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...

  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.