Asaf Avidan
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Asaf Avidan

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel | SELF

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter




"France "Taratata""

Interview, review and performance at France's
prestigious "Taratata". - FranceTV

"A New Messiah"

Asaf Avidan is a 26 yr old genius that helps us overcome
the predictability of daily life...
Conquering all doubts, his voice slides exquisitely in songs
like "Reckoning song" and "Your anchor"…
You could think you're listening to Janis Joplin,
the kozmic witch, but Asaf is a new Messiah!
With a genuine, powerful voice, someone who can sing, scream,
whisper and surprise... Simply delicious music.
- Rolling Stone Mexico

""A genuine masterpiece" - Review of The Reckoning"

Like tightrope walkers performing without a net,
Israel-based Asaf Avidan and the Mojos perform their unbelievable tracks
with unabashed confidence and abandon.
Receiving ‘The Israelis Best New Artist’ award and lauding a support slot by Morrissey may have also convinced the world of their promise.

‘The Reckoning’ is their debut album. Asaf hopes to attract a world-wide audience and says: “We drink from the cultural well of our history,
but our music is universal – equally meaningful to someone in Dubai
or New York or Tel Aviv. I write about relationships, about love, death and beyond, how strange our short stay here on this world is. You don’t need any particular passport to understand that.”

An ambitious fifteen original songs, penned by Avidan, are contained within a handsome cover (designed and illustrated by Michelle Rolland/Lilach Schmilovitch) on which illustrations of natural artifacts, such as fossils and seashells appear.

Inside is a gorgeous lyric book featuring a close-up of the five-member band: Asaf Avidan (vocals, guitars), Hadas Kleinman (cello), Ran Nir (bass), Roi Peled (lead Guitar) and Yoni “Joni Snow” Sheleg (drums). The band follows every vocal line with pristine energy and awareness.

With a voice as mesmeriaing as Joplin and as seductive as Robert Plant, Asaf writhes in bluesy anguish and aches in a free-wheeling fashion that’s emblematic of 60s authenticism.

‘Maybe You Are’ is the opener and the words reflect this honest approach, “She peeled his skin away, so every day he’d cry/And in those tears he’d lie to find some peace.”

The instrumental backing picks up exuberantly in ‘Hangwoman.’
This rockified-blues incarnation rants and Asaf adds some early Elvis-type innuendo. Immediately following is the jangly reggae of ‘Her Lies’ with its pungent riffs.

‘Weak’ is another extraordinary tell-all heart-wrencher. “Speak, baby, speak, tell me I’m weak/Tell me I’m ugly, but tell me you love me.” The double-tracking production enhances the haunting vulnerability of the message.

Then, the flamenco beginnings of ‘Reckoning Song’ form a brief respite before ‘Sweat & Tears’ proclaims an edgy samba feel and a suspenseful escalating merge of strings come forward.

‘Rubberband Girl’ is unpasturized rabid punk dripping with attitude and ‘A Phoenix is Born’ enlists a sci-fi, fantastical visceral magnetism. This is amazing, considering the melismatic vocals are so primitive.

‘Over You Blues’ utilizes brilliant slide. The words are tongue-in-cheek, but natural. Another song in that same genre is ‘Empty Handed Saturday Blues’ which is brilliantly swarthy. Asaf’s uncanny ear allows for some fascinating vocal riffs.

‘Growing Tall’ has an irresistible Johnny Cash rhythm. It’s a definite contrast to ‘Devil’s Dance’, which, with lush evocative strings and raw imagery may be the most succulent track of all, but it’s such a challenge to choose. “Lying on the road/waiting to be crushed,” Asaf contemplates, in this emotional requiem.

Epic in thought, execution and imagination,
‘The Reckoning’ is a genuine masterpiece and an even more startling debut.
Asaf Avidan and the Mojos transcend every genre they pursue. -

"New York City Winery Review"

What would you say if I told you I’ve seen Janis Joplin reincarnated
in the form of a 29-year-old Israeli man? You’d probably say I was crazy.
I’d say you haven’t seen Asaf Avidan.

To watch Avidan perform is to experience a sensory disconnect, eyes clearly contradicting the perception of the ears. Standing on stage is a skinny, mohawked man. Blasting from the speakers is the voice of a craggy, whiskey-soaked woman. It’s a disconnect that takes a little while to get past—the sort of disbelief you don’t often encounter in a concert. At first it’s unsettling; then, transfixing.

One night after playing a tribute to The Who at Carnegie Hall, Avidan found himself inside the beautiful City Winery, backed by cellist Hadas Kleinman rather than his usual electric band, The Mojos. “Hadas is going to fill in for everybody else,” said Avidan. “We’re gonna start improvising and shit. We’re gonna enjoy ourselves.”

The band was hardly missed, as Kleinman’s exquisite cello playing wove itself perfectly into the fabric of Avidan’s music. He returned the favor by allowing her cello part to move the songs along rather than relegating it to a background role—stark double stops, rock and roll glissandos, and stunning fourth position solos made Kleinman’s cello a worthy companion to Avidan’s performance. The two performers had an uncanny chemistry, matching intention and execution intuitively and fluidly.
It was a pleasure to watch.

For an acoustic performance, the set had some teeth: songs frequently featured grittily extended vocal notes, rasps, and evocative lyrics. Watching Avidan, you got the feeling that he really believed what he was singing. He would hesitate mid-song, pausing as if attempting to convince the next verse to burst forth on stage; it was tension and release at its most cathartic. Nowhere was this more clear than on standout “Over You Blues,” the penultimate song of the evening. “My baby, she’s just a little puppy,” Avidan repeated forlornly, stretching out the syllables before continuing, “but she’s acting like a full grown bitch.” It’s a humorous turn of phrase, but in Avidan’s hands it was doubly strong – not just a line for a laugh but an honest recollection.

I came into Avidan’s set with no expectations, having never heard his music before the concert. But even if I had expected a great show, I would have been blown away. The captivating emotion conveyed by Avidan’s voice recalls iconic singers—the raw power of Joplin, the smoky twang of Loretta Lynn, the genial approachability of Johnny Cash. The set was equal parts blues, rock and roll, and hoedown, with a flavor all its own. It’s no wonder Avidan has made waves in Israel.

At one point during the performance, Avidan stopped to recount a story from the Bible. He explained how King David’s moral lapses caused him to lose the favor of God, leaving him always feeling cold. David, said Avidan, was forced to sleep with prostitutes to keep warm. “It’s an emotional thing that the Bible describes physically,” he concluded, “and I think that’s really beautiful.” On Wednesday night at City Winery, Asaf Avidan and Hadas Kleinman did exactly that—transformed the emotional into the physical—and it was beautiful indeed.

""One of the albums of the year" - Belgium Review"

…one of the albums of the year… a unique mix of singer/songwriter material, folk, blues and indie rock. The band evokes memories of John Lee Hooker,
sometimes of Led Zeppelin, while Asaf's voice easily brings up Janis Joplin.
Despite its countless references to the past,
The Reckoning is a very modern indie rock album, with no weak points.

""A trip in paradise" - Israel album review"

A trip in paradise… This is art, in full force, in full splendor.
Excruciating and exposing, trapping and releasing,
granting us the opportunity to burn and to let go…

In case we'd forgotten how complex, rattling and inspiring music can be,
Asaf Avidan & the Mojos give us a one hour reminder
in the form of a trip in heaven upon earth. 61 minutes that are all generosity, honesty, and richness…
- Globes - leading financial newspaper

""Like a hoarse angel" - France show review"

“Like a hoarse angel… sends shivers down the spine
and butterflies into the stomach…”
- Musiczine, France

""simply unique" - German show review"

“Original, powerful, full of soul and devotion, simply unique and utterly amazing” - Badische-Zeitung, Germany

"Israel Online Album Chart of the Decade - The Reckoning at #2"

2nd place – Asaf Avidan & the Mojos: The Reckoning.
"The album that spent 12 weeks at the top of the charts,
Was not only the best selling album of 2008,
It stayed in the charts for over a year and was among
the top 5 best selling albums of 2009!"
- Musicaneto - Israel's leading online music shop


The Reckoning (2008) - #1 Israel charts, Platinum Record
Poor Boy / Lucky Man (2009) - #1 Israel charts, Gold Record
Through The Gale (2010) - #1 Israel charts

Now That You're Leaving (2006)


Many tracks have received major airplay in France and Germany especially, entering some airplay charts and iTunes charts.

Weak (2008) - #3 Israel charts, Israel video of the year;
title song of The Tree, closing film of 2010 Cannes Festival;
airplay in many national and local stations across Europe,
including FIP France, Radio 1 Germany.

Reckoning Song (2009) - distributed with Rolling Stone Germany as part of its "New Noises" compilation.

Small Change Girl (2009) - #5 Israel charts

Got It Right (2009) - #5 Israel charts



Asaf Avidan (born 1980) is an Israeli singer-songwriter
and musician, best known for his voice,
often compared to Janis Joplin and Robert Plant.
He is also the creative force and front-man
of folk/rock band Asaf Avidan & the Mojos.

Solo Career
In July 2011, following another summer tour that saw them sharing the stage with Robert Plant, Ben Harper
and Lou Reed among others,
Asaf Avidan & the Mojos announced that they are taking
an indefinite creative break.

Avidan had continuously played solo and duo acoustic shows throughout the band's career, including "regular" venue shows as well as a TED Global Conference performance, supporting Bob Dylan, playing a tribute concert for The Who at Carnegie Hall and countless radio and tv performances.

Avidan is set to continue touring and plans
to go into the recording studio in the winter
with a yet-unknown support cast of musicians.


Avidan was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1980.
His parents were diplomats for the Israeli Foreign Office,
and he spent four years of his childhood in Jamaica.
After the mandatory army service in Israel, Avidan studied animation at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design. His final project short film, “Find Love Now”,
won its category at the Haifa Film Festival that year.
After his studies, Avidan moved to Tel Aviv
and worked as an animator,
until a breakup with his long-time girlfriend shook his world and made him move back to Jerusalem, quit his job and turn full time to his up-till-then hobby – music.
Six songs about that breakup and subsequent heartache would constitute his debut EP, “Now That You’re Leaving”, which was released independently in 2006 to critical acclaim.

Asaf Avidan & the Mojos
In late 2006, while playing solo shows across Israel,
Avidan put together a support cast of musicians who would become The Mojos (Ran Nir – Bass ,Yoni Sheleg – Drums, Roi Peled – Guitar, Hadas Kleinman – cello).
The group played extensively in Israel, and also played a few New York shows, including MEANY Fest,
where they advanced to the finals.
In 2007 the band went into the recording studio together
for the first time, and recorded “The Reckoning”.
The album’s 15 tracks blended rock, folk and blues with Avidan’s lyrics about relationships and betrayal.
By now the band had accumulated a huge live following in Israel and most record labels expressed interest. But Avidan decided to continue on the independent path, and founded (with his brother and manager, Roie Avidan)
Telmavar Records, on which “The Reckoning”
was released in March 2008.
It reached Gold status in a year, platinum later, and would become the biggest selling independent record of all time in Israel. It was chosen as Album of the Year (2008) by various medias, including TimeOut Tel Aviv.
“Weak”, the second single off the album, became
a huge radio hit and its video was Video of the Year on Israel’s music channel.
“Weak” would also be the title song of the film "L'Arbre"
by Julie Bertuccelli, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg,
and the closing film at Cannes Film Festival 2010.

While several European labels put offers on the table,
the band opted to embark on a self-funded summer tour in 2009, playing dozens of festivals and venues across Europe. By the end of that summer, Telmavar Records signed a licensing deal with Sony-Columbia in Europe, for "The Reckoning" and for the band's future second LP.

The Reckoning was released in parts of Europe in 2009,
to generally good reviews. In France iTunes chart it would peek at #8.

"Poor boy/Lucky Man", the band's second album,
was released in Israel on 9/9/09.
The album's title song and main theme would revolve around a boy born with a hole instead of a heart. The album was originally released in two different names and covers,
leaving it up to the audience to decide whether this figure was poor or lucky.
It would reach Gold status in Israel in 5 months,
and garner ecstatic reviews.
It was released in parts of Europe in April 2011. Among others, it was album of the month at France's national FIP radio and the newspaper Liberacion, and Germany's Eclipsed magazine.

The band continued to tour non-stop from 2009 all through 2011 (mostly in Israel and Europe but also in the US, Canada, China and India),
building up a devoted following and a reputation for a legendary live show.
Amongst the hundreds of shows, they played at Brandenburg Bridge at The World Championship of Athletics in Berlin; at the closing event at Cannes Film Festival 2010,
at China’s biggest May 1st festivals; at a tribute concert for The Who in Carnegie Hall, New York. They would play dozens of festivals across Europe (including: Solidays France, Latitude UK, Paleo Switzerland, Frequency Austria, Haldern Pop Germany) as well as countless radio and tv