Where do I start my Leonard Cohen story and how do I tell it? Needless to share the part of I’m a fan; loving his music and admiring the man. After working on his legendary concert in Israel in September 2009, I was asked to join the tour in July 2010 as production assistant. When I got the call from Leonard Cohen’s tour manager, I was first of all very flattered and honored. Of all working people they met over the years, they had chosen me. Luckily I didn’t have too much time to think and prepare, we were leaving 3 weeks later. Leaving for 4 months and a half. 3 months across Europe then New Zealand, Australia, West Canada and the US. As it has now been almost two years ago, some memories fade and one keeps mostly the good ones. Yes I was homesick many times. Living in a hotel, out of a suitcase and traveling is not made for everyone. Being on the move all the time is not an easy thing when you are attached to your family and friends and to your comfort zone(s). But what a ‘chance’. To see the world and to be part of the most wonderful touring company, the Unified Heart Touring Company. It’s hard work and it’s boring, it’s fast and it’s slow, it’s joy and it’s tears, it’s close and it’s far. It’s all of it. All together I visited 45 different cities/countries and did over 60 shows joining the last leg of a 3 year world tour. I listen to Leonard Cohen everyday. I am grateful everyday. The new tour has just kicked off in Ghent, Belgium and is making its way through Europe. It’s been an amazing reunion. So long my Cohen road family.
Hanging backstage signs in Tours, France – photo by J.S. Carenza III
My tour twin, road manager, blogger and photographer J.S. Carenza III took these in Strasbourg venue
Touring can be lonely, luckily I had 2 blackberries – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Santa Croce, Firenze, Italy – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Celebrating Jewish new year in France – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Deep talk over coffee in hotel lobby. Auckland, New Zealand – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Small talk over dinner in Brisbane, Australia – photo by J.S. Carenza III
The other highlight in Australia: wildlife park with my friend Mr. Koala
Soundcheck in Australia’s “Hanging Rock”
Celebrating Hanukkah in Vancouver, Canada – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Celebrating last Hanukkah candle in Portland, Oregon – photo by J.S. Carenza III
After show in the green room. Oakland, California, USA – photo by J.S. Carenza III
Last two shows in Las Vegas. December 2010.
Signed poster, framed on my living room wall.
My daily cup of merch and the “Unified Heart” ring I never take off.
Collage I made a long time ago with a quote from Anthem: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”
More info about Leonard Cohen on his website or on the Leonard Cohen Files. Follow “Notes from the road” for all updated tour info or for more souvenirs: http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/archive/2010/12
Tel Aviv is divided into 9 districts that have formed naturally over the city’s history. The oldest of these is Jaffa, the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv grew. There’s much to write about Jaffa, I’d talk about the flea-market or the ancient city but let’s focus on the port today. The Old Port of Jaffa is reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world, notably being the port from which Jonah set off in the famous Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. Its long and fascinating history as strategic port in the Eastern Mediterranean continued until only recently when new ports were built south of Tel Aviv in Ashdod and north in Haifa, to cater for modern-day shipping methods. Still functional as a small fishing port, the port is currently a recreational zone featuring many restaurants and cafes with lots cultural and artistic activities.
One of my favorite spots in the Namal (port in Hebrew) is called The Container. The Container is an industrial warehouse from the 1920s that has been converted into an art project space, bar and restaurant, located on the waterfront. The NY times recently wrote: “The space fuses Red Hook grit with Levantine glam, incorporating a sweeping, 45-seat horseshoe-shaped bar under a warehouse-high ceiling that affords nice views of both the oversize wood oven in the open kitchen and the rotating exhibits on the walls. Adding to the mix is a three-times-a-week D.J. set.” And live gigs:
As my brother is coming to visit Tel Aviv again, we set up a little concert there. On Friday July 6th at 10PM, N8n will perform with his Israeli band led by drummer Ori Raz for another night of good vibes by the water, some good old funk and some new ‘raw’ material. People are advised to reserve tables, entrance is free. Join us!
Jaffa Port – photo credit Dani Jordan
The Container by night – photo credit The Container
The Container inside – photo credit Liron Erel
The Container inside – photo credit The Royal Excursion
“That sh*t cray” is all i can say after last night’s performance of Watch the Throne by the legendary Jay-Z and Kanye West (that, and “get your diamonds up”). Without doubt the craziest and best concert ever! I must say i like Jay-Z more than Kanye, but they both owned up to their music, leaving Antwerp (and especially me) behind with a big smile on our face. Next stop: Paris??
Did you also see the concert? What did you think?
While Madonna was launching the first show of her 2012 world tour at the Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv on Thursday, I was looking for a musical alternative. Luckily, the Tabor winery and city of Tel Aviv had just launched an amazing initiative: 20 pianos, spread throughout the city, open to the public and customized by Israeli artists. After the campaign, the pianos will be donated to schools. So with 2 friends, we went down to Rothschild Boulevard, printed out a few songs and started playing. Within minutes we were joined by various other musical talents and that’s how a great musical night started. We just played and sang and played and sang for over 3 hours while people were coming by, joining in, playing a tune. Simple and fun.
that’s us on Rothschild Boulevard
or on youtube: http://youtu.be/mfdN9_1TizI
Ibn Gvirol Street/ Municipality – Photo By Adi Ezra
Hatachana, Neve Tzedek – Photo By Adi Ezra
When you grow up in a musical family you’re not aware of how unconventional your life is. With a concert promoter father who’s also an amateur blues performer and stage animal I thought I’d seen something. Until my little brother became a soulbrother and joined the stage.
Last week, Nathan, better known as N8n, gave a special performance at the coolest spot in Tel Aviv called Rothschild 12. Every time he comes visit me in Tel Aviv, we set up a gig. And when Antwerp and Tel Aviv join forces, our blog celebrates.
We put a band together via email and text messages thanks to drummer and socialite Ori Raz: Shlomi Maya – keyboard, Nitzan Berger – Guitar and Avishai (Avsha) Back – Bass. N8n landed in the afternoon so we went straight to the venue to meet the band and do soundcheck. A few hours later the boys rocked the place! The venue was packed with lots of beautiful people, Belgians, Internationals and Israelis.
N8n started with some alternative versions of his own songs from the first record in order to warm up the crowd. Then the cover songs came in, the audience stood up to twist and shout. Later on I was invited on stage to do one of my personal favorite songs of all times: ‘Sympathy’ by Rare Bird. That doesn’t happen very often. I mostly stand on the side and admire the men of my family doing it on stage. I love their music but if I play and/or sing it’s mostly another type of songs. Sad songs. So this time we combined best of both worlds and after a lovely introduction I managed to reach the stage and play my song, accompanied by N8n. And then it was time to bring on the patron of the family, the well known Boogie Boy. He took over the mic, the piano and the audience for some classic Ray Charles and B.B. King tunes. And that would be a typical Ambach family music night, only shared with an amazing crowd.
Thanks to all the lovely people who came out and joined the good vibes.
video credit Sharon Erde
As you might have noticed, these past few weeks i haven’t really been active on our little blog. Main reason? Swamped with work. Anyway, instead of boring you with stories about what i’ve been doing, I’ll just show you:
Contemporary Fashion Days, Antwerp – organized by F.F.I.
Shooting the new Philadelphia cream cheese commercial
PR agency OONA‘s Housewarming
Above and Under: Vascobelo‘s baristabar @ Contemporary Fashion Days Antwerp: great coffee, amazing taste. This pop-up coffee bar was the perfect getaway from my busy life. Thanks to Jaime for taking me there!
Above and Under: N8N‘s performance in Amsterdam. Play that funky music white boy!
A LA PROXIMA!
Israel’s second city and cultural and commercial capital, Tel Aviv was named “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool” by the New York Times. It’s a city that makes you feel alive. It’s constantly changing, moving, developing itself. Only a 100 years old (which is young for a city) and still, so much to be done. Luckily we have a lot of entrepreneurs here bringing in the things a city needs to sustain its adjective “hip”. The hippest thing in Tel Aviv lately is called F.A.D. It is a 30-day curated pop-up shop of limited edition fashion, art and design.
Created by Design Space* and Shoplifters**, this creative space is a multidisciplinary art project featuring all sorts of creative fields. A refined 1000 sqm space dedicated to Design / Contemporary Art / Fashion / Books / Music / Technology / Lectures and much more. From clothing to Art and Design, from flower shop to coffee shop, looking for products from israeli creatives, while browsing the library of magazine and art books. All aesthetic grounds are covered, from classics, to creations by young israeli designers, these girls are are precise collection fed by emotions and creativity. The space is hosting 40 industrial designers, and 18 contemporary artists – from Israel and abroad.
There will be special events including an exclusive private Wallpaper evening. In short: if you’re hip and you’re in Tel Aviv, you’ll visit F.A.D. Whether you shop till you drop, get inspired, do your nails, read a book, drink, eat, “mingle” or just be amazed and look around. Thank you girls – Nitsan, Anat, Gilat, Salome and Emmy.
Come visit: F.A.D. – Elfassy street 15 – Everyday: 11h-21h, Friday: 10h-18h
Photography Solal Fakiel. High production.
*about Design Space: Design Space was established in 2010 to encourage artistic innovation and provide a platform for progressive art of all media, featuring both emerging and established artists’ work. The Gallery is presenting various fields of design, ranging from furniture and industrial products to diverse art exhibitions of newcomer artists and designers. Through collaborations with various creative sectors, Design Space produces projects and initiatives, extending its vision internationally.
As a gallery, design space organizes solo, collective, and group exhibitions, alongside presenting special projects and events conceived by outside curators.
**about Shoplifters: Unique conceptual Fashion Events – Aesthetic chaos
I moved to Tel Aviv in 2007 and I guess one of the main purposes of this blog is to tell you why I’m still here. For sure back then, I didn’t really know what to expect, as always when you dive into the scary unknown. I came in January 2007 to “check it out”. I had an apartment to arrange and told myself I’d stay if I’d find work in my industry: the music industry. Certainly not a country with a big international live music scene then. So in my first year I worked as a music supervisor for tv, films and commercials with a genius music man called Koby Ben Atar. Then, in 2008, Paul McCartney announced he would perform in Tel Aviv and it was obvious I’d find my way to be part of that. The show drew 57,000 fans to the Hayarkon Park and was the beginning of a new wave of big concerts. In 2009 Leonard Cohen announced his concert at the Ramat Gan Stadium and of course I joined forces there too. It was an unforgettable evening for the artist, the crew and 47,000 people in the audience (but wait, my history with him is not over). And this is how it keeps going: I work as a freelance local promoter/production under Live on Mars. Doing shows like: Rihanna, Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, the Pet Shop Boys, Harlem Globetrotters, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Justin Bieber, Metallica, Rod Stewart….
As these are outdoor shows and mostly happen in the summertime, in winter there are other things to do. Going on tour for example. In 2010 I had the honor to be asked by Leonard Cohen to be part of his crew and join a 5 month world tour.
You can watch the archive and photos here: http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/archive
So, my business is called “Live on Mars”. Why? Because as most of you know, they call me Mars since I’m a kid. For my creative world I use “Life on Mars”, but more about that later. What do I do? Many things; between organizing shows, events and production work. It mostly involves international visits where my side activity is to show these people around; through culture, food, hospitality and entertainment I have the chance to share with them this amazing city. Of course I say this because most of them arrive with a lot of prejudice. Besides the usual security questions they sometimes even ask me if we ride camels, if we have internet and stuff. So it’s an honor for me to be their first impression and to make it a positive impression. I feel safe in this city. Safer than anywhere else in the world. And so does every guest I’ve ever had, both for professional and private visits. All these visitors give me a great opportunity to view, review, discover and rediscover life in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned for more…