Kobi Aflalo: Marot

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Playing Defense

Listening Post 66. A doomsday joke: Hearing that the earth will be submerged by rising seas in 72 hours, clergymen counsel prayer and repentance. But a lone scientist goes on global TV and issues a challenge: “We have three days to learn how to breathe underwater.” There’s a kernel of this story in Kobi Aflalo’s fourth album, Marot (Mirrors). The title song reflects on some of the stark realities of Israeli life: existential threat, military service, protests, the cost of living, pressure, obligation: “Welcome to the world/Where all is revealed and all concealed,” Aflalo sings, “Even as you burn, don’t fall apart/For there’s nothing so perfect as a broken heart” (video 1). Aflalo is known for his evocative lyrics, appealing melodies and fine tenor; however impressionistic, Marot—the only song on the album firmly in rock idiom—is his first step into the political conversation. If there is a unifying theme with the other tracks it is defense—against war, time or the arrows of love; this is a collection Mediterranean folk/pop ballads flavored by guitars, baglam, oud and flute. Letzidech (At Your Side) is a lover’s entreaty for one more day together: “I’m not perfect,” he pleads, “But there is good in the world because of me” (video 2). Mahen Hamilim (What Are the Words?) explores wisdom gained through experience: “What are words for, if not remembering/One yesterday after another/Time passes with you…” (video 3). Other superlative tracks are the heart-thumping Ad Elayich (To You); the soft lilting Hasuf (Exposed); and the soothing Baderech Legan Eden (The Road to Heaven). In a world where achieving the impossible takes too long, Aflalo’s music on our soundtrack makes the wait easier. (Hatav Hashmini)

 


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