Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →