Archive for April, 2005

EHUD MANOR

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

Ever since two mornings ago, the sudden parting of Ehud Manor had been digging into my heart deeper and deeper every day. I’ve been hearing the same from everyone around, and although it has made me happy for Ehud’s sake, and for the sake of this world and the great gift of beauty he has given it, it made it difficult for me to express my very own, personal connection to this beautiful man. I guess here is my humble venue for doing just that.

Regarding my own private ways in this world, musically and otherwise, I sometimes find myself isolated, thirsty for inspiration, lost in a kind of cultural desert, yearning for a touching spark. Ehud Manor has been, for me, one of the very few guardians of my cultural oasis. And the kindest of them all. He has given me the voice of Natalie Merchant, for example, and more personally, he was one of the first believers in my music, along with Kutner,  before most everyone else. Not only did he give me a safe home to sound my music, but he kept encouraging me through the years, with his kindest calls and remarks, and playful translations of a few of my lines. He had the wisest, kindest ways of conversing with me through his interpretations, over the radio and over the phone, offering his time and work and advice and sweet comforting word anytime I ever needed. Right at my musical beginning he offered to co-operate on future projects. There was no surer demonstration of faith than that. He made me feel like the greatest star, and he crowned me with his love. He truly had faith in me, even behind my back.

When I only began performing, about some 5 years ago, and was still a quiverous, albeit admittedly adamant performer, he came to my concert with part of his family, and listened with the widest heart and with genuine interest. Even his criticism was so simple and honest and loving, that it was instantly taken in, instantly taking action within me, instantly working. He came to me after the show, freckles and all, and gave me the biggest, safest hug you can imagine. It was easy, direct, and cozy.  I knew my songs were safe in his hands and soul.

Ehud truly understood my language, my inner tongue, my personal grammar. My jokes. He understood the cultural grounds of my English, not only the technical meaning. It ain’t easy to be an English singer-songwriter in Israel, especially when WORDS are the heart of them songs. You cannot dig the soul of a song, the humorous nuances, the various digressions of personal associations, with purely a basic understanding of the language.  You have to have some wider, deeper grasp of the language, the culture it springs from. And Ehud Manor, the lover of words, the Israeli great worder of our greatest songs and musicians, did indeed dig my music, inside and out. His musical and cultural sources were immense. And he was so youthfully passionate about every little thing. His first favorite of my songs was NYU, and so he called excited to tell me that his daughter had just graduated NYU. He was so personal a writer, that his work became very universal. He was so intimate an observer, that he owned that acute sensitivity to another’s very particular otherness. Which made him very tolerant of others, open minded, and also a great translator.

I’ll miss him desperately. And yes, ‘tis my little comfort too to know that he knew how much I loved and appreciated him and his work in this world. And that he was loved and respected by so many people in his life time.

Here’s to you, here’s to music.