Maya Isacowitz is NOT boring
Last week, I wrote a blog post with the headline “Aviv Geffen is Boring” to describe Israel’s bad boy of rock gone Muzak. That was anything but the case for another concert I attended a few days later.
Maya Isacowitz is on the opposite side of the career spectrum from Geffen – just getting started and so full of enthusiasm that if the sold out audience at her show at Jerusalem’s Yellow Submarine could have all linked arms and sung kumbaya (in a good way), it would not have seemed ridiculous or hokey.
Isacowitz is all of 24, an indie singer-songwriter striving to hit the big time who just might do so. Her debut self-published album, “Safe and Sound,” has sold over 12,000 copies (which may sound puny by American standards but is quite healthy here). She was named “Discovery of the Year” by ACUM, the Israeli music copyright protection group. Her music has even been played on local radio.
Isacowitz’s musical style starts from an alt-country-folk-rock feel but, with a full band (guitar, percussion and violin) in her current show tour, she also knows how to rock out. Mix in some blues and a pretty cool Rihanna cover, and an Isacowitz concert is a worthwhile date night.
During the concert I kept trying to pin Isacowitz’s voice down. It seemed terribly familiar – Tori Amos, Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Avril Lavigne, even Joan Osborne all came to mind. Her looks also reminded me of Erin Karpluk, the red-headed actress who plays the delectable Erica Strange on the now-defunct but much loved Canadian TV show “Being Erica,” which further endeared me to her (here’s a trailer for the show).
An article earlier this year in Haaretz gives more background on Isacowitz. She grew up in a number of northern Israeli communities – Kibbutz Ma’ayan Baruch, the community village of Carcum – and was a regular visitor to the Jacob’s Ladder music festival at the Sea of Galilee where she would tag along with her dad. Eventually she started signing too and last year headlined the festival’s opening night.
Isacowitz’s parents immigrated to Israel from South Africa, so the family spoke English at home which explains why daughter Maya’s music is all in English even though she is a sabra through and through.
As she was starting to come into her musical own, she spent a stint in New York but, as she says in the Haaretz article, “I felt lost in America. I realized it was such a huge place, with so many people trying to make it; I would be better off going home and developing from here.”
She’s since moved back to Israel and her fans here are the beneficiaries. Thanks, Maya, for letting me write a different headline this time. You were definitely not boring
Here’s another clip, her Rihanna cover: