Rotem Cohen: Kol Kach Yafeh Lach

Tel Aviv Bachata

Listening Post 163. When it comes to synergistic contrasts, to matching moods and cultural elements that don’t typically appear together and then making them pop, Rotem Cohen has few equals. He began his career writing for some of Israel’s leading singers (Rita, Boaz Sharabi) and ultimately decided to face the audience himself. His first two albums established him as a virtuoso of Hebrew song immersed in Spanish tones, his reputation built on sensitive love ballads paired with an engaging, humorous stage presence. Keeping with his signature romantic template, he doubles down with album three, Kol Kach Yafeh Lach (So Good For You/כל כך יפה לך), a dazzling collection of bachata and other Caribbean styles, with an aching, pulsing heart and soothing guitars and percussion. He also climbs onto a bigger stage with the help of world-class Latin artists, not to mention music videos filmed in Havana and New York. The album’s obra maestra is the title-track duet with Cuban singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno, featuring complementary lyrics in Hebrew and Spanish (Como el Agua) that weave a story about trying to win back a lover (video 1). Reconciliation seems within reach amid the lilt and tap of Tni Li K’tzat Mimech (Give Me a Little Bit of You, video 2); while B’emtza Hahaim (In the Middle of Life) is a pause to assess a relationship (video 3). One more contrast, uniting thumping music with a melancholy message, is the remix of Enrique Iglesias’ reggaeton hit Súbeme la Radio (Turn Up the Radio), with Cohen performing several stanzas of his own (video 4). The album’s push-pull beat goes on with Ahava Zeh Hapuenta (Love is the Point) and it takes a samba-and-cachaça turn with Palavra (Spell). In nine short tracks, Kol Kach Yafeh Lach presents a vibrant, colorful universe that is both bursting at the seams and impeccably composed. (CBroders)

Note: For a review of Rotem Cohen’s previous album, Lo Dimyanti, see Listening Post 56, July 17, 2016.
https://worldlisteningpost.com/2016/07/17/rotem-cohen-lo-dimyanti/

 

Kol Kach Yafeh Lach/Como el Agua/כל כך יפה לך
From Hebrew: “Again the same story, Shabbat/You don’t know, but it’s still winter in my heart
And again, the same melody, yours/I kiss the back of your neck
I call to you, call to you/I’m not afraid, (in spirit) I’m with you anyway
I talk to you, I talk to you/And I sing…

I swear there is no one happier than me/Even if you don’t believe it
And I know there’s someone else, but it’s really not the same
Just admit that you like me a little
So good for you, I whisper/And I feel so good again

And again that smile, your face/Your beauty drives me crazy
Ask me for a hug, a big one/So sweet it will last me a month
I call to you, call to you/I’m not afraid, (in spirit) I’m with you anyway
I talk to you, I talk to you, and sing…”

From Spanish: “One more Saturday, without you/Your heart has frozen
Another winter and you’re gone/The days and the nights multiply

I know that time has frozen/Feelings like water
In my dreams your photo is engraved/I’ll never forget that kiss
Under the full moon/And your little smile will never fade
Every second your beauty increases
And your mischievous look…/My memory will never erase it”

 

Tni Li K’tzat MiMech/תני לי קצת ממך
“Don’t tell me that we’ve tried everything and you’ve had enough/In hours of pain
Don’t say that the sun no longer warms when you lie/And play games of the heart
For me, love isn’t always a balm/Everyone gets hurt
But no one dies from a little sweat/Give me a little bit of you
I’m not looking for a palace/Or roses wrapped in silence
Give me a little bit of you

Don’t say that you loved me and suddenly ran out of time/In moments of weakness
Don’t tell me that when you stumbled you couldn’t deflect the sorrow/So full of pride
Don’t say the night is quiet without me/Look, I almost forgot
How another hour passes when my lips lose the taste/Everything tastes like you
For me, love isn’t always a balm/Open your heart
No one dies from a little sweat/Give me a little bit of you”

 

B’emtza HaHaim/באמצע החיים
“In the middle of life I had some passing thoughts/About where everyone is rushing and whether anyone is happy
We chase after nothing and it’s hard to get up/Time passes and here we are in the middle of life
In the middle of my life I feel some hesitation/Have I wasted time? Where do we go from here?
I want to get excited, hug the kids/And give thanks that we are all human

Maybe we did good, maybe we made the wrong choices/We also learned to hurt and insisted on loving
Either way, I love you/Either way, I love you

In the middle of life, I don’t feel left behind anymore/I’ve had my share of pain and my hair is grayer
I’m ready to forgive, and compromise is no longer a curse/I guess that’s how it is in the middle of life
Maybe when you look at me/Maybe this time you’ll see an old guy/Tired of games
Time has taught me that love is not just a taste
It’s a job/Love is distance running”

 

Súbeme La Radio/Turn Up the Radio
From Spanish: “Turn up the radio/Bring me the alcohol
Turn up the radio, this is my song/Feel the bass rising
Bring me the alcohol that takes away the pain/Today we’re gonna join the moon and the sun 

I don’t care anymore/Neither the day nor the hour
If I’ve lost everything/You left me in the shadows
I swear I think/I had the best of intentions
Time passes slowly/And me, I’m gonna die”

From Hebrew: “I stood by his side/That brought me close to you
I felt the sky fall on you like a collapsing empire/I think about you
About how he lies to you/He’s gone tonight, but I’m here 

Don’t stand there and tell me/That everything here is yours
That life is neither radio nor legend/And that it’s worth it that love should come like this
So come, come, come, let’s seize this opportunity that fell from the sky/You’re mine, it’s as transparent as water
If you look me in the eyes/You’ll see my heart as clearly as a full moon”

 


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