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7 Jan 2017

Zingale “Peace” 1977 mega rare & excellent Israeli Prog Rock monster..!! + Zingale “The Bright Side” 2008

Photo by Lahiton, an early Israeli Music Magazine

Tony Brower (Violin) on a concert in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv Photo by Daniel Matalon

Udi Tamir (Bass) and Tony Brower (Violin) on a concert in Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv Photo by Daniel Matalon

Zingale “Peace” 1977 mega rare & excellent Israeli Prog Rock  monster..!! + Zingale “The Bright Side” 2008
full “Peace” 1977….highly recommended……….
full “The Bright Side”2008….
Alternative take of “Party Inside”, never released before ……..
The best Israel progressive rock group from the 70’s, Zingale continued the 70’s prog-rock tradition with this excellent album, featuring very good symphonic rock, violin, fuzzy guitar and great compositions. Recorded in 1977, this is the first reissue on Vinyl since then, exact great graphic gatefold sleeve design, with all the original trackes, remastered from the original master tapes … 

Israeli progressive rock band from the 70’s, hailing from Tel Aviv & Ramat-Gan. They managed to complete only one (English-sung) album, called “Peace”, in 1975. The band disbanded due to low sales in Israel and no international interest in their music. ZINGALE’s chief talents were Tony Brower (violin) and Adi Weiss (keyboards), but also Udi Tamir’s bass is worthy of mention. The lyrics were inspired by the painful memories of the Israeli “Yom Kippur” war in 1973 (some of the band members fought that war, and lost relatives & friends), and are concerned with the importance of global peace. 

ZINGALE’s album has been reissued on CD in 1992, with some Hebrew-sung bonus tracks that were intended for their next Israeli album. There’s also a later digipack version of that same reissue. The sound quality is below average, since the master tapes were not found at the time. There are rumours of a planned remaster using newly found master tapes, but it hadn’t materialized it………….. 

By 1974 perhaps the most well known Israeli prog band Zingale had emerged. The band was formed in 1974 by bassist Udy Tamir, Keyboardist Ady Weiss, vocalist/guitarist Efraim Barak, Drummer David Shanan, Violinist Tony Brower and several other members. They named themselves after the Hebrew slang word for a Joint. They were the first Israeli prog group to use theatrical elements in their concerts (masks, lightning etc.) although recording several singles (that failed) in Hebrew, they decided to concentrate on English lyrics and mostly instrumental work, as they were aiming for the international market. At a certain stage British Decca records showed interest in the band but nothing came out of it eventually. They started working on their classic and only album “Peace” and the end of 1975 finished it. Like other Israeli Prog album of that period this album also reflected the Yom Kippur War trauma, but unlike others it had only English lyrics and was by far the most accomplished Israeli prog album ever. This is a great and essential album equally influenced by the Symphonic rock of Gentle Giant and Yes and by the stoned Jazz-rock of the Canterbury scene, in spite of all of these influences they managed to maintain their own identity and are highly important band. The album came out only two years after it’s recording in a limited quantity and became very rare and sought after album. It was reissued on CD in the 90’s also in a limited and numbered edition. Which was sold out and also impossible to get now. In the time that passed since the recording sessions to the release of the album they recorded several more Hebrew songs, which got them no attention (by 1996 Band member Johnny Stern had privately printed a CD with all of their Hebrew recordings under the title “ A Party Inside”). As a result of several members growing interest in religion and due to the lack of success, they eventually broke up, leaving only one album, a masterpiece. 

Shem Tov Levy’s (a member of Ktzat Acheret and a long time collaborator of Arik Einstein) had recorded and released his first solo album “In The Mood” by 1976, the album which had guest appearances by the Churchills’ Haim Romano, Apocalypse And Kaveret guitarist Ytzhak Klepter (also a former member of The Churchills) and 14 Octaves member Avner Kenner, was another excellent prog album. As well as influences of the usual suspects (i.e. Gentle Giant, Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra) it also comprised classical music, jazz and Middle Eastern influences, which would become Levy’s trademark sound in latter years. This album was unique and well done and set new standards to the Israeli prog legacy and is highly recommended. 

Two more important groups to emerge in the mid-Seventies were Piamenta and Atmosphere. Piamenta was named after its founder member Yossi Piamenta a virtuoso guitar player, highly influenced by Jimmy Hendrix. The band gigged for several years and recorded several singles/demos, until 1977 when famed Jazz Saxophonist Stan Getz, who toured Israel at the time heard them and was highly impressed by them. Together with Getz the band had recorded an album that combined heavy metal, Jazz and Arabic/Oriental elements. This was very unique effort but unfortunately the album was never released and the band split when Piamenta followed Stan Getz’ Invitation to work with him in the USA. Piamenta is still active musically and released several albums throughout the 80’s and the 90’s. 

Atmosphere who emerged by 1976 were a group comprised of students, they gigged regularly with Piamenta and other progressive acts of the era. By 1977 together with Efraim Barak of Zingale, they recorded material for a whole album; unfortunately this was also never released, but tapes of these band circulate among collectors and reveals one of the finest Israeli prog bands of all times, with very professional approach they recorded long and complex tracks highly influenced by Yes and well worth tracking down. 

An important band that emerged by 1975 and released their sole album by early 76’ was Tamouz. This was a supergroup led by two of the most important Israeli rock artists of all times, Shalom Hanoch & Ariel Zilber. Although essentially a hard rock band, their album “The Orange Season is over” did contained one good progressive track with long and complex instrumental passages. This track “The deeper, the bluer” was a significant contribution to the Israeli prog canon by a non-progressive band………….. 

Zingale are an obscure band to prog heads around the world, but in it’s native country israel, the band was regarded as innovative and groundbreaking, trying to bring progressive rock music from the west to the conservative israel. A lot of artists before them played with the idea of progressive music, but always fused it with pop elements and were trying to get it through by adjusting it to the timid and tamed audience. Zingale were innovative beacause they released an album that was not trying to please the audience nor the record company, the album is 100% progressive rock full of ideas, taking his influences from bands like Yes and Gentle Giant. Out there in the big world Zingale didn’t stand a chance, music was progressing faster and to other areas, never explored before, top that with better recording studios, technology and engineers with years of experience producing complex and experimental music, and you have a fine project that was doomed to fail. Being overshadowed by the big names in prog, doesn’t mean their only take on progressive rock was not good, infact it was excellent. The main problem with the album ( and maybe the only one ) is the average recording quality and the amateurish horrible mixing, said to have been done by another person who didn’t know the project or his goals. That surely affected the album’s level, how to get all those instruments in to one track, and make it sound good, something that was never done in israel before. 
Zingale was not all about the music, it was about the idea of the band members about world peace, written in words and expressed with music, hence the album’s one word title ‘Peace’. Lyrics was written to express the trauma of the 1973 war, those musicians faught just a year before, and try to plant the idea of world piece, and what a better idea to do it with progressive rock which represents freedom, fusion and new ideas. 

But enough with the babbling, what’s the music like? 

Zingale are tagged as fusion but that’s only one side of the band, the music is more constructed, even the instrumental parts which seems to follow a clear line. The music is symphonic, jazzy, rocky, eclectic and above all beautiful. Being a concept album, the songs are divided to instrumental parts which lies on the intricate interplay between all members, and songs which demonstrates the good writing quality of band, and their ability of writing actual songs. The band are using a lot of instruments together besides your standard rock group instruments, like harmonica, violin, synths, piano and tablas. Musicians are simply outstanding and you have a real feel of togethrness and unity, they play with a lot passion and sensitivity which is most evident in the instrumental parts. Bass by Udi Tamir is gigantic, trying to bring the Chris Squire sound, and is definitely doing a great job. Keys are wonderful throughout, using a lot of fender rhodes and is pretty diverse in it’s playing. The band is not trying to produce a 'Close To The Edge’ sequel nor to have ELP like runs on the keys, the album’s value lies on the exceptional beautiful writing, memorable lines, and high energies delivered by the band’s playing. 

'Heroica’ and 'Carinal’ are two great instrumentals that sounds like a big party, happy, enjoyable and so fun to listen to. They are based on the fast interplay by all members featuring very good violin work, strong bass occasionally with wah wah, excellent keys and masterful drumming. 'Love Song’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album, featuring a beautiful ballad working under cover in a progy song, beautiful guitar solo and some good vocals too. '7 Flowers Street’ is 3 minutes of sheer beauty, carried out with acoustic guitar and excellent violin by Tony Brower, who continues to shine for the entire album, and must be regarded as the band’s secret weapon. 

Part 2 of this reissue including 6 songs that was meant for their second album. it sees the band aiming lower towards more acceptable anthems, and less adventuroues songs, singing in hebrew instead of english. Gone is the masterful violin dominating the original LP, and keys are also absent leaving the album with a more simpler sound. But being a good band to begin with, the playing is still good, and some progressive elements are still there, the songs are not bad just simpler and i’m sure they won’t appeal to anyone who wasn’t excited by the album. Let’s get things in perspective, I can not compare this work with other phenomenal, groundbreaking albums coming out that year, receiving a 5 star rating by most reviewers, but this release hits me in a deep place and even the terrible sound does not prevent me of giving it a good listen once in a long while. Like i said it is not a masterpiece and i can understand reviewers giving it a 3 star, but some just may enjoy this as much as i do. So i feel a 5 star is appropriate to settle my enthusiasm… Sagichim …….. 

I think one thing progressive music is sometimes guilty of is too much thematic emphasis on fantasy or mythology, or just trying to prove how very clever and innovative it all is. So its nice once and a while to listen to something that is as socially relevant and timely as it is musically appealing. Zingale managed to achieve just such a feat with their somewhat obscure mid-seventies release ‘Peace’. While the influences of Yes and the Canterbury sound are too string to ignore, the band manages to blend these with a fair amount of jazzy fusion and some obvious studio improvisation to yield an altogether novel album. 
The Yes influence is most prominent in the early tracks, and particularly on the majestic “Help this Lonely World” and “Carnival”; the former which could also have passed for a Klaatu recording, and the latter sounding like some sort of instrumental outtake off the cutting room floor of the ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ studio sessions. Unfortunately the band did not have the technical advantages in the studio that Anderson and Co. did, so the sound tends to come off as muddled at times, which serves to give the impression the music is every bit as dated as its copyright. No matter, serious prog fans are rarely dissuaded by old analog recordings, especially when the music encased in them is arranged with such loving attention to detail. 

Lead singer David Bachar manages a fairly decent blend of Jon Anderson and Greg Lake when he decides to sing (in English no less!), especially on the energetic and snyth-riddled “Love Song”. Violinist Tony Brower exudes emotion on the melancholy “7 Flowers Street”, and then follows that up with some wicked string-bending chords on the introspective and acid-tinged “Lonely Violin Crying”. These are the mellowest and most engaging tracks on an otherwise highly progressive and adventurous recording. 

Electric keys and fusion rhythm abounds when the band slides into an improvisational jam on the rollicking “Stampede”; and then seems to take a cue from the likes of Peter Hammill with the sardonic, tense anti-war anthem “Soon The War Is Over”, a ranging call-to-arms for lovers of peace everywhere. With several members of the band having served in uniform during the Yom Kippor War, and those memories still fresh in their minds, they certainly know of what they sing as the lyrics are spit out amidst wailing guitars and stilting keyboards. The rather abrupt and unsettled ending mimics the lack of closure that war brought to the region too well. 

The band would turn to Hebrew-language music shortly after this album was finally released (which itself didn’t happen until a couple years following its recording); some of those tracks appear on the nineties CD reissue. Musically these are much less ambitious songs, and other than the spacey “Green Scooter on the Way to Asia” most of them are of a completely different genre and time than the original recording. 

It amazes and saddens me that a quarter-century after this group of guys from Israel issues their musical call for peace in that region, the guns and bombs are once again raining across their homeland. Let’s all hope that the peace they sang of manages to become manifest someday. In the meantime, take a chance and hunt down this unusual record – it’s worth the trip. Four stars and well- recommended to most serious prog fans. 

peace… ClemofNazareth ……….. 

This album in my opinion hasn’t gotten a fair shake, and since it’s a little known album from a country near to my heart, I feel that I have to come forward and defend it. 
Heroica is a straight up jazz/fusion rocker somewhat like Mahavishnu with frenzied violin and fast drumming, poppy jazz bass lines, and some nice rhodes work. Some synth comes in and the bass gets really rockin, this guy really knows how to slap and pock! The song brings momentum into the album and ends with a transition to the more YES-like and symphonic… 4/5 

Help this Lovely Planet: Nice and melodic Yes-like singing with some rhodes and beautiful multiple-dubbed violin lines to accompany it with psych sounding guitar interweaved throughout. Truly great for any violin fan! This song is really beautiful and the album is worth checking out for it alone! 5/5 

Carnival: Wow this song rocks! It’s like a psych-bluegrass hoedown with some awesome and completely off-the-wall guitar and violin work exchanges reminiscent of Mahavishnu. Now some rhodes piano and crazy wah-wah bass followed by a truly spooky avant-garde part which could serve as the background music in a horror-house. 5/5 

Love Song: Reminds me of some of the Caravan Stunning Cu……errr i mean Cunning Stunts tracks with the typical Canterbury style along with some great singing and violin work. The slow part picks up pace and turns into a complex Yes-like part which then gives back to the slow pace and in come dual slide guitars, very Pink Floydy indeed. 5/5 

7 Flowers Street: Very pretty Folky dual acoustic guitar and violin calms down the frenzy. Truly beautiful, and picks up into a faster paced jazz/fusion section. 5/5 

One Minute Prayer: A sped up and reversed prayer of some kind with a backing track, very psychadelic. 4/5 

Lonely violin Crying for Peace: Nice violin in the beginning followed by a jam session with rhodes at the forefront and some fretless bass. 4/5 

Stampede: Another great jazz/fusion rocker with some synth thrown in for good measure and lots of tasty psyched out violin,guitar and sweet bass lines. 4/5 

Soon the war is over: Obviously the singer listened to VDGG because a few parts are mediocre attempts at Peter Hammill (but then again every attempt at Peter Hammill would be a bad attempt wouldn’t it, he can’t be touched!), but it doesn’t really detract from the quality of the song which is great. After the botched PH attempt, everything is beautiful as long as you can get beyond the Israeli accent. The end of the song is pretty epic and a great way to end this fantastic album! 5/5 

4+5+5+5+5+4+4+4+5= 39/9 =4.33 which has to be rounded to 5 to recify a little of the injustice that has been done to this superb gem! Do not hesitate to check this album out, especially if you’re into intricate, beautiful prog with a fusion emphasis. And isn’t it just also cool to be able to say that you have an Israeli prog album! Highly Reccomended…… by enigmatic15……….. 

On March 1976 the Israeli music magazine “Lahiton” issued this article: 

Zingale goes West 

If there is one Israeli progressive rock band, it must be Zingale. That is, at least, what the band’s fanatic fans must think, when they go nuts each time the band goes on stage. Anybody who has also listened to their first album, which includes English rock songs, has noticed that the music is directed towards contemporary western rock, and it must be influenced by that genre. The band’s international success is also proof for that (note: Zingale had zero international success at the time - this article didn’t report the truth). 

Zingale’s 1st album is one of the most popular in the US (note: not true at all), and it’s an introduction to the advanced recording technologies lately used in Israel. The band leader is bass player Udi Tamir, who has pushed for this artistic direction, but he didn’t form the band himself. 

Tamir: “over two years ago, David Bachar and Johnny Stern came by with the idea of forming a rock group that will show on stage more than just music. We wanted a full show including music and the individual truth of everyone in the band. They started calling more musicians, and that’s how the band was formed”. 

Udi himself was a musician in the army, and joined a local group. David Bachar and Johhny Stern introduced Udi to pianist Addy Weiss, and the two of them started writing and arranging material for the first album. The violinist Tony Brower arrived from England, drummer David Shanan came from a well known Israeli trio. 

The first two years were hard and frustrating. Udi and Addy sat down with their friends and wrote the music. They rehersed from day to night (from night to morning, really), but nothing big happened. 

The first two shows were organized by the band memebers themselves, and after many attempts they also found a musical producer. Their debut album, “Peace”, was recorded in Kolinor studios, conducted by sound-man Dudi Rozenthal, which is the band’s “secret spokesman”. 

It seems that good English pop doesn’t have a market in Israel. In spite of the positive reviews that the band has received, there has been no big demand for the band by Israeli audiences. A new approach has brought them into a 180 degress turn, and to a realization of Johnny and David’s original idea: Israeli progressive rock music, which strives to be accessible but also original, and as the band members say “cool”. The israeli material has only recently been completed. 

Zingale is a rare phenomena in the Israeli pop desert. Only a few know about it, but those who are, understand its quality and uniqueness. This is a band that definitely needs encouragement so it can break out of its anonymosity and achieve its well-deserved success.“ 
That concludes the 1976 article on Zingale. 

The band’s producer succeeded in getting a contract with the important European DECCA label, through personal connections with the company’s CEO. 

Zingale - Peace 
Zingale - Peace The band’s only Album ("Peace”) was completed in 1975 but only released in 1977. The original Peace album included nine tracks, influenced by bands like “Van Der Graaf”, “Gentle Giant”, the Canterbury scene etc. 

Zingale intended to imbark on a European tour to support the album by DECCA. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen: Decca found the album too hard to digest, and said “no”. They weren’t impressed by the musical dialouge between Weiss’s classically-trained keyboards and Brower’s fast violin riffs. 

Band member Tony Brower, nowadays living in NYC, says today: 
“My memories from that period were mostly good. We smoked lots of pot, had lots of fun. There are some things I don’t like about that recording; the English lyrics were embarassing; the cover art was one of the ugliest ever put on record; the record companies still owe me money from royalties and sales, but the music and the playing were mostly good. This venture could go only so far, in a small country like Israel”. 
The English album had a limited pressing in 1977’s Israel, through the Israeli record company “Hataklit”. Over the years, it became a collectors’ item among progressive rock fans. The band members said that their personal memories from the Yom Kippur war (1974) influenced their lyrics. 

Disappointed from the cancelation of the international career, Zingale decided to focus on Hebrew material in order to establish themselves in the local scene. Zingale recorded three Hebrew tracks and got some Israeli FM radio airplay, but that wasn’t enough. The band was falling apart for all the wrong reasons. 

Tony Brower notes: “There wasn’t enough audience in Israel to keep the band alive. The number of Israeli prog fans was just too small to sustain us”. The Zingale band had dissolved. 

Stern and Tamir went on to pursue Judaism and became ultra-orthodox. Tamir is working in a ultra-orthodox radio station and composing rock music. Efrayim Barak built (and later sold) his own recording studio in a small village called Amuka in the Galilee, and together with his wife, runs a guesthouse. Barak and Tamir worked for a few years and released the 2008 Zingale album “The Bright Side”. 

Brower moved to NYC where he has been living for more than 20 years, and records music as a hobby. David Shanan turned into a bee-keeper. David Bachar committed suicide, following heavy drug addiction and post-war trauma. 

The Zingale Remastered CD’s 

The Israeli Indepedant music label The Third Ear issued in 1993 a re-master of the original PEACE album and included the Hebrew pieces as bonus tracks. For the first time, the compositions were presented in the right order. 

Zingale was “immortalized” in the 1990’s, when a local TV documentary series of Israeli rock and roll, edited by Yoav Kutner and named “Sof Onat Hatapuzim” (“End of the orange season”), interviewed some of the band members on one episode. 

The “peace” album has been out of print for some time, so it was reissued again on January 2002, this time with a new package - “Miniature Vinyl” (Mini-LP) design, very similar to the original release. In later prints, the label name was changed to Earsay Records. 

The sound quality of the CD is not hi-fi, but the music is lively and melodic, naive and authentic. These artists honestly believed they were changing the world through music, and made a real effort to stand out from the rest of crowd. 

We know that by now, the original Zingale vinyl LP’s are considered a high-priced collector’s item. 
The Zingale band members have not earned a single penny from the original album royalties. So it seems that today, eBay traders and clever LP collectors are making more money from the Zingale “Peace” album, than the actual musicians who recorded it………………… 

New Zingale release: The Bright Side (2008) 

Zingale - The Bright Side 
The Bright Side Two of Zingale’s founding members, Ephraim Barak & Udi Tamir, have released an album in October 2008. They used the Zingale band name, although most of the lineup is gone. This is the first Zingale album since their 1977 debut, “Peace”, but it’s not really the same band. 
Barak & Tamir have written the new musical material, arranged it, recorded it and released it online. They couldn’t find a proper label to release the album, but they’ve distributed it by themselves. This independant release includes 14 tracks, half of them instrumental. The other Zingale band members are not involved in the new project. …………. 

Tracklist "Peace" 

Love Song 5:52 
Carnival 5:23 
Help This Lovely World 3:44 
Heroica 4:13 
7 Flowers Street 2:53 
One Minute Prayer 0:45 
Lonely Violin Crying For Peace 3:06 
Stampede 5:31 
Soon The War Is Over 7:46 
7 Flowers Street 2:51 
One Minute Prayer 0:45 

Tracklist “The Bright Side” 

1Sooner Or Later 
2The Bright Side 
3Ashes And Secret 
4Money Contentment 
5The Basic Commandments 
6Forget The Money 
7The Last Gate 
10Who Holds The Key? 
12Look At The Bright Side 
13For David 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..