By Kevin Madigan / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival’s Main Event on March 21 will see Israeli vocalist and songwriter Yael Deckelbaum making her local debut at the Variety Playhouse.
The concert is part of a short U.S. tour that will include dates in New York, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and Connecticut. She will play tracks from her new album, “Humanity,” as well as others from her various projects.
“The album was produced by Yossi Fine, a colleague since I was 15 years old,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Jerusalem. “We used to jam a lot, and that’s how we started connecting. He moved to New York two years ago, so when I thought I was doing shows in the U.S., I asked him to put together a band, and now we’re coming to Atlanta.”
Deckelbaum is pleased with the way the album turned out. “I’m very happy … because it’s the first time I made an album without building it.”
She explained that the whole record was done live in the studio in 16 days and came “from true moments of music making.” She described the result as “very organic, intimate,” and said she wrote one of the tracks, “Angel Song,” about her girlfriend. “She’s an angel. It’s a song that comes out of real love.”
Deckelbaum may be new to Atlanta, but she is no novice in her own country. She is part of the female folk trio Habanat Nechama, whose 2007 self-titled album sold more than 40,000 copies in Israel.
In 1999 she was invited to sing with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at a Beatles tribute concert under the baton of legendary producer George Martin. “I was called to do a solo song. I sang ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.’ It was a really great experience for me to meet him.”
At that event she also met famous Israeli singer-songwriter Shlomo Artzi and began a long collaboration with him onstage and in the recording studio.
Her father, the late David Deckelbaum, founded the Jerusalem Taverners, known for being the only band in Israel that performed a mixture of American country music, Celtic folk and novelty songs. “My dad used to play the banjo, and I grew up onstage with his band.”
The records she heard her father play at home included Pete Seeger and Joni Mitchell, she recalled. “This is the kind of music that influenced me as a child. Then, Janis Joplin and American rock ’n’ roll when I was 16.”
Sharing the bill with Deckelbaum on March 21 will be multicultural ensemble Diwan Saz, a favorite of hers. “I don’t know them in person, but I know their music,” she said. “I listen to them while I meditate. Their singer is unbelievable. I really recommend you get to know them.”
What: Atlanta Jewish Music Festival Main Event
Who: Israeli artists Yael Deckelbaum and Diwan Saz
Where: Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave., Atlanta
When: 8:45 p.m. Saturday, March 21
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 on show day; ages 13 and up