Israeli Folk Band ‘The Roosters’ Get New Life With Orchestral Mashup

The Israeli singing troupe The Roosters only performed for about three years in the early 1960s, but many locals still know their music and can recite all of their lyrics.

Zohar Sharon and Roi Oppenheim were counting on this enduring popularity when they created their latest concert series based on the music of The Roosters, known locally as HaTarnigolim (Israeli artists at the time had to have a Hebrew name for the domestic consumption and an English name for foreign audiences).

In “The Roosters – The Remix”, Sharon and Oppenheim’s Revolution Orchestra deliver a unique blend of the folk troupe’s music, using the songs as raw material for their own reinterpretation.

The arrangement includes background videos from The Roosters, solo artists channeling the voices and movements of the original singers, and a chorus of young singers from the Efroni Choir.

“[Ha]Tarnigolim is just really, really good music,” Oppenheim said. “And a lot.”

The troupe, which at different times included Yehoram Gaon, comedian Shaike Levi and Gavri Banai, among others, sang music composed for military bands, as well as new music written by composers Sasha Argov and Haim Hefer.

The Roosters never sang with microphones or amplifiers, and at the time were accompanied only by an accordion, Oppenheim said, which gave the orchestra ample opportunity to find new types. accompaniment for music.

The Roosters Remix is ​​the latest in a series of theatrical concerts by the orchestra resurrecting long-dead acts for new audiences. In 2014, their “live show from the dead”, as Sharon calls it, featured music from John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix and others. The music is accompanied by excerpts from the original artists in videos, as well as interviews and concerts.

When they ran into copyright issues with some of the music they were playing, the couple started thinking about other music that was more accessible to them.

They first looked at comedic act Gashash Hahiver, consisting of former Roosters Levi, Banai, and Yisrael Poliakov. Their ‘Concerto for Gashash and Orchestra’ brought the comedic trio back to the stage, some 20 years after they had ceased performing, using a mosaic of original orchestral works and arrangements interspersed with video and sound samples of their sketches and songs.

“Everyone had seen all of Gashash’s material, but there was never a concerto for all of them,” Oppenheim said.

Some original members of HaTarnegolim or The Roosters, inspiring the current Revolution Orchestra concert, “The Roosters — The Remix” (courtesy of The Roosters)

Both noted the importance of the interplay between video and music in bringing back the classics.

“We’ve done animation, video art, acting, dancing, and when you bring in live music, it changes the whole focus,” Sharon said.

The two musicians met 20 years ago when they were students at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and soon realized that they were both interested in creating more than a repertoire of music, but rather a choreographed event.

“It just changes from project to project,” Oppenheim said.

Their shows definitely appeal to older audiences, Sharon said, but younger audiences have tuned in as well, often recognizing the words without knowing exactly how.

“Audiences love it,” he said. “It’s hearing something you know but seeing it in a new light.”

“The Roosters – The Remix” will be performed March 7 in Herzliya, March 12 at the Israeli Opera, March 17 in Rishon Lezion and March 19 at the Jerusalem Theater.

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