Enlightening Entertainment
 
Ethno-Jazz Music by Acclaimed Shem-Tov Levi Ensemble - (In Hebrew)      
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Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Hebrew and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Welcome artistic viewers to our program today featuring the acclaimed Shem Tov Levi Ensemble from Israel. Founded by the renowned Shem Tov Levi, the band has been performing its unique ethno-jazz music since 2003 to the delight of audiences around the globe.

My name is Shem Tov Levi, and I am an Israeli, I was born in Israel and my band also. We are five musicians from Israel, we are seven years together, playing together, like a band, and are playing my music and also other music for all the world. Many, many kinds of music from all the world.

Hi, my name is Tzur Ben Ze’ev, and I play contrabass, double bass, and I’m a musician for a lot of years. I’m coming now from Israel but I studied in the United States, in Moneton School of Music, classical music, and I play lots of kinds of music, classical, jazz, ethnic. And I also write music and I’m a musical producer.

Golden peacock flying in the sky Golden peacock flying in the sky Golden peacock flying in the sky Golden peacock flying in the sky

Born in 1950, Shem Tov Levi has been an iconic figure in Israeli culture, excelling as a composer and flute player. Since the 1970s, he has established himself as one of the country’s leading musicians, performing with the popular bands, Kzat Acheret and Tzlil Mechuvan.

Many of his songs have become Israeli classics and his moving musical scores are featured in dozens of films. His composition for the film, “Circle of Dreams,” received the Israeli Film Academy Award in 2001. Four years later, Shem Tov Levi was honored by Israel’s Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (ACUM) with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shem Tov Levi, the leader of the band, is also a very famous composer in Israel. When I was a kid, I used to listen to Shem Tov Levi, and I was, “Wow, I wish I can play with him sometimes,” and thank God my dream came true. And seven years ago he called me and he asked me if I want play with him.

Of course I told him definitely, without any question. We started to rehearse and we worked on our first album, and it’s seven wonderful years. We play all over the world, also a lot in Israel, we just released our second album, and I’m very proud to be a member of this group.

Although a young nation, Israel is infused with the rich cultures of ancient lands through the varied backgrounds of immigrants who settled in the country such as those from the Balkans, Greece, Iraq, Yemen, Russia and more. Inspired by the great diversity of Israel’s musical roots, Shem Tov Levi incorporated these ethnic influences into the unique sounds of his band.

My family came to Israel from Bulgaria, and they have the culture, Balkan music from Bulgaria, from that area. It’s very, very, very happy music, and a lot of rhythm and it influenced me, and also they have a European culture, because Bulgaria it’s in Europe, so they know a lot of operas and classical music, so it’s also the mix of this.

I’ve had in my childhood, Bulgarian music and classical music, you know Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and it inspired me very much. And also I was born in some neighborhood of Yemenites, so they have in their weddings and this they have their music, so it’s also coming to my ears.

Then when I was a little bit grown up, 18 years old, I start to listen to records from jazz, American jazz and the Beatles and other good music from the world. Also rock like Eric Clapton and BB King, and all kinds of good musicians, Stevie Wonder, from my age, I am 60 years old. And all of this coming inside together.

I will go to another land I will go to another land I will sail to another land I will find a different city for me Better than this one by far Because here I fail Weak and giving up Because here my heart shrivels And no spirit awakens in me Will the spirit wake in me
To overcome the weakness Will I have the power in me To find another place Because here my life crumbles like a wave of ruins I wast my life for emptiness and nothing
You won’t find different cities You won’t sail in a different sea The city will always follow after your footsteps Even if you wander far away You won’t be free From the city where you spent your youth

And one of the very interesting points over here is because everybody over here in the group is, aside from being a very good musician, I’m not talking about myself, but everybody’s very talented, and you know, is a virtuoso player, but the best quality is that they are listening to each other, and we’re having fun together.

If you come on the bus with us, you see we are laughing a lot, we are talking a lot, we are teasing each other, we’re like a family, you can say it’s a family. So, also musically, it’s very gentlemanly way to approach music, it’s by listening and sometimes you have to play less, and sometimes you have a solo, so you play solo, and you sing your melody.

Please tune in to Supreme Master Television’s Enlightening Entertainment next Tuesday for part 2 of our two-part series featuring the eclectic Shem Tov Levi Ensemble from Israel.

Gracious viewers, it was a pleasure having you with us for today’s program. Words of Wisdom is up next after Noteworthy News here on Supreme Master Television. May pristine melodies from Heaven uplift all hearts and spirits.
Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Hebrew and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Welcome artistic viewers to part 2 of our two-part program featuring the acclaimed Shem Tov Levi Ensemble from Israel. Founded by the renowned Shem Tov Levi, the band has been performing its unique ethno-jazz music since 2003 to the delight of audiences around the globe.

Considered a cultural icon in Israel, Shem Tov Levi is an award-winning musician and composer who is known for producing many songs over the decades which have been become beloved classics in the country.

I will praise you, God of all souls And I will thank you with great fear and awe. As I stand in your congregation, Stronghold to be praised To you I will bend the knee and bow head and body The high heavens - Has He not stretched them forth with His speech? And He founded the earth upon nothingness Can a man discover the secret of his Creator, And who He is, with great fear and awe? He is praised by every mouth and tongue He who did wonders and did everything wisely He will be made great with the holy, high people May His great name be sanctified in His world.

He will be made great with the holy, high people May His great name be sanctified in His world.

I was raised as a flute player, this is the first thing that I get to start to make music, and I studied flute with Israeli philharmonic players, very good players, and then I start also piano to write music and started at the Academy, and later I started to sing. I don’t think I’m a great singer but I just sing… my songs, songs that I feel that I can give something from my soul.

Like the music that we chose for the albums, it’s from a lot of places all over the world. First of all Israel is a country, a young country, 60 years old, 62 to be exact, and a lot of Jews came from all over the world, from India, from…. I think in Japan, there’s also big community of Jewish people.

From Arab countries, from East Europe, from West Europe, and along the years, for almost 2,000 years, when Israel people went to other places than Israel before they came back, so they were influenced by music from Spain, from wherever they lived it, so there’s a lot of Jewish traditions musically, not one.

You know, there’s one tradition that came from East Europe and one tradition that came from Spain, another tradition from Morocco, another tradition where my father came from, Syria, from Iraq, from lots of different places.

And also the instrumentation is… the contra bass is from a western instrument. The flute, you can say it’s western but also a lot of flutes that Shem Tov is using are like ethnic flutes.

The percussion is more Arabic oriented, hence the frame drumming and darbukas, and sometimes even play on Kahon, which Kahon, it’s Spanish for flamenco instrument originally, and the name is actually a box, it’s a wooden box. The oud, of course, is an Arabic instrument, I think it originated in Persia, and it’s a very ancient instrument. We are examining all the time how it will sound together.

And it doesn’t matter for a musician what instrument he’s playing, if it’s his voice or flute or piano or something else. It depends how he is doing and how he gives to the people.

So I always tried to think about this and what instrument is the best for doing it, sometimes it’s the piano, sometimes it’s the flute, sometimes it’s the song, sometimes it’s one of my friends give the bass player to play or the oud player. The music is the important, not the instrument; the instrument is just an instrument.

If you go to a synagogue in Israel, if you go to a synagogue that people came from Yemen, you will hear different melodies, different texture, different harmonies. And if you go to Ashkenaz, which is an East European synagogue, you will hear totally different. So part of the the musical melting pot in Israel is that we came from different influences from home.

As a kid, I remember I used to play with the family after eating and having fun together, we used to circle with chairs and singing for almost two, three hours, and I used to play darbuka with them as a kid.

Another guy remembers different, two of the members over here are originally, their parents come from Morocco or the grandparents came from Morocco, it’s totally different music. It’s African Moroccan, mixed with Andalusia Spanish music, and Noaam, the percussion player, his parents are from Iraq, and Shem Tov is Bulgarian, his parents is Israeli like me, we call it Sabahr, but we were born in Israel. But our parents or grandparents came from different places.

And so different influences make it very versatile, not one sound. That’s probably the reason that the music sounds very different, each piece sounds different from the other.

Dark window and closed shutters Come back to your home High midnight moon Light on tree branches Let your soul hear Little singer Look up to the firmament Dawn breaks and lightens the sky One bird has been awakened Come back to your home

We are good friends altogether, and a mixture of us, the gentleman approach to each other, it’s number one special. Number two is we have a genius named Shem Tov Levi, a lot of pieces are written by Shem Tov. His music is already Israeli traditional music because it’s like everybody almost in Israel knows a lot of songs that we sang today.

And he also wrote a lot of film scoring for famous TV series and movies and he’s a genius. So he writes beautiful music, and also has a very delicate taste, he doesn’t like aggressiveness; he likes more gentle ways of approaching the audience and the audience’s ears. I think this is the magic, if you are looking for a secret, the secret is to be really delicate.

Let us conclude today’s show with a moving performance of the elegant score by Shem Tov Levi for the 2000 film, “Circle of Dreams,” in which he received the Israeli Film Academy Award for his music composition.

We thank you, Shem Tov Levi Ensemble, for bringing harmony to the world through your God-given talents. May your beautiful melodies continue to offer many joyful moments to music lovers everywhere.

For more about Shem Tov Levi ensemble, please visit:

Elegant viewers, thank you for joining us for today’s Enlightening Entertainment. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Words of Wisdom, up next after Noteworthy News. Let us always be grateful for Heaven’s infinite blessings.

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