Evan Malach
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Evan Malach

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"Buzz: Congrats to..."

Congrats to Toronto's Evan Malach in winning the Hallelujah Global Hebrew Singing Contest Saturday night in Israel with his rendition of Ehud Banai's "K'nani Blues". Of the 14 finalists, two were Canadian: Winnipeg's Alex Dashefsky placed second in the Audience Favourite voting on Facebook. About 1,000 people watched the Saturday night showdown in Ramat Hasharon. Malach's victory earns him $8,000 in cash, an opportunity to record single and a global tour. Below, Malach performing the winning song in the semi-finals. - New Canadian Music


"Toronto Folk-Rocker Launches New Album"

Evan Malach’s artistic alias is Stone/Angel. It’s a literal translation of his name into the Hebrew description of the words.

It’s also a pretty neat band name.

Next week, Malach, as Stone/Angel, releases his sophomore album, Along the Endless Highway, and it’s a bit of a departure from his first offering, 2008’s Revolution Rising, the latter being a rawer, less effects-heavy creation that was sold to raise funds for the people of Darfur, Tibet and Burma, all causes dear to him.

For the new album, Malach engaged industry heavyweight Malcolm Burn to produce what can best be described as a concept album. It’s a very layered, textured affair that took the artist out of his rootsy comfort zone and repurposed his material into a sonic landscape more in line with the likes of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, while still maintaining a Bruce Springsteen-esque esthetic and spirit.

In fact, Malach covers Springsteen on this album with an alternative take on the Boss’s Brilliant Disguise.

Malach recorded the album during the final days of his father Howard’s life and planned the album launch for May 14, the one-year anniversary of his dad’s death.

The event will take place at Toronto’s Supermarket, at 268 Augusta Ave. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Malach said there’s no entry fee, rather a “pay what you can” suggestion for patrons.

True to his style, the album is an acoustic guitar-heavy affair, showcasing Malach’s preferred instrument, with Burn working magic at the sound and mixing boards elevating the tunes to heights the artist hadn’t imagined possible.

“We spent 19 days recording at Burn’s New York studio,” Malach said. “It was a journey… and the way Malcolm used his equipment, with the right machinery attached to you, you can really change your sound. I felt the atmosphere. Burn has a real understanding of sound space.”

Malach, 27, said the experience of losing his dad, whom he called his best friend, was a difficult experience, but the creation of the album – which also corresponds with an autobiography, Now Boarding, that he’s releasing the same day as the album – helped him spiritually.

“My dad was instrumental in helping me pursue my dreams,” he said. “I’m looking to honour my parents with my career.”

Malach said the book and album represent reflections on his spiritual journey, particularly in the wake of dealing with the death of a parent and his own near-death experience on the ski slopes of British Columbia in 2010.

“Now Boarding tells true stories from my life and shares spiritual lessons I have learned,” he said in a release. “The book begins with the tale of my own brush with death while snowboarding in B.C.’s back country. It goes on to chronicle travels in Israel and Europe, and culminates with reflections on life and death, written while dealing with my father's passing.”

The CJN was unable to review the book prior to its release. However, for fans of roots-alternative-indie music, Malach and Burn have crafted an eminently listenable album that will require, happily, repeated plays to fully appreciate its depth of production and craftsmanship.

Notable tracks include Along the Beach, a pop-filled tune recalling the best of the bubble gum tracks from the 1980s; Breaking All the Rules, a dreamy ballad with a nice hook, and Here Before (This Old Canoe), a nostalgia-laden closing track that conjures images of early work by Tom Cochrane and Red Rider and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. - Canadian Jewish News


"Voice of an Angel"

The pressure was on during the finals show of the nationally televised Hallelujah Hebrew singing contest on August 16.

Canadian singer-songwriter Evan Malach, whose Hebrew last name means “angel,” had made it through the song competition, narrowed down from 100 contestants from around the world to 30, then 12, then to three by a group of judges made up of music industry heavyweights like producer Eitan Gafni; singer Ilanit, who represented Israel twice at Eurovision; and singer-composer Tzahi Halevi.

The Toronto native took the stage, sharing the night with his Russian and American competitors, for another performance of Ehud Banai’s classic “Canaanite Blues,” the song he performed in his second audition tape and worked on intensively for a month with coaches in Israel.

Guitar in hand and harmonica attached, 27-year-old Malach was not expecting the technical difficulties that would ensue. Perhaps it was a cameraman who stepped on a wire or a switch on stage, he assumes.

In any case, Malach’s guitar stopped working, he says in a phone interview from Kfar Hayarok in Ramat Hasharon, where the contestants resided during their month of rehearsals in Israel.

“It’s like every performer’s worst nightmare,” says Malach, likening it to the dream of standing on stage before a huge audience but finding yourself in the buff. Looking back on that moment, the rocker credits his training in improvisational theater for knowing how to use the pressure to clinch his first-place win.

“If anything, it ended up working in my favor because I was able to show my character, grace under pressure, and it gave me more time on stage to really shine,” says Malach, who studied acting, voice and music at the Neighborhood Playhouse School and Theater in New York for two years. “Rather than freaking out, I was riding whatever came about.”

The snafu didn’t last too long, and Malach impressed the judges as he chatted with the audience while the problem was resolved.

With the win under his belt, the multi-talented actor, writer of musicals and social entrepreneur is feeling thankful and excited to move forward.

Malach received $8,000 prize money and spent last week recording a song with Din Din Aviv – who has performed with the Idan Raichel Project – called “Hallel Hallelujah.” The song will be distributed to Jewish radio stations the world over. Gafni wrote the words and Tomer Adadi the music to the “beautiful” song, which Malach says was written for the winner but that he’d add his own rocker style to. “It’s somewhat mind-blowing but it’s also incredibly humbling. I think it’s such an amazing opportunity, and I’m really grateful for it,” he says.

Malach hopes the Hallelujah win will bolster him on the Jewish entertainment circuit as a singer and performer.

He’s already booked a synagogue fundraiser in Toronto, where he returned on August 24. And, thanks to Hallelujah and its creator, Meitar, an organization that works to bring Diaspora Jews closer to Israel through Hebrew song, will tour Jewish venues across the globe.

“When you’re a performer, actor, singer, songwriter, it’s hard to find material that speaks to you,” says Malach. “So sometimes you have to create your own.”

During his final year at McGill University in Montreal, where he graduated in 2007 with a degree in humanistics and history, he wrote, produced and starred in a musical he titled In Adequacy, playing a struggling rock star trying to find his number one hit in the town of Adequacy. Now he’s working on a musical called sInagogue, which he also plans to star in, about a rabbi who tries to save his struggling synagogue by enlisting the services of a washed-up rock star as his cantor (Malach).

The “I” is capitalized to look like a Roman numeral 1 because “we’re all different, but one people, one heart, one nation,” explains Malach, who views his mission as a Jewish entertainer to break down the barriers that exist between Jewish movements. “I think music is a good way of spreading that message,” he says.

When Malach read about the Hallelujah contest in a Taglit birthright alumni listserve e-mail, he was performing in bars and clubs around Toronto (where he sometimes goes by the name Stone/Angel, the full English translation of his name) and working as a counselor on Taglit and other tour trips to Israel. He submitted an audition tape of himself singing and playing his acoustic guitar on an original folk-rock song called “Celebrate.”

By the time he was asked to submit a second audition tape, he was already in Israel on a six-week fellowship with Presentense in Jerusalem developing his start-up, Second Chance Travel, which will offer tracks of trips to Israel for cancer survivors and for people who have undergone a trauma. Participants will be encouraged to write, make music and take pictures during the trip.

The day after his project launch with Presentense, Malach joined Hallelujah 2012. Fast as it was, he says he happily shifted his focus to music.

“I think music is a universal language, and I think Hebrew is a holy language,” he says. Whether listeners understand the words or not, they can still feel the emotion behind the song, he insists. “You can still cultivate a love and a passion for Israel by listening to songs written in Hebrew. I really think music is the one hope we have for unity in the world as Jews and all people. It gets you out of yourself. It gets you into what’s real.”

Malach says he chose to perform “Canaanite Blues” (“a song I could live and breathe,” he says) because it’s a quintessential Israeli song, and it’s close to his heart. Contestants can submit their first audition tape of a song in any language, but for the second audition he had to choose a Hebrew song.

Malach says that Ehud Banai related to Meir Ariel, the singer-songwriter subject of the song, as a father figure and friend.

When Ariel passed away, Banai felt tremendous loss.

Malach lost his own father in May 2011 to cancer and says that more than it being a singing contest, he feels he won because the judges saw the way he connected to the song.

“For me it was like a really simple way of grasping the story. I think most people can relate to having lost someone and wanting to tell them how much things have changed and how much they wish the person was still there to shine their light,” he says. “For me, it was really easy to tap into the essence of the song and share that feeling. I think that went a long way for me.”

In his powerhouse voice, Malach sings the emotional rock song “Canaanite Blues” with near perfect enunciation and a strong Hebrew accent. Though Malach learned Hebrew during his years at Jewish day school, he says the accent comes from his desire to be convincing in his performance.

“It’s like telling a story and acting the song. To do that in the most convincing way that people will believe you and want to listen to you, you’re have to use the accent,” he says.

Adam Kleinberg, last year’s Hallelujah winner and a native of Mexico, performed Meir Banai’s “Geshem” during the final show. He spent some valuable time with Malach, who is several years older than he is, in the days after the show, giving him some important advice. “He said, ‘Be patient and enjoy it.’ I feel like we have a lot to teach each other,” says Malach.

Having picked up the guitar at age nine, Malach says he did not actually learn to play guitar. Rather, he learned to play the songs that he loved by artists like the Steve Miller Band, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.

“Our family is very musical,” he adds, citing his great-grandfather Gershon, who was a cantor, and his father who loved klezmer music and played the harmonica.

Asked whether he intends to move to Israel, Malach says that living in Jerusalem would be a dream, but he has no immediate plans to do so.

“Sometimes when you’re an entertainer, the road is where you make your living,” he says. “Ideally, I would like to be able to get things going all over the world. I’m excited to see where it leads.” - Jerusalem Post


"Next Global Jewish Star Chosen"

Canadian Evan Malach overcame a few technical difficulties at the beginning of his performance to walk away with the first prize at the final of the global Jewish singing competition “Hallelujah” on Saturday evening.

The live final, held in Ramat Hasharon, was the culmination of a song contest that saw 29 Jews aged 18 to 30 from around the world come to Israel to connect to their Jewish roots though Hebrew songs.

Malach, 27, was overcome with emotion upon receiving the news that he had won the contest with his rendition of Ehud Banai’s “K’nani Blues.” He walked away with an $8,000 cash prize.

The charismatic Canadian was also awarded the opportunity to record a duet with Dudu Fisher, which will be released as a single in Israel and on global Jewish radio stations. As if that wasn’t enough, Malach will travel to Jewish communities around the world to perform.

The team of judges, headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon, said it was a difficult decision to make but agreed that Malach deserved to win. Courtney Simmons from the US came in second place.

The 23-year-old, whose family cheered her on from the crowd wearing matching T-shirts, won a cash prize of $4,000. Russia’s Polina Zizak, 18, came in at third place and walked away with $2,000.

Some 1,000 people attended the impressive live show in Ramat Hasharon’s Ussishkin Square, with Sport and Culture Minister Limor Livnat and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz in attendance. During a half-time break in performances, Steinitz took to the stage and joked about budget issues, but highlighted the importance of the singing competition and vowed to make sure that money would be available for similar events in the future.

Steinitz showed his support for the competition by saying “Hallelujah is Zionism and pure pleasure.”

“Hebrew song is the most beautiful, powerful and essential part of renewed Jewish culture. There is nothing more important than an evening like this that connects the Diaspora to Israel,” the finance minister told the crowd.

Livnat also addressed the crowd: “The State of Israel was established as kibbutz galuyot – [the in-gathering of the exiles].

Hallelujah represents the kibbutz galuyot of young singers. This is Zionism itself.”

The 14 finalists all gave emotional performances of personally selected Hebrew songs. Last year’s winner Mexican singer Adam Kleinberg, who recently made aliya, wrapped up the proceedings with a cover of Meir Banai’s classic “Geshem.”
- Jerusalem Post


"Indie Rocker to Honour Father's Memory with New Book and CD"

TORONTO – Evan Malach is a truly gifted artist. At 27 he is already a talented musician, writer and storyteller.

Yet he has gone a step further and merged his creative side with a positive spiritual and creative energy that is fuel for his projects in the community.

Second Chance Travel, a program he is developing, aims to send youth who have overcome hardships such as childhood cancer, abuse and addiction to assist those struggling with their own quests for survival. The goal of ‘Re: Mission,’ as he calls it, is to provide them with opportunities to use the lessons they have learned and their sense of gratitude to make the world a better place, through travel and volunteer work around the globe.

A related program that he is creating, ‘ProjectOR’ aims to strengthen and enlighten the Jewish community by supporting Jewish filmmakers in both Israel and abroad.

On the first anniversary of his father Howard’s death, Malach plans a double release of his book and CD.

Now Boarding, a spiritual memoir, tells true stories from Malach’s life and shares lessons he has learned along the way. Included are the author’s own brush with death while snowboarding in British Columbia back country and his reflections on life and death, written after his father’s passing.

Along the Endless Highway, a full-length CD, includes 14 new recordings from his musical project Stone/Angel. The CD features original rock songs written by Malach and also includes one Bruce Springsteen cover. The album was produced by Grammy winner Malcolm Burn. It is Stone/Angel’s second release.

Malach is launching both the book and C.D. at 7:30 p.m. on May 14 at The Supermarket at 268 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market. He has invited his band and other local musical acts to join him for an evening that is guaranteed to be memorable.

Interestingly, Malach’s father and his grandfather Moishe shared the same birthday and passed away on exactly the same date in different years. Malach identifies the synchronicity of these events as an example of the inter-connectedness of life. The message of the memoir and his music is that by observing this inter-connectedness, we can move towards an elevated level of thriving, something Malach aims to do in his own life. His father and grandfather, it should also be noted, were dedicated and active members of B’nai B’rith, as is Malach himself.

The coming “night of performance” as Malach calls it, promises to be a unique and enjoyable event offering a fine blend of life lessons, celebration and song.

Tickets are PWYC (pay what you can) with a suggested donation of $8 to $24. After 8 p.m., there is a $10 minimum. They can be purchased at the door. - Jewish Tribune


Discography

Revolution Rising EP 2008
What Still Could Be LP 2010
Along the Endless Highway LP 2012

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Bio

Founded on a philosophy of camaraderie and love of performing, we strive to sharethis energy with audiences. We believe in the power to propel ourselves forward with positive energy. We strive to do so as much as possible. Through our music we aim to inspire our fans to do the same.
We look to garner enjoyment from our time by reclaiming the moment and being synchronized with ourselves, music and audience.
We believe that everyone has innate and unique ability to shape their world experience, that every individual’s life is their own full-length feature film. Our first album What Still Could Be, shares a song called “Play My Part” which tries to capture this idea. It begins with the following lyrics:
“Try hard to play my part in the movie of my life
But my scars are a constant reminder of where you left your knife.”
The song conveys the situation we all face in our individual “film.” We are each trying our best to live a full life, whether we strive for greatness, knowledge, wealth, liberty, love, you name it. But all too often we become tripped up by wounds from the past.
This happens when we don’t take into account how much power we wield in our life story. We are not only the actor on set, we are also the screenwriter, director, producer, costume designer. Not only that, we also act as supporting actors in the life stories of our neighbors, friends, lovers, and strangers. Our music is offers an attractive soundtrack to a scene you may not have discovered just yet.

Band Members