I improved my skills since I started out publishing my music. I can hear how for example I have grown as a singer. That is something I discovered mainly during the new Hebrew album which in many ways represents sort of a closer for all the English albums till now. Also, as sometimes I miss the un-awareness and impulsive actions that come with the first steps – those are really hard to find today – I am happy with all I have learned and processed. I believe in moving forwards, and finding new beginnings along the way. I am always in motion, there is no other way for me to create”.

On the Israeli music scene:

“Israeli music scene is swamped with extraordinary musicians in fields like jazz, indie rock and pop, there are also amazing sound engineers and music producers. I believe our location and culture mixture of origin has a profound impact on the arts here. I hope the international music scene will be more and more exposed to that too, as I enjoy discovering new music and ideas from all over the world. Israel is a small market, yet, a lot is going on here and music is necessary. I find the music scene assembled from the complex reality of being Israeli – always dreaming for a better future but finding it very hard to let go of the past”.

And her very favourite Israeli song ever:

“Tough one.. I would be nostalgic and say “Sa Le’at” by Arik Einstein. I think the text describes best what it is like being an Israeli. It was true then and it is true now. Also it is a beautiful, beautiful song”.

You can find more music from Tamar Eisenman on her Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter.

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