In this episode of Hebrew Voices - Here We Are , Nehemia Gordon concludes a conversation with Yitzchok Meir at his home in the Judean Hills. Musician, artist and cantor, Meir’s passion is readying hearts for the ingathering of the exiles. Meir states he feels privileged to live in these times and do his part to facilitate unity in the midst of diversity. “It’s okay to be different. We don’t all have to be the same to love and support each other.”
Gordon and Meir converse on many topics—the borders of Israel, the origins of music styles, prayer customs, as well as their favorite quotes from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). Whatever the topic, Meir never strays far from his core belief that, “Hashem is one and we are one.”
Before closing by singing “Here We Are,” Meir explains some of the personal family history that influences his music; both his grandmother and her violin survived Auschwitz, and his father was born in a displaced person’s camp. This surviving son of the Shoah has learned to question the questions and that is the message of “Here We Are.”
Guest Bio: Yitzchok Meir has spent over a decade touching every corner of one of the most chaotic, passionate, diverse, and innovative regions in the world. Right at home in a whirlpool collision of Europe, Asia, and Africa, his journey took him from hitchhiking teen to budding artist to a major player in a freshly emerging Jerusalem music scene, one that offers the most eclectic mixing of ethnic and stylistic traditions. With a deep sensitivity to the spiritual human struggle, he has performed for over a million people in settings and styles as varied as the cultural landscape.
A master of almost anything with strings, Yitzchok Meir was mentored by some of this decade's best talents, including Grammy award winner C Lanzbom. Influenced by Dylan's poetry and simplicity of language, Yitzchok Meir incorporates the elegance of Leonard Coen, the swagger of Sinatra and the depth of Carlebach into a surprisingly balanced rhythm. It resonated with Ronny Vance, a veteran executive in the industry who noticed something fresh in Yitzchok Meir's sound, and launched a long and fruitful collaboration to capture it and record it for the rest of the world.
“Dear God” is Yitzchok Meir's first full-record offering, a symbioses of genre, vibe, reflections and hopes. Sometimes the track itself reaches out to poke you with a sudden shift in both mood and technique. The move-along groove and the gently laid lyrics ease you into a journey through identity, love, loss, war and peace. Eclectic, sometimes-edgy arrangements and ensembles prove worthy of a maturing, grander perspective, echos recalled in a smooth and sensual vocal performance. What comes out is a classy and suave flirtation of jazzy flows and bluesy bass, peppered with the occasional ballad and campus quad acoustic. “Dear God” is Yitzchok Meir's witty, subtle, well-seasoned prayer for the world.