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"Getting To The Source"

Jerusalem Post Article, Aug 3 2006, Ben Jacobson.

Three exciting young unsigned bands will share one stage in Tel Aviv this Thursday, with their energies harnessed to create one mean show. Tel Aviv's own Cangaroo reggae act is headlining the Inbar music club gig, but the religious musicians of Aharit Hayamim and Hamakor are also eager to take the stage.
Up-and-coming Jerusalem-based rock act Hamakor is especially excited to make its Big Orange premiere. Hamakor gelled as a band only this past January, and its oldest member, lead guitarist Yakir Hyman, is just 21. Principal songwriter and lead vocalist Nachman Solomon has big shoes to fill, though, with older brothers Noah and Yehuda having forged successful American careers with Soulfarm and The Moshav Band, respectively. Speaking about Hamakor's creative relationship with those bands, Solomon says, "the music is coming from the same place" - both literally and figuratively.
Hamakor has quite a resume for a band that's only existed in earnest for about half a year. It has already played Pirsumei Nisa's Dead Sea Festival this past Pessah, opened for The Moshav Band at Club Tzora, opened for Aharit Hayamim at Jerusalem's Mamilla bar, holds a monthly residency gig at Mike's Place, and its Independence Day gig at a Rehavia house party got hundreds of impromptu guests dancing so hard that the floor caved in.
"It brought down the house," says Hyman, setting up a nargilla while taking a break from rehearsals in a Nahlaot apartment.
"The Mike's Place shows are the most fun because you get to experiment a lot," he says. "You get a lot more time than material, so you get to jam out and go places. We get to play until 2 a.m. That's the difference from a 45-minute opening set - you get to breathe."
Thursday's opening set marks a new direction for Hamakor, which hopes that roots reggae Cangaroo's largely secular, non-American fan base will get excited about Hamakor and stick with them.
"We want an Israeli crowd, to break into that market," says Solomon, who loves the yeshiva students who frequent the band's shows but feels their absence over the summers, when yeshivot are not in session. "This is a good opening."
Aharit Hayamim's own career seems to be taking off lately as well, with several gigs planned for the summer, beginning with Sunday's annual Aharit Hayamim Festival. Starting at 4 p.m. and continuing into the night (with camping areas available), this year's festival features performances by Nachat Ruach, Sinai Tor, Benny Landau, Aaron Razel, DJ Dub Reggae, Aharit Hayamim themselves and several other acts.
"Our plan is to start it Sunday but to keep going the whole summer through - without planning too much - to take it on the road to all of Israel," says Aharit Hayamim founder and frontman Yehuda Leuchter. "We don't want to do a celebration because that's not suitable for what's going on in the country right now. It's not going to be a party. We'll take our reggae and turn it into prayer."
The band is in the process of launching a new Web site, a preliminary version of which can be seen at www.aharit.net, and Aharit Hayamim's long-anticipated full-length debut studio album will be on sale within days. Manager Moshe Cornfeld sees the eponymous release as a key to crossing over from a fan base that is largely religious-nationalist to one that is mixed.
"This is a type of music that a lot of people can connect to," he says. "People are looking for something more spiritual - the same people who would listen to Shotei Hanevuah and Sheva, even Mook-E and Idan Raichel; there's a [mainstream] demand for spiritual music."
Hamakor's status as a "Jewish" act is similarly fluid. "We're Jewish, so our music is Jewish," muses Hyman. "I don't know what that label means."
Solomon agrees, classifying the band's style more in terms of its influences (grunge, funk, reggae, jam bands) than any religious classification. "The words are meaningful and spiritual, but we don't play mostly songs based on biblical verses," he says.
According to Cornfeld, Aharit Hayamim's brand of world-beat reggae focuses on messiah and redemption, "but it's a redemption with everybody else; it's about bringing the nation of Israel together."
When Inbar shakes with largely skullcapless bouncing this Thursday, it'll be hard to argue.
- The Jerusalem post

"Jerusalem Post"

The Source

Jerusalem-based rock act Hamakor has survived a series of transformations over the few years that the band has been active. Fronted by Nachman Solomon (from the Solomon family that has brought you leading spiritual rock acts like Moshav and Soulfarm), the band's sound took shape through guitarist Lazer Grunwald's love of axe heroics along the lines of Joe Satriani and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Within a few months, Hamakor had found new directions under the pranksterism of noodler Yakir Hyman.

A mini-tour of the US later, the band was ready to gel, and they set up shop for a series of regular gigs at Jerusalem's Pargod Theater in the winter of 2006-07. At the same time, they kicked into high gear with recording sessions that led to The Source, their debut. Along the way to completing the album, Hyman was drafted to the IDF, lead guitarist Jason Reich took his place and keyboard player Ben "Silicon Monk" Frimmer, an alum of the American electronic fusion jam band Signal Path, was thrown into the mix.

By the time The Source officially went on sale at a packed release party late this past spring at the Yellow Submarine club, Hamakor had emerged as one of the city's most elastic yet tight acts. The disc showcases the band's versatility and eclectic interests - swirling rave-infused synths, Jewish themes, Nineties guitar rock motifs - but it's executed with such crispness that it somehow avoids feeling like too much.

With its probing, introspective verses and triumphant "Welcome to the source!" chorus, the opening title track doubles as the band's calling card. Anchored by a lengthy trance interlude, the Grunwald-penned "Lost Man" finds us swimming in Frimmerland. On "Just Smile," Hyman does a mean Trey Anastasio impression while drummer Jono "on the one" Landon hits some unlikely accents. "Should've Known" and "Dizzy," meanwhile, rank up there with the best songwriting of grunge's heyday.

Hamakor recently returned from a marathon tour of Poland, set up through the leadership of the Jewish community there, with Bruce "RebbeSoul" Burger in tow. Under new management and considering still new creative directions, the band that cut The Source may already be a relic. But with the core chemistry between Frimmer, Solomon and Landon going strong, it's hard to imagine Hamakor going astray.

- Ben Jacobsen Jan 30th 2008


The Source



A new sound is growing out of the hilly plains of central Israel.Through the combined voice of a diverse group of talented musicians from different backgrounds, a soulful, inspiring, and complex musical message is put forth. Songs are lyrically appealing and melodically charged, leaving the listener feeling energized. Messages such as finding your own path and the winding paths life take us, anchor the futuristic sound to a universal meaning.
The lead singer of Hamakor is Nachman Solomon, the younger brother of Yehuda Solomon (Moshav Band) and Noah Solomon (Soul Farm).
Through the combined voice of this quartet, soulful, inspiring, and complex music is put forth.This real life expression met with the sweet melodies of the guitar is what makes haMAKOR a rare experience both in sound, and performance.

HaMAKOR has been conquering crowds not only in Israel but also in Poland and the USA, East Coast, headlining sold out shows at The Knitting Factory, B.B. Kings and Jewzapalooza.

With their heartfelt performance and inspiring music they have left no attendee dissatisfied. The entire band bounces with the groove and feel of their music and project an aura of having a good time while dealing with serious issues. It is definitely an experience worthy of attending.