Sib­ling syn­chronic­ity

The Solomon Brothers are keep­ing up the fam­ily tra­di­tion by blaz­ing their own trail in the form of blue­grass rock

The Jerusalem Post - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - • By ARIEL DO­MINIQUE HENDELMAN

To say that the Solomon Brothers came from a mu­si­cal fam­ily would be an un­der­state­ment. Man­dolin player Sruli (28), gui­tar player and lead vo­cal­ist Nach­man (30) and bass player Yosef (37) grew up on Moshav Modi’in, in a fam­ily that is some­thing of Jewish mu­sic roy­alty. With seven brothers al­to­gether, in bands such as Moshav Band and Soul­farm, and a fa­ther whose Di­as­pora Yeshiva Band helped shape mod­ern Jewish rock, the Solomon Brothers are blaz­ing their own trail with a sound that is like some­one threw kerosene on blue­grass and lit a match. Their de­but al­bum, Song of Life, was re­leased ear­lier this month. The mu­si­cal trio will be play­ing tonight (doors open at 8 p.m.) at Yes Planet in Jerusalem. Nach­man Solomon sat down with The Jerusalem Post to talk about his mu­si­cal her­itage, the re­al­ity show that brought them to­gether, and Pearl Jam.

What was it like grow­ing up in such a mu­si­cal fam­ily?

Our fa­ther was a mu­si­cian also, so mu­sic was al­ways there as long as I can re­mem­ber, mostly at the Shab­bos ta­ble, singing. We’re from the younger brothers, so when I was grow­ing up, my older brothers were al­ready singing. We nat­u­rally took it on; it was never forced on us or any­thing. Mu­sic was just al­ways there. My fa­ther grad­u­ated Berklee School of Mu­sic; he stud­ied mu­sic his­tory. He had a band called the Di­as­pora Yeshiva Band, which started Jewish rock ‘n’ roll. They were the founders. They wrote huge Jewish hits like “Pitchu Li” and a lot of songs that be­came main­stream songs in the Jewish world after­wards. My fa­ther would use us on al­bums that he recorded, so I was do­ing that from the age of five years old.

Did you ever think of go­ing in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, since the rest of your fam­ily are all mu­si­cians?

Mu­sic was al­ways my pas­sion, but I wasn’t sure un­til af­ter high school that I was go­ing to do it pro­fes­sion­ally. Mu­sic was al­ways there. Once I started get­ting gigs, af­ter I had some sum­mer jobs, I re­al­ized how much I don’t like of­fice jobs.

Be­fore you started the Solomon Brothers, you had a band called Ha­makor. How did that dis­si­pate?

I started Ha­makor with a few friends. We recorded an al­bum to­gether, and then two of the guys in the band had to join the army, and the drum­mer got mar­ried and his wife wanted to live in Canada. I didn’t break up the band yet, but a band has a cer­tain kind of chem­istry so try­ing to find re­place­ments can some­times kill the band. Ha­makor had a cer­tain amount of suc­cess. Af­ter our first al­bum, we were signed by a record la­bel and we were tour­ing all over Europe and Amer­ica. But then af­ter all that hap­pened and I lost those three mem­bers, the band still ex­isted for another year or two, but it just wasn’t the same. It kind of died out af­ter that. Then I got an email from Teddy Pro­duc­tions, which is one of Chan­nel 2’s pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies and it said that they were do­ing a re­al­ity show about mu­si­cal fam­i­lies. I thought that it could be cool to play with my brothers. We en­tered the show two years ago and made it all the way to the fi­nals. We de­cided to con­tinue af­ter that.

Why didn’t you play with your brothers be­fore?

Grow­ing up, we had very dif­fer­ent styles of mu­sic. First of all, Yosef lived in Los An­ge­les for a while and played in Moshav Band with our other brother. He’s seven years older than me. I was very into grunge mu­sic grow­ing up, like Pearl Jam and Soundgar­den. Sruli was into blue­grass. So our tastes in mu­sic didn’t al­low us to ever think about try­ing to play in a band to­gether. But over the years, my taste has changed. I al­ways kind of liked blue­grass, but I guess I was in a dif­fer­ent phase back then. Af­ter we played to­gether on that TV show, we re­al­ized that it could work to­gether.

You re­cently re­leased your de­but al­bum, ‘Song of Life.’ Can you talk about that?

We re­leased it about two weeks ago, and re­leased the sin­gle, “Im Ain Ani Li.” We started record­ing the al­bum about a year ago, so it was a long process. It was all recorded in Jerusalem at a studio called Sach Hakol. We still have dif­fer­ent styles and in­flu­ences, so Yosef, Sruli and I in­di­vid­u­ally would come up with songs and re­hearse it and ar­range it to­gether. There were some ar­gu­ments over how to put the songs to­gether, but that’s to be ex­pected. The song­writ­ing it­self was done in­di­vid­u­ally and then all the ar­rang­ing was done to­gether, ex­cept for one. We col­lab­o­rated with Mendy Port­noy from the Port­noy Brothers. He played key­board and pi­ano on the al­bum. We had a trum­pet player, Avi Or, on the al­bum. We have a vi­o­lin player who we work with a lot, Nim­rod Nol. He plays in a band called Sum Sum. They play gypsy mu­sic; they’re pretty well known in Is­rael.

Do you have plans to tour out­side of Is­rael?

We were just in Aus­tria for a show, and be­fore that in South Africa. We were in Lon­don in May. We have plans to play in the US and pos­si­bly Ar­gentina for a cou­ple of shows. But our fo­cus right now is in Is­rael. Our mu­sic doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fall into the Jewish cat­e­gory. We have love songs and our mes­sage is very uni­ver­sal, but not nec­es­sar­ily re­li­gious, even though we are re­li­gious our­selves. Our songs are not nec­es­sar­ily specif­i­cally Jewish.

Does that help your or hurt you in terms of the Is­raeli au­di­ence?

We’re gear­ing for main­stream. We’re very blessed to have this An­glo fol­low­ing that we know we can count on to fill up a venue. That’s a big bonus and it’s prob­a­bly partly be­cause of our fam­ily name. Fans of Di­as­pora Yeshiva Band, Soul­farm, or Moshav Band sup­port us and we’re lucky to have that Jewish fol­low­ing. But our mu­sic has been well re­ceived by sec­u­lar Is­raelis as well. But who­ever loves our mu­sic, we’re more than happy. I don’t think we have any­thing on the al­bum that would turn off re­li­gious peo­ple. Even if it’s a love song about a girl, we’re not us­ing any F-words.

If you had a ge­nie, who could give you three dream col­lab­o­ra­tions. Who would they be?

I would re­ally love to col­lab­o­rate with Mum­ford and Sons, Pearl Jam and Avicii.

(Courtesy)

‘OUR MU­SIC doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fall into the Jewish cat­e­gory. We have love songs and our mes­sage is very uni­ver­sal, but not nec­es­sar­ily re­li­gious, even though we are re­li­gious our­selves,” says mu­si­cian Nach­man Solomon (cen­ter) seen here with his...

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