Bob Dylan Meets Opera in Eclectic Israeli Band’s Tribute Album

November 18, 2013 12:32 pm 1 comment

Bob Dylan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.orgFrom Joan Baez to the Grateful Dead, scores of popular artists have tried to take legendary Bob Dylan’s work to new audiences and new dimensions. Now, an eclectic Israeli band is putting its own novel spin on the legendary Jewish musician.

Diva de Lai—featuring economics PhD Yuval Nachtom on drums, orchestra specialist Eyal Sucher on guitar and keyboards, mezzo-soprano Karin Shifrin on vocals, and Grammy-nominated bassist and producer Yossi Fine—in late October released its first album, “Dylan at the Opera.”

“Dylan’s songs come from deep emotion of the soul, the same place that opera originates from… We thought our first album would conceptualize different styles and sounds and cover versions of Dylan’s songs in a new interpretation,” Nachtom tells JNS.org.

Since Dylan—born Robert Allen Zimmerman to Jewish parents and raised in Hibbing, Minn.—has written and recorded hundreds of songs, Nachtom admits that it was a challenge to select the dozen tracks for his Diva de Lai’s rock opera album, but says he delighted in digging deep into Dylan’s body of work.

“We knew these songs were less covered and relatively lesser known to the mass audience,” he says. “All the songs to us represent a ‘soul’ and theatrical material for opera, such as the incorporation of [Karin Shifrin’s] vocals.”

An example of a lesser-known Dylan song on the album is the first single, “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power),” originally written in the 1970s. The song was not well received nor well understood at the time, but Nachtom suggests its simple melody and timeless story work well in any style.

From left to right, members of Diva de Lai: Karin Shifrin, Yuval Nachtom, Eyal Sucher, and Yossi Fine. Photo: Diva de Lai.

“’Señor’ is about lack of hope, the rule of a tyrant, cruelty, lost love, and maybe looking for an answer in a heavenly entity,” he explains, observing how “the color of the lyrics and the melody present a challenge and are a natural basis for hard-core opera.”

In addition to opera and rock, Nachtom says the album includes a “complex palate” of other genres. There is classic ’80s rock with the songs “North Country Blues” and “Ring Them Bells;” hard rock with “As I Went Out One Morning,” “Don’t Think Twice,” “Is Your Love In Vain,” and “If You See Her, Say Hello;” country rock elements with “Wedding Song” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome;” and even classical music with “Dirge, Let It Be Me.”

“[These are] great tunes by Dylan, completely redone in a new refreshing musical style,” Nachtom says.

While the band has yet to hear from Dylan himself, Nachtom says feedback from his fans and friends has been positive.

“Mr. Dylan’s closest circle that works with him really likes the album, and we have been receiving many compliments from Dylan’s fan base on social media on this reinterpretation concept of his songs,” he says.

Nachtom does hope the album makes it to Dylan himself, and that it will become “an honor to his legacy.” In the meantime,Diva de Lai is looking forward to its next album, which Nachtom says will come out in mid-2014.

The new project, like the Dylan album, has diverse influences—it combines rock, opera, and classical music with lyrics from some of Israel’s most prominent poets.

“Song are like a cloud,” Nachtom says. “Anyone can interpret them how he or she understands them… We would hope the listeners interpret our style as they feel.”

1 Comment

  • Looking forward to hearing this recording. Dylan’s probably the most brilliant lyricist composing in English since Cole Porter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.