Next week, the Israeli jam band HaMakor will be headlining May 31’s Salute to Israel Parade in Central Park. First, however, they’ll be doing a show at Sullivan Hall in the West Village, fresh off the plane from Israel.
Nachman Solomon, who fronts HaMakor, is a scion of one of Israeli music’s most impressive families. His father, Ben Zion Solomon, co-founded the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, which sounds like a high school marching band but actually almost single-handedly rescued Jewish music from that bad-synthesizer-and-schmaltzy-singer paradigm that, even today, threatens the civilized world, showing Jews that, sometimes, all you really need for a good song is an acoustic guitar and good intentions. His brothers Yosef, Meir and Yehuda Solomon play in Moshav, and his other brother Noah fronts the band Soulfarm.
But enough about Solomon’s legacy. The band’s possibly-self-titled debut album, The Source (it’s the English translation of HaMakor), is comparable to anything the Grateful Dead or Dave Matthews has released, splitting time equally between acoustic and electric rock, psychedelia, sweet pop songs and rhythm-driven jams that could make for some aggressive pogo-ing.
Recently, the band has been playing with Bruce Burger, the remarkable guitarist/singer/world-music producer who fronts the band Rebbe Soul, and has stepped up their once-sporadic trips to the USA. We hit up the Israeli-born, Jerusalem-based Nachman Solomon with a few questions about growing up musical, what drives him to write about the Bible, and what to expect at this year’s Israeli Day Parade.
How did HaMakor start?
We started about 4 years ago. I started it with my good friend Layzer Greenwald. He came to the Moshav [Mevo Modi’in, the Israeli town started by Shlomo Carlebach], where I met him and we just had a good click.
Later, he ended up moving to the U.S. for a bit, so we parted ways. A good friend of mine, Yakir [Hyman, who also fronts his own band], had just moved back to Israel from New Jersey. We also had a really good click and it was a good match. We got our first gig, and they asked, What the band is called? I always liked the name “Hamakor,” so I told them that was our name, and it stuck.