Rotem Cohen: Lo Dimyanti

Cohen1The Agony and the Ecstasy

Listening Post 56. Reviews of his live shows describe Rotem Cohen as charming, engaging, funny—and with a soulful voice—but he took a crooked route to the stage. He tried acting school, but skipped classes to compose music. He wrote for some of Israel’s top singers before releasing his own first album—which went gold. If his second album, Lo Dimyanti (I Never Imagined), is any indication, he’ll be a fixture of the Israeli cultural scene for many years. Cohen focuses on love and relationships; his preferred styles are Spanish and Hebrew chanson, with touches of Mizrahi, folk and pop. He’s at his most playful with Zeh Lo Aht (It’s Not You), a flamenco toque/gypsy beat song inspired by an overly clingy girlfriend: “You’re mine and I’ll move mountains to get close to you,” she tells him, as he lets her down easy with, “It’s not you… it’s me” (video 1). The Latin rhythm is softer in Koev Aval Romanti (It Hurts, But It’s Romantic), about a letter—“a little about longing, a lot about being afraid”—that never gets sent (video 2). The title track is a love-lost ballad: “I never thought about the day after/How much I would ache… I never imagined you out of the picture,” he sings (video 3). Cohen’s perfect union—music that fits his lyrics like a velvet glove—continues across 13 tracks, notably with love ascending on M’ohevet Pit’om (Suddenly Love) and declining with HaShir Shelakh (Your Song) and Halamti Elayikh (I Dreamed of You). As he plays and aches, audiences cheer. (Rotem Cohen)


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